Are you in a relationship where you feel more pain than joy, have been deceived or betrayed, deal with intense jealousy, guy in mirroror feel like you are walking on eggshells unsure of how he/she will react to anything? Have you tried to end it, but he/she is like a ‘boomerang’ that just keeps coming back? You may be in love with or dating a Narcissist. I use a capital ‘N’ when I say that, because I am not referring to someone who may be a bit arrogant or self-centered, but someone who could be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

Every love relationship has its ups and downs. Being in love should feel wonderful, and it can be if you are in love with an emotionally healthy person. Emotionally mature individuals understand that the euphoria experienced in the beginning of a relationship can be fleeting. Every relationship hits some bumps in the road as you take the time to get to know each other. If you can communicate and navigate them together, you have a good chance of developing a deeply satisfying and sustainable partnership. But that can never happen with a psychopath or sociopath.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but there is another form of abuse that I first wrote about last October. Emotional abuse is much harder to pinpoint in our society because it leaves no physical scars. Unfortunately there are many more people impacted by this insidious form of abuse. In fact, I was one of them, which inspired me to write the emotional abuse article a year ago. It wasn’t until a few months ago however that I became familiar with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and realized that I had been dealing with a textbook case. After doing a lot of research, communicating with other victims of narcissists, and as part of my own healing process, I have decided to begin writing a series of articles on NPD. My hope is that it will help others to recognize it when they see it, and either avoid the emotional devastation that results, or detach from the toxicity and begin to heal. Then, instead of repeating the experience they can eventually create loving relationships with healthy people.

Physically abusive men (or women) are usually also emotionally abusive however, there are many people who are emotionally abusive but not physically violent. Because a person with NPD will rarely seek help, many cases go undiagnosed and therefore the statistics stated by experts in the field are probably an underestimation, at 1% of the public being afflicted with this disorder. Doctors and other specialists, who work with victims of narcissistic abuse, estimate that NPD affects closer to 4% of the public. Since narcissists are never monogamous and burn through a lot of partners simultaneously, throughout their lifetime, that means a LOT of American adults will be exposed to the abuse. Professionals agree that more men than women develop NPD, stating that at least 75% of narcissists are male. So if you are a man who has been hurt by a female narcissist, understand that I will refer to the narcissist as ‘he’ throughout the rest of the article just to simplify things.

Behaviors of a Narcissist

A person with NPD is incapable of having healthy relationships with those they claim to ‘love’.  They are pathological liars, masters of seduction, and will never be interested in monogamy. They are typically very intelligent people, clever wordsmiths, possibly even poetic, and they are very charming. They will flatter you with words and sweep you off your feet with what seems like heartfelt expressions of love like no other. They understand the human psyche well enough to get you to expose all of your past relationship scars, and divulge some of your darkest secrets. These treasures they’ve mined will be used to manipulate and control you, and possibly to destroy you if you should ever try to leave them. They Man with red winehave no conscience since they see themselves as ‘above the masses’, and therefore exempt from what one would consider acceptable behavior. They may be condescending, haughty, or exhibit feelings of superiority, and refer to the general public and things most people do or enjoy as ‘beneath’ them. The narcissist sees himself as special, and thereby entitled to special treatment. As such, he’ll seek out others whom he admires and deems special too. His prey is typically a sensitive and caring individual, and the narcissist will suck the life out of her like a vampire, often while draining her financial resources as well.

If caught and confronted with their lies and betrayals that have devastated the lives of their ‘victims’, or what the narcissist deems ‘the people they love,’ they have no sense of remorse or accountability. If they do, it cannot be trusted, since they are masters of deception and have no desire to change. If something they did caused you heartbreak, the narcissist’s defense is that they had the best intentions, and you are just overreacting. Not only will they lack empathy regarding the pain they caused you, but they will try to belittle you for expressing it, with retorts like, “I thought you were above this sort of behavior.”  Of course that is if they don’t shut down communication entirely and discard you now that you caught on to their game. For a narcissist to feel in control, he or she will have to end things before you do.

