A Plaguing Question
Is the narcissist living happily-ever-after? This is probably one of the most agonizing questions on the minds of those recently thrown to the curb by a disordered partner. The person devalued and discarded finds themself cycling back and forth–forever ruminating over whether the Dear Departed is living happy-ever-after with the new love interest.
Whether this is true or not cannot be definitively determined by anyone outside the new relationship. It’s pretty certain that Shiny New Love thinks so. (Remember the dream world you and I thought we were in when first enchanted by our narcissistic sorcerer?)
Despite this, you can comfort yourself in knowing that Shiny New Love doesn’t possess any special sauce or magic potion.
It might look like the new couple are living their Nirvana based on what’s being carefully curated and posted on social media for all of us to see. Furthermore, people in their social sphere may be gushing over ‘how happy they look’ or making hurtful comments about how ‘they’re finally happy.”
But are they really?
Who Defines if The Narcissist is Living Happily-Ever-After?
To begin answering that question, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that at the very heart of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a painful gnawing emptiness and a perpetual self-loathing that never goes away. As a result, your narcissist–despite having moved on–takes with them dysfunctional ways of relating they developed in childhood when their emotional development was arrested.
Put simply, this means that they can’t change. Their core problem is insecurity and they cannot run away from it. They always have a frightening discomfort within themselves—an ever-present sense of emptiness that follows them everywhere they go.
Perhaps it’s because they didn’t get consistent mirroring from their parents or somewhere along the way, they failed to learn to self-soothe. Whatever the cause, they never learned to take responsibility for their emotions, and as a result, they are reliant on people and external things to provide validation.
Is it Nirvana or Selfish Need?
As humans, when we need someone, we end up resenting them after a while. A classic example of this is a teenager who begins having escalating conflicts with their parents because they still need them.
The conflicted adolescent vacillates between needing/wanting a parent to help them while also wanting to distance themselves in order to individuate and become autonomous. Flipping back and forth is frustrating; it eventually manifests itself as hatred toward the parent.
As a with a parent, this kind of resentment is sure to set in with the new love. When the narcissist has a bad day, or they are not feeling particularly enamored with the new supply, the only way they will be able to feel better is by soothing themselves with validation from (yet another) source of supply. (Sound familiar?)
- Let’s face it. In any relationship, once the parties get settled in, there isn’t constant admiration. Put another way, your replacement is not going to always be throwing rose petals everywhere your ex narcissists walks.
- It’s not remotely possible for any couple to live on Cloud 9.
- No one can stay in the bodice-ripping rapture of passion and overwhelming sex appeal all the time.
- Daily life can be a buzzkill when there are workplaces to go to, rent to pay, houses to clean, groceries to buy, cars to wash, and mounds of laundry that needs done.
- It’s only a matter of time before your ex narcissist’s Shiny New Love will be pushed off the pedestal and know what it’s like to be fractured and lying on the ground.
- [Gasp!] How dare New Love not meet the narcissist’s unrealistic–and often unspoken and changing–expectations?
The Narcissist Will Soon Change The Rules
When the validation and propping up by Shiny New Love is perceived by the narcissist as lacking [how dare the new partner not be perfect?!], they once again feel that unquenchable sadness and discomfort of being themselves.
The rage begins again—only with a new person.
So, does this mean we should feel sorry for the paramour who may have brazenly flaunted the new relationship on every social media outlet known to man–and who may, at one time, giggled along with our abuser at you, the poor pathetic ex?
No. It means that we get a higher level of understanding and a true appreciation of the gift given to us to be out of that mess.
Been There, Done That
My (clinically diagnosed) Cluster B husband ghosted me after a long stable marriage. He then proceeded to clear out the bank accounts before mounting a smear campaign that contributed to me losing my job. Subsequently, when I did not handle the stress well, I found myself in a financial position that soon rendered me homeless. Losing my will to live—I existing months on end in my car.
- For a while, I envied what it ‘looked’ like the new couple had together. (He ran off with his old girlfriend from high school who also dumped her husband for my ex.) They have money, although he’s never worked again and is, to this day, a ‘kept’ man.
- They travel the world, dine at the finest restaurants, and bought a huge home in upper-class suburbia—complete with the fence and the dog.
- My fair-weather friends and some family members accepted them as if nothing happened—completely ignoring that he walked out, gave no explanation, and moved on with no remorse, guilt, or even shame about the WAY he did it.
- By all appearances, they are the subject of magazine articles about how high school lovers rekindle a first love interrupted in high school.
Ah, true love …
So, Is The Narcissist Living Happily-Ever-After?
The pieces in my drama all fell into place (with a loud metal thud) when I finally ‘got it’ how narcissists eventually run out of things to cover that hole in their soul with.
Here are a few key takeaways I’d like you to consider whenever your mind and/or emotions attempt to lure you down memory lane.
If you find that you’ve succumbed to the temptation to compare yourself with Shiny New Love and you’re lured into believing the mirage of the new relationship, think on these things:
- No Shiny New Love stays on a pedestal with a narcissist.
- Beauty fades. No Shiny New Love perpetually looks like Adonis or a Hollywood babe forever [seen any recent pictures of Arnold Schwartzneggar or any aging Hollywood actresses lately?] The hands of time get us all.
- Sexual attraction dwindles. Keep in mind that part of the attractiveness of the relationship is the ‘thrill’ of the affair–i.e., asserting autonomy by rebelling and doing something you’re not supposed to do.
- When sex with the new person is no longer an every day open everyday buffet, the chemical charge will diminishes. It’s not so lurid and titillating when the lovers are not stealing away in secret.
- Money isn’t the end-all-be-all. It’s not nearly as important as people make it out to be. Otherwise, why do we find so many millionaires hanging in closets or committing suicide in hotel rooms alone?
In other words, relationships with dysfunctional narcissists last only as long as they can stave off boredom. Or as long as their fascination with the latest distraction holds their interest. You have better odds of finding an honest blackjack dealer in Vegas.
- No, the narcissist is not living happily-ever.
- No, they aren’t any happier with Shiny New Love.
- Your Dear Darling ex narcissist is still the same leopard–with the same spots.
Take heart. I guarantee you that you WILL get to where you couldn’t care less. By that time, you will have moved on from this clown to never to look back.
Jo Dee Messina. “Bye Bye.” YouTube, uploaded by Curb Records, Apr 16, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVoKkdVNSvo