No Reconciliation Ever: The Cry of a Narcissistic Relationship
In relationships, you are certainly going to upset each other from time to time. You are going to hurt each other’s feelings. You are going to upset each other. This is a very normal part of life.
Knowing this is true, however, caused me for years to justify what was going on in my marriage. I made so many excuses for his words and behaviors. I used to say things to myself and others, such as:
- “Everyone gets mad every now and then.”
- “We all get our feelings hurt from time to time.”
- “We all have our bad days.”
I even believed this was true. Yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on why things still felt so wrong. He wasn’t mad all the time, true. He didn’t have bad days every day, true. We actually had some good times together. Yet, I found myself dreading those bad days and bad moments. Past ones seemed to linger in my memory and future ones were anticipated with apprehension. I always knew there would be more. I knew they would never stop.
But why? When I had a disagreement with a friend or a family member, it just didn’t seem to be as big of a deal. We would apologize, and no hard feelings lingered. I used to think that maybe this is just because of the complications of being married. It’s just harder when it is on an intimate level. I guess all marriages are like this. I just have to keep working at it. Maybe someday we will get it.
I sure was wrong!! Not all marriages are like this. It isn’t because of the intimacy of the relationship. It is because we could never find a place of reconciliation. When you are in a truly loving relationship, reconciliation is something you experience often.
When a healthy individual harms someone that they love, here are some things that typically happen:
- The person who made the mistake feels remorse for hurting the other person.
- The person who made the mistake apologizes with sincerity and without excuses.
- The person who made the mistake tries to not continue repeating the offense.
When genuine forgiveness happens, the following are typically experienced:
- Forgiveness and reconciliation occur.
- Genuine connection and openness is felt by both parties.
- This leads to changes in behavior and attitude of the person who made the mistake.
- These changes lead to a more stable environment and a happier future for all involved.
However, you just can’t reconcile with a narcissistic person. It simply can’t be done. No matter what angle you try, you cannot ever get past the defensiveness and accusations. The only way I had found to survive this was to keep sweeping it under the rug. I made excuses for him, both inside my head and outloud to others, for many years. I developed a sort of abuse amnesia, as a coping mechanism. I could forget about it, as long as the peaceful times kept coming back. However, this cannot be maintained long-term. It isn’t sustainable.
Compare the things the healthy individual does above with these common reactions from narcissistic individuals:
- The narcissistic person defends their actions and words, feeling no remorse for hurting someone.
- The narcissistic person makes excuses and accusations, rather than apologies.
- The narcissistic person continues repeating the offense because they see nothing wrong with their behavior.
So instead of the positive environment mentioned above, the following are typically experienced:
- Resentment and dissension occur.
- Disconnection and internal mental battles occur.
- The behavior and attitude never change.
- The environment becomes more unstable as time goes by.
- Happiness seems far out of reach.
When you feel that you can never reach a point of reconciliation with a loved one, over time, any form of disagreement with that person leads to great frustration. You find yourself avoiding conflict with them entirely, causing the relationship to stay rather shallow and distant. You simply don’t feel emotionally safe with them.
If you are waiting for them to start seeing your side and meeting you in the middle, you are going to wait for a very long time. These continued attempts at reconciling are immensely damaging. You exhaust your mind trying to find the right words and the right approach. And your heart takes horrible damage. You lay it open before them, exposing your feelings of hurt and despair, and they stomp all over it and throw it out. This unwillingness to reconcile is an extreme form of emotional abuse. It leaves you as a shriveled pile of nothing, over and over and over. For your own peace of mind and heart, stop arguing with them. Stop trying to get them to see. Simply walk away. Their complete inability to reconcile says everything about them and nothing about you. You aren’t going to change them, but you can save yourself.
You have been damaged by all of this. The realization of this truth is incredibly painful. It's okay. Accept the truth. Accept the pain. Don't run from it or hide from it. Now it's time to start the healing process. In a way, it is no different from being hit by a truck. If you were run over by a truck, you would have to be extremely gentle with your body and give it time to heal. You would have to put some effort and energy into that healing process. It would be painful and difficult, and no one could do it for you. Only you! This is no different. Your heart and mind have been hit by a truck. You have to put effort and energy into the healing process, and it will be painful. But you can do it! For some thoughts to get you started, check out my article on How to Help Yourself.