Maybe you should have left yesterday, or long before. Your entangled relationship with a narcissist is littered with lies, diversions, projections, guilt, obligation, blind alleys, and moral and legal obstacles. You are an emotionally shattered soldier fighting to survive, and, perhaps also, to help your kids survive.

In your most honest moments, you also may crave her intensity of seductive attention and attraction, qualities of the narcissist that are classic hooks.

Hell in a Hamster Wheel

hamster in a wheel--the narcissist relationshipThink about it. Your relationship with your narcissist is hell in a hamster wheel. You keep running to stay alive and escape the daily abuse, but you never get away, never actually get anywhere, only more trapped and exhausted.

That is because you are caught in the narcissist’s “alternative” reality, a surreal version of the truth that suits his need to feel superior, omnipotent, far and above the little people who trouble themselves with mundane life.

Narcissists as children are believed to have experienced a profound emotional “injury,” and as a result adopt a larger-than-life persona of grandiose perfection to compensate for their feelings of inferiority.

The narcissist needs you far more than you need her, but she will never let you know that. She is so defensive, so fearful of having her narcissistic injury triggered, that she will punish, unleash rage, and/or possibly leave you if you give her any hint of judgment or rejection.

The Narcissist’s Allure

It’s easy to get in thick with a narcissist. They are masterful at turning on the charm faucet with attention, adoration, and sexual interest.

Narcissists study you to identify your needs and vulnerabilities, and they work to deliver what you want with the ultimate goal of ensnaring you through overvaluation. Afterward, you will be inevitably treated to mounting criticism, and perhaps outright rejection and discard. It’s not personal. It’s the narcissist’s way.

The Narcissist’s Dead End

Narcissists generally have short attention spans, see things and people in black and white (good or bad), and by all means seek to reject before they are rejected.

Narcissists really just can’t give a damn about you or anyone else, while at once excruciatingly craving acceptance and love for themselves. They are by and large incapable of empathy, compassion, or unconditional love.

Fundamentally, the narcissist in your life only sees you through his own myopic lens of “what’s in it for me?” He is essentially a parasite, and as long as you stay in the relationship you are his enabling host.

Julie L. Hall’s articles on narcissism regularly appear in The Huffington Post and PsychCentral.com. She is the author of the forthcoming memoir about life, and a few near deaths, in a narcissistic family (read excerpts). 

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Image courtesy of Benny Lin and Mylius.