Tag Archives: living an authentic life

I’m Not Sure He’s A Narcissist

I can’t count how many times I have heard a woman comment that she isn’t sure her partner is a narcissist. Their partner has many of the traits, but not all.

When I started looking for answers I would Google, “sometimes my husband acts like he hates me” and sites on domestic abuse would come up in the search. I got frustrated, he didn’t hit me, he just acted like he hated me breathing his air, sometimes, not all the time. Sometimes he was very loving. I wanted to know how to fix it. He wasn’t “abusive”, ok well, not all the time. He had hit me once and strangled me once. It wasn’t all the time.

For the longest time I never commented and would just leave the site. I wouldn’t go searching for answers for awhile and then things would get really bad again and I’d go searching again.  When I finally did comment the women seemed so hate filled and told me to just leave him. They weren’t interested in learning how much I loved him, how he was the love of my life. How a person doesn’t “just walk away” from a love like that.

I remember resolving myself to the fact that I was never going to leave even if he didn’t love me. I loved loving him enough, I would be happy just to be in his life and I would take the good when I could, it was worth the bad times. But the bad times always got worse. Just when I thought, “there’s no way he can hurt me worse than this” he’d find a way.

Twenty years ago no one talked about narcissists. About 5 years into the relationship I found a site that gave me hope. It was a couple who said he was a narcissist and she had discovered the secret to fixing him. They sold books and classes instructing women how to fix their narcissistic partner. They made it sound like he was basically a benign self centered normal guy, with a conscience and ability to love.

It wasn’t until I had left my ex that I discovered the truth about narcissists. I thought I must be the only person who had ever experienced the bizarre treatment I had endured from my ex. I was amazed time after time when I wrote about the things he did and people commented, “OMG! You are writing about me!, How did you know?”

I wanted women to know they weren’t alone, that it wasn’t their fault, they couldn’t fix it, and if by sharing my experiences I saved one life, everything I went through would be worth it. Ten years after leaving I can say it was, because I have heard from dozens, if not hundreds of women and men who wrote to thank me.

Unfortunately, most victims feel that they must be able to identify a narcissist in order to protect themselves. They want a set list of traits they can go down and tick the boxes, if the guy ticks enough boxes the woman has “permission” or reason to dump him.

The problem is, the number one trait of a narcissist is, he doesn’t act like a narcissist until he has his victim firmly hooked. By that time he has already done damage to the victim’s self esteem, confidence, and made the victim dependent on him.

In order to truly protect yourself you can’t rely on a list or other people to tell you what to do. A narcissist’s whole m.o. is to create confusion and keep the victim off balance.

It is that indecision and mistrust of your own ability and instincts to make wise choices that got you where you are. If you are living true to your core self and doing what is best for you, there is no grey area, you know what you need to do.

It doesn’t matter if they check all the boxes on a list of narcissistic traits; just because a person is not a narcissist does not make them a good person or someone you should invest your emotions and time in.

I use my son as an example of someone who lives true to his core self and is a mentally healthy person. He looks at life realistically and honestly. He has taught me that staying true to yourself is not selfish, judgemental or unkind. Living true to yourself takes all the drama out of your life, it makes life do much simpler, easier.

Let me give you a recent prime example. My son had been dating a very attractive woman who had alot of traits he really appreciated. I met her and really liked her. He called yesterday to tell me he had broken up with her because in the two months they have been seeing each other there were a few traits she possessed that really made him angry. A few things that went totally against his core principles had happened enough times that he felt he couldn’t keep seeing her. She had more than once been judgemental about a person’s looks or social standing, She was materialistic, and entitled and she just didn’t hold the same values as him. There were things she said that ate at him, made him angry, and he knew it wasn’t his job to change her and he sure wasn’t going to give up his values and beliefs, so he did the only thing he could do and stay true to himself, he ended it. She isn’t a narcissist, well, we will never know for sure because he didn’t stick around long enough to find out.

