Narcissists: Is it Okay to Love Them and Still Walk Away?
I hear so many people questioning themselves about walking away from abusive relationships. If this is you, please read on.
First let me say, I fully recognize that narcissists and abusive partners can definitely be male or female. For the ease of writing and reading, I am using the “he” pronouns here. Please substitute “she” if your situation calls for that.
Does the following sound familiar to you? You are in a relationship of some sort, marriage or otherwise. Something in your relationship just isn’t right. Maybe you are having a hard time putting your finger on exactly what that is or maybe you have already identified the problems. You don’t like the way your partner treats you. His (or her) words are harsh and uncaring. Maybe he blames you for everything and refuses to take any personal responsibility for his own actions. Maybe he even hits you from time to time.
Yet for some strange reason, you are still in this abusive relationship. Why haven’t you left?? Your friends and family may be asking you that. “Leave,” they tell you. “Just walk away.” To them, it often seems like such a simple decision. You find it surprisingly difficult to explain to them why you haven’t left.
Perhaps you even get resolved in your heart to leave, and once again, that manipulative, crazy-making partner of yours turns all sweet and romantic. He makes himself vulnerable and loving. You may find yourself feeling sorry for him, knowing the abuse in his own background. Clearly he is hurting inside, and you desperately want to care for him.
Making You Crazy
Then all the crazy questions start running through your exhausted mind:
- How can I hate him?
- Do I still love him?
- Why am I feeling this way towards him?
- Is he really that bad of a person?
- Am I just over-reacting?
- Maybe I can help him?
- Will he really change this time?
You start thinking to yourself, “Clearly I still have feelings for him. I still love him. Can I really just walk away? How can I leave him? Is it okay to love him and still walk away?”
The answer is ABSOLUTELY, YES!!
Compassionate Love vs. Romantic Love
There is a huge difference between compassionate love and romantic love. Having compassion for someone does not mean you want to have an intimate relationship with them or spend the rest of your life with them.
Compassionate Love Says:
- I care about you.
- I want you to be happy.
- I wish the best for you.
- I am willing to help you if I can.
- I am sorry that you are hurting.
- I don’t expect anything in return when I show compassion to you.
Romantic Love Says:
- I wake up everyday wanting to spend time with you.
- It feels great to spend time with you.
- You make me feel so happy to be me.
- I enjoy watching you being you.
- I wish the best for you and feel that you wish the best for me too.
- The genuine connection we have goes both ways.
- There is natural give and take as we both have needs and love.
- I know you are there for me when I am hurting and your support feels great.
- You allow me to be there for you when you are hurting.
- We have each other’s backs.
- Though we may have bumps along the way, our relationship is natural and easy.
Don’t Confuse Them
Don’t mistake the compassion you feel for a narcissist in your life for romantic love. If you are here reading this, then you are already feeling that something is wrong in your relationship. Listen to your heart. It knows that there is a problem long before the mind does.
Romantic love blossoms when two people can connect with each other with genuineness and mutual compassion. It flourishes when two people can trust each other to the point of being able to lay your heart open for each other and be vulnerable.
When you don’t have that level of trust with each other, then romantic love is forced. You say you have it, but deep in your heart you know that something is missing, that something is wrong.
I recently had a powerful revelation. I don’t have to hate him in order to walk away!!
This was so eye-opening for me, so freeing. He has hurt me so badly over 20 years, and yet I still don’t want to hate him. But I also don’t have to wait until I do hate him to justify walking away. I can choose that this is not the relationship for me, that I don’t want to feel this way anymore.
I do hope that someday he can get the help he needs, but I no longer feel that I have to wait around until it happens. I don’t have to be the one to find the answers for him. He won’t listen to me anyways. Just because I do wish him the best does not mean that I have to stick around and keep taking all the abuse. We are never going to get to a point of genuine connection and reconciliation.
It is okay to care about him and yet to simply walk away.