Obsessing About the Narcissist

Anyone who has ever been hurt by a narcissist knows the pain lasts a long time. People tell us to just get over it and move on, but it’s not that simple. In order to heal from the aftermath of a narcissist, we must obsess about it before we can truly move on. Below are six reasons why:

1) TO UNDERSTAND IT

Before we can even think of moving on, we must educate ourselves on the pathology of the narcissist’s personality. Only then, can we truly understand we did nothing to bring about their sudden change in behavior from extreme over-valuation to total devaluation.

We must understand and accept that the eventual neglect and abuse experienced in a relationship with a narcissist is inevitable and realize they will keep coming back to give us more until we put a stop to it.

In order to feel alive, the narcissist needs our validation. We understandably confuse their continual return to us for love. Unfortunately, it is abuse and until we recognize it for what it is, it can be quite difficult to end the vicious cycle.

2) TO GET IT OUT

We owe it to ourselves to process our pain and honor our feelings. Unfortunately, many of us have been programmed to “suck it up” and dismiss our feelings, which only causes us to remain stuck in a state of pain. Our on-line community of support offers a safe forum where members can express themselves and share with others who understand what it’s like to try to love a narcissist. This process takes time and no one should be given a limit on how long they need to “Get It Out.”

3) TO STAY AWAY

The only way to truly break free from a narcissist is to establish and maintain a rule of “No Contact.” This process takes time and often more than one attempt. You must treat the narcissist as if you are breaking a toxic drug habit. You must realize they have become like a drug to you. Just as the narcissist needs others to validate their existence, they have now programmed you to believe you need them in order to survive. It is critical to understand this feeling is only temporary and a direct result of being brainwashed, but can only be overcome by establishing “No Contact” and deprogramming from the narcissist.

4) TO GET REAL

The only way to “Get Real” is to confront feelings many of us have been taught to avoid – Anger and Fear. Many of us are conditioned to feel shame for feeling any feelings of anger, but anger runs deep. If we avoid our anger, we internalize it and it turns into depression. It is ok to be angry about how we were treated in the past. We must acknowledge and honor our feelings in order to release them and move on. We are entitled to feel the way we do and we must validate these feelings in order to heal.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; You are the one who gets burned.”

- Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta

Getting real also means that we face the truth about our relationship, which can be quite difficult. Facing the truth means we have to make changes in our life that will not be easy. It takes courage and time to “Get Real.”

5) TO WAKE UP

To “Wake Up” means we reverse our habitual pattern of trying to avoid pain by allowing ourselves to feel the moment and understand what it is we are meant to learn from it. To accept uncertainty and stay with it is the path to true awakening. We should never avoid our own personal experience thinking there is something better out there. We must totally commit to our reality. Only then do we experience the world fully. We must stop thinking we can just run away. Only when we don’t hold back and prepare to escape, do we experience life and truly find ourselves. Commit to staying in the moment. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.

6) TO HEAL

When we learn to heal, we learn to lighten up, relax and go easy on ourselves. Many of us find it easy to have compassion for others, but have very little for ourselves. It never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves. Living life with an unconditional love for ourselves changes everything. We get rid of the “should haves” and the “could haves” and gradually discover ourselves by being honest and staying in the moment. Without any agenda except for being real, we begin to find ourselves again. This is the key to our recovery.

Once we find ourselves again, we can finally stop obsessing about the narcissist. However, until we understand the narcissist and process our feelings, I honestly do not believe we can successfully move on.

I wrote my first book “It’s All About Him” in order to process my feelings about my marriage to a man diagnosed with pathological narcissism. It was a memoir...a catharsis. It was not a veiled attempt to get back at my ex-husband. In fact, my ex-husband signed a waiver allowing me to share what I learned with others because he agreed it could help others understand the personality disorder of a narcissist.

I wrote my second book “The Path Forward” to provide a course for recovery. The six reasons I outlined above are the Six Steps I lay forth as the path for getting over a narcissist in my second book and the foundation of our on-line community of support at www.ThePathForwardNow.com

STEP 1 – UNDERSTAND IT
We educate ourselves on the personality of a narcissist.

STEP 2 – GET IT OUT
We find an outlet to share and express our emotions.

STEP 3 – NO CONTACT
We accept the only way to restore our sanity and regain control of our lives is through "No Contact."

STEP 4 – GET REAL
We no longer deny reality and are ready to face our anger and fear.

STEP 5 – WAKE UP
We tap into the power of our mind to awaken our spirit and find ourselves again.

STEP 6 - HEAL
We have a newfound compassion for ourselves and commit to live in the moment.

Once we learn to see the narcissist for the person he or she really is, we are finally able to free ourselves. We realize we do not need this person in our lives to feel whole and complete. We were whole and complete before this person entered our lives and we will be whole and complete once we end our relationship with this person. It is the narcissist who is preventing us from being truly happy. It is so important you understand this. NOTHING stands between you and your true self, but the narcissist in your life!