We are so quick to label anyone who hurts us a narcissist. It dilutes the true toxicity of a narcissist to throw the label around BUT that said, just because someone isn’t a narcissist doesn’t mean you should be with them, try to change to please them, or change them to fit your needs. You DO have to know what your needs are and not settle for less.

If you are on the internet looking for answers because the person you are with is acting in ways that are disrespectful and hurtful of you; you are in a toxic relationship. No diagnoses necessary. The only question you need to ask is, “why am I staying with someone who treats me this badly?

Why am I staying in a relationship that is so confusing I have to look on the net for answers?

If you are in a healthy relationship you would not be on the internet looking for answers.

Not everyone is going to like us. We have to check our ego, and not take it personally that someone rejects us. We have to live true to our core self and when we do, the right person will come along.

The narcissist sweeps the victim off her feet. It’s romantic,  exciting, it takes your breath away and throws the victim off balance.

The surest way to protect yourself if to live true to your core self. I can’t tell you what to do, you need to know, deep inside, what you need to do. Not should do, but what you need to do, for you.

In the beginning of a relationship we are always on our best behavior. It is when we get to know the other person, we find out likes and dislikes, common interests. We do it, so does everyone else, a narcissist does it in order to compile ammunition to control the victim. We do it to make sure this is a person we want to invest our time in. Not everyone is going to like us and we aren’t going to like everyone we meet. Some women want a man in their life so bad, they turn themselves into a pretzel trying to be the woman he wants.

We need to stop put more value on having a man than finding a man who enhances our lives and who we can live true to our core values. A relationship should never make you feel inferior or like you need to change; and you should never ever compromise your values or allow them to cross your boundaries.

Profound Insite From A Member

I received a comment on the Support Forum of the blog today and couldn’t wait to make it into a stand-alone post. It is so profound and critical to the long term healing for the victim of narcissistic abuse. Although I have done posts on it before, it needs repeating and hopefully our combined effort will help people stugging to heal.

This is the comment.

MyLife

I remember thinking of myself as a hero of sorts for putting up with the abuse, for keeping the relationship alive and the family whole. I endured the insults and the pain and was grateful for crumbs. I was such a good person! I forgave, I overlooked, I accepted, and doled out second chances until they numbered in the thousands. Come to find out I was just as disordered as he was in my own saintly way.

Ugh it’s hard to admit even now and even harder to understand some of his slurs were actually true. Too sensitive? Actually yes. Too emotional? Yup. Passive aggressive, I could check that box too. I was a hot mess dancing with a cold one, he pitched and I swung and I played my part like a champ until I finally got tired of losing to his unfair rules.

Looking back I guess that’s when I became pretty crappy supply. The raging got really bad and I without realizing it caused him some hefty narcissistic injuries. We went from crazy to outright bedlam and the worst part is the kids went there with us.

That’s when I had to stop playing saint, that was the true breaking point. But even when you finally get to your breaking point it’s not enough you have to start fixing what was wrong with yourself to get into such a place in the first place. No contact with the abuser but major in depth contact with yourself which should be your one and only focus, not the abuser. All of the thoughts you continue to give the abuser are energy that should belong to you and must belong to you and alone if you’re ever going to heal.

At first each and every time you start thinking about him (or her) you will have to very deliberately refocus your thoughts to yourself and that’s hard work. You might not want to. Your brain might not cooperate. But until you master this you will continue to suffer at the abusers hand whether you’re near or far.

* No truer words have every been spoken.

I can remember feeling extremely offended and being very defensive the first time it was suggested to me that I had anything to do with my own abuse.

It was when I was once again lamenting “why does he keep hurting me?”

Someone said, “Because you keep letting him.”

Ouch!!

First you have to get the victim away from the narcissist before you suggest they need to look at themselves because to suggest it too soon will only give them an excuse to stay or go back. You can not live true to your core self while you are with a narcissist, its impossible.

As long as the victim of abuse thinks there is something they can do to save the relationship they will continue to go back. It is only when they have tried everything that they admit defeat and leave. That is why the victim stays, the narcissist keeps saying things like, “If you would stop doing that….I would stop hurting you.” “If you did this…..I would be happy and we could go back to the way we were.”

