Why We Must "Wake Up" to Recover from the Narcissist

Waking up and finding clarity is the key to our recovery. We fall hard for the Narcissist. We are in total bliss in the beginning. We can't believe we finally found our soul mate - he is everything we ever wanted in a man and more.

When his true colors start to show, we do everything we can to avoid acknowledging them. We don't want to admit that this man is not who we thought he was. Why would we want to admit this? I know I didn't want to - I spent 8 years banging my head against the wall blaming everything on myself, but why?

Goldie pointed it out in her blog today- Instead of spoil our idea that we have found the perfect man, we blame ourselves for failing to make him happy. We do everything we can to try to bring back the man we fell in love with, but to no avail. It's a fruitless effort and will drive anyone to the edge of their sanity. Yet, instead of waking up and acknowledging that he is not the man we thought, we twist and contort and do everything we can in hopes that we will be able to make him happy somehow and the man we fell in love with will suddenly re-appear.

We need to wake up and acknowledge that our prince is never going to re-emerge. In fact, our prince does not exist - he never did! He put on an act in the beginning and it was for one purpose - to control, manipulate and own us. If we do not agree with everything he says and worship the ground he walks on, we will be scolded and reprimanded, just like a dog. If you think about it, you know it's true.

Narcissists count on us to blame ourselves for the arguments that result. The minute we take the bait, they cement this idea in our heads with manipulation and brainwashing.

The Narcissist knows we don't want to admit that he's not the man of our dreams, the answer to our prayers and everything we ever wanted in a man - and he takes advantage of this belief.

My ex-husband told me from day one he was a Narcissist. Why it took me 8 years to look into the true meaning of this word is beyond me, but that's precisely why I write about it. I know he wondered for years why I put up with such horrible treatment from him for so long. So much so that in the end, he made sure I understood what Narcissism meant by taking me with him to see his therapist.

When we initially went to his therapist, I was so brainwashed into being complacent, accomodating and subserviant to him that I wasn’t thinking divorce at all. In fact, it was the furthest thing from my mind. I thought it was odd that he asked me to go with him to see his therapist, but figured the therapist might be able to give me some tips on how to be a better wife.

Within 3 therapy sessions where he brutally told me the truth about his feelings for me and his therapist confirmed it, I finally woke up and filed for divorce. I gave him exactly what he wanted…..

...but what took me so long?!

When in a relationship with a Narcissist, we often lie to ourselves in order to keep going. We lie to ourselves that things aren’t as bad as they really are. We do not want to accept that the person we fell in love with is not who we thought he was in the beginning. No one wants to admit this. Why would we want to admit this without a fight? We have invested so much in this relationship. We do not want to believe that our soul mate is not real.

We would rather exhaust every possibile excuse or explanation we can before we admit this inconvenient truth to ourselves. This includes blaming ourselves and telling ourselves we did something wrong to deserve such treatment.

We must stop and realize that lying to ourselves like this forces us to disconnect from our true self just like the Narcissist did as a child. Trust me, this is no way to live. When you disconnect from yourself, you die a slow death inside. You become your own worst enemy.

Subconsciously, you know you’re lying to yourself. You know you are denying your reality, burying your head in the sand and living in the dark.

No matter how hard we try to fool the mind into thinking everything is ok, it knows the truth. The mind is amazingly powerful. We may try to avoid thinking about it by keeping ourselves busy with work or projects. We may even try to numb ourselves with alcohol, but at the end of the day, we know we are lying to ourselves.

In order to keep the lie alive, you disconnect from yourself. You then begin to get angry with yourself for not being strong enough to face reality. Anger turned inward turns into depression. So now, not only are you miserable in your relationship, but you feel dead inside, angry and depressed.

“When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.“
~ Anais Nin

We cannot avoid reality. We have to be honest with ourselves. If not, we lose all trust in ourselves. We must Get Real to Heal, as I like to say. When I finally got real and faced reality, it explained everything to me and gave me a second chance at life and love.

