The Narcissist at Work

How to Get the Narcissist Out of Your Head

Once you realize the narcissist is an abusive, self-centered, obnoxious, toxic jerk and you get out of the relationship (or while you’re trying to) you’ll realize something really horrifying. The narcissist is out of your life (or about to be), but you can’t get them out of your head!

You begin to think you’re going crazy, or that they’ve secretly implanted some sort of device in your head to make you think of them. You find yourself wondering what they’re doing, how they’re doing, who they’re seeing, if they’re stalking you, if they’ve forgotten about you, and as much as you might hate yourself for thinking it, you wonder if they “miss you.”

The crazy cycle starts when you start trying to “figure out” or “understand” or make sense of WHY YOU? Why couldn’t you change him/her? Why did he/she pick you? What could you have done differently? You obsess because you think you have to make sense of what happened before you can let it go. The thing is, it’s not logical. It’s not something you could have fixed. Narcissists are unfixable. They’re broken people. Just like Humpty-Dumpty – NO ONE CAN PUT THE NARCISSIST back together. So stop trying.

The good news is, if you’re thinking these things, you’re normal. Most people who flee a narcissist have those same thoughts. They become obsessed with thoughts of their former abuser or narcissist and can’t stop thinking about them. I’ve known people to drive by their ex’s house to “See if they were home,” or call and hang up just to hear their voice or their answering machine message. You’re having those feelings, thoughts and struggles because you’re probably co-dependent. Your focus is always on the welfare of others, not yourself. You probably don’t have good boundaries, and you don’t know how to function in a healthy relationship. You’re drawn to what you know best and for most co-dependents, what you know best is being treated like a doormat and being taken advantage of. You may have the narcissist out of your life, but now it’s time to get them out of your head.

JOURNAL

Step one to solving any problem is identifying it. This means starting and keeping a journal. Every time you think about the narcissist, write it down. This is NOT an exercise for you to understand the narcissist, but for you to understand your thought process and needs. Write down:

  • the date
  • the time
  • the thought
  • where you are
  • what you’re doing
  • how you’re feeling.
  • what you really need at that moment

For instance:

4:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, work, getting ready to leave work and go to the grocery store to get dinner. Feeling anxious. Thought: I wonder what the Narcissist is doing for dinner?

What do I need?: I need to be needed, to cook for someone. I feel lonely.

Feel free to write more about how you feel, what you’re thinking. Try to find a pattern or times in your pre-narcissist days that you felt like you do now. Being able to identify who and what makes you think about the narcissist will help you figure out what you  need to do to stop those feelings and thoughts.

To escape our own uncomfortable feelings co-dependents focus on other people’s feelings. By making or helping someone else feel better, we feel better. Our own discomfort and pain is never addressed, but we manage to stuff it down by helping others. Narcissists intuitively know this and are attracted to co-dependents because they are excellent sources of supply. The narcissist has a bottomless need to be stroked, loved, helped and paid attention to, and the co-dependent has an almost bottomless supply of love, attention and caretaking to give. The narcissist thrives on taking, the co-dependent thrives on giving. They’re a perfect match, until the codependent suddenly wakes up and realizes they have needs that aren’t being met. This usually happens when the narcissist becomes abusive, demanding, cruel or colder than usual. The charisma and laser focused attention of the early days are gone. Reality has set in and the co-dependent slowly begins to realize they are not appreciated, loved or all that they were told they were. Many leave, others are dumped. But however you get out, you still find that something inside you craves the act of caring for someone with such huge needs! This is NOT healthy. It’s YOUR disease (co-dependency) talking.

It’s hard to think that you love this person, were in love with them, and had good times with them, yet they’re also such a monster and so infuriating. But that’s the way narcissistic relationships work. They are dysfunctional, unhealthy and illogical. You can’t figure it out. You have to accept it, process what feeling you can, and  move on.

If you let your thoughts keep recurring without any action to dismiss them, you will be just as miserable, maybe even more so, than when you were actively involved with the narcissist. The journal you keep helps you identify YOUR NEEDS and the triggers that make you think about the narcissist. Once you’ve kept the journal for 30 days or so, go back through it and see if you can spot the patterns. When do you think of the narcissist the most? What are you doing? What do you need at that time?