When the victim leaves or gets dumped (in the end the victim always is the one to leave the narcissist because the narcissist never truly leaves completely) and (I think every victim has said the same thing) “How can I ever trust again? How can I make sure I am never hurt again?” And they think the answer lies in studying the narcissist so they know everything there is to know. Malignant, Covert, Sociopath, Psychopath, they become experts on every trait and study done.

The problem with that is; the narcissist changes his personality like he changes his clothes. He morphs into whatever personality suits his agenda at any given time. We have all seen him change right before our eyes.

The only constant and the only thing within our power to change, is ourselves.

MyLife spoke of what I call “doing the dance”, we all did it. He swings, we sidestep, we move, he moves, we anticipate what he will do next and he KNOWS what we will do next, he plays us like a violin.

We become martyrs, martyrs are not attractive people. We lament that we are “just that way. I can’t say no. I love him and I am sensitive, I can’t say no when he begs me to take him back. He lied. It wasn’t my fault. I am just a victim.”

I listened to myself and thought, “Wow! If I insist on not taking any responsibility for my own situation I am always going to be a victim, helpless to ever protect myself.” How could anyone heal and find happiness if they have no control over what happens to them?

What the narcissist wanted changed hourly, you twisted yourself into what you thought he wanted and it was never good enough, you were never enough. Now you don’t have a clue who you are any more, he was the only one who ever loved you just the way you were; no wait……only while he was love bombing you, once he had you things changed.

I started by taking every single criticism he had of me and looking at it honestly. Was I too sensitive? I had been told my whole life I was, by my whole family. I did a personality test. Yep, I was a sensitive person, probably an empath, I was not a freak, 4% of the population had the same score I did. That was reassuring.

I didn’t want to stop being a sensitive person but I knew I didn’t always handle it in a positive way. What could I do to change it, why did I get SO hurt when others didn’t, why did I panic when someone rejected me?

Intellectually I know I can’t control what happens to me but I have full control over how I react.

From that point on, every time I felt that anxiety building, the anger growing when someone hurt me, I stopped. Stepped back, took a deep breath and did nothing.

It seems to me sensitive people tend to make rash decisions, they feel they must do something immediately. It caused me so much heart ache in my past.

I make lousy decisions when I am emotional. I say and do things I regret and I have to back peddle and then I feel guilty, giving the narcissist the power position to twist things to be my fault, lay guilt trips and sweep what he did under the carpet. I was forever giving my power away and then wondering how things always got turned back on me.

The biggest thing I learned was to not make any decisions and sleep on it. Oh sure, I would want to rage, give the person a piece of my mind, demand I be treated with respect etc etc. Or if the other person rejected me I would fight the urge to grovel and beg their forgiveness. I would sit down and write out my thoughts, with pen on paper because it seems to connect me more to my true feelings.

I would try to be an observer of my own mind. Why was I feeling this way? I know anger is always based in some other emotion, fear,  jealousy,  sadness, hurt….. you are never just angry. I would identify why I was angry. Once I could identify why I would ask myself was that feeling justified or was I being too sensitive. (You must come to this conclusion on your own. You can not rely on someone else to tell you that you are too sensitive).

This is another epiphany I had. Being sensitive is often times your ego messing with your head. A lot of times if someone seemed to reject me it really had nothing to do with me at all!! Another ouch! Excuse me! It’s not always about you! Maybe they had a bad day, maybe they don’t feel well, maybe they had other plans.

One Christmas I was looking forward to my son and grand daughter spending Christmas with me. I envisioned them spending Xmas eve, opening gifts Xmas morning, going to my mom’s for Xmas dinner. My son had not been home on Christmas day in 8 years and I had it all planned.

