Is Loving a Narcissist Our Fault? (Reconciling Blame)

loving-narcissist-blameWhen is loving a narcissist our fault and how do we reconcile the blame…clearly, two of the toughest questions that narcissist abuse victims struggle with. Part of the healing and recovery from narcissist abuse is our willingness to forgive ourselves for our own participation and I’m a firm believer that we have to do this. I’ve taken flack from some about not stressing the accountability factor when I counsel but I honestly don’t give a shit about that – nothing that happened to us was our fault. Sure, we could have done things differently…we could have let go of the narcissist sooner or been more confrontational or we could have moved out of town but this is easier said than done when we’re being conditioned to act differently. For now, we have to look at it for what it really was…a Grand Deception that we couldn’t possibly have caught onto in the beginning. With narcissists, even the red flags are passive aggressive! Nothing but nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.

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Here’s my observation on why we do it…why intelligent women and men (and we’re all intelligent – every last one of us – because narcissists only target the best!) appear to fall for the bullshit over and over, turning a blind eye to the cheating and the manipulation. Clearly, the answer is simple: it’s easier to “kinda” believe the narcissist’s Lies than it is to fathom that this person that we love is actually (and deliberately) trying to destroy us.  What those on the outside don’t understand is that these monsters are very, very good at what they do. Many of us were experiencing narcissistic tactics for the very first time and didn’t know what to make of the bizarre behaviors. Plausible denial becomes the narcissist’s free pass. In my case, I hadn’t the slightest idea what a silent treatment even was let alone think that it could happen to me. The first time that my ex vanished for no reason, I thought surely he was dead. It didn’t even occur to me that he had vanished on purpose….that he was ignoring me just to make me insane! Little did I know that literally hundreds of silent treatments would follow, nearly becoming the death of me. How could I possibly have known? How could you have possibly have known? On the outside these people look perfectly normal!

The bottom line is that a narcissist follows a pathological relationship agenda from which he/she will never waiver and they could care less how much they hurt the victim partner. In fact, the more a victim suffers, the better the narcissist feels about everything. Normalcy is just an annoyance and narcissistic chaos makes the world go ’round…this is the ideology by which narcissists live and breathe and the deception used to push this agenda is, quite honestly, pretty fucking amazing.

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Why shouldn’t we believe what a narcissist tells us in the beginning when they do it so convincingly? We can kick ourselves for “falling” for it but what the hell were we supposed to do? In my opinion, it’s human nature (a.k.a. natural) to assume that a person we care about is telling us the truth. Because a narcissist is extremely patient and methodical in carrying out his mission, he will tell us what we want to hear for as long as it takes. By the time we start to suspect that something sinister is happening, it’s far too late to turn back without emotional repercussions. I don’t care what anyone says…there isn’t a person in this world who wants to give up on love and thus it’s natural to hope for the best when it comes to our committed relationship. My thought is that, over time, we develop a codependency to the hope itself because to actually give up on our investment in the relationship would mean that we’re giving up hope or giving up on love and, again, who the hell wants to do that?

Look, you are worth so much in this world – far more than the narcissist could ever hope to deserve. You must understand that if and when the narcissist returns, it won’t be for any good reason and he/she will make sure the next discard hurts far worse than all the others. There is no more room in your life for that. This is a time of reconciliation and recovery and a time to keep moving forward. No waiting or wondering and no expectations of anything left behind. You did the best that you could given the level of his/her deception. Do not beat yourself up and do not blame yourself because nothing positive will come of that. I’m here to tell you that you did nothing wrong.

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In the months immediately following my ex’s final discard, I created a mental game of Postpone & Pretend that got me through some very tough times. If I felt an overwhelming sadness that threatened a set-back, I would postpone the sadness for 24 hours. After 24 hours had passed, I would postpone the sadness again and then again and so forth and so on. My thought was that there was “always tomorrow” to be sad and then I made sure to keep extending that timeline. At the same time, I would also pretend to go about my business as if all was okay. Silly as it may sound, it works. With practice, if you keep at it, you will realize that somewhere along the way you stopped having to postpone and you stopped having to pretend.

It happens when you’re not looking and it happens when you least expect it but I promise it will happen.