Secondly, narcissists pick victims who don’t have good, strong or healthy boundaries. Normal, healthy people do not give up their lives for another person for no reason. People have needs and healthy people get their needs met in healthy ways, ways that don’t hurt others and that don’t take advantage of others. For a narcissist, finding a co-dependent is like a bank robber finding an unlocked bank vault with no security. They can each take all they want without fear of someone stopping them.

If you want to get the narcissist out of your head, you have to define, set and enforce your boundaries. I suggest Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life. It’s excellent.

Work on setting boundaries at the same time you’re working on keeping your journal. After you begin to spot patterns in your life and triggers that make you think about the narcissist, start taking action to change those patterns. If you always met the narcissist for dinner on Friday after work, start meeting friends instead. Or go to a movie, take a class, join a gym and workout at that time. The idea is not to totally stop doing something on Friday after work, but to tweak your habit so that now it’s something good, something you look forward to. Instead of wondering what the narcissist is doing after work etc, etc, you’ll start thinking about your new friends, class, or activity. The idea is to eventually replace the thoughts of the narcissist with positive thoughts about new people and activities. The process of evicting the narcissist from your mind is different for everyone. It’s a matter of accepting the fact that there is no logical, rationale or reasonable explanation for why the narcissist did what they did. They’re broken, remember? They CAN NOT be fixed. So give it up. Work on YOU and your needs. Fix YOU and the rest will fall into place.

Until your wounded, hurting, insecure, co-dependent self heals you won’t be able to evict the narcissist. Either that, or you’ll find another narcissist because it feels familiar to be used. Nothing in your outer life changes until your inner life changes. It’s that  simple. The “fixing, healing, curing work” has to be done on YOU, not someone else. Remind yourself of these things:

  • YOU did nothing wrong
  • Narcissists are not logical and you cannot figure them out
  • There really was NOTHING you could do to help, heal, cure or change them
  • The only person you can heal, help or change is yourself. If you can’t change yourself then what makes you think you can change anyone else?
  • The only closure you can bring to the situation is what you give yourself. They will NEVER give you closure.
  • You fell in love with, or got involved with an illusion, not a person. That’s why you can’t “fix it.”  IT never existed except in your mind.
  • You CAN heal yourself if you work on yourself

Finding a support group or working with a professional therapist can help you process your feelings and identify the wounded part of yourself that was attracted to the narcissist in the first place. Reading all you can about narcissism will help you understand that you are not crazy, not alone and not the first person on the planet to deal with these people. Once you understand how they operate and learn to spot the signs of a narcissist you’ll learn to avoid them and to not get involved. It takes time. It’s difficult, but it’s doable. You CAN DO IT. You just have to decide and start doing it…one step at a time.

 

26 Comments to "How to Get the Narcissist Out of Your Head"

  1. soraya says:

    This article was the best i ever read!!! and i have read soooooo many….its true..each and every word. I was in a relationship for the second time with a narcissist.they are crazy lying cheats who want to make their life from your life..in every sense..run ..just run! i want to mention how they admire their physical self and sell themselves on the net…how they have superficial relationships randomly on the social networking sites and they are nice as long as you give them what hey want..when you sau NO..the devil comes alive….to torment you and ….destroy you…despise them..thats all i can say….like this article says..i am co dependent..im now helping myself to build strong boundaries….im happy i discovered what he is….NARCISSIST!

    • admin says:

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, they are crazy and they make US crazy. Good for you! Heal fast sister!

    • Sunrain says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve read about every article and comment that is out and this has to be the best one. This is my first encounter of dealing with a narcissist. I am devasted. It has been almost two years and I always knew that something was just not normal. I am glad that I’m learning what narcissism is and what the victims go thru. I feel like I have hope to get free..

  2. Stacy says:

    This article is a life saver. I stumbled on it looking for a website with a way to get my narcissistic ex-husband back. But the truth is, I don’t really want him back, I am just obsessed with him! I am going to start journaling today. Thanks so much for this eye opener.