We often avoid pain. It’s a common response, but we must remember that only through pain can we truly transform. Please do not avoid the truth in an effort to protect yourself because you know down deep, you are only prolonging the inevitable. Be strong and face the truth. Clarity provides direction and is the key to recovery on the Path Forward.

Struggle toughens the human spirit and strengthens our character. It gives us purpose and direction. Following the path of least resistance in life is a cop-out. It is struggle and pain that leads to transformation.

Taking steps to take care of yourself is a positive response. Do not be afraid to feel your feelings and get honest with yourself. Remember, we must get real to heal. If you repress your feelings, you will remain stuck. Be gentle with yourself and grateful that you have the ability to feel. When you feel, you know you're alive, right? I would rather feel pain and know I’m alive than feel nothing.

The one thing a Narcissist can never take away from us is our ability to feel. A Narcissist will never experience the range of emotions we do, which is precisely why they are so jealous, envious and covetous of those of us who can.

Oct 15 - 10AM
MyTurnToBe Free
MyTurnToBe Free's picture

Wide Awake

Jul 31 - 12AM
Lindylou's picture

So True

I did exactly as described above when I went back to my N partner, putting his previous bad behaviour down to stress. My friends, and especially my male friends, all warned me to be on my guard, they didn't think he was good news at all and in hindsight the male friends were probably the ones I should have taken note of. As described above I wanted was to believe the man I fell in love with was still there and he was again for 2-3 weeks, then he slowly digressed back to Mr Hyde, blaming me for any slights undertaken by himself. The most hurtful event being at Christmas when he told me he bought a leather jacket for a female colleague and then presented me with a relatively cheap silver necklace in comparison. I can't tell you what a hurtful slap in the face it felt but I now realise that the colleague was part of his external world, the one he put on the false face for, and it was all part of his point scoring. I should have walked then but again let it slide as I suppose I didn't want to admit I was wrong about him.
Jul 6 - 4PM
Gullable1's picture

Thank you

I'm new, to all of this, chatting, reading and processing. I've always thought my bizarre journey was simply part of normal relationship ups and downs. Nothing to write home about. Life is about managing conflict. So many red flags went ignored. Even in my own therapy, still refused to admit there was an issue, I simply looked for ways I could improve. I was lying to myself daily, a little dose of fib makes the truth more palatable. With each lie, a piece of me died. More lies were used go cover the lies, excuses, I lied to friends, I didn't want to be judged a failure. So, all is hunky dory. If I say it, live it. It will be. My narc would always say, "let's not discuss that bad stuff, discussing it keeps it alive". I learned to ignore affairs, filth, financial squandering, paranoia. The mind is powerful in the defenses created. My awakening, my second firing, my career was all I had. 20 years, all may personal life posted all over the internet, while trying to bed my best friend (no longer friends) my life when from painfully private, to publicly humiliation. How did my narc respond when confronted? He snatched my engagement ring, and announced, "now you will hear me when I tell you I'm lonely" I'm sick with fear, what will he do next? I live in another state, still fearful. The upside? Your worlds ring with such clarity it's like a light in the fog. Im forced to come out of the lie closet, forced to sit with my pain, embarrassment, and profuse sorrow. I crave clarity, I need to know how I allowed things to get so crazy.? Thanks for your insight. Most helpful I thank you for the site, the stories are mind altering. I have never uttered a word of complaint to another woman, I would never discuss my relationship with co-workers, I'm painfully private. I believe this worked in my narcs favor.
Jun 22 - 6AM
badjer's picture

