We spend a lot of time in our relationships with a PDI giving them the benefit of the doubt. During the idealization stage we don't even consider doubting that they aren't really enjoying their time with us because during the laughter, the passion, the deep talks and sharing of ideas, smiles light up both our faces.
When they want to spend all their free time with us, we don’t doubt it could be anything but the real thing - a true connection, so perfect in its mirrored beauty.
When they intensely talk about how much they value honesty and integrity, we doubt they would ever lie to us, so strongly they express their beliefs. When they confess how hurt they were that their ex cheated on them, we doubt they could ever do that to anyone, having described to us how horrible the betrayal had felt.
When they talk about the future or make plans with us, we doubt they would be so excited about these, if they didn’t actually want us to be in their future with them.
When the honeymoon is ending and they hurt us the first time with cold words or a cold shoulder, we doubt they intended to cause us any pain because they say it didn’t mean anything and we should know it didn’t or be more assured, less needy of their reassurance.
When they first start pushing us away, we start doubting ourselves and questioning what we are doing to cause this distance, after all, just yesterday we had such a good time, feeling so close and intimate...
When they first withhold affection or sex, we begin to doubt our appeal to them, especially when we notice them smiling charmingly at the waitress, the girl at the bar, on the sidewalk, at the store.
When the devaluing is in full swing, we doubt our own perception and start believing we ARE overreacting or being too insecure, or ARE just too demanding or expect too much because they tell us this so often. Why ELSE would they need to push us away again after such a fantastic time together the night before unless they were reacting to something we said or did?
When they shut us out with silent treatment because we’ve expressed our needs or disappointments or asked too many questions that they couldn't or didn't want to answer, we doubt our right to expect such open two sided communication in the relationship because they’ve convinced us that pressuring them for it was not respecting THEM.
We doubt they understand how hurtful and cruel their silence is, especially when afterward they tell us it was nothing, that we were over reacting, they were just busy, needed space and acting like it didn't even happen and we are just so relieved that they are not angry and silent anymore, we start doubting that we were being understanding enough about what THEIR needs are, not giving them the right to have their ‘moods’ and not loving unconditionally.
All along, we’ve doubted our instincts that tell us something's wrong because we are in love with them, we don’t want to be wrong, we don’t want it to be a mistake or to make a mistake, we are afraid of the painful truths we might discover if our instincts are true about what we sometimes suspect.
Or we doubt our instincts are real, thinking they are only our fears getting in the way of being able to relax and feel better about what we have in the moment, not accepting what 'is', with too many expectations about tomorrow.
During the mini discards throughout the relationship, we think that maybe we ARE being too insecure, too needy and just need to trust more, have more faith - since he comes back after a couple of hours, days, a week, two weeks, or a month and wants to be close again. We then adjust our behavior even more, doubting our ability to be a good partner to HIM because he’s convinced us if only we did things differently, then he wouldn’t need to leave at all.
During the final discard, we doubt our whole reality. We question everything we did, we said and we look for reasons why, when he once cared so very much, that he could now be so coldly ignoring our pain, saying he just needs time alone to sort things out.
Then when he says he loves and cares about us, but just can’t be with us anymore, but will always be our friend, except he just can't love us the way we need to be loved, we are left doubting our worthiness or if we're lovable at all. When he tells us he can't be himself with us, or that we expected too much of him or didn’t respect HIS needs enough in the relationship, we then doubt our ability to love anyone the 'right' way.
After discard, we are lost in a fog of confusing memories and emotions, contradictions and shock, so we try to examine everything we did or might have done to cause such a change in HIM, that could cause his cold rejection, or our replacement with another in his heart as he moves quickly on to new supply.
We look at all our perceived shortcomings and what we might have done 'wrong' or not done 'right', giving him the benefit of the doubt that he really did love us, yet we pushed him away, or the new supply must be SO MUCH BETTER than us and WILL make him happy.
Then we ask ourselves "is he really a narc? Am I only thinking he is to feel better about being rejected?" Am I being unfair? We worry about being unkind to them, so we resist it, instead blaming ourselves so there is a possibility we might be able to fix the situation, maybe even get another chance to rekindle the relationship we once had, to find out he really DOES love us and care, that he DOES miss what we had, that we DID mean something to him…
So we convince ourselves that giving him the benefit of the doubt is the fair thing to do, but while we do this, WHO is being fair to US?!
The bottom line is, it doesn't matter if he/she is a narc or not, really it doesn't. If it helps you feel better to assign that label in the midst of your heartache and pain, then THAT is all that matters.
The narc never needs to know, so you are not being unfair and he will not be hurt by your assessment of him, but YOU will feel better as you put your doubts (which have only ever worked in HIS favor) aside and give yourself permission to go No Contact to see with clarity all the manipulation and abusive treatment you've endured for what it REALLY was – WITHOUT a doubt!
Is he/she really a narc? If you were idealized, devalued and then discarded, just say yes, he is and be FAIR TO YOURSELF.
If he/she isn't a narc, by the time that conclusion is drawn with clarity from enough distance through NC, you will have moved on from the encompassing toxicity of a dysfunctional relationship - regardless of what labeling helped you to be able to do that.
Allow yourself to heal. Doubt only holds you back and keeps you holding onto a fantasy of what you wanted it to be and are now afraid to let go of, instead of embracing reality and the emotional freedom that acceptance of truth brings.
Give YOURSELF the benefit of doubt now, that he could be anything BUT a narc. You have nothing to lose and a whole lot of clarity to gain.
Journey on... xoxo