  3. My ideas stolen says:

    Thanks for the article. I work with a narcissist and my ideas, taste in food, and professional items have ALL been stolen from this person! Even though they are just a co-worker, it is like I want to PREVENT them from lying and stealing and I need to heed the advice presented here: NARCISSISTS CANNOT BE FIXED. Leave that broken egg (Humpty) on the floor and focus on my own well-being.

  4. Scott says:

    The best, concise article I’ve read on what makes up a narcissist and the person they choose. I was the idiot doormat who gave up my life. I couldn’t understand why part of it felt normal, but something inside of me was saying “run.” There were red flags everywhere, and yet I stayed. I was demeaned, put down, made to feel less than, and yet I stayed. We dated for almost 3 years, and he would hardly admit we were dating, much less a couple. There was an unspoken rule – as long as I was doing for him, and I mean everything, I was allowed in his life. In the end I asked what did I get out of it, and he said “you got to spend time with me.” I couldn’t believe the arrogance. Now there’s complete cold and indifference toward me, as if I never existed. Another NS came along – I was too exhausted by the end to give any more. I left with my self-esteem gone, my sense of self, and it felt like my soul was gone too. Now I’m rebuilding, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I know what he is now, but I still obsess about him. I can’t understand why – I feel like I just got out of a cult. It’s the most damaging relationship I’ve ever had. These people literally have no emotions, no heart, and no humanity. They are takers, and if you allow it, they will take everything from you, including your dignity. It’s a sad, horrible relationship that doesn’t reveal itself until the end. Then, you’re left wondering how there are people in this world that could actually do that to someone else.

    • admin says:

      That sounds like the classic narcissist! You’re right. Narcissists have no emotions, no heart and no humanity. They are professional takers. As much as I think we’d all like to think and believe they could be healed with more love, they can’t. That’s harder than distancing yourself, grieving what “could have been,” if they weren’t such jerks. But stay strong and stay away. They are poison!!

  5. Marcy says:

    Thanks…im not alone in this. Im not crazy. I can not get him out of my head.

    • admin says:

      You are not alone Marcy. You are not crazy. You can’t get him out of your head because that is the dynamic of the narcissist/codependent relationship! Keep reading, researching and talking to others. Find a good therapist if you can afford one, or even if you can’t find someone who can help you. Learn to set boundaries and love yourself. Those are the two most important skills any of us can bring to life-especially if we’re involved with a narcissist! Hang in there!

  6. Margaret says:

    I realize now that my father is a narcissist. What do you do if your father is one? How do I get him out of my head? He has never loved me. I have always been criticized and told how evil and wrong I am. My mom died when I was 31 and I’m now 46 and finally after all these realize that I’m not the problem. My father is the problem. He is a very cold, heartless person. My children are still very young. He wanted complete control by calling me every day and I had to report to him what was going on with them. Rewind to Christmas 2012. His girlfriend calls me ignorant and he gives me the silent treatment. He has not spoken to me, but I have been obsessed with thoughts of dealing with my thoughts of anger and frustration.

    • admin says:

      Many of us have narcissist parents. It’s very hard to grow up with a narcissist parent or sibling. I had both. You are not the problem, but you are the solution. Learn to set good boundaries. I recommend Dr. Henry Cloud’s book on Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no. Changed MY life. It might change yours too! The anger and frustration and thoughts are normal. We all have them…some of us feel we’re going crazy or can’t cope or will never be normal or happy or sane again, but YOU WILL! It takes getting away, setting boundaries and loving yourself. It’s very hard, but it’s very possible. You CAN do it! If your father is a narcissist, chances are his girlfriend is going through the same thing you are and has no idea how to cope. You do NOT have to report to him about your children. You are an adult. You can say no, it’s OKAY to say no. He will rage, but ignore him and focus on your children’s health. He will NEVER change, as narcissists can’t change…not that way. You will never have the childhood YOU wanted, but you can keep your children from having the same kind of misery you had by protecting them from the narcissist. Don’t let him ruin their lives too. Find a good therapist, start setting boundaries and get help from healthy people who understand what is happening. You deserve that and you deserve to love yourself. Hang in there. I’m praying for you!

