It is important to realize that when coming out of a relationship with a narcissist our minds are experiencing severe Cognitive Dissonance. Cognitive Dissonance is the difficulty of trying to hold two opposing thoughts or beliefs at the same time. Cigarette smokers are a perfect example of individuals who may experience Cognitive Dissonance. They enjoy their habit, but at the same time, loathe it because they know it’s bad for them, right?
Cognitive Dissonance leads to obsessive thought because we are trying to make sense of a situation that doesn’t make sense. How can I love something that I also hate? How can I be crazy in love with this person, but despise them at the same time?
We remember the wonderful times, the good times and the person we thought we fell in love with and we miss them. We wonder what happened to them. Where did they go? Why did they disappear? What did I do wrong?
We must remember that we did NOTHING wrong nor is there anything anyone can do to bring this person back. The person we fell in love with is not who we thought they were at all. In fact, this person never existed. We fell in love with an illusion. The acting talent these personalities possess is astounding. They are master manipulators.
While we’re remembering this person who no longer seems to exist, we are grappling with a new person we no longer recognize and we don’t know how to feel about them. How can they be good and bad? How can I love them and hate them? Trying to resolve this in our minds is very confusing. Cognitive Dissonance leads to obsessive, intrusive thoughts that impede our ability to concentrate, work, sleep, eat or function.
Obviously, maintaining NO CONTACT is very difficult when we’re in this state of mind. When all we can do is obsess about our ex, it’s near impossible to avoid responding when we hear from them. We’re consumed with trying to figure them out and although we have the knowledge we need to stay away, Cognitive Dissonance keeps us wondering if they’re really all that bad. We want to give them another chance to prove us wrong, to prove that they really are capable of love.
Unfortunately, we learn the hard way that they will never change. Some of us need to learn this lesson more than once. Others can move on more quickly. It is my hope that by understanding why we obsess about them, you will be better able to stay away and move on more quickly.