I Cannot Do This Anymore



I cannot do this anymore. You may have heard this statement from one of our kind. It is uttered with a weary resignation, a long sigh and a tired look in our eyes. The glorious countenance has vanished and been replaced with someone who looks defeated, crumpled and exhausted. The polish and shine has been dulled, the accumulative impact of what has happened now looks to have taken its toll on us and with a wave of the white flag we surrender.

But when we say “I cannot do this anymore” to what are we referring. What is the this? Straight from the off, as we utter this phrase, we have set a trap for you. Do we mean that we can no longer maintain the relationship with you, this topsy-turvy roller coaster of a ride? Have we given up on the concept of us and this is the death knell for our relationship together? You can already feel the anxiety crawling over you as you contemplate the import of this phrase. The days without us already beginning to stretch ahead of you, the multitude of questions which start to form in your mind, the whys and hows drifting through your mind, gathering momentum and troubling you. Is that what we are referring to? Can we no longer remain in a relationship with you?

Or is it perhaps something else? Is this an epiphany? Have we seen that our repeated abuses against you, through many different forms and occasions, is too much and goes against the good person you have always believed that lurks somewhere inside of us? You saw that person (or believed you did) for a long time at the outset of the relationship but he has been missing as of late. He has taken a holiday from these parts but surely it is only a holiday, because if it is this means that he will be coming back. He has gone but not forever. Perhaps this is him returned and with that moment of revelation and realisation, we have seen the truth of what we have been doing and through this we now know that we cannot continue to behave in this manner any longer. Is this what we mean when we declare the statement of “I cannot do this anymore”?

Which is it? You dread it being the former and hope that it is the latter. This might be the breakthrough that you have been seeking all these months as you have hung in there, buffeted and assailed by all of our terrible torments, but now you have come good, you have achieved your great reward. That must surely be what we mean.

You wait for us to elaborate but nothing more is said. We continue to look at you and you stare into our eyes. What do you see? Is it despair or is it hope? You cannot be sure. You are confused but you do not want to be. You want clarity and you feel an alternating sense of worry one moment and then resurgent hope the next. You wait, your expression set in expectation, urging us to flesh out this statement, to expand and to elaborate but still our silence remains. Are we gathering our thoughts before making the next great pronouncement? Is there more? Will it be a hammer blow which obliterates your hopes or that triumphant clarion call which signals that the war is at an end and peace has broken out? Is this the very thing that you have dreamed about?

You wonder whether you should press us or would that affect the outcome and bring about a volte face? You have experienced enough of those during the tumultuous experience that is your union with us. Perhaps you are better served waiting and allowing us to express ourselves, but you need to know, you want to know. You want to know if you should commence your reasoning to ensure that the relationship is at an end. If this is to be the outcome, then you need to commence your bid for its continuation without delay, not least to stem the churning anxiety which is threatening to overwhelm you. If it is an end to the abuse, the games and the mis-treatment then you want to congratulate us on breaking through that final barrier and achieving the insight you have longed for, for such an extensive period of time. You urge us with your eyes to add to the comment, to help us over the finishing line and in so doing end your own uncertainty, but there is no more. We just keep looking at you.

This is where we like to position you. Gripped by uncertainty, emotions churning through you as we milk them through you all through one comment. We can see it all in your eyes, your frozen stance, the hunched shoulders, the clenched hands, the mask of uncertainty that is strapped to your face. In turn we see the hope, the worry, the optimism and the fear flickering through your eyes and as usual we are sustained by this nourishment. Those words have provoked this reaction in you, the emotional response pouring our way, even though it is silent and immobile.

If you eventually breach this impasse and press for more details, expect to be led by the hand into the maze of ambiguity, double-meaning and obfuscation. Your questions will be half-answered. Your queries will be met with more silence, an unwavering look as we force you to try and work it out. Morsels of encouragement may be provided, like breadcrumbs along the path as we lead you deeper and deeper into the maze. You continue to fuel us as you think you are being taken towards the answers, admitted into our confidence and shown the inner sanctum of our thoughts, but no, all we are doing is taking you into the bowels of our tangled forest where you will be caught on the thorns of unanswered questions, tripped by the vines of vagueness and blocked by the twisted branches of bewilderment.