  7. Leigh says:

    I have just woken up to the fact I have let another narcissist into my life. My first was my husband of 13 years and he nearly broke me.6 years later, I thought I had done a lot of work on myself and an old flame from 24 years ago from another country where I was living at the time came into my life via facebook. He pursued me for 4 months until I said I would have a skype conversation with him. He whisked me off my feet with all the romance and attention via skype for 3 mths then came to visit me. The first week together was amazing I felt such a connection and he agreed he did too. Then things changed when I decided I needed some time out for myself. To cut a long story short, I was doing everything, from the driving to the cooking, the cleaning his clothes and even in bed it was all me. When I dared to change things even question things or have a meaningful conversation with him he said that this made him uncomfortable and he preferred to live in the moment. But every time I pulled away he felt it and he would come up and be all affectionate to me to woo me back in. He has been gone a week now and I have missed him like hell, then I realized since he’s been gone I have been the one trying to contact him all the time because of my stupid neediness, which I now realize after reading this is co dependence. I am devastated at allowing myself to sucked in and used by this man and am trying very hard to let him go. I am in the painful process of trying no contact but just can’t get him out of my head. Thanks for your blog, I realize now I need to work more on myself and not jump in to what people perceived as being a lovely love story. Now I am left wounded and wondering if I will ever get over this guy. I will try hard!!!

    • admin says:

      You will learn after being sucked back in a few times. We all fall for that at first. You sound like you’re taking steps to heal. It’s a day-by-day process. Don’t get down on yourself if you fail. Pick yourself up and try again. You deserve love and to love yourself. Keep on keeping on!

  8. Leigh says:

    I have just woken up to the fact I have let another narcissist into my life. My first was my husband of 13 years and he nearly broke me.6 years later, I thought I had done a lot of work on myself and an old flame from 24 years ago from another country where I was living at the time came into my life via facebook. He pursued me for 4 months until I said I would have a skype conversation with him. He whisked me off my feet with all the romance and attention via skype for 3 mths then came to visit me. The first week together was amazing I felt such a connection and he agreed he did too. Then things changed when I decided I needed some time out for myself. To cut a long story short, I was doing everything, from the driving to the cooking, the cleaning his clothes and even in bed it was all me. When I dared to change things even question things or have a meaningful conversation with him he said that this made him uncomfortable and he preferred to live in the moment. But every time I pulled away he felt it and he would come up and be all affectionate to me to woo me back in. He has been gone a week now and I have missed him like hell, then I realized since he’s been gone I have been the one trying to contact him all the time because of my stupid neediness, which I now realize after reading this is co dependence. I am devastated at allowing myself to sucked in and used by this man and am trying very hard to let him go. I am in the painful process of trying no contact but just can’t get him out of my head. Thanks for your blog, I realize now I need to work more on myself and not jump in to what people perceived as being a lovely love story. Now I am left wounded and wondering if I will ever get over this guy. I will try hard!!!

    • admin says:

      We all get bamboozled! Some of us go through a string of narcissists before we learn to recognize their tactics. Keep paying attention. You’ll learn!

  9. amber says:

    I agree. Wonderful and to the point article. I spent 10 years with my Sunshine narcissist. He was so giving and upbeat. I absolutely adored him. He had a drug problem, too, which disguised the narcissism for a very long time. I have been clean for 20 years, so of course I understood. When I applied tough love and asked him to leave…he would run back to mom(in his forties) and sleep with his old girlfriends…I knew nothing until it was over. He was 300 miles away but he tattooed my name on his chest and never married anyone but me. He almost killed me once after a rejection but who could blame such a sweet and loving guy who would give you the shirt off their back? I told myself it was drug related put him in jail and reconnected two years later. I know…just pathetic. I have no anger toward him anymore…I was a volunteer…the experience taught me how much I needed to love me. Its been a process over the years of suicidal depression, anger, vengeance an unforgiveness that only hurt me. Now I am at peace. I’ve remained single and I focus on me. I entered counseling and codependent groups. Please don’t give them your energy…believe me…its wasted…they are not capable and don’t understand…they ar,e shallow bottomless pits. Thanks so much for your article. You may save a life in more ways than one. Love & peace to you.

