It’s hard to admit but you have been lying to yourself about your partner.
Over time you begin to see an ever-widening gap between the person you want your partner to be and the person he is. You have an idea of what a healthy relationship looks like, yet you forgive your partner when he commits serious relationship wrongs because, after all, he’s not all bad and everyone makes mistakes.
It began small, didn’t it? You caught him in something minor perhaps a little lie, but he had a somewhat reasonable explanation for it. Even when you looked at it more carefully, his justification seemed reasonable, so it changed from being a lie to a slight misunderstanding, most often on your part.
But it keeps happening and he focused your attention away from his lying to your being needy, insecure, and suspicious. And when you’d catch him in another lie, he’d simply rage about your always watching his every move and how he couldn’t be himself around you. The rage alone was often enough to confuse you and keep the attention off the real issue, him.
When that got old, he began chalking up his bad behaviors to your having let yourself go or other deficits you suddenly were showing. Quite clearly, you were the problem, with your neediness, boring demeanor, your getting old, or fat. Even worse, he claimed you’d become a lunatic that you weren’t good relationship material for anyone. In my case, he would say I had a borderline personality disorder and of course could not maintain a relationship with anyone for a variety of reasons, including past relationships that did not work out, my mother did not love me so I was incapable of loving anyone and other ridiculous nonsensical psychobabble. All of which he spoke as though he was Freud himself and the authority on all things psychological.
We often decide to stay with them as it seems better not to be alone because ” they are not all bad.”
We then start to have one or two good days while the rest of our time is spent in misery, trying to keep our heads above water as we are drowning in the hell of the relationship. We survive day-to-day, barely staying sane, hardly able to function, with struggling to take care of our children while waiting for the rare occasion that our partner might be nice or even kind to us. Through all the sadness, confusion, tears, heartbreak, and sucking it up, you know he’s going to come around at some point because he’s just a normal person who makes mistakes. This is a big lie you tell yourself.
If this sounds like you, you are experiencing extreme cognitive dissonance, which is a symptom of C-PTSD. Cognitive dissonance thrives on your diminishing your partner’s lies and infidelity to dangerous misconceptions that we all come to believe in toxic relationships, such as:
- He acts that way because of his painful abusive childhood
- Most people cheat
- We all make mistakes, including me, no one is perfect
- There isn’t anyone decent out there
- With enough love, I can help him past his character disorder
- Little lies don’t matter
Of course, you haven’t been perfect because you’ve been emotionally traumatized. People who have been emotionally and psychologically abused typically display C-PTSD symptoms that can mimic bipolar disorder.
Judith Herman, the author of Trauma & Recovery, describes C-PTSD as a form of trauma associated with prolonged subjection to totalitarian control including emotional abuse, domestic violence, or torture, all repeated traumas in which there is an actual or perceived inability for the victim to escape. This may cause explosive anger, difficulty in regulating one’s emotions, and changes in self-perception which include guilt, shame, and self-blame. It is all very overwhelming for someone who didn’t start that way.
We the partners of narcissists generally are highly sensitive and empathic often being nurturing, caring, kind, over-conscientious, people. But, we stop believing this about ourselves because we are in a persistent state of meltdown from being manipulated and mistreated by our toxic partners.
If your partner is constantly lying, manipulating, and being unfaithful, it’s a warning sign that they have a serious personality disorder. This cannot go away or even improve. When we forgive and accept their excuses for these behaviors, we inadvertently teach them to keep doing more of the same. Over time, we lose more and more of ourselves while teaching our children that these events are normal in relationships, romantic or otherwise and perpetuate dysfunctional relationship dynamics in the process.
And therein lies the danger in believing the common misconceptions we come to accept in toxic relationships. If you are waiting for your partner to change, are accepting the unacceptable, and experiencing cognitive dissonance through the belief that things will get better in the face of increasingly destructive emotional abuse, you have been misled following the script of lies and deception that ” he is not all bad ” misconception.
As hard as it is for you, you must make a plan to leave your narcissistic partner.
It will not get better and most likely it will only get worse. He will not change. He does not think anything is wrong with him or his behavior. I encourage you to find someone to talk to and support you during this very difficult time. It is time to think about how to get out and move on.
This is the time to focus on yourself and as you begin the sad process of realizing that your partner is toxic and that you are in an abusive relationship you can start to develop a plan to leave if you haven’t left already. Find some of the articles and posts here on the site as they will help you understand what you have been living and that your partner is narcissistic. If you find yourself in any danger please call 911 or the local police. There are crisis lines available to call if you require immediate support with advice and resources as well.
Feel free to reach out to me here on the website or via one of the other platforms if you would like some support, to text or talk or if you would like to start healing from the deep wounds that you have suffered due to the relationship you have experienced with a narcissist.
I have been where you are, know that you can heal and live a happy life again without a toxic partner.