Please note: At a certain point, it is critical to stop obsessing about the narcissist. While it is part of the initial healing process, one must eventually shift the focus inward. If you are having difficulty breaking free from obsessive thoughts, please refer to my blogs below on reducing obsessive thoughts or purchase my second book “The Path Forward,” which discusses these strategies in more detail:

http://www.lisaescott.com/2011/04/19/why-we-obsess-about-narcissist

http://www.lisaescott.com/2010/12/04/reducing-obsessive-thoughts

August 7, 2016 - 9:16pm

Stuck in Obsessing over this!

Hi Lisa, I have thankfully found this blog and am so over obsessing over my N alcoholic ex-husband. I was married to him for 11 years and we have a beautiful now 13 year old daughter together. It has been 4 years since we separated and are now divorced. He fled the family home after I told him he needed to look at himself and get help. He has told everyone "I kicked him out". We had a mutual female friend who was a high school friend of my ex husbands who I became quite close to particularly towards the end of my marriage as I thought she was a nice person. She was also married at the time and was no threat to me. How nieve was I??? It appears that she has tried to copy me and gather information to get to him as I have followed her on Facebook (although I unfriended her a while back because she separated from her husband shortly after I separated from mine and she posted some vile stuff about his small penis size on a public post which completely shocked me as she is a 40 year old woman with 3 children and I thought she would have known better). She had told me that she left him because he wasn't supportive or her new PSYCHOLOGY studies and I now believe she is working in the area of Mental Health at a Hospital. The whole situation is complicated because my ex was also a spoiled child and his mother and sister continue to fight his battles for him and are trying to set the two of them up together because she has money - my ex became bankrupt last year and because he had no "supply" (money and possessions are his ego booster!) he tried to take his own life. It has been a completely diabolical situation - one which I have tried to protect my daughter and myself from. I told this woman what he was like and what he and his manipulative family had done to try and hurt me (his sister is insanely jealous of me and I believe she is also a material Narcissist), however I am sure she has always had the "hots" for him and maybe thinks she can fix him through all her Psychology training. It makes me feel like a fool and I know he will flaunt her in my face if the two of them move on. He is so cocky and arrogant and just tells me everyone laughs at me and thinks I'm a slut. It's so hurtful and I want to move on but I have to maintain some contact for my daughter to enable some form of contact (not that he wants to see he much at all- he thinks once every 2 months is adequate and it has to fit into his schedule). He blames me that I am not letting him see her but that has never been the case. I am sick of feeling sick to the core about this betrayal and all of his hurt. I cried myself to sleep for 16 months following our separation because he didn't even try to improve or get help to return to our family. Every time I would reach out and say something nice...he would belittle me. For example, I told him I would always love him and he replied in a passive aggressive way "oh that's lovely but I have no idea what that's got to do with me". In the end I felt like I lost my voice! What can I do to accept this horrible situation??

February 3, 2014 - 10:18pm

trying to heal

Thanks for this article! I am currently in Intensive Out-Patient group therapy ( 35 hours a week ) trying to regain my life after learning that my father was a N, my husband of 18 years is a N and my first friend after becoming single is a N.....After the three of them tried to DESTROY me, I am surprised that I am still standing. My thirteen year old daughter has managed to step into the role of trying to verbally & emotionally destroy me since I have learned more effective parenting techniques and have decided to let her know that she does not control our household.

I realize that I am supposed to focus on getting ME healthy during my group therapy and and so happy to have this wonderful opportunity to get well. I have noticed that anytime I bring up Narcissism in group and try to process any of the information that I am learning through my online research in the evenings, I am met with resistance. It frustrates me because I feel like no one understands that I have a need to learn as much as I can about it in order to heal.....PLUS I have a divorce coming up and I am trying to be very prepared for what this N may try to do during the divorce.....isn't knowledge power?? I have been making progress in identifying my issues and working on identifying my core beliefs and re-writing them... I brought up the N stuff again today and once again I felt like everyone was frustrated and thinks that I am acting like a nut job.....I told them once again, "unless you have been through something like this, you have no idea what it is like" and again, my therapist says, " how do you know that I haven't?" And today I responded with, "well, I know that you were not married to ____ ____" Another group member jumped in and said that he could not understand why I didn't just get over it and move on...I tried to explain, but it just sends your anxiety into overdrive and they really do not have a clue. A group member told me that I am not trusting that our Therapist knows best and that I keep arguing with what our Therapist is telling me.....yes, I do when it is regarding N....he simply does not understand!! Everything else that he has told me during our 35 hour per week group therapy I have trusted and believed ( even if I did not want to initially ) ... but they need to trust ME on this ... I keep telling myself not to bring up N again, but it IS PART of my illness....yes, overwhelming anxiety and depression are my main problems and I agree that I am co-dependent and I have difficulty with relationships.....I have soaked in all that information like a sponge.....but why can't we talk about the Narcissism?? As your article states, I have a need to educate myself and understand what this MONSTER was that tried to suck the very life out of me.....I will print this article and if I am given a chance tomorrow I will read it to the class....but then again, I may not, because they will just look at me like I am a nut job.....which I am not ...although the N in my life would like everyone to think that I am....