  10. Gordon says:

    As everyone has mentioned this article is succinct, well written and saddest of all very very honest and true. I dated a NS for two months recently who dumped me after I helped her buy a bed and worked for her for free for several days and although she still shows up in my mind, it is words and honest advice like this that are the only way to move on from a fantasy you miss but a situation which we should all be happy to have broken from our lives. Your line that the narcissist moves on when she has found someone new immediately makes me think that she may have cheated on me, but frankly why should I care I feel bad for the next guy… God help him. Thank you so much for these wonderful worlds.

  11. meagain says:

    i agree, great article.. tho i dont go to the lengths of co-dependancy in this article.. i totally relate..
    but one of the things that keeps being justified in my head to stay with my husband of 11+ years is i have 3 children…
    BUT
    because of terrible happenings when eldest was a baby and toddler.. he did not get attachment and i have been suspect for years and confirming he is identical personality [with complications] of father problem.. i have helped create this little innocent being that through the help of genetics and terrible circumstances he has the same.. if i reject the husband.. how can i learn to not reject the child… i have to learn to help him.. these people are ill.. i have been yearning for SOMEONe to work in this profession and do some good.. it is the latest mental health epidemic and yet its being considered normal to dump and brush off even children :>?
    would love any feedback or someone with experience/professional views.
    thankyoU~

  12. Coleson says:

    This was indeed a very helpful article to put somethings into prospective. It’s been about 1.5 years since my narcissist experience and I still obsess. I compare every love affair and romance to them. It’s crazy. I will say I think some of y’all should tone it down a liiiittle. They may lack emotion and act generally horrible to people but for most of them it’s really not their fault. Like we said, they’re broken. They aren’t beyond help but the person(s) to help aren’t a significant other, it’s a counselor or Dr. I am by the way a MAN. My narcissist was a female and she was just as cruel if not worse to me as yours were to you. She purposely built me up only to tear me down. Made me give all myself and my heart to her, even though I didn’t want to (I told her). Then when she knew she had all of me, the woman just abruptly & coldly cut me off with no explanation at ALL. I had never felt id been in love before that. She forced me to trust her, then left like I had been conquered and she had no more need for me. I am still devistated & may never trust again… I recently saw her on the street & she wouldn’t even acknowledge that I was there even though she clearly saw me and heard me speak to her. She’s a bitch… (pardon my français).

    • admin says:

      Coleson, thank you for commenting. Have you ever considered reading about co-dependency? The things you describe sound very much like a co-dependent and co-dependents are Narcissist magnets. Heal your codependency, learn to set boundaries (Dr. Henry Cloud’s book on Boundaries is AWESOME!) and you WILL get over her! Thanks for sharing!

  13. nikki firth says:

    its almost a year since my relationship ended with ex narc. He changed jobs and then changed his life completely. He’s had no contact with our kids at all, recently he’s been textin saying he missed them and he s trying to be right with me, its all him bragging,boasting how great his life is since he left and its best thing he’s done. I feel sick to the stomach he’s like this with the kids. its nearly Fathers Day, our 9 year old son has bought by himself a card for his dad. A dad who doesn’t take any interest in him what so ever, our boy has just started mx racing and he wants his dad by his side. He really has a talent for the sport. i’m with our son every step of the way. We need NC. The hurt someone we’ve been with so long can cause is soul destroying.

    • admin says:

      Be glad it ended. I’m sorry your son is caught in the spiral, but at 9 years old he can’t grasp the difference until he sees what a caring, healthy man and role model dad is like. I hope he meets one soon…maybe that of a friend’s father or a friend of yours. It is soul destroying. Keep reading all you can and hang in there and know you are NOT alone. Others have broken free and healed, and you can too!

  14. Death says:

    U damn bastards I’m narcissistic what’s wrong with that?

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