Do we mean it when we say this phrase? It is really the case that I cannot do this anymore?

Of course I can. I can keep doing this forever because as I have mentioned on many occasions this is forever. Yes, there will be times where I will disappear. Yes, there will be occasions where I am good to you again, then bad and then good. The purpose of saying this is purely to upset you. I have no intention at all at leaving you. Why would I when you give me so much wonderful negative fuel through the period of devaluation? Why would I when you provide the delicious positive fuel again when I allow a period of respite and the application of the golden period again? I am going nowhere but it does not harm to suggest to you that I might. It keeps you on your toes and ensures that I am able to exert control over you. I keep you guessing, anxious and confused and I also ensure that your fuel keeps flowing.

I also say this to make it sound like what we have is arduous and horrible. It is for you because I treat you badly but this is enjoyable. I get to do what I want, I am never wrong and you have to bear the brunt of my shocking behaviour towards you. It is a playground for me and I am not going to give that up. Never. Still, I want you always one heartbeat away from thinking that I am going to walk out on you, that you are not doing enough for me so you will try harder, you will avoid the egg shells more effectively and you will keep on trying and trying to please me. This is a great way of controlling you by threatening you with the loss of me although it is never going to happen. By a similar token, I want you a breath away from thinking that a breakthrough has been achieved, that I have seen clarity through the fog of malevolence and realise that this abusive treatment, this game-playing and inventive fabrications are at an end. You keep hoping that day is just around the corner, so you remain locked into your investment with me and you dare not give up, not now, not when redemption might be a week, a day or an hour way.

Accordingly, it you hear this, do not think that I am going to leave you. I am not. Do not think that I have realised what it is that I do and that it is wrong and must be stopped. I may well realise, but I will not stop.

I am just continuing to control you and seeking a reaction from you.

Of course, you are forbidden from ever saying these words.

20 thoughts on “I Cannot Do This Anymore

  1. cheryl says:

    I experienced this for years until I wised up to it. I stopped doing everything for him and lived my life until he said “I cant do this any more, I dont fit in here, maybe I should find somewhere else to live and we would get on better ” (this he said all the time)…instead of talking him out of it I helped him look for a place to live and when he’d moved out of my house I dumped his ass and went no contact. Every attempt he has made to ensnare me again has been met with silence. I broke the trauma bond very quickly and I have done nothing but thrive since that poison told me “I can’t do this anymore”!

    I warned him 3 months prior during one of his aggressive outbursts that when I had had enough I would dissappear. He laughed at me….who’s laughing now little boy?

  2. December Infinity says:

    I experienced this. So many eggshells over the past four years. Prior to the last narc, there was another one (yes, another narc!), who did say that he couldn’t do this anymore. The so-called relationship ended not too long after that, but not without a violent attack against me and police involvement.

  3. JB says:

    ‘I want you always a heartbeat away from thinking I am going to walk out on you’ – I can really identify with this. Was always being threatened with cutting contact, and often for no (to my mind!) reason. Asked myself time and time again why I didn’t just call his bluff and say ‘ok then, f off then’ (which under any other circumstance I would do), but for some reason I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him. Which I guess he knew, hence why he did it! The important thing to me now is addressing why I had such an issue with potentially losing someone (esp someone who treated me like that) – therein lies the key to avoiding any future ensnarements, I think!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is called the addiction, see The Addiction : Triple Package.

      1. JB says:

        Thanks. Kind of ironic really, seeing as how I have never been addicted to anything (else) in my life!

    2. Fiddleress says:

      Hello JB
      When you say “therein lies the key to avoiding any future ensnarements, I think!”, you are absolutely right (especially if you read Red Flag, also).
      Listening to the Addiction – Triple Package was a life changer for me. It will really enable you to understand why you stayed with that person when you wouldn’t with others (non-narcissists). And in my case, it helped me get rid of the shame I felt for getting involved with the latest narcissist to start with and letting him treat me as he did, and for not leaving sooner a previous narcissist..

