When someone loves you, there should be no confusion. There are no shadows.
So answer the major questions but let the smaller ones lie. Those are the ones they used to keep us trapped in the relationship. They can never be answered.
4. There was nothing you could have done to change the outcome or save the relationship.
Once you read enough about narcissism, put enough of the pieces together and have enough distance from the relationship, you see how nothing you did could have made any difference.
There were times when you may have fooled yourself and beat yourself up about some of your own actions throughout the relationship.
If only I hadn’t questioned him so much about that or been so suspicious, it wouldn’t have started that chain reaction. If I hadn’t gotten so upset and just stayed calm after I found out about [x]. If I hadn’t reacted to what he said to me that night the way I did. Then he wouldn’t have cheated again/broken up with me/yelled at me/called me all those things, or that time would have worked out when he was trying to show me he changed and…
- Did your partner lie extensively about his or her past?
- Was your partner involved with other people from Day One?
- Did your partner cheat on you with others, and in ways that indicate elaborate multiple long-term lives, such as engagements, moving in together, having children with, or otherwise have long-term relationships with them while also being married to, engaged to, or living with you?
- Did your partner belittle, shame, monitor or try to control who you were friends with or where you went almost from the very beginning– maybe at first with concerned comments but later with more cutting and devaluing comments or even physical or financial abuse?
- Did your partner lie about you to other people or betray your trust by using things you had told them or had said during the course of the relationship to make you sound like a horrible person, leaving out the context, to try to turn people against you or gain sympathy?
You tell me. When did the problems start?
Every relationship has problems and no one is perfect, but I can bet that you entered the relationship with honest intentions and a true willingness to give all of your devotion to it.
When did the narcissist ever do that?
How was it ever supposed to work?
The narcissist was a narcissist before he or she met you, and is an expert of convincing partners that if they overlook all of the bad behavior or if they hadn’t started asking about it or questioning it, or if they hadn’t done some silly thing, the relationship would have taken an entirely different track from where it ended up!
How would that ever have been possible?
The narcissist is doomed to repeat this cycle. You are not. It’s sad because we loved them, or at least a part of them, but the sooner we realize it, the sooner we can stop feeling responsible for something that isn’t our fault. It’s misplaced.