Then we were talking on the phone and he told me how Christmas was going to go. He was picking up his daughter after work, driving to his dad’s and spending Xmas eve there. Then they would go to my mom’s from there and coming to my place on Boxing Day. I was so angry I could barely be civilized enough to say I would have to call him back. I know he must have wondered what the hell happened, all of a sudden I had gone silent. I was furious!! No, my feelings were hurt, my ego was hurt. “How dare he put me at the bottom of his list. His father had never been there for him, I had earned Xmas day (entitlement). I am always the one who has to compromise.” (Martyrdom) I cried, I wrote pages and pages of angry hurt feelings until I was able to calmly express myself without lashing out.

I contemplated just being a martyr and not saying anything but I knew my son would feel something was wrong, that old passive aggressive thing MyLife touched on would rear its ugly head OR I could be honest.

I called him, asked if he had time to talk, he said, “Sure momma, what’s up?”

I said, “I have to tell you that I am having hurt feelings because I am being put last on your list this Christmas. I was really hoping you would be spending Christmas with me.”

He said, “oh mom! You are never last on my list. I was just thinking I am picking Kaela up after work, it’s a 4 hour drive to my dad’s and 5+ hours to your place. Four hours in the truck is going to be about max for a 4 year old. If we stay at my dad’s I can get her into bed at a decent time. My dad has a spare bedroom so Kaela can go to bed whereas at your place you only have one bedroom and you insist on sleeping on the couch.  Dad lives 10 minutes from Grandma’s house. If we drove to your house Xmas Eve we would be driving right past my dad’s and grandma’s and then have to turn around and go back the next day.  I was just thinking of logistics.”

He went on to explain he had to move his stuff out of his apartment and into storage while he was on the coast and thought he would do that Boxing Day and him and I could have turkey when he was done.

By the time he finished I felt nothing but love and understanding for him. I suggested that I help him move his stuff on Boxing Day and we could just grab a burger or something. He sounded so relieved. It was one of the best Christmases I have ever had and Boxing Day I had him all to myself, reminiscing, laughing, crying, and I felt so close to him. I treasure the day to this day.

It could have gone in a totally different direction. And with a narcissist, it would have. I hear you saying, “So how does this new approach protect me from the narcissist?”

It protects you because you are coming from an honest, healthy place and a healthy person will respect that, a narcissist won’t. If you find yourself being pulled into an argument and being told you are wrong to feel the way you do you are a lot less likely to get sucked into the toxicity of the narcissist if you are calm rational and confident. If you lose your temper, cry, accuse him of disrespecting you, even a healthy person will be defensive. If you ever did get to the truth there would be hard feelings, you would feel guilty and hurtful things would have been said.

If you act responsibly, if you are confident that your feelings are justified, if you don’t blame and own your feelings, no one can make you feel “less than” again.

The same thing applies to saying yes and no. As simple as it may seem, victims of a narcissist have a problem with saying “No”. It was hard to admit but I often said “Yes” and then resented it. I would say yes so people would like me, so people wouldn’t get angry with me, because I felt obligated, guilty, or because I was a martyr and liked to look good and charitable. I didn’t want to appear selfish, I wanted people to talk about what a nice person I was. Very rarely did I say yes or do things, for the right reason;…… because I really wanted to do it.

Many times in my life I said yes I would do something and then grumble about having to do it.

Once again I stopped making a rash decision and would say, “I will have to get back to you.”

I would analyze how I felt about it in my gut. I only did things for the right reason. It does not make you selfishould to say no and you can say no and not provide an explanation for saying no.

* No, can be a complete answer.

There is so much more to it; it is a lot of work. You have to be diligent and brutally honest with yourself and not validate yourself through other people. No canvassing others to see what they think you should do. No taking a survey to find out if they think you are right. You have a right to your feelings and you have the power to express them in a healthy productive way.

It does not happen over night, it takes retraining your brain how it thinks about you (your mind only knows what you allow to be put in it), it takes learning to trust your gut, getting control of your ego, giving up your need to be right, giving up your need to be liked by everyone (you don’t like everyone, not everyone is going to like you. It doesn’t make anyone right or wrong), and it takes a commitment to living an  authentic honest life to the best of your ability. And when you “fail” which we all do; we slide back into our old ways. You start again, keep trying to be the best you that you can be, every day is a new day, we can and should always strive to be better.

