I’ve written before that a Jerkface is playing by different rules than you are. You can sum it up in a single sentence: You’re trying to make something work and they’re trying to win. In this model, you are guaranteed to lose.
The very rules you’re playing by are rigging the game in Jerkface’s favor.
When you’re dealing with someone like this (narcissistic, abusive) you need to set aside your common decency. You need to forget everything you’ve learned about being a loving human, including that people deserve to understand where you’re coming from and that they need to be treated with kindness.
If you’re concerned about being a cruel person, consider this: When you are in a relationship with a narcissist YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK and you need to respond as such. This is not a relationship of equals. You do not have the same goals. Therefore your rules need to change as well.
For example: If you’re ready to leave Jerkface? Don’t tell them. Afraid of what they might do? Don’t admit it. Does something they do make you feel particularly bad? Definitely don’t tell them about that, because instead of doing it less, I promise you they will do it more. Especially when you are feeling your worst.
A narcissist will trot out all of your confessions and use them against you to make you feel worthless. Particularly when you need some comforting.
If you’ve never known any different, which was the case with me, it is hard to understand that this dance of abuse does not qualify as a true relationship. Believe it or not, in a real relationship, when you tell your partner to please not do something or that you are sad because of something they did, that person will not use these things against you or do the things you dislike even more.
I know I’ve said this before but: This is not okay. This is not normal. This is abuse. You’re probably a very nice person who thinks that everyone deserves a chance and that if you just love Jerkface enough you can fix them.
There is no fixing someone who does not think they are broken. There is no healing someone who enjoys causing you pain.
If someone were to attack you on the street, would you say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, can we talk about why you’re doing this to me?” No. You would run, scream, or fight back. The abuse you suffer from Jerkface is the same thing. You are under attack by someone who professes to love you. In a way, this is so much worse.
At least the mugger or rapist on the street isn’t pretending to be your partner.
You need to set your niceness aside with Jerkface. It’s putting you in harm’s way. You need to put yourself and your well-being first, even if it is the first time in your life you have ever done this. If you need to get out, leave when the narcissist is at work.
Do not try to come to an agreement. Do not try to get them to understand your side. Those things will never, ever happen.
All they will do is talk you into staying yet again and use the fact that you dared try to leave as ammunition for the rest of your time together. They’ll never let you forget it. If you leave Jerkface (and of course I recommend that you do), get out and don’t ever come back. And don’t ever feel bad about it, either.