      1. JB says:

        I’m glad it helped you, Fiddleress. Does it address why a person might act completely out of character, allowing themself to act in ways they normally (on moral grounds) otherwise wouldn’t?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          See this Why Am I Behaving Like the Narcissist https://gum.co/LBxZ

          1. JB says:

            I wouldn’t say I was behaving like a narcissist. It’s just that I surprised myself with my behaviour – I never thought of myself as at all impressionable before (and never had been, up till then), but it’s amazing how this can change in the ‘right’ circumstances. That is where much of the shame comes from – shame at compromising my morals.

          2. lickemtomorrow says:

            With narcissist’s morals don’t come into it. Basically, they have none. So, I’m going to recommend you not being too hard on yourself in relation to that. And I think we’ve tossed the notion of ‘shame’ on another thread.

            A narcissist won’t care about your morals. That’s No.1. He has no concern as to your deepest held beliefs and values. Though he may indicate he does. That can be part of the ploy. But that’s all it is and he will find a way to work around it to get what he wants. There must be numerous scenarios in relation to this, but take as an example a narc that has you hooked and you tell him you don’t want to have sex until you are married. The narc replies he will then go and have sex with someone else because you won’t ‘give it up’. You decide rather than lose him, and have to imagine him having sex with another woman, you will sleep with him to keep him satisfied and on side. You are getting married after all (at some point, he promises) and you know somehow men cannot/should not be deprived of sex because it is inherent to their nature to need it. Celibacy cannot and should not be demanded. In fact, it is almost cruel to suggest such a thing – that a man should go without sex. Now, if any of that sounds plausible to you in terms of how a morally upstanding person could be duped there you have it.

            You are only human. That is No.2. Your humanity is something to be embraced. It is not shameful in and of itself. It is fragile at times and may need shoring up, but it is what makes you you and that vulnerability is not something to despise. No one is perfect. We all fall down. It is the ability to admit that which counts. ‘I fucked up’ has passed my lips more times than I care to count. And in every significant relationship up to now. Why did that happen? Because I am human. And God made me that way. He knows it is possible for me to fuck up more ways than Sunday. And the remedy for that is built in to our faith.

            The narcissist manipulates. That is No.3. The narcissist will work you in a way you have never been worked before because this is his remit. Manipulation is his calling and it comes naturally to him. You won’t be able to get out of the spin he has you in as he applies word salad, projection, blame shifting and various other gaslighting manouevres in order to have you second guessing yourself and feeling bad. You will take the blame for many things back to yourself and the narcissist will put them there. You let down your morals? Well, that’s not his fault. Just because he said he’d sleep with someone else (going back to the earlier example) it was your choice to decide to sleep with him. Nothing to do with him. You could have just let him do what he wanted to do and your morals would have remained in tact. The love bombing? Sure. He meant it. But it’s his expectation, not yours, that you are meant to live up to. And it’s easy to cross the line when you’ve been so thoroughly seduced.

            The last thing I want to add is that your morals may have made you a ‘prize’. Yes, this is also possible. An example of this can be seen in the movie Dangerous Liaisons which speaks to this very issue. Michelle Pfeiffer is an upstanding moral (and married) woman who is targeted by a narcissist purely for the reason that she presents a challenge and therefore a prime target for the narcissist. It is a bet that with his seduction he can get her to sleep with him. She holds forth mightily … until she can hold forth no more. It’s an interesting study in how the narcissist is able to manipulate and manouevre, and don’t forget he has studied you and knows your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. He will play on those and use to them to get you right where he wants you.

            I hear your pain and you shame. This is the narcissist’s game. And if it’s any help, I know what you are going through. My morals in some ways were the least of my worries when dealing with the fallout from the narcissist/s. If my morals had kept me safe and turned the narcissist at the very beginning then all would be well. But they did not. And hopefully my explanation here will help you to understand that our own vulnerability plus the narcissist’s ability to play on that is much greater cause for ensnarement and therefore it has nothing to do with morals.

