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.