narcissists and relationships: my experience
This is probably one of my most vulnerable blogs.
I am talking about what it’s really like to be in a relationship with a narcissist because I hear the term 'narcissist' get thrown around a lot and I really want to, first of all, demystify what it's actually like to be with someone who is a narcissist. A narcissist here is based on the definition, so someone who is truly is motivated at the expense of others who is not afraid to hurt others/risk the well-being of others.
If you are concerned or genuinely worried that you are a narcissist, I want to tell you that that’s probably a sign that you’re not. Now why would I say that?
If you are a narcissist, you just wouldn’t care because they technically wouldn’t care as long as it’s not interfering with your own goals, aims and intentions. You wouldn’t really care if people are accusing you unless it actually stopped your motives.
I’m sharing this story not to gossip or to put anyone down. I’m not gonna be naming names.
I'm doing this because if I can help someone identify someone who is pathologically narcissistic in their life and help them see that for what it is. If I can help someone being abused to take steps to remove themselves from the abuse in that situation, I would be just so grateful. It’s hard for me to think of someone, especially someone I love (but really anyone I know, even if I don’t know them) to be abused. This is something that, for me, is an important subject to talk about, even if it’s difficult because the most difficult thing about being in a relationship with a narcissist is not necessarily the memories afterwards - but the knowledge that you let yourself be treated like that.
What really kept me in a relationship was the fact that I tolerated this behaviour because I didn’t believe that I was worthy of being treated like a human being (nevermind being treated like a goddess or a queen!) and with respect.
If you believe that you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, I want you to stop saying that they love you. I’m serious. In the trauma therapy that I’ve experienced in my life, the number one thing you can do to not attract a narcissist in your life again: I want you to stop saying “he loved me but they just didn’t know how to show me...” or “I know they loved me, they just had problems with X...” because when you equate love with abuse, you’re bringing more of that abuse in and you are telling the universe that you are not worthy of true love. People who truly love you will not treat you that way. People who love you would treat you with kindness, respect and fairness that human beings are inherently worthy of. Human beings are innately enough as they are and the only reason why I believe human beings get in problems is because of a lack of self-love.
I was in a relationship with a narcissist for three years and I know that they were because, firstly I studied psychopathology in university. However, I wasn’t ready to admit that they were one. It was only until I talked to other people that knew this person where other people started saying to me “don’t you know they’re a narcissist...” and I initially dismissed it by saying: “it doesn’t matter anyway, I’m moving on” but then as I really read the research and the literature, I started saying, “oh yeah.”
The relationship was physically abusive so they were physically abusive with me. I failed to tell many people close to me in my life and I only started telling people when the relationship was really dissolved. I didn’t feel comfortable and I got embarrassed that if people knew that I let myself be treated like that, then people could think that they could walk all over me.
This person was a natural challenger. He would challenge people at work, challenge the opinions of others in a personal life and I am an achiever type, so I always wanted to be accomplishing and winning. So, the Challenger will you know say “OK, read five books this month and THEN you’re worthy of my love.”
I want to let you know that that is conditional love BTW. ^
A Challenger is not inherently a narcissist, but when you pair a Challenger with an Achiever who has low self worth and zero to no boundaries, abuse can easily happen.
At one point, it stopped being ”OK, work for me for 10 hours, then you earn my love,” they might put down the way you look, they might put down your fertility or lack thereof, they might put down anything.. the colour of your eyes, the way you parent, they will put down anything and when you have little sense of self worth, you might catch yourself saying: “OK, I’ll change the way I am because I must not be enough.”
What makes you a perfect target for a narcissistic relationship is poor boundaries. For example, if every time they call you, you answer - even if you are in the middle of a yoga class, even if you are in the middle of work - you answer the call. Those are poor boundaries whereas you could be saying, “no, I’m not gonna answer your calls at work” or “I’m not gonna answer your calls at yoga.”
Here’s another example: if they call you and you’re available so you pick up the phone and they start screaming at you and they’re upset with you, this is abusive! For you to continue having a conversation with them when you don’t like this conversation and you don’t appreciate that, that is also an example of poor boundaries. Saying, “I don’t appreciate the way you’re talking to me right now and so I’m going to hang up” is healthy. Now, I understand if you may share share a home with someone or you want to make sure that they not destroy your property or mess with your life, but more importantly than anything else in life, is making sure you have well-being. Sadly, some have to choose.
So low self-worth means believing that you should change yourself because you have a fundamental belief that you are not worthy enough as you are right now. Whether it’s put downs, whether it’s physical abuse (which I don’t need to go into - I’m sure you know what physical abuse looks like or sounds like) it shows up by critiquing you on a mental level, the way you think about things and then emotional abuse as well.
Gaslighting is a new trending topic as well. This can look like your narcissistic partner cheating on you and you tell them: “I know you’re cheating on me“ and you have airtight evidence - you have seen the texts on the phone, you see pictures and they call you “crazy and there’s no way.” If someone actually tries to make you believe that you’re “crazy” or think that you are mentally unstable for believing what you believe (the truth), that is a huge red flag in general. Crazy is not an appropriate term to be throwing around... and neither is narcissism. Also, no one with compassion will literally say you’re crazy. If someone in your life says you’re crazy, and you are actually suffering from mental illness, the person shouldn’t be calling you crazy.
If you want to talk with me and have a free consult with me about that or about something more to do with branding, I highly invite you to book a call with me. If you have any concerns, please share them in the comment section. I really appreciate it and if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your comment publicly, you can always check me out at my Instagram and you can direct message me. I see all my messages!