When unmasking the narcissist, it is typical for him to react with rage rather than remorse. If he lost another love partner (narcissistic supply) as a result of your actions, he will convincingly play the victim to everyone he knows, in an attempt to make you look bad. He will eventually come back, turning on the charm again – and the cycle of lies and seduction begins again until he has you under control once more. The sad thing is they are so good at this that it often works, especially before the victim realizes just how dangerous this emotional vampire is. Even when logic takes over, there are other reasons why an otherwise strong, successful, intelligent person might get suckered in again and again and cannot break the cycle of madness. I will elaborate on that in a future article but for more information search for articles and videos by Melanie Tonia Evans who runs a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program in Australia.

Warning Signs that You Are Dating a Narcissist

  1. Too much too soon. He’s Prince Charming. He’s in awe of you and says and does all the right things. He believesprince charming in love at first site and makes you think he’s your soul mate. He wants to know everything about you. He is grooming you to be his narcissistic supply.
  2. Big Spender. He seems overly generous and seems to spend an awful lot on dates for someone in his line of work. His grandiosity is often showy for the sake of onlookers, not just for you.
  3. Clothes make the man? He is always impeccably dressed and has a penchant for expensive clothes. He will spare no expense when it comes to his image or his pleasure. Any outward status symbol, including cars, or you on his arm, is there to make him look good.
  4. The savior. He will be there to ‘save’ the day when there is a crisis, or make you feel fabulous when you feel low – in the beginning anyway, or anytime you split and he wants you back. He wants you to need him.

Once You Are Hooked

  1. He does an about-face. You feel like you are walking on eggshells never sure of how he will react to anything. One minute he can’t live without you, and the next he completely cuts himself off or creates drama. His mood swings are extreme and come without warning.
  2. You are beginning to think you’re crazy. He becomes sarcastic and makes innuendoes. You have no idea where this is coming from. He lashes out at you or makes wild unfounded accusations. You are confused by his behavior.
  3. Never enough. When you express your love for him he challenges you, or invalidates your feelings. Suddenly you are living a Shakespearian tragedy, and he displays inappropriate emotion when you are not within reach. He may even become incapacitated at this point, unable to go to work or even get out of bed when you are gone.
  4. Everything is your fault. Even though he may disconnect for days if you don’t respond instantly to a phone call or a text, he is angry and accuses you of things he is probably doing himself.
  5. Emotional avoidance. You want to talk about his feelings and the problems you are having, but he constantly changes the subject or avoids communication altogether. If you had a blow-up he disappears for awhile then magically reappears as if nothing ever happened.
  6. Retaliation and punishment. He may verbally threaten you or begin a smear campaign trying to turn others against you. Sometimes a narcissist’s manipulation and control tactics take the form of sexual domination, as he talks you into submissive situations you are not comfortable with. This especially happens when you have left and he has lured you back or you have discovered his lies and indiscretions.
  7. Lack of empathy. He is unavailable when you need to talk to him or see him. When you have a problem, he minimizes it, and tells you to ‘do what you deem fit.’ In fact, he may be unreachable because he is busy with his ‘other’ narcissistic supply or grooming your replacement.
  8. Sabotage. He attempts to keep you from anything else that is important to you, whether it be family and friends or your career. He will not participate in events that matter to you. He may make disparaging remarks about people who are emotionally supportive of you. You spend more time at his place and less time going out on dates at this point.
  9. Fiscal irresponsibility. You find out that in spite of his initial generosity and custom made suits, he is in a heap of financial trouble and starts asking you for money to support his expensive habits.
  10. Obvious clues. His stories are so fantastic that they are implausible or he slips up and contradicts himself. Or, he gets sloppy and forgets to cover his tracks regarding the other women in his life. He may brag about his accomplishments, go on about his kindness to animals, or even brag about cruel things he has done that any kind person would find unfathomable.

