Tag Archives: setting boundaries

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.

When Will I Be My Old Self Again?

I hate to break it to you but you will never be your old self again, nor should you, for many good reasons. Here are a few reasons why you should take this opportunity to become the new and improved you.

1. Your old self got you into this mess in the first place, lets hope we all are wiser and stronger people for the experience. No experience in life is a waste as long as you learn and grow from it, don’t waste this chance to do some major personal growth.

2. Being naive and oblivious to the evils of the world gives us a false sense of security, and feeling secure is something everyone wants. We want to believe everyone has a good side, that bad things happen to other people, not us, evil people are in the movies and live somewhere else. We liked thinking we would be able to detect if someone was evil, we also used to believe in Santa Claus; but we all have to grow up and face reality some time.

3. Dwelling on the past and all you lost is only going to make you unhappy. Wishing things were different will only make you unhappy, you can’t change the past but you can change how you handle the future.

4. You can’t fix anyone else, you can’t change anyone else, but you have total control over how you live and if you live true to yourself and your core beliefs no one can ever make you feel guilty, less than, or that you don’t deserve to be happy.

5. No one, no matter how much you love them; has the right to expect you to compromise your principles or your well being. 

6. On the same note, to expect someone else to make you happy or feel valued is giving them too much responsiblity and pressure. I know I sure the hell don’t want the responsibility of someone else’s happiness and self worth.

7. It is not your fault you got sucked in by a narcissist because you didn’t know better, but now you do know better and need to figure out how to avoid it happening again. The scarest part for me was the thought that I had totally been a victim and had no control over what happened to me, it meant I had no control over it happening again. I HAD to find a way where I had control over what people did to me, I could not go the rest of my life helplessly reacting to life and the actions of others. 

(To not take some responsibility for it is setting yourself up for a life of fear and unhappiness. You are relying on luck to keep you safe and saying to yourself, “you are helpless to protect yourself”, then wonder why you keep getting hurt. There are women who go through life lamenting, “Why do I keep meeting assholes?” We all meet assholes, assholes are every where, the question should be, “Why do you stay with them?”)

8. Living true to your core values, having “deal breaker” boundaries, not sacrificing your happiness and security is NOT being selfish, it is being smart and it protects you from being a victim. Love is NOT sacrificing yourself, your values, your security, your morality. If someone says, “If you really loved me you would do this thing I ask.”  rephrase it and say, “If you really loved me you would not expect me to do something or accept something that I do not feel comfortable with.”

9. Some where along the way, during our upbringing, someone instilled in us that we are not complete or valueable without a partner in our life, that a bad relationship is better than no relationship at all. That is straight bullshit!! 

I am not a man hater, I am not the least bit bitter or jaded about relationships, a relationship can be wonderful, sharing your life with someone can be fantastic, a shoulder to lean on when life gets you down, someone to share the good times and weather the bad times with. I liked being part of a “couple”,  when a relationship is healthy there is nothing better but there is nothing worse than feeling alone when you aren’t, or always having to fight for your right to feel a certain way, there is nothing comforting about having to snoop to see if your spouse is being faithful, you should be able to trust your partner’s word, you should be able to trust your partner’s promises, you should be able to trust your own recollection of events and not be told you are crazy or paranoid. None of those things are part of a healthy loving relationship, and if you stay with that person, you never will have a healthy relationship.

10. You owe it to yourself and any future partner to take the time now to heal present and past hurts, deal with that inner voice that says you are not good enough, learn to set boundaries, YOUR deal breaker boundaries, learn to listen to your gut, to block the negative shit we have been told about ourselves, learn how to live a true and honest life in every area of your life. Stop being what you have been told you should be and start being the person you are meant to be. I guarantee you that if you start living life true to your core self you will know your worth and no one will ever be able to make you feel less than again, you will have less and less self doubt, and you WILL find inner peace. 

I recommend taking at least a year or two after a narcissist to heal before dating. If the thought of that makes you feel panicked and anxious, then you most definitely need to take a couple of years. If you need to find a man because you think the clock is ticking and time is running out for you to have a child, or you feel you can’t support yourself, or you can’t survive without a man, or all your friends are married and you feel like odd man out, and especially if you find yourself trying to be the kind of woman the man wants instead of being honest with yourself and him and admitting early on when the man is not the kind of man you want in your life. Too many times women bend over backwards trying to be what the man wants and making excuses for his unacceptable behaviour because they just started dating and don’t want to appear demanding or bitchy. 

I have actually had women come into the blog complaining because a guy doesn’t treat her with respect and at the same time describe how he got blind drunk their first date, she slept with him on the first date and she has been concerned about his drink all along, he has a warped sense of humor and expects her to come to his place for sex and then leave. He has never pretended to be in love with her and she is calling him a narcissist. No, you are a door mat that won’t demand a man treat you with respect. I think it was Dr Phil, or Oprah that said, “We teach people how to treat us.” And it is the truth. We teach people how to treat us by what we accept, asking for respect is not the same as demanding respect and being prepared to walk if you don’t get it.

So, please don’t wish to be your old self ………… strive to be your best self and make it a life long journey

Moving Forward With Boundaries In Place

Here is an excerpt from a post I did today on the No Reim’er Reason site.

“I found with James, over time my respect for him dwindled; and it bothered me. How can you love a man who you do not respect? For me it goes hand in hand; on the other side of the coin, how can you say you love me when you don’t show me respect? Love without respect is a contradiction of terms, it an oxymoron; just like a narcissist is an oxymoron, (I know, kinda cool that moron is part of that word, I caught that!)

I think it is important we talk about respect in a relationship if we are going to discuss re-entering the dating world after the narcissist.

How do you earn someone’s respect?”

We don’t think about the meaning of words, we toss the word respect around but what does it mean? how do we know we are being disrespected? It is important to have the answers to those questions BEFORE you start dating again. The narcissist demands respect, he expects compliance with his demands and if he doesn’t get immediate compliance he says you are not treating him with respect, so he will use fear to get you to comply. Fear has nothing to do with respect.

I know that from being a single mom of a teenage boy who outweighed me. I knew I had to have his respect because he would never fear me. Besides, who wants their kids to fear them? I much prefer have my son o things because he respects me and because I have walked my talk and lived true to the same standards I expected of him.

To find out how to earn someone’s respect and keep it join No Reim’er Or Reason by clicking on the donation button and paying a small one time only membership fee of $15. This offer is only good until 2016, after that the fee will be more and monthly.