We know instinctively when we are not living true to our core self. When we feel like a failure, when we need others approval and to tell us we are right, we are not living true to our core self.

We are not bad people. If there is something about yourself you don’t like, you have the power to change it, alter it, or throw it away. It is a totally personal journey. My faults will not be the exact same as yours, what I consider a flaw will not be the same as what you consider to be a flaw.

Most people never get the chance to totally rebuild themselves from the ground up. We come into this world a clean slate with nature abilities, talents and personality and then our parents start trying to form us into who they think we should be. Some parents encourage a child to be an individual and find their passion but many try to force the child to conform to their interests and dreams for the child and inflict their hang ups on the kids. We grow into adults not even aware that we are not living true to our core self only feeling we are impostors and a failure somehow.

I am not saying we were all abused as children, our parents wanted what was best for us. Embrace this opportunity to discover who you were born to be.

One thing is for certain; when you concentrate on your feelings, your reaction, your values and live true to your core self, life becomes much easier and no matter what happens in your life you have inner peace and no one can make you feel “less than”. 

It is when we allow others to tell us who we “should” be that we give them the power to make us feel “less than”. 

And it is when we feel “less than” that we are our weakest and most vulnerable.

What To Expect When You Leave A Narcissist

There are some common stages a victim of narcissistic abuse goes through after leaving the narcissist; I thought it might help some people to know what to expect because many victims seem surprised by the intensity of their emotions and how they are feeling. Intense feelings are scary.

The victim of narcissistic abuse needs to know what they are experiencing is normal and they will get past it. Here are 10 common steps victims take after leaving the narcissist. They are not in sequence and you may feel them alternately, or feel past a stage only to relapse and feel like you haven’t healed at all.

1. IN CONTROL. Initially you may feel energized, almost on a high, …… empowered; because you are taking your life back and finally standing up to the narcissist. But that is short lived I am afraid. 

2. MISSING HIM. As reality sinks in you will miss the narcissist as if a body part has been cut from you. You will feel like the desire to contact him is so strong it is out of your control. You figure that if he would just give you closure you could start to heal but he blames every thing on you and refuses to take any blame.

https://ladywithatruck.com/2017/08/04/i-am-so-ashamed-why-am-i-missing-him/ 
3. WITHDRAWAL. Like anyone going through withdrawal, the ache is a physical pain, you will come up with dozens of reasons why you NEED to call him. Things that really are of little importance all of a sudden must be dealt with by him and only him. A flat tire, the cat has a fur ball, a letter came in the mail for him. 

Fight the urge!!! Go for a walk, call a friend, anything but contact him, check his social media or contact his friends and family. 

4. BARGAINING .You “bargain” with yourself, all you need is to hear his voice, or see him…… you will be strong. Or you just HAVE to tell him what you think of him or try to hurt him like he hurt you. But just like a junky, you can’t “do just a little”, you  will fall into his toxic web again because it hasn’t been long enough. 

When will it be long enough to not affect you? When you no longer want to see him, when you have nothing more to say to him, when the love is gone, the anger is gone, and you actually never want his pathological toxic fog hanging over you or any where near you. 

5. CRYING! You may cry none stop for days on end. I couldn’t believe how many tears a body can produce!! I sat for hours, unable to even focus on TV, staring blankly into space, I had to remind myself to blink and breath. I even thought I could die if I just forgot to breath. (No. It doesn’t work. You can’t will yourself to die)

After a while you will be able to function a little bit, go to work, grocery shop, get dressed. I used to allot myself time for a really good cry before putting my makeup on. I could go all day without breaking down for the most part but on the way home I would be sobbing.

Sometimes I would go for a day or two without crying and then out of no where it would hit me like a bolt of lightening and I would have tears streaming down my face.

Relax! It is normal no matter what other people might say about you needing to “just get over it and move on”.  Trying to NOT cry or feeling bad about crying only compounds the problem. Then you are berating yourself and feeling bad about feeling bad.

