People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have reduced gray matter volume in areas of the brain related to empathy, preventing them from forming an emotional or limbic bond with others, including their own children. This is also why they don’t experience the heartbreak of breaking up as normal people do.
Narcissists don’t attach to others, which is why they can easily form new relationships, while their former partners are left to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts for months or years.
In many ways, the limbic system can keep non-disordered people attached to their toxic ex-partners. Any form of contact, especially when it’s physical, triggers those same feel-good hormones. That’s why cutting sex– even after you’ve broken up- can be so challenging.
The brain interprets those experiences as pleasurable and essentially starts to crave them. That’s why you may keep texting, spending time, or even sleeping with your ex- despite your best intentions to move on.
Breakups aren’t easy, but you’re only reinforcing the brain’s confusion if you keep going back and forth. In addition, the brain will only continue supporting negative messages about loneliness and unlovability.
Remember, your limbic system is very smart, but it’s also highly primitive. It’s focused on in-the-moment survival to keep you alive. That doesn’t mean it inherently reinforces the best decisions.
Of course, at the present moment, staying with your ex may feel good. But long-term, this decision only creates more pain and problems.
Fortunately, you can overcome your limbic system. However, doing so requires repeated actions grounded in moving on with your life. In most cases, this means embracing a no-contact approach with your ex. Over time, your brain will catch up to reinforce your decisions.
Learn how to do no contact and move on with The Break Free Program: