Why does it hurt so bad when he treated you so badly?
I hate to break it to you, but although your heart is breaking and the love you felt for him is real, part of the reason it is so hard to get over him and you hurt so bad is your ego.
Right from the start we were in a mating dance with the narcissist and we fell for the oldest tricks in the books, he played to our ego and we folded and drank the poisoned kool-aid. I remember when JC and I first started dating he complimented everything I did. I knew I was good, I was used to men thinking I was pretty great (I know that sound egotistical but it is the truth. I had never had a hard time getting men or keeping them. I had usually done the breaking up. I was a perfectionist, I worked at being the perfect partner. I am not saying it was healthy, and I gave up being perfect and am much happier being me) I was confident, I knew men found me attractive, I was a flirt, I was good in bed, I was an excellent cook, I WAS a good communicator, I treated men well, I did have a good sense of humor, I was a good girlfriend and I didn’t need a man.
So for him to praise me was not unusual for me but even I found myself thinking, “Come on I know I’m good but I’m not THAT good.” I mean everything I did was exceptional in his eyes and………………………. I was so different from his exs. THAT was the big hook, he threw the bait and I caught it. We all want to be the best, better than all the rest. Him making us feel we are better than the rest has two benefits for him.
1. We feel special and like no one will ever appreciate us like that again and we feel we are loved exactly the way we are. That is very rare, we don’t want to lose that.
2. We try harder. He has told us we are better than his exs and we want to keep that standing so when he mentions that his ex drove him away with her suspicious mind, we check ourselves and ignore red flags that tell us he is unfaithful. When he tells us his exs took advantage of his good nature and never appreciated him we make sure we don’t take him for granted and appreciate every little thing he does for us. We go out of our way to prove we are in it for love and when he needs to borrow money or whatever we are happy to oblige because we want to show how much we appreciate him. After all he has told us how generous he is and we know if the roles were reversed he would do the same for us.
When he tells us we are calm and rational not like his ex we make sure to not start a fight and end up walking on egg shells because we don’t want to be like his exs, even if he does something really hurtful we try to talk about it rationally and calmly. So when he tells us WE cause conflict we try even harder to not upset him, not falsely accuse him, we let fights go because we can’t stand it when he is angry and we are afraid of losing him, like his exs did.
When the mask drops completely and he starts to find fault in everything we try harder to please him and get back to our position of being “the best”.
I remember shortly after JC and I started living together he was upset that I never helped him in his shop. I did everything in the house, he did not do a dish, he didn’t even take his shoes off at the door. I did the laundry, the cooking, yard work, house work and I worked full-time. He spent all his time in his shop, I even took his supper out to him. I thought he wanted alone time, now he was saying I never helped. So when he got a load of firewood and bucked it up I stacked it in the wood shed while he was gone one day. He came home, took one look in the wood shed and started ranting about how I had done it all wrong and he was going to have to take it all out and restack it himself. I was hurt and it was just the start of a long and insidious campaign on his part to destroy my self-confidence.
We end up twisting ourselves into pretzels trying to please him and win back “first place”. All of a sudden he starts to remember things about his exs that weren’t so bad. His one ex had understood him like no woman ever had, he didn’t even have to tell her what was wrong and she knew. I tried to not take that bait but it ate away at my subconscious.
Also, another human trait is; the more we have invested the more apt we are to stick around. Like a gambler at the poker table who is losing and instead of walking away after losing a few hundred stays, thinking he has to win back what he has lost. If he leaves he has no chance of recouping his losses so he keeps betting and keeps losing, maybe he has a small payout once in a while to keep him hooked but never enough to break even so he keeps betting and with every bet he is making it harder and harder to leave the table because with every bet he is more committed. It is very common.
In a relationship with a narcissist it could very well be money you have invested in the relationship but you can also have emotion invested, your boundaries, values, your heart. Every time you forgive him you are investing in the relationship and you may be thinking “eventually I will get sick of it and walk away” or “If it ever happens again I am out of here” or “I will forgive this but if I ever catch him cheating that is IT”. Every single time you have thought “just this once” you unwittingly invested more into the relationship and made it harder for yourself to walk away.
