Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep going back to the narcissist?
Why do I miss him so much when he was so terrible for me?
Why won’t he just leave me alone?Why and how a narcissist can suck you back in every time

Believe it or not, these are some of the biggest questions I hear from both readers and coaching clients as they work through their narcissistic abuse recovery program. Almost always, when you finally gather up the nerve to end a toxic relationship, you’re going to be faced with a rocky road at first.

Related: Are you being gaslighted? 10 ways to know for sure

Most narcissists will try to get your attention again after you’ve been separated – whether it’s immediately or after a period of time. And many survivors of narcissistic abuse admit that they get sucked back in from time to time.

Speaking of “sucked in,” let’s remember that narcissists love to “hoover” you when they feel like they’ve lost control of you. Read more about hoovering here.

Oh, and let’s not forget the love-bombing of it all.

What if you’re the one trying to get back together with the narcissist?

Now, if you’re the one trying to reconnect with the narcissist, you’re probably experiencing a lot of emotional abuse right now – it’s exactly the type of thing a narc enjoys. You’ll repeatedly go through the devalue and discard phases, peppered with brief episodes of reprieve in which you almost catch a glimpse of the person you once knew.

If you think about it, the psychology of people who have been abused by narcissists is so altered by the abuse that their reactions to things that happen in their life aren’t “normal,” for lack of a better word.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, let me offer up a quick example using puppies. (Stick with me here, it’s not as crazy as it sounds!)

The Happy Puppy and the Biting Puppy

Let’s say that you were out to buy a puppy. You find a group of perfectly adorable pups and it’s time to make the choice.

One puppy seems happy and friendly, and when you hold out your hand, he sniffs it and offers up a little doggie kiss.

Another puppy seems a bit stressed, to say the least, and when you hold out your hand, he bites your finger, drawing blood in the shape of his tiny little puppy teeth.

A “normal” response would be to take the happy puppy home and never think of the biting puppy again, while a person who has experienced narcissistic abuse is more likely to keep going back to the biter and hoping for different results.

The fact is that it’s “normal” for us as humans to go toward pleasure and away from pain – after all, pain is a warning sign that something is WRONG.  You feel me?

Along the same line, let’s get back to those dogs for a moment.

Think about the stories you’ve heard about dogs who stay loyal to their owners who hurt them. Why would they do that?

It’s because of programming – the training and conditioning that you instill into them, along with their need to look to their “pack leader” for guidance.

How is this relevant to your situation?

Well, the fact is that if you’re going to voluntarily return to someone who has abused you, you’ve experienced a similar kind of conditioning. And sort of like the dog, or even like hostages who experience Stockholm syndrome, you find that you become addicted to the need to please the narcissist, or the need to find out if he or she is okay, or even of the need to get some of his coveted “positive” attention, if that’s what he’s been depriving you of – those glimpses of what he once was. This is what brings you back, at least on one level.

And, like the dog who is beaten, the narcissist uses fear to control you – and when you’ve gone no-contact or when you threaten to, the narcissist reaches deep into his manipulative toolbox and pulls out your biggest fear of all the fear of being utterly, desperately alone.

So, in a way, you have to recognize that the feeling of obligation and almost desperation that you feel when you’re away from the abuser isn’t real.

The Ugly Truth: Maybe You Keep Going Back Because You’re Scared That the Narcissist Was Right

The bottom line, though is this: the reason you want that abusive jerk back, even though he put you through absolute hell, is because the pain of the idea of being ALONE, abandoned, helpless, worthless – that’s so much worse, in your mind, than the actual abuse.

Sometimes, having someone who just seems to have all the “right” answers – someone who keeps you right on the edge of sanity – just feels like home, especially if you’ve been stuck in a toxic relationship for long.

And that, my friend, is where we all sort of figure out where our places are in this world – it’s part of what makes us attractive to narcissists in the first place.

And what makes them attractive to US – they can sort of seem like what we’ve always wanted, our hero, our savior – that is, until we discover that they’ve been secretly consuming our souls, one bite at a time.

Before you know it, you’re left spinning and feeling empty.

So how do you get over the need to keep going back to the narcissist?

You’ve got to change your mind. I know, it sounds simple. But if you change your mind and literally DECIDE that you don’t need him, you’ll eventually get there – even if you have to fake it a little at first.

Use the law of attraction to your advantage by employing a simple-to-remember mantra or affirmation that you repeat to yourself anytime you have feelings or thoughts that make you want to go back.

And, if you have to, create a little “narc-resistance” file – one where you write down or record your reasons for leaving – and staying away – and make sure you’re very honest with yourself – after all, no one else needs to see it.

Have you ever experienced a desire to reconnect with a narcissist after you’ve separated from him or her? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

(Visited 20,387 times, 1 visits today)

3 Responses to Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Why You Keep Going Back for More

  1. I was in a 40 year marriage with a female narcissist. She would demean me, make me feel
    Ugly and fathe. Totally unworthy of her beautiful self.

  2. I have come out of an 1i year marriage, where I was physically,financially and emotionally abused. I divorced him in June nut I am fighting the urge to return.
    My children don’t want me back with him and his a abusive ways.
    But I feel brainwashed,addicted to him.
    He had an affair and I know they are both using each other, But I am obsessing that he is treating her better than me. Which he will be in the beginning.
    I must go no contact after finances are sorted and move away from this toxicity and love myself more than the shit he put me through.

  3. I keep going back to a narc guy i dated shortly. I somehow equated him with the first and second husbands of my mom who were supposed to be fathers to me but they weren’t . so i go back to this guy to see if i still have him, if he still wants me, if he still cherishes me. like i can t connect with a human father that i never had so i put him in the position, even though he’s really unreliable, lies, wants to sleep with my friends and I, and is kind of a jerk overall. so why do i keep going back to him? do i expect him to change? no. I think I was presented with a really kind, sweet version of him when i first met him, and I was hoping that he would be that guy. But then I saw the truth, of him and I didn’t want to accept it, or believe it. I kept hoping he’d be that rescuer, that tender man I kissed on the first night, out of pity. i was attracted to his looks but his insides are empty, he has a huge hole in his heart. maybe i had hoped to save him so he can save me. now I need to accept reality that he can’t love me, nor save me, nor take care of me like a parent should have. He’s not responsible for me nor am I responsible for him. Something used to tie us, but i untied it. And I am setting myself free. I see who he really is now, an addict, a sex addict, a perv, under the veneer of a savior (he’s a firefighter) . I m not judging his choice of life, I am admitting it. To myself. So I can really see if this is the type of man I want to be with.
    He’s not the sweet man i thought he was. Maybe deep down he has the potential to be that guy, but he isn’t. I can’t base my future on his potential. Many of us have potential to be good, to be great, yet we choose to stay in darkness.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!