Even though the details of the stories of the abused may vary slightly, the behaviors are consistent. Even a few of these are strong indicators that you should get out quickly or seek help. For more information see my article on emotional abuse.

Aren’t We All Narcissists to a Degree?

vampireWe all possess a certain amount of narcissism. We need to maintain a positive self-image, a sense of self-respect, and set healthy boundaries in order to protect ourselves. Without these basics tenets of self-esteem, there are plenty of people who will take advantage of us at every turn. The difference between healthy narcissism however, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder is that normal people have a conscience, feel empathy, and can learn and grow from their experiences in the world, while the narcissist does not. He continues on, unaffected. The loss of a relationship to him is just a temporary inconvenience. He is continually looking for his next fix, because he is incapable of being alone and needs someone to project his self-loathing onto while they worship him. Anybody but a dead body is better than nobody to a narcissist.

There are a lot of song lyrics that romanticize unhealthy obsession & co-dependency by disguising it as ‘love’. As a result, many people have bought into a belief that love hurts, as if it’s a fact of life. It’s not unlike staying in the wrong job or career path. We just keep going through the paces, day after day, because we are terrified of ending up living in a cardboard box. Since relationships take work and nothing’s perfect, many people believe it’s better, or easier, to stay in an abusive co-dependent relationship than to be alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why are we always looking for something or someone ‘out there’ to fill up the emptiness inside? If we can stop that cycle and practice healthy self-love first, we will attract like-minded individuals and reap the joyful rewards of true partnership.

If you would like some help or more information on this topic, feel free to email me at patti@empoweredsex.com.

 

 

 

3 Responses

  1. Mum Rag

    "For a narcissist to feel in control, he or she will have to end things before you do." So true.

    Reply
  2. dec172013

    Living in a fractured creation of self want, self well, and self determination, lies the soul of a narcissist may it be male or female. On bended knee they pray as with substance without charecter for things in honor of the name Jesus Christ. This is my female narcissist.

    Falling in love can feel like a drug. The most wonderful of emotions set by design to embrace our hearts, spirits, and souls, that temporarly blinds us to our own faults and imperfections. It makes us feel as if we are the center of ones universe. Its peace and joy imagine living in the fullness of the warmth of Gods light. That is love.

    Under the best conditions, it evoles into something more realictic and lasting where two imperfevt people discover one anothers virtues, and faults, grow to apperciate the goodness in each other and endure the disappointments. Detaching from how the world is and how the spirit of love functions within it.

    In my own story I fit the classic co-dependant nurturer by nature. All my life I saw the goodness in people regardless the way I was treated. I believed that by understanding, patients, and loving an abuser they would come to realize my love for them. I WAS WRONG! Some people are simply bad relationship builders which suffer from past pains and suffering that inflect their belief systems on others.

    While we try and balance their understanding we mulnipulate our own morals, values, principles, and standards, to meet their needs. We don’t fail them, we fail ourseleves. In our quest fo love and compassion our mind set is complicated with lie after lie. Not only the lies they tell us but, the lies we tell our selfs.

    We know there is something wrong but we can’t fully put our finger on what it is. We as co-dependants have a tendency to evaluate us as a means of the problem. Our actions, and reactions, our behavior, attutidue and responces during and after each episod of deciet, betrayal, lie, belittlement, and the seemingly regular verbel attacks towards your charecter. Each accusation more demeaning then the last weakens us as we try to defend against things we cannot possiably disprove.

    In our normal reactions of humain simplicity the complex enviornment of our narcissist (mine being a 52yr. Female) views this as normal and our weakness while really our calm gental nature is our strenghts yet upsets them to a point that we are yelling at that tops of or voice just to be heard. We don’t see that we have fallen into one of there games but they do as they twist, turn, deny, change the subject come back to it the change it again while gaining miles on your frustration they either hang up or cause you to leave as in my case she would become physcial.

