Narcissism is getting more attention these days which is both good and bad. The good side is, for those going through a relationship with a narcissist and didn’t know it, this information can be transforming. On the bad side, there are people being labeled a narcissist when in fact they are not, they are only being an ass. Narcissists are master manipulators to get what they want with no concern for who they hurt along the way, and they can be downright cruel.
I spent my life wondering if there was something wrong with me, in doubt of my ability to assess people with hidden agendas, feeling like I always fell short of pleasing certain people in my life, and the harder I tried, the worse it got. I was blamed for things that I had nothing to do with, I have been devalued in every way you can imagine, and then discarded. Narcissists have a distinct pattern and after the discard, the love-bombing starts to reel you back in where everything seems good again, only to be devalued and discarded once again. They are masters at gaslighting, making you doubt yourself and what you know to be true. It’s a game to them and nothing less than traumatizing for the victim. If you are dealing with a narcissist, you must know that it is not because you are unworthy, or not enough. They choose the empaths, the people pleasers, and the rescuers because of their compassionate nature, and also those with weak personal boundaries. Yes, I was all of the above.
I ended up attracting several narcissists throughout my life (married and divorced one) and I realize now it’s because I was mentally conditioned by the narcissist. I internally normalized this behaviour which made meeting other narcissists feel familiar to me. It may have been familiar but in no way was it pleasant.
When I discovered narcissism and dove in to learn as much as I could about it, I felt a bit liberated, I felt validated, and I realized that I wasn’t going crazy and that I wasn’t alone. The control and manipulation of the narcissist are not easily understood unless you have been through it. The other thing I felt was shame.
I felt shame because I had been an enabler of this narcissistic person, falling into their traps over and over thinking I could help them understand by explaining my side to them, and yet this only made the manipulations and gaslighting worse.
I made a decision to get help with the trauma I experienced so I could stop attracting more narcissists, I dug deep and walked through a healing process, that honestly isn’t very fun, but is so worth it in the end.
Narcissists show up in your life everywhere. They can be in your family and extended family, in your personal relationships, and where you work.
Here are some red flags and characteristics you can look at to determine if you may indeed be in a relationship with a narcissist, and this is in no way a comprehensive list, as there are several types of narcissists, each with their own agenda and characteristics.
They Have a Sense of Entitlement – they feel the world owes them and will turn every situation into being about them. This is particularly noticeable if there is a celebration for someone, they will make it be about them and will create drama for the one celebrating.
They are Charming and have Charisma – this is used to trick you into believing they are someone they are not. Typically, they will have a version of themselves that the world sees and even reveres, and another version that you see behind closed doors, that is mean and cruel. A Jekyll and Hyde persona.
They are Grandiose – they have the best of everything because they believe they deserve it and are entitled. They are egocentric and self-serving.
They Cannot Regulate their Emotions – when they are frustrated, disappointed, or stressed and their biggest fear of being exposed is threatened, they react with rage.
They Lack Empathy – they will not apologize or feel bad for anything they do to anyone. They are incapable of seeing how they hurt others and even if they did for a second, their need to feel superior will be more important than the people they destroy.
They deep down Envy Others – however they will spin it to believe that others actually envy them.
They will Blame Others for what is Their Responsibility – they see themselves as the victim. They blame everyone else for what’s wrong. Your angry reaction to their bad behaviour will be the problem, not their actions.
They Lie – to anyone to satisfy their own narrative and they actually believe their lies as truth.
They Cheat – when they cheat it will be your fault they did. They will say things like, “you made me do it.”
They are Controlling – including who you see and when, they can isolate you from friends and family and even try to sabotage you at your place of employment. Things must be done their way and let me be clear…nothing you do will ever please them or be enough.
They will Gaslight you – they will twist things around, use word salads, tell you it didn’t happen when you know in fact it did, to the point where you end up questioning yourself and your reality.
These are the basics and of course, there are many other things that happen in a narcissistic relationship that I will cover in future blogs, so please stay tuned.
The purpose of this today is to hopefully give you information on what to look for, and maybe you have recognized something and a light just went on as it did for me.
This is a dysfunctional, destabilizing relationship and is in no way a healthy relationship. For many, it is nothing less than traumatic.
Two recommendations for you…
#1 – Do Not Confront the narcissist or call them out. This will not go well for you as it will be turned around and you will end up the bad guy and likely worse off than before….NO exceptions!
#2 – Radically Accept that you cannot ever change the narcissist, nor will they ever change for the better on their own. Their manipulations work for them and they won’t see a problem with their behavior.
If you find you are in a relationship with a narcissist, I want you to know that you are not alone, you are not crazy, it has nothing to do with you, and it’s not your fault. Narcissists only target good people.
I am here to support you on your healing journey from this toxic relationship. If you have a narcissistic parent or are leaving/left a narcissistic partner, I want you to know;
I see you, I hear you, and most of all…I believe you.
Thank you, Janine, for sharing your article with us!
Janine is a coach, guide, and supporter for those who have chosen to stand up and heal, inspire, love, and unapologetically live their best life.