Why Do Narcissists Self-Sabotage Relationships?

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is challenging and detrimental to physical and mental health. Narcissists live in their fantasies. They are attention-hungry. 

They believe themselves to be the center of the universe, and that the whole world exists only to cater to their needs and desires.

It’s common for the narcissists to self-sabotage and ruin good relationships without any guilt or remorse. For the narcissist, everything revolves around the idea of getting the supply.

Any emotional reaction (good or bad) that they get out of you is a source of supply for them. It includes adulation, adoration, preferential treatment, fame, notoriety, and fear.

It’s like a drug addiction. The narcs are aware that it’s bad for them, but they can’t help it. This craving for supply increases over time, and so does the intensity of the abuse.

A narcissist’s wounds run deep into their childhood, where their caregivers physically and psychologically abused them. The caregivers themselves were likely to be narcissists. They didn’t get the attention, validation, and the sense of comfort, stability, and security that a child is entitled to.

Children need all of the above to form a healthy perception of themselves. Instead, what they get living with toxic parents are feelings of shame, guilt, shunned emotions, silent treatment, stonewalling, rage, aggression, and much more.

To deal with childhood traumas, children learn unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as denial, deflection, distortion, rationalization, gaslighting, projecting anger, guilt, blame, and shame, to relieve their anxiety.

It makes sense for children to behave like that because their mind is not developed enough to understand its severity. They don’t know of a healthy way to deal with afflicting thoughts and emotions.

The narcissist is like a child in a grown-up body. If you think of it – it’s terrifying. An adult with a childlike mentality can do a lot of damage. Living with a narcissist sucks the life out of you. All the attention-seeking and drama drive the sanest people insane.

How Narcissists Self-Sabotage Their Relationships?

Narcissists self-sabotage their relationships because they just can’t help it. They are incapable of true love, trust, and intimacy. The part of them that can feel love and empathy is dead. They have entirely detached from their true self.

They live building a false image that serves as a guard to protect their insecure self. They’re driven by fear, and they never let their guard down. Therefore, you can’t expect any genuine emotions from them. Everything is a cover.

Their selfish and “me-centric” attitude gives them away. That’s why narcissists engage in self-defeating behaviors that lead to a string of broken friendships and relationships.

Let’s take a look at some ways in which the narcissists self-sabotage their relationships.

Narcissists are Overcontrolling and Manipulative

Narcissists are overcontrolling and highly manipulative. It is not that they care about you. They’re more concerned about how they will be perceived when you are with them.

They’ll choose your clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. because they believe that your presentation standards don’t match up to their expectations. 

Usually, they’ll make you wear clothing that is either uncomfortable or not suitable for your age. The narc will literally force you. And if you resist or object to their choice, they’ll show disgust and anger.

Some other ways they exercise control:

  • When going to eat out, you have to go to their favorite restaurant and order food of their choice.
  • You can’t hang out for long with your friends. If you do, they’ll keep calling you on the phone, making sure you prioritize them instead of your friends. 
  • They’ll make all the major decisions and lifestyle choices. You have no say in anything.
  • They’ll always (or most of the time) make you spend money, even when they’re earning well.
  • You can’t give them a surprise gift because the gift’s value – in terms of money – matters more than the intention. And also, they don’t have faith in your choice.
  • You always have to be in shape. They won’t tolerate even the slightest of weight you gain during the holidays or other occasions.

I know you feel aggravated. But this is the reality of being with a narcissist. They’re selfish to the core, and confronting them is of no use because they always go into denial.

Narcissists Unleash Personal Attacks

Narcissists cannot take criticism. Their bloated ego prevents them from taking any responsibility for their bad behavior. 

Instead, when confronted, they will unleash a personal attack on you, your family, and even go on to put a question mark on your upbringing. They will question your character and try to induce feelings of guilt and shame.

They come from a shame-based family, and they use shame as a defense mechanism to avoid dealing with uncomfortable emotions. They will keep on throwing every stone they have till you take the blame.