        2. JB says:

          Lickemtomorrow, thank you so, so much. I read what you wrote last night, but struggled to reply at the time as I just didn’t have the words. I still don’t think I do now either, but I just want to thank you. What you wrote meant so much to me. It’s comforting to know that someone understands how I feel. And the idea of my morals being a ‘prize’ – I hadn’t ever thought of it like that before. What a mindfuck. I just question my ability to be duped in the way I was – with financial stuff etc I am so careful about scams etc, don’t go giving out lots of personal info etc. But this totally floored me – I did the emotional equivalent of giving out all of my personal data – I was duped into revealing the most personal stuff about myself, and yet in retrospect I actually knew very little about him. Why that didn’t trigger a massive alarm bell, I don’t know. Actually, I do. Because he found it difficult to talk about himself, he said, and obviously I didn’t want to appear insensitive by probing further. Very clever. But I now know that the talking in riddles, denying, deflecting etc, circular arguments, were all (subconscious?) tactics to throw me off course so I would do all of these things without being fully aware. Very clever, but very sad. And now I am just left feeling like one day I am going to have to answer to someone/something bigger for this, and like I am stained in some way. That is what I have been left with and most days it’s a struggle to get through that.

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            Hey JB <3

            Firstly, let me acknowledge the struggle you are going through and how bad you must be feeling. I remember when I first got here just over 4 months ago I was completely bereft and still trying to comprehend what had happened to me. It definitely puts you in a tailspin. What I hear is you beating yourself up and this is what most of us are inclined to do. But reading your post I can see what he (the narc) has put you through. It's a lot and what they do can damage us in many different areas. It's not your fault. And my guess is you were vulnerable somehow at the time. Or he took advantage of your empathic nature in some manner. I doubt you set out to offend God.

            Our faith has an answer for everything, including this. Read Romans Ch 8:38-39.

            And don't forget. Satan himself is called 'the accuser'. Such thoughts, from my perspective, don't come from God. We have the remedy and I hope you can apply it.

            Please know that you are not alone and the healing will come, though it may take time.



          2. JB says:

            LET, thank you xxx

            You’re right, I never set out to offend God, or anyone else. I was vulnerable when he came along and going through a tough time. He appeared out of nowhere, appearing to be the voice of reason, some kind of saviour, even, and I came to depend on him emotionally, which is what kept me tolerating all the crap. Not that it did any good, me being so tolerant, as in the end he disappeared just as quickly. Like a whirlwind. Some days I even think I imagined it all. But you live and learn – it made me realise the only person who can ‘save’ you or solve your problems is you, and to rely on anyone else to do that is not a good thing. So it’s no contact, and onwards and upwards!

          3. lickemtomorrow says:

            You are more than welcome, JB <3

            Those vulnerable moments are the narcissist's ideal time to strike and they will utilize them to the full. And the dependence you develop on them is also designed to keep you in place and taking their crap. You will get no thanks for taking it, as you say, and only become aware of the illusion when they are gone. It's one of the most difficult things you will go through in life. And you've done well to find your way here after coming out the other end of it. The resources you need are all provided by HG.

            Ultimately we are responsible for ourselves, but at the same time we should not fear relying on people who are reliable. The problem is once you've been duped by a narcissist it takes some time to rebuild that trust and confidence in others. Being here is, in many ways, a good place to start. Partly because there are people here who get what you have been/are going through and who have been duped in the same way. They are not going to judge you and will support you in your journey going forward x

            No contact is the ultimate aim and delighted to hear you are looking forward again 🙂

          4. JB says:

            Thank you, LET. It’s good we can all be here for each other x

  4. Ben says:

    Yeah, I’ve experienced this…

  5. Amanda Lindsey says:

    Too long……..

  6. Cup Cakes says:

    Ive experienced this kind.

  7. Connie says:

    Thank you for this. My ex once said, “I hope I can come back.” His mom was dying – I thought he meant he hoped he could deal with losing her. But he never cried when she passed. I know everyone grieves differently, but he didn’t even miss any work. And the ugly devaluing, the silent treatments continued. Is it possible he meant he hoped he could return to being the guy I thought I loved? Or he hoped he could return to being content with me/us? I know my asking this is pathetic – day #55 of no contact and he’s not out of my head.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Difficult to answer without. more context. More importantly you need to access https://gum.co/QpNcl

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