Narcissists always seem to land on their feet, like the proverbial cat. Whilst you are at home still feeling hurt and healing from the break up of your relationship, they are happily posting photos all over social media of how wonderful their life is now.
It’s like a real kick in the stomach!
So why do they move on so quickly?
Well aside from the well-known and accepted reason, which is that they are incapable of love so everything is superficial and therefore your relationship was never “real”, there is actually a lot more to it.
Studies have revealed differences in the brain structure of those with diagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disorder which shed a lot of light on this subject.
- The area of the brain responsible for empathy (the frontal lobe) is much less developed in a narcissist that the rest of the average population. Therefore they are physically less able to understand others feelings and so will struggle to recognise love. We learn how to love from others but if our brains are less capable of performing this function, we won’t learn how to love meaning relationships are much more superficial for narcissists.
- The same area of the brain is also involved in problem solving. So when problems occur in a relationship, the narcissist will not have the necessary skills to stay and communicate and try to resolve the issues. Instead they will move onto a new relationship where there are no problems. Once problems begin to occur, which they inevitably will, the narcissist will once again move on.
- The frontal lobe is also linked to sexual behaviours. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, sex is a basic human need but sexual intimacy is higher up the hierarchy, meaning that when narcissists are in stress or crisis they will go into survival mode and seek only to meet their basic needs – they will cheat. It’s as primal to them as eating when hungry is to the rest of us.
- The cerebral cortex has also been found to be less developed in narcissists and this area is responsible for memory, emotions and behaviour. Therefore the narcissist seems to move on so fast because their emotions are not as deep as ours but also, they don’t form memories in the same way the rest of us do. For most of us it’s the memories which keep us attached to someone and unable to move on. The narcissist doesn’t have this problem. Their brain hasn’t stored those memories in the same way so they can quickly move on without the attachment.
- We know that childhood abuse plays a role in the development of NPD and this can be emotional, physical or sexual. As a child, the narcissist will have developed a coping strategy to deal with the abuse which could include compartmentalising their emotions to reduce the pain. Long term exposure to abuse can therefore lead to new neural pathways being formed which simply bypass emotions completely. It’s protective evolution of the brain. And means that narcissists never feel hurt, pain or love. Therefore they can move on without a care in the world. Literally.
So the next time you see a smiling picture of your narcissist ex with his new supply, know that it’s just a mask. There are no real feelings. They are simply resorting to their survival mode.
And remember, the fact you feel sad is a good thing because it shows you have developed normal brain functioning and for you it was real. Never be ashamed of that.