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  • Helen Munro

    May 8, 2017 at 9:28 pm Reply

    Dear Diana
    I have been constantly searching the internet feeling like some crazy woman searching for answers to this nightmare I’ve been living in for the past six years. It’s 3.20am now and I’ve been reading these ladies posts and your replies for the last three and a half hours and your website has been the most empowering, you write with so much compassion and truly are a great strength to us all. I thankyou for your posts and i will also be buying your book. I visited my doctor many times due to the stress and depression I was feeling with this man and found out I had high blood pressure, which I never had prior to meeting him. She said to me I needed to get out of this relationship and gave me various telephone numbers of support that can help me. She also put me on tablets to lower my blood pressure and told me if i didn’t take the tablets I am at high risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the next five years if I continued this way. I took the tablets that but they do take a few weeks to get into your system. Four weeks after visiting my doctor I had a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 48, a large bleed on the right side of my brain due to a burst blood vessel. My family believe I would never have had this stroke if I had never have met him. My body was in a constant state of high stress and anxiety on a daily basis for years. I write with this as a warning to everyone suffering at the hands of these monsters. I am still suffering today at the hands of this man, he is also a functioning alcoholic who comes late at night drunk causing havoc to me and my neighbours, if one of my neighbours comes out he starts apologising to them after swearing at me in the garden for not opening my door to him. I’m in the no contact rule at this moment in time, trying to keep what bit of strength I have left. He has done so much damage to me, feeling isolated and alone, do we ever truly recover from these men? I feel I have lost me (everything and every conversation was about him) the woman I was before I met him has gone and will never be coming back. I can’t even explain what I’ve been through, not even to my family, it sounds crazy when I do try to talk about it all, if I can’t even understand it how can i explain it, how does anyone understand? I don’t think anyone would understand unless they have been through it themselves, this is why I have been searching the internet and came across your website. Everyone says “leave him”, I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve ended it, he won’t leave me alone. I even accused him of being a narcissistic, verbally hitting him back with what I have learnt off the internet, I get called all sorts for this. I am waiting on an appointment the doctor suggested to me, hopefully this will me heal out of this misery, pain and craziness I’m living in.

  • Collleen Riddle

    August 27, 2016 at 1:51 am Reply

    Wow-I love the way u write. And u just tell it- there it is, raw n ugly. Just like it really is. I’m only 2 weeks out “officially ” , I got stronger every break up (4 of “em) so I should have some “time served” to add to the 2 weeks.
    I have had a lot of self blaming/how could this happen to ME hang ups with my 13 year relationship. I’m an RN. A PSYCHIATRIC nurse x25 years. I knew the diagnostic criteria for NPD but absolutely nothing about this disorder! U know, u don t ever c a true narcissist n treatment . This stuff is devastating, life changing, and tramatIc…on a “good day”!
    Ur article helped put everything n perspective and releived me of much of the confusion and self blame.
    I NEVER knew there was such evil out there. I thought evil looked llike a Ted Bundy. But for evil to be your soul mate and “love” you –that’s a different kind of evil. Like bn stabbed from the inside ur heart/soul. To not only prey but to delight in the sufferings of the ones who love you the most!
    God don’t like ugly. .just saying…
    Keep writing. U inspire me!

    • Zari Ballard

      August 30, 2016 at 1:07 am Reply

      Hi Colleen,

      Nope, you’ll never find any victim blame on this website! LOL. Look, it’s not abnormal for us to want to believe that the person that we love is telling us the truth or is sorry or whatever. The alternative is to walk around assuming everyone is lying and we’re just not going to do that. It’s hard, I know, but self-blame is completely non-productive.

      I hereby grant you credit for all time served and and you’re free to be free!

      Zari xo

  • Maggie

    December 20, 2015 at 7:02 am Reply

    These posts have helped me to understand what happened to me over a period of 5 years. It was an absolute emotional nightmare. I have for the most part recovered from his mental abuse…. I keep rereading your posts and am astounded each time how it fits exactly what I have experienced. I confronted my N with the fact that I am convinced he is a N/sociopath. His response was that I really hurt his feelings…. Since then not a word… Thank goodness….. I have let go completely now that I understand the dynamics of this ridiculous pretend relationship. I could write a book. I had no idea that people like this existed.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 20, 2015 at 4:20 pm Reply

      Hi Maggie,

      I’d be willing to bet he’s been silent because he’s sitting at a computer or on his smart phone looking up “narcissism”. When I confronted mine with the same, he became fascinated by his own disorder, as if it gave him a reason to do all that he did. Then, of course, he ran around town telling everyone that I was a narcissist. Unfortunately, telling them doesn’t stop them nor does it make them want to do differently. It just gives them a comfort label…another weapon in the arsenal to use to their own benefit and to use against others. The good part is that he’s leaving you alone. Turn his silence into “no contact” and move on with your life. You deserve to be happy in this oh-so-short life.

      Zari xo

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