Why do I want my narcissist ex-partner back, even though he abused me?
By Alka Writes
Let me give you an answer based on my experiences and logic.
I grew up with a Narcissistic mom, our home was a semi war zone. Her temper could be sparked by almost any triviality, randomly, and things could escalate from a simple family dinner to suicide attempts within an hour. Yelling and hitting were the norm, as were dramatic crying apologies and insistence on hugging afterwards as a sign of love. When I got married, my husband was quiet and calm, and while I appreciated that, it took time for me to calm down in general. However by then, my husband started his manipulative games, and yet again I was swept into the weird mixture of frustration guilt and desperate effort. About 6 years ago, I stopped communicating with my mother because I realized I was extremely susceptible to her words (I had NO concept of Narcissusm at the time), and decided the only way I could stay calm was to stop talking. Within about a month, I realized that while I felt bad about not talking with her, I did feel better in general. More in control. But my fights with my husband were escalating, and 3 years ago, I decided to separate from him as well. I wasn't able to cut contact with him since we have kids but Within about three months I realized as long as I didn't talk with him, I was MUCH calmer, much more positive and in general happier. However I did keep initiating conversations arguments or engaging when he initiated discussion, and those were horrible 4 day angry nasty fights. In the middle of one of them, I suddenly realized the physical symptoms, I was yelling, my heart was pounding, I was nauseated and there was this flood of desperation in my entire body. Funny thing was, when I stopped the argument, I was able to calm down within 30 min. Completely.
I have realized that central to Narcissistic relationships is a toxic physical state, a hyper active stress response, a flood of adrenaline and other stress transmitters. I'm not sure of the exact chemistry involved, but it is a hyperreactive state of mind. I also noticed a second state, one of euphoric bliss almost, in which I felt not just happy, but happy in a very connected way, as though I am completely open and trusting and believing towards the other person.
The cycle between the euphoric connected state and the toxic stressed state is the high and low of Narcissistic abuse.
If you can accept the analogy to a drug addiction, basically interaction with a narcissist cycles the target between these two states. And most long term targets have been kept in these hyper reactive boundaryless states for so long, that any calm, boundary, normal state feels boring, a void.
So, a target seeks those highs and lows subconsciously. Unless there is an active effort to engage in calm nontoxic behavior, just like an addiction, we keep returning to the narcissist (the same one or another one) because that is the state we are used to.
I have found alternate activities which generate similar levels of excitement (or even half those levels) work well to distract me. Other methods that have been suggested to avoid triggering is counting or naming objects around yourself.
All of this depends upon realizing you have an addiction, and like most drug addictions, while it might feel good in the short run to re engage with the narcissist, it is ultimately toxic for you. Your body and emotional state will compel you towards the narcissist and the only way is to wean yourself off the addiction to that hyper reactive state. Learn to accept calm and rational as good and normal.
Accept the addiction
Start journaling in some form. Abuse victims typically have memory issues
Find some support group. A calm safe space
Identify and avoid triggers
Learn to build and enforce boundaries calmly
Be ready for pushback from friends and family members