Wow. Thank you. XXX

Wow. Thank you. XXX
Jun 8 - 9AM
DixieGirl's picture

Great article Lisa

I remember when I was completing my graduate field practicum in Social Work at the old Charity hospital in New Orleans.I was a MSW Intern on the 3rd floor lock down unit of the mental health unit. On that unit was the sickest of the sick. Each week we had a staffing and the staff psychiatrist would present an educational component to the staffings. One week he presented that one of the leading causes of mental illness in this country is the fact that we LIE TO OURSELVES and then WE BELIEVE THE LIE! It was shocking to me to hear him say that. He went on and on about the topic - but those words still ring in my ears today. I too LIED TO MYSELF about this relationship and in the beginning believed my own lies. Overtime, I guess because I do have empathy for other, I started to feel empathy for myself and slowly began to not believe the lies anymore and my eyes opened very slowly. As they did, I invested less and less time in the relationship but I had already invested all of my emotional and psychological self in the relationship. The recovery process for me is now going back and reclaiming those parts of myself and it has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Today, I still want to lie to myself - when I am faced with a difficult situation. Initially I may not tell the truth, and maybe that is a good thing. Because I don't always trust my instincts yet. So by waiting I give my time to sit back and evaluate the situation - I ask myself - am I over-reacting, is this really happening and then I look for behaviors that either reinforce my belief that it is true or not true. If true, then lately I have confronted the situation. A lot of people are now shocked by this and all of a sudden I am not the sweet kind pushover anymore. I have also come to realize that people really did not respect me when I "present" with that kind of behavior anyway. I have noticed my own my body posture/language lately when I have approached people in a way that is kind of manipulative. I approach them, finding something to compliment them on, being sweet and kind - in a way appears that I am so sweet, and kind so PLEASE don't be mean to me. I have observed that I even approach people in a kind of hunched over way - like a dog that has been beaten down. I have realized that comes across as I am "weak". And people with "agendas" could read this body language of mine - and instantly without even knowing me - know they could be abusive to me. They could read that I wanted their approval, their kindness - that I was NOT my authentic self. And if they are the kind of people who can kick a hunched over dog - well they will kick me. Now I am becoming a real person with real value, and real self esteem.I am trying hard NOT seek other people's approval. Its much more important that I approve of myself - respect myself. All of this stuff, Lisa, is so subtle but this how we give ourselves away - a little at a time. It has been so hard and I am still afraid but I am doing it anyway - one day at a time - one minute at a time somedays.
Jun 22 - 6AM (Reply to #4)
badjer's picture

Thank you. I echo all of

Thank you. I echo all of your sentiments. My brother also said when he was in therapy that "the more you keep pushing in to your unconscious mind and fail to acknowledge reality, the worse it will get until your subconscious mind takes over." I too am doing battle with my own thoughts. My greatest challenge since splitting from him is facing up to the fact that, maybe, I just have one hell of an ego that can't take rejection from a man who once professed to love me. Maybe, in the final analysis, he chose to not have me....because for whatever he felt for me (and I believe the feelings were and perhaps are still there) he sensed that I would be like a dog with a bone - my nature was such that, as he put it, "you will keep questioning and I will keep running away." It is not the first time I have been told this about my character - that I ask too many questions and then don't trust the answers. I have done this of good, decent, honest men because the fear and the insecurity has resided within ME. The doubts and fears have all been the same - I am the common denominator. My greatest fear in having a reality check is just that - that I denied the reality that this man was not the be all and end all and at the time, I desperately wished to believe it. The hurtful, painful (ego) flipside of that is that he probably reached the same conclusion - that I was too much like hard work, too oversensitive for his character and would have constantly been in distress or hurt by some perceied, real or imaginary slight. That is not to say that there weren't times when he didn't provoke me - he did. That I know from knowing him and knowing humans. But had I TRUSTED in his essential goodness, rather than concentrating on his childish flaws or need to lash out, I might have trusted him sooner and got my divorce going quicker. Was that fearful insecurity and hesitancy because I had compared him to my very loyal husband and the comparison was unfair? Or were my warning signals firing even then? In essence, how much of this is down to me? It takes 2 to tango, as they say. I am raging a war with myself to confront these unpalatable truths about myself and the upshot of all this is that I fear I have let somebody go who might, *might* have been a kinder, altogether different person in different circumstances. He said repeatedly "This isn't me. I'm not like this. I don't like losing it in public or at any time. For some reason you make me very angry." Yet the warning signs were there and I chased the person who compounded my low self-esteem. Screaming at me and then giving me the silent treatment. Somehow making the blame sit with me. If he wasn't "normally like this", why did his character show up as cold, hard and uncompromising even when the rage had settled down? I saw in him traits of myself 6 or 7 years ago before I started working on myself and losing the anger. I saw it all there. That's why I get it. Maybe, we just weren't copmpatible, no matter the chemistry. That can sometimes make it harder, surely? When you have that awful chemistry but no means of balancing out the other bits, without significant trust and compromise on both parts. We were only willing to budge so far. Sex was our only true, honest communication. All the rest was a merry ego dance and a desire to lose face or pdide at all cost. Pride cometh before a fall - that applies to him AND to me. Another truth about myself that, deep down, my ego has to take on board and deal with. Love to all XXXX
Aug 27 - 7PM (Reply to #5)
Time to heal
Time to heal's picture

