Narcissistic & Psychopathic Relationships
Blindsiding and Discarding
© 2016 Rhonda Freeman, PhD | All Rights Reserved
No Unauthorized Reproduction Permitted in any form
Control, rudeness, and disdain will often replace the red hot, all-consuming attraction (‘love’) they have for their partners. This is one of many hallmarks of a narcissistic and psychopathic relationship.
In relationships with individuals with psychopathy and narcissism, no one is more important than they are. Their mates usually serve a purpose and are not genuinely valued as people. They are often used and traumatized.
Amanda and Kurt had been together for a year, but it was a tumultuous year. For Amanda, it seemed no matter how hard she tried she could not get through to Kurt that his behavior was a problem. His narcissistic rage was frightening. Most days she awoke filled with anxiety and obsessed with the ‘temperature’ of the relationship.
“Was he angry the last time we spoke?”
When they argued, which was frequent, Kurt would often strike verbal blows below the belt as though she were his enemy. She often wondered if his goal was to humiliate and hurt her, rather than resolve the issue.
Given Amanda’s gentle personality and tendency toward people-pleasing, she was easily dominated in an argument by his aggression and slick tongue.
This had become Amanda’s life, and it was chaotic, lonely and stressful.
Amanda endured it because she believed in the good in people. She had an unending supply of ‘we can fix this’ and was willing to stay with Kurt until things improved. However, unbeknownst to Amanda, her one-year relationship was over. She was about to be replaced.
Kurt didn’t care about her loyalty, hard work on the relationship, patience or kindness. He simply felt bored and if not in the midst of an argument, it wasn’t any fun for him anymore.
In one flippant email, Kurt told her goodbye.
But he included more than a goodbye – it was important to Kurt to make sure she felt like nothing. He did this to make himself feel like he was leaving nothing special behind.
In his email, he told her she was a nice girl, but he also called her “crazy,” “too sensitive” and advised she go to therapy and a psychiatrist before she “ruins another relationship.” He commended himself for tolerating her as long as he did and told her that she should be grateful for the time he gave her. His email ended with, “I wish you nothing but happiness. Love Kurt”
Not only was Amanda blindsided by an out of the blue breakup; her psychological stability was attacked. But, worse than that – Amanda believed all the words of his email.
She believed that she was the cause of the relationship problems. She felt burdened with shame, guilt, and a broken heart. She believed that she was weak and that her sensitivity and high emotionality in response to his behavior were the cause of him leaving her. She felt horrible.
Amanda was within the aftermath of a psychopathic relationship.
It had been eight months since Kurt moved on to the other woman and Amanda felt further and further from the person she used to be. She couldn’t figure out why this relationship was so different. She felt stuck. When previous relationships ended, she was fine after a couple of months. Sure, she missed them, but eventually, life went on as usual.
Amanda was battling feelings of intense anger, anxiety, depression, and craving – sometimes all within the course of thirty minutes. She needed Kurt to explain to her why and how he could walk away so easily from their relationship. She desperately wanted relief from this long, dark road of confusion.
Amanda was baffled at her intense attraction and bond to Kurt. She was disappointed in herself for continuing to think about him nearly a year after it was over.
Why does the pain linger?
The aftermath of a relationship with someone with psychopathy or narcissistic personality disorder is within a category of its own. If a partner does not have the ability to demonstrate empathy toward their mate, pain is almost inevitable. Their partners are often exposed to callousness, selfishness, and insensitive comments and acts.
It can take a long time to recover from narcissistic and psychopathic abuse if a person is unaware of the dynamics of these conditions. But for those who learn the basics, it becomes clear that they do not experience ‘love’ and relationships the same as non-personality-disordered individuals.
Here are a few viewpoints that are typical for individuals with psychopathy when they interact with others:
What are the Differences Between a Psychopathic & Narcissistic Relationship and a Non-Disordered Romance?
Let’s touch on three –
1) If there is psychopathy, it is likely, simply due to the criteria of the disorder, that their intimate partner will be manipulated or harmed emotionally, financially, sexually, psychologically, or physically. The magnitude of the violations will depend on the severity of the personality disorder.
2) The goal of normal partners is rarely to damage the psychological foundation of the one they love(d). Consistent attempts to destroy another person’s confidence, esteem, or independence is not a common occurrence within non-pathological relationships. Non-disordered individuals do not require their mate relinquish their sense of self, opinions, thoughts, specialness, social connections, or human rights.
This is not so for those with psychopathy or narcissistic personality disorder. Given their personality dynamics, they tend to want their partner to feel ‘less than’ and inferior – this is often required for them to feel comfortable in their relationships.
3) It is not uncommon within a normal relationship to hear accountability or a sincere apology. However, this is rarely a component of a breakup when the partner has psychopathy or narcissistic personality disorder. For some survivors of these relationships, it would help them tremendously to hear feelings of remorse and see behaviors of contrition. However, given that individuals with psychopathy are not capable of remorse or guilt, they tend not to feel bad for past behaviors. – © 2016
Best to you all,
Rhonda Freeman, Ph.D. | Clinical Neuropsychologist
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