A Narcissist Never Changes His Stripes, He Just Changes Partners

Couple wearing whimsical forest outfits holding hands
Artsy Vibes / Unsplash

Narcissists are dutiful chameleons, forever adapting to their new environment and running from themselves. As long as they can be someone else with every new partner, why change? They’re getting constant love, great sex, and endless amount of affection and attention—all the good bits from a relationship.

They don’t actually do love, they do fun, thrills, and passion. They stay around for all the light-hearted parts of the relationship, and just when the partner thinks they’re settling into a long-term romance, the narcissist shapeshifts into someone unrecognizable. While the partner is buying welcome mats, the disordered partner is looking for exit signs. It’s all very disorienting to a normal person.

The cruelest part of it all, and hence the most fun for the abuser, is watching their former partner writhe in pain while they chase and secure their new victim. This new victim is smeared in the former partner’s face as proof the narcissist is lovable because they don’t really believe it themselves. There are several reasons they move on so quickly—but it really all comes down to a complete lack of self-worth. They have no identifiable real sense of self—they annihilated it long ago in search of a balm for their excruciating emotional pain. Underneath it all, they loathe themselves.

Without a mirror reflecting back to them how wonderful they are, they sink into a deep depression and cannot emotionally function. They cease to exist without someone else’s energy, and this is something they secretly despise—being so reliant on others for their own needs to be met. So, naturally, the people in their lives will be punished gravely for this usually by way of abandonment and cruelty.

Hence, the flaunting of the new person akin to a child waving a new toy in front of another child’s face. It’s as if to say “Look at my new toy. You can’t have this toy. This toy is shiny, new, forgiving, and totally naïve. I shall run and jump, and love this toy so much more than all my old toys. Oh, lucky me!”

The cognitive dissonance we experience after abuse will try to convince us that they’ve somehow miraculously done a 180 and become a completely different person for the new partner. Even though they have a colorful and quite charming history of lying, cheating, and overlapping relationships, overnight they became the man or woman of all our dreams. Nope. Not going to happen.

First of all, realize they are YOU. It’s just a matter of time before he sees her faults, the new love becomes needy of his time and energy, or he just gets bored of the same old toy. As soon as their perfect new love interest demands something wild like time or attention, he’ll be off on a mission to secure his next leading lady.

Who will be the lucky one to star in their one-man show, get placed on a pedestal, become the love of his life overnight, and be the answer to all his prayers? To be frank, probably the very first woman they meet that has something they want, something of the value to the narcissist—this could be money, fame, accolades, a roof over their head, or access to the kind of life they want to live. Rarely is it actual beauty and beauty alone.

And let’s not forget, the new woman should be totally different from all the others who came before her—I mean, good lord, they all demanded his time, affection, and love. They were needy, clingy, controlling, and suspicious of him. This poor, poor sap is just a hopeless romantic and desperately wants to find his happily ever after.

The new woman undoubtedly falls for the smoke and mirrors act, gladly steps up for the starring role in his play, and ensures she NEVER ever acts anything like his exes. They sound downright dreadful. And, while we’re on that subject, why in the world would any level-headed woman let this god of a man go? Were they crazy? Yeah, they must have been. Who cares? All that matters is she’s found him, and the rest of her life can begin, in the arms of the man meant for her. Yes, their love is blessed by the gods. You will know this because it will be blasted all over social media.

If you are honest with yourself, you’ll be nodding reading this, realizing—holy shit, that was me! Never in a million years did you imagine your perfect love ending, smashed to smithereens because you were caught up in the illusion of perfect love.

I want to make something very clear: all the social media hoopla is for YOU. It’s not really for the new target, it’s for the ex who had the audacity to leave him. Once you left, you created narcissistic injury and he immediately set out on a mission to project all the internal pain he didn’t have the ability to process. Oh, lucky you!

Narcissists are weak individuals and their insides in no way reflect their outsides. They have this secret fear of being abandoned and left—just like empaths typically do—however, the two differ in how they deal with this fear. An empath will typically attach more, while a narcissist prefers to detach and create their own abandonment. They’ll create a situation where the other person has no real choice but to leave. They may cheat and leave texts out in the open for you to see, they might lie blatantly to your face, disrespect your relationship in some way, or they may just begin their next relationship while still living with you. That’s always a fun way to let someone know you’d like out, right?

The catch is they don’t really want out, because they enjoy having multiple sources of supply on hand in case of a narcissistic supply emergency. They often keep exes on their bookcases, dust them off when in need, and carefully place them back up when they’ve gotten their “fill.” Many exes will stay on this hook for years, not realizing they’re involved in a circus act.

We often think the narcissist is off frolicking in the grass—can you hear Mary Poppins in the background—but they’re not. They’re still poor, weak, inept at creating real relationships, and completely void of human emotions. They are the epitome of a coward.

They have not magically transformed for the new person because that would take YEARS of professional counseling to even begin to uncover the pain they’re in. Most wouldn’t be able to handle the heat of facing what they’ve done if they ever were to become self-aware, empathetic beings. They’d run from the discomfort as if their body was on fire because that’s what it would feel like. Burning shards coursing through their flesh.

Narcissists operate like a computer program which keeps them looping their entire lives. They are trained to continuously strive for perfection in a relationship, and it will always fail them. So, they replace partners over and over and over. An endless cycle of pain, confusion, and emptiness.

Just because we don’t see the abuse in their next relationship doesn’t mean the abuse isn’t happening behind closed doors. It is. They know nothing else. Idealize, devalue, replace, and discard. Rinse. Repeat. Never do they stop and reflect on why the relationship ended, why their partner left, why they continue repeating the same pattern. They just move on, robotically, ensuring they’re filled with supply and adoration.

So, regardless of the picture the ex is painting and throwing in your face, none of it is true. I’ll let you in on a little secret—they’re not even in a relationship with this person. They weren’t in a relationship with you either. Rather, they’re the parasite and the new victim is the host. They’re feeding off of them until they bleed them dry, or something better comes along. Either one will do just fine.

Remember this next time you see ‘Captain Starry-Eyed, Blissed Out, Cosmically Blessed’ and his new “incredible, sexy, beautiful, talented, magical, best thing that’s ever happened to him, perfect” girlfriend showing the world how lucky they are to have found each other. None of it is real. Smoke and mirrors, it’s all one giant illusion designed to make you think you lost the best thing that ever happened to you. I’m calling his bluff.

There is a great big love out there waiting for you once you get over the best thing that never happened to you. Go ahead, envision him. He’s fucking amazing. He’s got a great ass too. And a kind heart. TC mark

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