February 3, 2014 - 10:43pm (Reply to #8)

Happygirl62

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that others in your support group are not allowing you to discuss the abusive narcissism you have endured. Unfortunately, unless someone has been through it firsthand, they very rarely understand it or can relate.

I'm sure their intentions are good and getting you to focus on yourself is important, but as it sounds like you already realize, until you process the abuse you suffered it's going to be hard for you to move on.

I am not a certified mental health professional, but I have suffered this firsthand, studied and researched it and teach Organizational Psychology to graduate students so for what it's worth, I truly do not believe you can stop obsessing about it until you process your pain and acknowledge that you suffered abuse at the hands of those you thought you could trust.

Suffering emotional abuse at the hands of someone you love (and in your case, many whom you loved) is one of the most difficult things to accept in life. You absolutely MUST talk about this with others who can relate before you can move on.

Please do not deny yourself the very real need to process this and talk to others who will support you. That is precisely why we are here. Share your story with us, work the steps and complete the writing exercises you will find in The Path Forward book or The Guide to the Six Steps (if you want a shorter version). For additional support, I highly encourage you to join Goldie's support group, which she offers via phone conference on a weekly basis. Here is a link:

http://www.lisaescott.com/forum/2012/01/19/narcissist-recovery-support-g...

I'm so glad to hear you are in therapy and getting the help you need right now. You have been through so much and my heart goes out to you for all you have endured. Please know you are NOT alone and we are here for you. Do NOT let anyone make you feel crazy, especially after you spent years in relationships with people who did just that - tried to make you feel like the crazy one.

You're on the path forward now and your eyes have been opened. That's the important thing. We're glad you found us and please know you are no longer alone.

Love & Light,
lisa

January 17, 2014 - 3:23pm

Thank you Lisa

Lisa, such an important vital aspect of recovery.

Hope for all that yes if you do the work on you and your feelings (there is no closure from the Narcissist) the obsessive thinking does lessen and eventually diminishes to nothingness.

Hard to believe when you are in this state.

Yet, it does get better.

We are all living testimonials to this truth.

Love you Lisa,

Thank you for another excellent blog post.

Goldie

January 17, 2014 - 6:23pm (Reply to #5)

Thanks Goldie!!!!

Exactly, process the feelings and the obsessive thinking does lessen. Very hard to believe when you're in it though. So true, Goldie!

Love you lots,
Lisa

September 22, 2015 - 12:35pm (Reply to #6)

obsessing

I find that although it is SO hard to stop the obsessing...when you do, it is so much better. I shut down all social media...and actually went away to be in a new environment. It helped...obsessive thinking only breeds the situation and gives it life. I find this to be true when talking to others about my situation (not to mention they don't fully understand and are sick of hearing it (after 5 years)! This has been a long road and I oray every day for my freedom from this narc ;(

January 14, 2014 - 8:57pm

Lisa

I second what Spinning shared, and as you know, I will also be forever grateful. NPD is a sad and difficult reality that we absolutely do need to be aware of, but, thanks to you, the mods and the forum, we can live healthy, toxic free, and beautiful lives without any interference from these deeply troubled and disordered people. Knowledge is power!

“I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” ~ Maya Angelou ~

Thank you, Lisa-

Stay true to you!
Love Janie

January 16, 2014 - 9:10pm (Reply to #3)

Thanks, Janie!

Thanks, Janie and LOVE the Maya Angelou quote. Thanks for sharing!!!!

XO,
Lisa

January 13, 2014 - 2:43pm

As always, Lisa,

this is outstanding and so helpful!

When I read your blogs when I first found this site it was so validating, so illuminating and so very helpful.

You have changed my life in a very good way, and helped hundreds of women and men wade through the aftermath of a "relationship" with a disordered one.

I love both blogs that you posted the links to and highly recommend them as required reading over and over until it clicks. They are so helpful and offer tips for retraining the brain and taking control of our own lives and thoughts, and of EMPOWERING ourselves.

I am forever grateful,
Love,
(not) spinning

spinning

January 13, 2014 - 10:28pm (Reply to #1)

Thanks, Spinning!

I so appreciate your post, Spinning! YOU have changed my life and many others and I hope you know how grateful I am to YOU! You're the best! XOXO

Thanks again!

Lots of Love,
Lisa

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