Every time you found yourself explaining to him why you were upset and thought “this time he understands and will stop” you were investing in the relationship and making it harder to walk away. Because you keep thinking, “maybe this time he’s got it and he will change and then everything will be perfect like it used to be.” When he dumps you and immediately finds his “soul mate, love of his life” it is like you are the gambler in a casino who finally walks away from the one-armed bandit he was playing only to see the next person sit at the same machine and win the big jackpot. You are sure that this new woman is going to reap all the rewards of your sacrifices and hard work.
It is human nature to want to be liked and loved. Even if we don’t especially like someone, we want them to like us. I am sure you have felt it even with a female friend. She is your BFF and then one day you hear that she went out with another friend and you weren’t invited; you are going to have hurt feelings, you might wonder what you did to offend her and you may talk to her about it and ask if you did something to piss her off. If she has decided to not be your friend any more you are going to be hurt. If she refuses to tell you why she doesn’t like you anymore you are going to obsess about what you might have done to cause her to stop being your friend.
It makes total sense that you are devastated when the man who thought you were “The Best” demoted you to “the worst” and there is another woman in top spot.
Logically you can tell yourself he is a narcissist, it was all an act, he never loved you and he treated you like crap and you should be happy he is gone but your instincts are telling you to “win him back”. Even if you don’t want him in your life, you want to be the one to walk away and reject him.
Most of us had taken them back so many times, as sick as it was we had resigned ourselves to the fact that it was “just the way we are”; break up, he doesn’t call for a while, then he pops back into your life and you fall back into his arms and things are good for a while (but never as good as last time and the good times are shorter) and then the cycle starts over. It is what you are used to, now you think, “No other woman would ever put up with what I do.” “He will never find a woman who loves him as much as I do.”
The feelings of love grow even stronger for you the more he pushes you away because it is against your better judgement to accept the way he treats you. You are acting totally out of character and accepting things you never would from anyone else, it must be love, a love stronger than either of you. No matter what you always end up back together. Then out of the blue he has someone else and you are D.U.M.P.E.D. and he has found a woman who loves him as much as you did in fact he is telling you she loves him BETTER than you ever did. Ouch!!!
Now imagine you are that gambler that lost his shirt in the casino and not only did you lose everything you find out that the whole thing was rigged and you never had a chance of winning. He would be beside himself with anger and indignation, and imagine how he would react if he went into the casino and confronted them on the fact that he knows it was rigged and he was duped and they flat-out deny it, blame him for his own stupidity, call security and have him thrown out, call the cops and say he is crazy and causing a disturbance.
Same thing only a love relationship.
So how do you stop ruminating about his new love and how hurt you are? You face facts.
1. People fall out of love every day and they are not narcissists, it happens to people all the time and they survive. Yes he was especially cruel about it but none the less accept that it is over.
2. When you catch yourself imagining how happy they are, stop it! visualize how horribly he is going to treat her down the road or better yet visualize you doing something that makes you really happy (fantasizing about how great it could have been with the ex does not count)
3. Admit that you were not happy in the relationship and you are pining away over the illusion of a loving relationship, how you wanted things to be, what you hoped it would be; not what it was.
4. Admit your ego is hurt, your pride. He did a real number on your self-esteem. He duped you, no one likes to be made a chump. Accepting the bad treatment was ok when you thought you were doing it out of love but to find out he was just playing with you all that time means you were a sucker and all of a sudden all the mistreatment is NOT ok, NOW you can see the abuse clearly; without the rose-coloured glasses on it is pretty ugly.
5. And the last one, the real kicker, the coup de gras; you were so proud of yourself to be better than all the rest, you felt so special and well lets face it……superior to the other women who came before you and now you are a psycho bitch just like all the rest and that great big light bulb goes on and you have the epiphany that you were never better than them, you are just like the other women, and there was probably a one watching with a broken heart while he was professing his undying love to you and calling her a psycho bitch.
How do you deal with it? I will say it again. Be patient with yourself, read up on narcissists, work on being the best you can be, NO CONTACT, stop torturing yourself, it does no good so stop it!!! retrain your brain to think of other things besides him. And most of all, stop with the “if only’s” .