Food for thought

Dear Badjer, I think it is wonderful that you are so introspective and want to take responsibility for what you brought to the relationship with your ex narcissist. I am concerned, however, that you are taking on too much blame and being a little hard on yourself. Your "pride" was your intuition telling you that you deserved better. Even if you did question his love and intentions a thousand times, if he really loved you he wouldn't have minded and you would have known it and the questioning would have subsided. He was not mature enough to look past his own ego. He is a disorderd person who can't see past his own needs and fantasy. So what if you were a little needy in the reassurance department. A good man would not have been chased off by that. A good man would recongize that you needed to be reassured because of past trauma and life experiences. A good man would see you for who you really are and have understanding and compassion for your needs. When you state, "Maybe, we just weren't compatible, no matter the chemistry. That can sometimes make it harder, surely? When you have that awful chemistry but no means of balancing out the other bits, without significant trust and compromise on both parts. We were only willing to budge so far. Sex was our only true, honest communication. All the rest was a merry ego dance and a desire to lose face or pdide at all cost." I find this to be so familiar. I discovered through my own therapy and research that the sex was so amazing because that is a tool the narcissist uses in his arsenol. This is how they "Trauma Bond" you to them. It is NOT the only true honest communication you had. In fact, this was the most damaging part of your relationship because it did, indeed, create a trauma bond with him. If you want to learn more about this, read the book "The Betrayal Bond" by Patrick J. Carnes. I wish you the best in your journey of discovery. -Time To Heal
May 31 - 4PM
Jannie In the Sun
Jannie In the Sun's picture


Wow, you just told my story. I have my Violent Affection - Keeping Keeping It Real List and I am still adding to it 6 months after our breakup in an effort to accept the truth and make peace with it so I can move forward. This website has been such a wonderful place of healing, identifying and support.
May 30 - 9AM
blessingindisguise's picture

Wow Lisa!

I am so grateful to you. When you said "It is struggle and pain that leads to transformation" it summed everything up for me. I am no longer afraid to feel the pain because I know the growth that comes from feeling it is nothing short of awe inspiring. Feeling the pain and dealing with the emotions eventually leads to healing, growth and power within ourselves. I believe it is the path that leads us to become our best selves!
May 30 - 10AM (Reply to #1)
Lisa E. Scott
Lisa E. Scott's picture


Oh, I'm so glad you found the post helpful. Yes, it is only through pain and dealing with our emotions that we can find healing and truly transform. Do not avoid the inevitable any longer. For if you do, you are only prolonging your right to happiness. Do the hard work now so you can live the life you deserve! Pain is temporary. Pride lasts forever! Thanks for your your note. I am so glad you are on the path to becoming your best self. You deserve it! xoxo