Historical Rejection: Why the Narcissist Gives Us Up

narcissist-rejectionI think that when a narcissist discards us, one of the reasons we wait for him to return (aside from the fact that he’s conditioned us to do so) is because we just can’t fathom the fact that he could actually give us up. And that’s what he does – he gives us up.

We think back to laughs shared, to all the things about us that he said made us different from the others, to the great sex, to the way we were always there when he needed us even though the favor was rarely returned, to the way we never cheated on him (even while he was cheating on us), to the way we’d allow him back without asking questions…we think and believe that everything we did for this person over the years actually stood for something. We believe that having a history together is special and, therefore, we assume that our partner must feel the same. We believe in the value of invested time. We imagine that couples who have these long complicated histories must be destined to grow old together, right? Once, while holding my hand and looking into my eyes, my ex even said those words to me…that we’d grow old together. Of course, he said it right after cheating on me as I sobbed over the betrayal but, still, he said it! (LOL)

zari - narcissist-abuse-supportThroughout the first three years of my relationship, during certain fights where it appeared that my mere presence in the room annoyed him, my ex would look at me in all my sadness and say as coldly he could, “I can take you or leave you”. I can remember in vivid detail the very first time he said that to me…how it felt like he’d reached into my chest and pulled my heart out. Those six little words hurt my feelings sooooo bad that I spent the next 10-years trying to prove to him that we were supposed to be together …that he, in fact, couldn’t live without me! He would periodically make that statement with such narcissistic confidence that I was bound and determined to make him feel otherwise. In retrospect, of course, those six little words were the most telling and truthful words he ever said to me.

When we lament over the fact that the N can just give us up at a drop of a hat, we have to remember that all of the things we remember that we did for him were about as abnormal and unnatural as the way he reacted to them. In normal, healthy relationships, one partner doesn’t have to do hardly any of what we do in order to “prove” their love for the other partner. By consistently showing us his narcissistic indifference to our very existence, the narcissistic partner basically conditions us to jump through hoops if for no other reason than to show him/prove to him that we’re worth loving. In doing this, we provide him 24/7/365+ full-blown narcissistic supply.

When we first meet the narcissist who becomes our partner, we are usually at the peak of feeling good in our lives. Rarely, if EVER, does a girl/guy hook up with a narcissist at a low period in his/her life. This is why I beg to differ with outsiders who state that it is a victim’s lack of self esteem that keeps her/him in these types of relationship…that allows the narcissist to treat us like shit.  On the contrary, it is our self-esteem and confidence that attracts the narcissist in the first place because it exemplifies for him our future demise at his own hands. This is why he has no problem sucking up during the Idolize phase…indeed, our eventual (and inevitable) fall from grace is well worth it. Everything is a means to an end to someone with a narcissistic personality. Initially, the narcissist makes us feel so special and so connected that we imagine (incorrectly) that there’s simply no way he could really discard us or give us up for someone else. But he does, over and over and over.

How can the narcissist just give us up? The same way, when it’s time for him to come back, he gives up the girl that he cheats on us with. We are no more important than her and she no more important than us in his eyes. Don’t forget that every time a narcissist hoovers and/or every time the narcissist returns, someone else somewhere is getting the silent treatment. Someone else somewhere is asking herself, “How can he just give me up?” In the narcissist’s life, making us feel like we matter is just one way to get to where he needs to be when he needs to be there. Then, when he needs to be somewhere else, off he goes. It’s a glorious game of rinse and repeat, over and over. A history together? What’s that? To a narcissist, ten years together is the same as ten weeks which is the same as ten days which is the same as ten minutes. To a narcissist, all relationships are not only meaningless, they are also timeless. This is why he can give you up.

The narcissist doesn’t just reject us, he rejects the entire history and, I’m sorry, but that’s fucking painful. It’s rejection with a capital fucking ‘R’ because it all means nothing. A narcissist can compartmentalize five different relationships so that each relationship means exactly the same to him. This is what he does. This is who he is. For us, it’s our co-dependency to hope that keeps us from accepting the futility of the relationship for exactly what it is! In your mind, if you could rewind and replay an entire movie of your relationship, analyzing every scene and conversation, you’d see that the N was actually fairly clear about how he felt about you. We just wanted to believe something else and he led us to believe it.

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Everything we do and say and feel in our relationship with a narcissistic partner is about proving our worth and trying to get him to change his mind. We tell him “Mean what you say and say what you mean” but when he is clear about how he feels about us…when he says things like “I can take you or leave you”…when he abandons us for no reason at all…when he cheats on us left and right…we continue to jump up and down, demanding that he take it all back, take us back, that he can’t possibly mean those words or actions because, because, because…how could you just give me up?

How can he simply reject all that history? You see, histories contain memories and we (the NORMAL folk) naturally get stuck on all that bittersweet. Narcissists don’t have the mental capacity to care about history and memories and this is because (and also why) he ‘s so good at being a narcissist.

To reject us is to reject all of the history  that comes with it…the history that we worked so hard to create in hopes that it would keep him from leaving. But it never does. He leaves anyway. Unfortunately, this is the destiny of the relationship from day one. It’s like putting our heart and souls and years of work into painting a masterpiece for the person we love only to have that person look at it with disgust and leave the room. He never appreciates the love we placed on that canvas with every brush stroke or how carefully we chose the colors. Now, this doesn’t mean that the painting wasn’t beautiful….it just means that the narcissist didn’t see...couldn’t see it.  In all the chaos and desperation of a discard, we have to remember that it wasn’t us. The narcissist didn’t give up on us – he gave us up. And there’s a difference.

