Just in case your ex-lover, specifically a Narcissistic Personality Disordered (NPD) man or woman, and his or her new love interest, are seemingly gloating and gushing their perfect match-made-in-heaven love, and posting away on social media, ad nauseam, before you could even say, “What just happened?”, you may find yourself wondering where you went wrong.
With all of that residual brainwash, due to having been in a toxic relationship, who could blame you? Sure, you may suddenly become filled with loathing for both of them. That is a pretty common reaction. Just step back for a moment, and realize that the newbie is only the next target of your ex-narcissist. Due to the almost instantaneous nature of this happy new couple posting, you may possibly be viewing this newbie, as someone the narcissist cheated with, or just a no-girl-code/no-bro-code type, who cannot even wait for the smoke to clear, before diving in head first. With love posts so quick and obvious, and perhaps, friends who meant well, by pointing this out to you, you may be assuming they are now laughing at you and dancing in your humiliation, and other vain or very painful imaginings. How dare they be enjoying the “good stuff” that you had invested so much in, eh? “Send ’em both to hell in a hand-basket!” you say to yourself, as you sit home and seethe a bit…just a bit?
By discovering that the Narcissistic Personality disordered person has a distinct pattern, you can experience some relief.
Narcissists like to play this game. It is the perfect set-up for their new target. They love to play the victim of their previous relationships. They will attempt to get the new target to feel sorry for them. Chances are, yes, they may have been grooming this new source of supply while getting ready to jump ship from your relationship before you could rid them yourself. The more they can convince the new target how awful a person their ex was, the more the new target will try to prove that they are nothing like the ex. Classic manipulation tactics are employed by the NPD person. The new target will want to prove they are the woman/man the narcissist deserves and can provide the right kind of love that the “poor” narc has been searching for. With other tactics such as Love Bombing, the new target may think, as you did at one time, that they have just struck gold. Little do they know.
Or, the narcissist, needing to keep his/her facade of greatness intact, will not want the target to think that he/she would be so dumb, as to date such an “awful” person. So, instead of belittling their ex to their new target, this narc may say their ex was a good person, just not “the one,” thus, giving more hope or challenge to the new target to gain their affection and be the coveted “one”. That is narc speak, and just another way of saying, that their ex started becoming wise and began to challenge the narc’s games and BS, and therefore, they weren’t the “right one”. It is key to understand the patterns of the NPD person and spot the red flags.
The often compassionate, and co-dependent new target, wants to believe that they are the “one” to fix the heart of the seeming treasure (the narc in sheep’s clothing) and make his/her life so much better than their ex or exes did. The narc assures the target that they are different from all the rest, placing them on an instant pedestal, and the target cannot help but believe it is the truth because they are being showered with love, constant attention, flattery, and adoration, at least for now. This is a well-honed skill or “trait” of the narcissist.
Even still, self-doubting or negative thoughts may permeate and pollute your mind, despite you knowing that the new target has inherited a phony, manipulative liar, who is full of empty promises. You may still wonder what does the new one have that I don’t? Was I really not good enough? Was it me? Why do they look so on top of the world when I feel like crap? I thought I was the good guy here! Does the new one think I am a horrible person? Gosh, they seem so in love… and on and on. This is exactly what the narc wants you to think. He/she has conditioned you to believe that everything wrong was your fault and that you were not good enough. This may keep you weak or off-balanced enough for you to consider seeing him or her again in the future, as a backup plan. Don’t go there, not even for a nanosecond!
There is hope, yet! Before you go drown yourself in beer flavored ice-cream, or worse, react out loud and make a real fool of yourself for nothing, realize that the new target is actually in the same sinking boat as you were in, and it may only be a matter of time before you get your confirmation. Understand that the narc is highly unoriginal in the patterns they employ and would repeat them on a dog or a mouse, given the chance. Their disorder should include the words Master Manipulator. They did it to you. It was not personal. They will continue to live via these patterns, with or without you. This is the NPD, sadly. They have no empathy for others. It is a shallow and desperate existence, which is why they project this on others. They attempt convincing us that we are the same as they are because misery does indeed, love company.
The following excerpt is an (edited-to-protect-identities) actual exchange between two women, that shared a relationship with the same Narcissistic Personality Disordered person, one after the other. My good friend, we shall call “Debbie” received an unexpected email from a woman, we shall call her “Amanda”, who was currently dating Debbie’s, ex-boyfriend for the past year. He had a history of manifesting classic NPD traits of manipulation and using others for his own advance.
Debbie had invested her life in this man for nearly a decade until she finally walked away, and in 2012, wrote him quite the kiss-off email, and ended the relationship. In her email, she called him out on various abuses and how he had used her financially and emotionally, including how he used everyone who cared about him, all the while criticizing them behind their backs. She chastised him for always seeking to have his self-serving way with unusual solutions, saying he would only get worse, should he continue in this way.
In the classic narc allure, the beginning of their relationship was wonderful. Debbie was instantly attracted to his good looks, charm, high aspirations and promises of their ideal future together. That is until his mask came off, and he was exposed for who he really is.
Serendipitously, the current girlfriend, Amanda, somehow discovered the kiss-off email Debbie had sent to her ex-boyfriend and emailed her at once, thanking her for the letter that guided her to the decision she knew she had to make, and finally gave her the courage to make it.
