Narcissistic and psychopathic individuals misuse common phrases to gaslight others. They will usually depict their exes in a distorted way to manipulate their new targets and often use their new targets to retraumatize their exes. They may devalue or idealize their ex to you depending on their specific agenda. Here are five common toxic things they may say about their ex-partners and what they really mean – the last few may surprise you.
They were crazy and obsessed with me. They just can’t let go.
Translation: They tried to escape the relationship with me multiple times, and when I finally lost control over them, I labeled them crazy to others so no one would believe anything they said about me. They may not have been as interested in me initially, but I love-bombed them with lots of attention and affection to get them hooked in the beginning, then began devaluing them in subtle ways, testing their boundaries persistently until I got the reactions I wanted. I gaslit them and deliberately tried to provoke jealousy. This was so I could maintain my power and control over them as they worked harder for my approval. I am obsessed with my past partners, and I am actually the one who stalks and provokes them after the end of the relationship. I check up on them frequently, in fact, and I come back into their lives just to make sure they never forget me. If they reach out to warn you about my manipulation, I’ll remind you that they’re obsessed with me and are not to be trusted.
They cheated on me and betrayed me.
Translation: I was the one engaging in deceitful or abusive behavior throughout my past relationship as per usual, but I’ll tell you preemptively that my ex-partner betrayed me. I’ll misrepresent and distort what really happened to play the victim, so you sympathize with me. I not only tried to make my ex-partner jealous and insecure, but I also neglected them emotionally and mistreated them after showering them with affection and promising them the world – promises I never intended to keep. It’s no wonder that even if they didn’t cheat, they may have sought support elsewhere due to the ways I demeaned them. I’ll set the double standard I expect of all my partners for you by disclosing this fake story of betrayal: you will strive to be the loyal one in the relationship because of the betrayal I claimed I experienced, while I am entitled to do whatever I want.
They were so insecure and controlling.
Translation: I was the jealous and possessive one. I checked up on my ex-partner 24/7 and made sure they were only focused on me during the love-bombing stage of the relationship. Then, I began to emotionally withhold from my ex-partner, deliberately provoking jealousy in them constantly to make them feel off-kilter and suspicious – all so I could be the dominant one in the relationship. Even when their concerns were valid and a result of my manipulation, I gaslit them into believing otherwise and raged at them, setting them up for crazymaking arguments. I told them that every time they asked me a legitimate question about my shady behavior, they were interrogating me and needed to stop. So long as they believed they were the problem, I was free to do whatever I wanted without being held accountable for my actions.
They were the love of my life. I can’t get over them. I am so broken.
Translation: I don’t have the capacity for healthy love or empathy, but when I am idealizing any of my past partners, I’ll make sure to make it seem like I am besotted with them even though I mistreated them throughout the relationship. That way, you always feel like there is someone you need to compete with in order to gain my affection. The truth is, I never really appreciated or treated any of my partners well in the long term. The ones I can’t stop thinking about are the ones who gave me a taste of my own medicine and the ones who walked away for good – the ones who dared to discard me first. Those are the exes I am truly obsessed with. I wish I could have them back just so I could punish them for daring to leave me first.
We’re just friends. I just want the best for them. I am happy for them.
Translation: When speaking about an ex I am keeping tabs on, I’ll pretend to be happy for them. I’ll feign joy at their new relationship and their flourishing life without me. This will convince you that I am “just friends” with my ex and just want the best for them, even if the reality is that I am using my ex to make you jealous, and also using you, my new target, to make my exes jealous. I will also hover over the lives of any of my ex-partners, checking in on them to make sure they don’t become too fulfilled in their lives. Soon, when you become an ex, I’ll make sure to pop in to retraumatize you when I feel like it. After all, I wouldn’t ever want anyone to truly move on. I never move on, either.
If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist or a psychopath, it’s important to get professional support to help process your traumas and maintain No Contact. You are not alone and help is out there. You deserve freedom and healing.