Narcissists Leave No Opportunity to Play The Victim

Narcissists live for attention from other people. Playing the victim is one way to do that. They will repeatedly tell you stories about how they had seen tough times and gone through trials and tribulations of life to achieve greatness, and that you should consider yourself lucky to be with them.

Playing the victim is an easy way to manipulate people. Many unsuspecting people fall for their sob story, and it opens a lot of doors for them.

The Blame Game: It’s Always Your Fault

The blame game is their favorite sport. As the narcs can never be wrong, someone has to take the blame for anything that goes wrong (according to them). 

Again, this is a defense mechanism to hide the feeling of shame they experienced during childhood. Narcs soothe their anxiety by projecting that shame on to others.

Narcissists Have Serious Trust Issues

Narcissists have serious trust issues because they learned that even the people closest to them, like their caregivers, cannot be trusted. They are always suspicious and think that the whole world is plotting against them.

A couple of years back, when I was working in a corporate job, I had a narc boss who would not give me access to some parts of the system we worked on together because he felt threatened by me. In his mind, I was trying to overtake his position and sabotage his career.

He would never acknowledge my victories but would be quick to amplify my mistakes in front of the higher management. He would ask me to put in extra hours for no apparent reason.

Purposely give assignments that were much below my caliber. He would stonewall whenever I tried to confront him about his bad behavior.

Even in relationships, the narc will often suspect you of cheating. The worst part is that you can’t expect any rational response to the way they behave. It always ends in blaming, deflecting, and stonewalling.

If you think you can reason out with a narc, get them to see and understand your point of view, you’re wasting your time and energy. They don’t care, and they have no sympathy whatsoever.

What is the End Outcome of Being with A Narcissist?

Once the narcs realize that they cannot get anymore supply from you, they go for the ultimate discard. They hunt for a new source of supply and repeat the same cycle of abuse. Eventually, the victims realize what’s going on and break free from the cycle of abuse.

That’s how narcissists self-sabotage their relationships one after the other. They become slaves of their toxic-compulsive behavior. The need for supply drives them insane. They don’t see anything wrong in them and are never willing to take any form of help or therapy.

Here’s a shocker – It’s easy for the narcissists to move on after a breakup, even after years of being in a relationship with you. You were just a source of supply, and nothing more. Now that they have a new supply, they don’t need you anymore.

Here’s another shocker – It’s also likely that they’ll come back – they all do. That’s because they repeat the same toxic behavior with every new supply, eventually get dumped, start craving the supply again, and when they don’t have anyone around – they turn to you.

But the question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I need this person back in life?”. They’ll try to convince you that they have changed. They beg and plead if needed.

Narcissists are incredibly talented and occupy high profile positions in society. Some of them include politicians, celebrities, CEOs of major corporations, and more. Power, status, and pride drive them.

But behind the façade of fame, success, and prestige is a person that is insecure, hurt, fearful, has low self-esteem, and a fragile ego. For them, love is not a gentle feeling, but a conquest battle that they must win in any situation.

Final Thoughts

Undergoing continuous narcissistic abuse changes the brain. The repeated abuse from the narcissist numbs out the logical part of your brain (the frontal lobes), and you learn to operate only from the emotional part of the brain (the amygdala).

That’s how you form triggers and become oversensitive. You’re always in fight-or-flight mode, which is the result of overexposure to shock and trauma. The amygdala highjacks the frontal lobes and keeps you in high anxiety.

It might come as a bit of shock, but the narcissistic relationship is just like an act in a play, where the narcissist is the protagonist, and the rest are merely supporting actors or props.

Nothing about what they say, think, or believe, has even a single element of truth in it. You are just a source of supply. Once they exhaust you of it – they go for the final discard. That is when you’re truly free of them.

Therefore, a relationship with a narcissist is a complicated affair. It is based on domination and control, rather than compassion and love. 

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