The letter started off like this:
“Hi, My name is Amanda, and I hope this email brings you some peace just as yours did for me today. I have been Rick’s girlfriend for a year now, and nobody could possibly know what I have been through until I came upon an email you sent him back in 2012. It described exactly what has been going on with me and has given me the courage to end this totally dysfunctional relationship that I have allowed to destroy me for a year.
As you know better than I, he has the ability to take whatever gut feeling, instinct or woman’s intuition I had and turn it around to make me feel sorry for him. You were right in your letter when you said nothing would change for him, he is still using women. He has used my home, car, and everything I own without offering a dime to help out. I have bought him phones, clothes, food, and paid all expenses without so much as him saying thank you. He recently received some unexpected EDD money and acted as if he was still broke and let me pay for everything….”
“It broke my heart to know someone I loved and cared for thought so little about me. He could talk me into believing everything within minutes, and if I said anything about anything, I was so verbally abused and manipulated, I just shut down…”
“I am sure you already know you made the right decision, but I wanted to reinforce that by letting you know nothing has changed with him and thank you for writing that letter so God could lead me to it for the guidance I needed…”
Thank you and God Bless,
When my friend, Debbie, shared Amanda’s email with me, my heart instantly ached for this woman, and the pain she had endured, but I thought, what an amazing gift Debbie had unintentionally given to Amanda, a gift of validation, that possibly saved her from so many more years of pain and humiliation. Ironically, Amanda gave Debbie a gift too –the gift of the confirmation that a narcissist, just like a leopard, never changes his/her spots. He/she does not suddenly become this new, amazingly changed person, although outward appearances or social media and gossip may suggest otherwise.
And it may be just plain ole’ unfair, at how it seems the narcissist easily moves on, and seduces a new target with his/her tactical charm, and rehearsed lies, and gets away with his/her behavior, while nobody is none the wiser. Do not buy into it! So many people have received warning messages. The problem is, usually when the message from the ex arrives, it’s too late –the damage has been done! But would we have believed these messages if we received them during the Idealization/Honeymoon phase? Probably not, as the Narcissistic Personality Disordered person has already primed us, or its new targets, to believe whatever they feed us. Because this level of manipulation is such as the professional con job, we are not likely to suspect we are walking right into the trap, as we take the bait.
To follow up with Debbie’s story, she had replied to Amanda’s email with the following, and wished to share some of the content with us, in hopes of making a difference and/or confirming someone else’s experience.
“Wow! Dearest Amanda,
Thank you for reaching out! I am so very sorry you went through a living hell and total humiliation (yes, we have that nightmare in common despite how smart we really are!). You did not deserve such pain and disrespect when all you were trying to do is love someone. BUT, don’t get bitter about love because that could be just around the corner for you. First thing, is give all that love you gave to him to YOUR OWN SELF! The narcissist is incapable of real love (dang, we could have sworn it was real, eh?) and people are merely things to be used by them. Do not ponder on the why’s or what’s. It is like trying to understand why a scorpion has stung you after you have loved it like a pet. Why did it sting me? Um, because it is what it is!
It seems after the honeymoon is over they are only capable of loving themselves, and anyone else in the wings they may be performing for. Yah, it sure sucks, and makes it harder to let go, when they are good-looking physically, and know all the right things to say. Then our egos are willing to get back into the ring. But that’s what it becomes –a ring where one just takes more beatings. We have our personal issues that keep us going back for continual punishment, but also bear in mind that truly good-hearted people go back because they can’t comprehend that ANYONE could actually be like that, and they make us feel genuinely loved at times. He may try to contact you again because you were sugar momma, the supplier, or enabler, and he has no shame. And as it has always worked on you before, he knows there is always a good chance it will work on you again. PROTECT YOURSELF!!
Sad to say, we all get weak, or relationship amnesia sets in, or miss people eventually, and I am so glad I have not made the mistake of letting this one back into my universe. I was actually beginning to think he was an old “friend” that I could grab a coffee with if I were to run into him, and then you sent me this amazing communication, along with my letter to him –BOOM! I think we just helped each other out by reinforcing the reality of the situation with that one. So, cue the theme song from Rocky! I need you to be in top shape to handle it fearlessly or with a yawn when the time comes. You have greatness within you, and this will continue to be robbed from you unless you take an active role in strengthening your body, mind, health, emotion, and so on.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR WRITING! You are not alone, and our precious, unique, one-of-a-kind boyfriend (EX) really turned out to be a DIME A DOZEN! Kudos to you for doing your detective work and finding me! Now continue to find yourself back. I am here anytime!
xoxo Debbie :)”
So, the next time you shed a tear, or start to miss your ex, or boil under your skin over your ex’s new, highly praised love interest, just remember that you were once in their shoes, enjoying the honeymoon phase, perched high up on your pedestal, perhaps directly or indirectly making somebody else nauseous, and one day they will, unfortunately, find themselves drowning in the same ocean you once were. Despite all appearances, a narcissist is a narcissist is a narcissist. So let them gloat and gush and have their 15 minutes, while you never let ’em see ya sweat. Take this true story, between Debbie and Amanda, as your own confirmation. Focus on loving you. This is your opportunity to gladly pass the baton, rejoice in your new found freedom. Be humbled and thankful that your ex has found another source of supply, so you can be free to move on, smile again, love again, and dance like no one is watching.
This article was co-written by Bree Bonchay with Izzy Micheo
Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychopathy in her blog FreeFromToxic. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a dedicated advocate, educator, and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.
Copyright © 2015 Bree Bonchay. All Rights Reserved