6. OBSESSING.  You become obsessed with figuring him out, what he is doing and why. You are hooked on the “game” of solving the real live game of Clue life with a narcissist becomes. You read all about narcissists, compare notes with other victims on supper forums, you feed off of the shared stories; “OMG!that’s what my ex did!” Or “you think that’s bad, MY N did this……!” 

You may try to talk to old friends face to face about what he did or doing but you will quickly notice people turn away from you and minimize what you went through or simply don’t listen. 

You talk about him and the relationship ad nauseum, even you ate sick of talking about him. But he is all you think about. You relive the whole relationship over and over again. You analyze why he did the things he did, you try to “catch” him treating his new woman badly or cheating on her. 

You feel you have lost all your social skills. You have forgotten how to make small talk, it all seems so trivial and pointless. You fear you will never find your “old self” again.

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/ladywithatruck.com/2013/08/29/retrain-your-brain/amp/
7. MOURNING. You mourn the death of the relationship; your dream, your fantasy, your hope. He may be an asshole and lying to the new woman but he used to be your asshole and now she is the one with hope, even if it is false hope. You long for the those brief moments when he was “loving”, you knew he was lying but he cared enough to lie. I used to pray he would tell me any lie, no matter how feeble and transparent it was; so I could continue to lie to myself. 

8. ACCEPTANCE.  He goes on a smear campaign. Little had you known he was slagging you long before the relationship ended and now no one believes you because he has convinced them you are a paranoid psycho butch that made his life hell. After all, he seems so happy with the new woman, it must have been your fault. And if it was so bad, why did you stay so long and not say something sooner? Huh? 

Anything you say at this point is just going to sound like sour grapes and revenge. 

You are going to have to accept that the only closure you are going to get is that you were involved with a personality disordered person who will never make sense or admit to any wrong doing.

https://ladywithatruck.com/2014/04/24/when-people-dont-understand-the-mind-of-a-narcissist/
9. PARANOIA. It will seem like you are surrounded by narcissists. At every turn you run into another one trying to take advantage of you. This is a very vulnerable time, the first narcissist that comes along and tells you how fantastic you are will take away all your insecurities, you will feel renewed, healed from the N by this honest loving guy who treats you with kindness and understanding. You will have forgotten that is how it always starts with a narcissist and before you know it you are out of one frying pan and into another one. That is why it is vitally important to not date too soon.

You are not being paranoid when you think you are surrounded by narcissists. More than likely you are going to realize that some family members are narcissistic AND a victim is a narcissist magnet. 

As you start living true to your core self you will notice some family members and friends will not like the new you. The people who have always been able to manipulate you and used you for passive supply will try to stop your personal growth and self awareness.

https://ladywithatruck.com/2017/08/05/recipe-for-a-really-good-pity-party/

10. FINDING YOUR BEST SELF INSTEAD OF YOUR OLD SELF. Number 10 is strictly your choice. You can bury the pain, continue to do what you believe other people want you to do, like pretend to move on and find a “nice” guy who treats you right. (As if you were looking for an asshole last time). It has been useful to research narcissists and learn what you are dealing with.  It helps to know they can’t be healed and their brains are deformed. It helps to hear the stories of other victims and know you aren’t the only one who got sucked in. 

But, you will never find your old naive self. Remaining a “victim” by continuing to obsess about him, stalk him, “out” him, and expecting that telling people how hurt you were in your last relationship is going to somehow protect you in the future is futile and self defeating.

Some people get stuck in victimhood. In many ways it keeps them attached to the narcissist and being a victim has become their identity.

Personally the last thing I wanted was to be an eternal victim, living in fear of being unable to protect myself from the narcissists in the world. You really can’t get away from them so how do you protect yourself?

https://ladywithatruck.com/2017/07/08/when-will-i-be-my-old-self-again/
Well THAT shold be enough reading material to keep you busy for awhile.

There are more things you go through, I have included links to some posts that delve more deeply into some of the topics but there are more Posts throughout the blog.

And one more for good measure.

https://ladywithatruck.com/2014/02/07/dusty-journals-of-a-healing-journey/