Are you playing cat and mouse games with your narcissistic partner? Don’t expect to win, mice usually get caught.
In most failed relationships, there is usually that final conversation. That parting shot. The slammed door, the angry stare, the back that turns on you for the last time.
However, everything is different when it comes to failed relationships with narcissistic types.
A disappearing act
Narcissists don’t necessarily end relationships per se, they sometimes let them fizzle out and leave you hanging by making a disappearing act which can be sudden or gradual.
The disappearing act can be followed by many subsequent reappearances followed by disappearances. This gives you a false hope that somehow things might just work out. In psychotherapy, This way of existing in a relationship can be found in The oppositional system.
If you find yourself stewing over the fact that they have not answered your text messages once again, you’re stuck in a game.
If you are anxious, worried, and wondering what you did wrong when they left abruptly the last time you saw them without even saying good-bye or giving you a hint about why they acted so upset, you’re stuck in a game.
And if you think you’re over them, but you answer that last text they sent, or pick up the phone when they call, only to be let down by their non-responsiveness for days on end afterwards, you’re stuck in a game.
You’ve become the mouse
Narcissists like to feel that they have control over you by constantly jerking on your emotional leash, which they keep securely fastened to themselves, just in case.
The thing is, that you are a “just in case”. If they find themselves without a steady supply of narcissism so they can feed their ego, they go to pieces. That’s why they need you.
Once they know they can always get attention from you, you’re in trouble. You’ve become the mouse; they are the cat. And the roles cannot reverse because the narcissist knows exactly when to stop the game.
Just like an actual cat hunting. They advance, they stop, they wait. Then, just when you think they’ve forgotten their prey, they advance again, stop, wait. The cycle can continue for a long time.
The one in control is the cat. As long as the mouse keeps running, the game is on.
Eventually the mouse is either lucky enough to get away, the cat loses interest, or in the worst-case scenario, the mouse is caught.
You didn’t wrong them, they want you to believe that you did
The narcissist may not lose your number, but they may not use it for many months. Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, there they are on your doorstep and you are having dinner again after a rather long hiatus (during which time you blamed yourself for their disappearance).
This type of behavior usually depends on how much they think you deserve to suffer for treating them so badly after you wronged them.
You never did anything to wrong them; they’re the ones who insist that you did. And that’s where the games begin, end, and begin again, only to continue over and over ad nauseam.
It becomes a vicious cycle because you know you did your best, but they insist that you didn’t even try. They will convince you that you are bad.
No one can win this argument because you are at the mercy of your narcissist’s accusations.
Reject the game
This leaves you bewildered and haunted by the way the narcissist has gone from being so charming and sweet and friendly to distant, cold and unreachable.
And they can choose to reverse things over and over, blaming it on the way they feel that you have/are/may treat them.
Unfortunately, you can stay haunted for years, not sure of what to think or how to react unless you reject the game and cut loose by not even acknowledging their actions.
In other words, breaking all contact so they can’t use you as a source of narcissistic supply.
They must get under your skin
Narcissistic supply is basically finding ways for you to give them attention, at any and all costs, mostly to you. Even if it’s negative attention that has you upset and angry at them, the point is that once again,they got to you.
That’s the trouble with narcissists. They MUST get under your skin to upset you, because if not, where’s the fun? Like an orca playing with its meal for a long time before consuming it, they want to see you fall to your knees before they give up seeking you out.
Sometimes, you are literally down on your knees and they are still finding ways to keep turning you upside down. Giving you just enough doses of attention to keep you hanging.
They magically reappear for some trivial reason
And then, one day, whoops! They’re gone. The phone stops ringing, and when you call, the number has been changed. Or they are seemingly nowhere to be found because they’re not answering and you don’t see them showing up anywhere. Not a trace of their existence.
Just when you’ve found a way to cope with the fact that this time they’ve left for good, they magically reappear for some trivial reason. They forgot to take their shopping bag with them last time they came by; you know the one with the yellow stars on it? Yes, can you find it?
You find the bag, but they don’t want you to leave it in the mailbox. They are using the unimportant bag as a way to actually see you again, for whatever reason they have, locked away in their twisted minds.
We open the door every time
And so, you let the narc in. Within minutes, the abuse starts and you regret your decision. The blaming and accusing starts all over again and you fall into the trap, trying to defend yourself against these false statements that threaten to mar your character.
They leave, blaming you for the way that the conversation took a bad turn. And you are left feeling helpless because you opened the door that had been closed to the narcissist in your life out of the kindness of your heart.
Yes, it was a bad idea. But, we are too nice. We don’t want to act like them, so we open the door every time.
A very functional technique
But, they close it when they’ve had their fill of narcissistic supply. And the side effects are more damaging to us than if they would have just left without coming back.
Ironically, repeatedly opening and closing the door to the relationship is a very functional technique that the narcissist uses. It’s all just in case they need to prod you again after a certain passage of time, especially if they don’t have enough narcissistic fuel from their current victim.
They can drag you along like that for a long time, that’s why it’s important to save yourself while you still can.
You don’t want to be that person who gets the short end of the stick years later.
Hide your feelings in order to save yourself
If the narcissist in your life is playing the disappearing/reappearing act with you, do everything you can to save yourself the suffering you’ll endure if this continues.
The best way to handle a narcissist who is using you in this way is to go completely no contact. That’s hard, but you can’t have any pity on them.
If you simply can’t help feeling pity for them, you must hide your feelings in order to save yourself. Become business-like and direct if you must engage with them. Be very careful and don’t get too comfortable.
Because, like a predator that searches for the weak part of its prey to latch onto, a narc seeks the gentle side of your nature to eventually hurt you.
And then they turn around and blame you for the fact that you’re hurt.
A test of wills
Don’t play along; you’ll only get hurt. This game is not a game. It’s a test of wills to see who can last the longest, with an opponent who is at a clear disadvantage.
The disadvantage of being in this test with a narcissist is that they will play dirty to win. They will explore all the avenues that you wouldn’t dare to; illegal or not, cheating or not.
The best thing is to avoid engaging in this type of sport.
It’s not designed for you to win, its arranged and manipulated so that the narc can come out strong.
Some people can find a way around it. But the emotional toll it takes is barely worth the pain.
Refuse to get involved
So, stay away from a narcissist that is playing cat and mouse games with you.
Build yourself up by acknowledging that this is bad for you. Refuse to get involved.
The best revenge is to live well and to be happy without them. Once you learn how to do that, you’ll feel so much better.
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