Never ever give up on YOU because without the N, the whole world is a canvas and your prettiest masterpiece is yet to be painted.

Stay strong…..:)



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  • Marie

    February 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm Reply

    I’m crying right now realizing it all was a lie. It have been three years since we broke up and he never hovered or contacted me. Not that I want him back but it makes me wonder , did he thinks he ruined me? How come he just discarded without any attempt to Hoover? We dated nine months

    • Zari Ballard

      February 17, 2017 at 10:55 pm Reply

      Hi Maria,

      I just responded on another of your posts but I will reiterate that the fact that he has left you alone for three years is A VERY GOOD THING. Hoovering is NOT a sign of love or anything of the sort and all it causes is grief. Please do not waste a second of your time worrying about this or wondering. Have you been waiting all this time? It’s not worth it, sister. It really isn’t. The time for you to put it behind you and go forth is now. You deserve to be happy and he doesn’t deserve another second of your thought time.

      Zari xo

  • Constan

    February 4, 2017 at 11:03 am Reply

    My narc left me and my daughter after 3 yrs…he walked maintaining his squeaky clean image..dropped us just like that. I didn’t understand how this could me done when it seemed we were all happy and we treated each other well. Well it took him leaving and not calling to see who he really was. My first narc experience . He was judgemental of others ..seemed to be uncomfortable in his own skin but was very quiet charmer always seemed like he cared. Left 3 ex wives because of what they did to him, everyone of those stories he told shocked me because he was so good to me how could these woman have treated him this way.?? Everyone in his life wronged him especially his dad. Who abandoned them when he was 10..went from woman to woman he despised his dad. But still talked to him on the phone when he called and acted as if nothing was wrong. My narc hadn’t cried since he was 10. Lacked intimacy . ..sex with him always felt distant. But he always did the right thing he claimed he loved my daughter and me and always told us we were his family. I didn’t realize or see all the narc flags until he walked out on us. Then I realized who and what he was because it forced me to research why someone would walk out when things seemed fine. Well they were not. He insisted on paying all the bills while we were together but he left me knowing I was only working part time. I may have talked to him on the phone a few times after he left keeping him updated on my job seeking he would always say you will find something. Still maintaining his squeaky clean image…I hadn’t heard from him in months until he sent a text saying to make sure I put the utilities bill in my name etc etc…and about me renewing lease on my own…since
    Our lease ended in Jan on 31…that’s when I proudly responded telling him I found a great job a few months ago and that I can afford to stay in the house. I got no response!! He had been paying half the rent until the lease ended. He also had keys. I also sent him a text a week later asking for the keys..no response they just shoes up in the mail. It was as if he was angry ..I thought I would have gotten a response like glad you are doing well but a week later all I got was a weird text from him saying…Don’t text me or v mail me I’M in a relationship. I responded back saying .. Congrats ..I will keep you both in prayer..,have a blessed night..and since I have not heard anything. BTW he moved around the corner when he left me. This has all been an eye opener. I am healing day by day. And now that I know what I was dealing with I feel stronger . ..I cried for 5 months when he left because I could not understand what happened. I know it hurt my daughter she never talks about him . When he left I told her he had to move because of his job…I was trying to protect her. I survived through this but I look at people now and it seems I can see through them..almost like I can feel what’s really going on with them regardless of the face they put on. I don’t get out much I go to work and come home . I’m finding myself again and praying for those going through the same. I’ve always had a big heart for people especially homeless and I feel one day Iwill be able to reach out and help others once I am healed from this.

    • Zari Ballard

      February 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm Reply

      Hi Constan,

      Yes, I love the part “But he always did the right thing he claimed he loved my daughter and me and always told us we were his family.” What a way to treat family! My ex narc did the same thing to me and my son after 13-years. His tone in the texts is typical as well. They reach out just to ensure that you never move on from the pain they have caused you. It’s a vicious cycle and it will never ever stop…not with the new girl or anyone that comes after. If I were you, I would block him from being able to text you or email you or whatever. Go NO CONTACT to his silent treatment. he doesn’t deserve a minute of your time ever again! Read my book When Love Is a Lie because you’ll see yourself on every page.

      Stay strong, sister!

      Zari xo

  • nancoise

    January 26, 2017 at 1:12 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for this. Your article is great. It finally hit home with me. A narcissist friend dumped me after more than twelve years of close friendship, or so I thought, and the rejection was terribly painful and even sent me into depression for a while. But as you point out, those years and all that love meant nothing to her, she lied and manipulated to keep me close, and she not only changed the friendship, it’s as if it never happened for her. I’m now an acquaintance, but I run into her and it drags me down every time. It’s so liberating to own my own co-dependence in this case and affirm to myself that the love I offered her and her family was real. No love is wasted. I go on!

    • Zari Ballard

      January 28, 2017 at 7:08 pm Reply

      Thanks for writing, Nancoise…stay strong! No love is wasted – amen!…Zari xo

    • Jonathon

      February 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm Reply

      Imagine thinking they are ‘the one’ and then they dump you like a toy,tell you you are rubbish and try and delete your past with them, (revisiting with you the same places you went to when your first dated, and you can feel them deleting you from memory) I don’t know if its worse or not. When you see them again with a new boyfriend you feel pity for their next victim. Friendship is more complex. The betrayal still hurts I am sure.

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