    To make us more submissive they distance themselves from us. Give us the silent treatment for days, week, and even months as to redirect our thinking from what happened to focus only on a peaceful resolution. Our thinking is now challenged because we are not accustom to thinking of ourseleves, now we fear losing them and they know it.

    Abandonment issues triggered from our childhood surface. Insecurities start to overwhelm us and we feel discarded as if seemingly dismissed as if all we have invested time, money, emotions, suffering, understanding, and abuse we have endured means nothing. WHICH IT DOES’NT!

    We believe the fantasy and we only want them to live up to what we believed to be true. The talks of marriage, living, our future together in general yet, realize we are the only ones investing in it.

    Our friends, family, co-workers now distant see the emotional change in our behavior, the smile that defind us was know longer their, our weight change is questioned and our financial status show signs of depleted value to what it once was prior to this person walking into our lifes. We defend them, protect them, make excuses for them only to find our friends, things and activities we once enjoyed are centered around a person that spends more time away from you then with you.

    We find the happiness of the holidays sad as we set alone only to know that the day has arrived as they provide excusses as to why they cannot spend this time with you as yiu have cacelled peervious plans to spend with them only to watch the thanksgiving turkey base within its pan, the glitter of the lights on the Christmas no tree,NO presents or gifts on birthdays, not even a text or telephone call. And as the new year comes in a toast to an empty class into the new year of more of the same.

    They profest their love for us while showing hate, make love (sex) with us as just passing through on the way some one, somewhere, or sonething else. You call them only to hear the consistant relationship you have developed with voice of there voice mail. You text to a searies of unanswered texts and nonreturned phone calls.

    Are we sick? NO WE ARE NOT! we are normal human beings expressing the love of our hearts to those that knowothing of its beauty. Dont blame yourself or feel foolish for reacting in ways you might not have acted under NORMAL circumstances. Think of it like this; if you were to have heart surgery without medication could you imagen what words you might says, what your behavior would be like, and how you would feel?

    We are better to have met them, stronger because of them, wiser dispite of them and they are left just as damaged as they were before they met us. Knowing this I realize God wants us to be strong for the weak our hearts are pure. Good people will servive while bad people will suffer in there own abis.

    I forgive you my lovly narcissist,and I forgive myself. Remember this “you can’t make a heart feel something that it don’t, you can’t make a heart feel sonething that it won’t.

    In closing regardless if we left them or they left us… IT ALL HURTS THE SAME.

    Reply
    • Patti Sommer

      Dear dec172013 –
      I just now saw your response to this article. Thank you for being willing to share your story and what you have learned. It sounds as if you have done a lot of work in the area of healing yourself from the pain of the narcissistic partner. You are on track recognizing that you are wiser and stronger from the experience and that you know you are not to blame for being a compassionate individual who always looks for the good in others.

      Forgiveness is important for our own well-being. It is not something we have to share w/ the abuser, (since the only way to end these relationships is to disengage entirely) but it will heal our hearts and set our souls free. Forgiveness however, does not in any way condone the cruel behavior.

      Your quote above of the Bonnie Raitt lyrics resonate with me, as I often used music in my pain and as a part of my healing process. This was one of the songs that I am sure I quoted to my narc in the end. The truth is, when someone is incapable of loving themselves, they will never be able to love another. This must indeed be a sad existence and a fate much worse than what we have suffered. For those who have survived abuse at the hands of a true narcissist, it is important to understand that no matter the narc’s behavior or words, they are the ones who will eternally be in pain. With effort, we can learn from the experience and heal and set our sights on a healthy relationship, since we know very clearly what an unhealthy one looks like. Once we find that, we look back and wonder what ‘spell’ we were under to ever tolerate this sort of behavior.

      I wish you the best in your process of creating the love in your life that you desire and are deserving of. Please let me know if I can be of assistance. As a coach I have helped people heal and go on to manifest truly loving and healthy relationships in their lives.

      Blessings,
      Patti

      Reply

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