Are you in a relationship with a Narcissist? It's Complicated!
Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?
Narcissists come in all shapes and sizes, and affect both men and women, because both can be Narcissists. Perhaps you have a Narcissistic Mother, Father, Husband or Wife? If so then you'll know that living with one is a nightmare, hell on earth existence. You need to learn all you can about this insidious, virulent form of psychological (and often physical) abuse so that you can learn how to get out. If you're already in a narcissistic relationship or have been in one, then you will more than likely be familiar with all the hallmarks of the Narcissist. If you’re not sure, read on.
All of those Narcissistic traits are nasty. Narcissists have no conscience, empathy, or feelings for anyone but themselves, and they seek to destroy their ‘target’, as their life-blood depends on getting their narcissistic supply or ‘fuel’. Narcs can show up in any relationships – romantic, or with children, parents, friends, bosses, coworkers - they can be anywhere, and though most often men are painted as the villians, female Narcissists are even more vile and toxic.
The most important thing for you to understand if you’ve been involved (or still are), with a Narcissist, is that Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of 10 personality disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
That means that you are dealing with a person who has a mental illness, albeit they are generally very high-functioning, intelligent and very capable. They will initially beguile you with their charm, most especially if they are Covert Narcissists, and they are very good at charming the birds out of the trees.
They charm you into falling in love with them, by engaging in what is known as ‘love bombing’ in the early stages, and during this time, they learn as much about you as they possibly can, and show heaps of compassion and understanding. This is typically found in romantic relationships, and obviously doesn't apply in other relationships that have different dynamics. I'll be writing about those in separate blog posts. But they (the 'love-bombers') always, always have a hidden agenda, and that’s to log all this information away in their minds to use as ammunition against you when they get to the devaluing stage. Which they always do. That’s when they turn on you and you’re at a complete loss to understand why they are behaving like this. What have you done wrong? What have you done to deserve this? – why have they changed so radically? Where's the stunning, gorgeous person you fell in love with, and who supposedly was madly in love with you?
The entire cycle of narcissistic abuse is extremely complex, and it can lead you to the brink of emotional (and often physical) exhaustion. It can even lead to suicide, in extreme cases. It’s even more difficult if you have family members who are Narcissists and you’re too young to leave, or you’re stuck in a marriage you can’t get out of.
So how do you recover? Will your life ever be the same again? How do you get over the brutal betrayal that has left you reeling from shock?
The journey to healing can be a long one, thought it can be made considerably shorter if you find the right path and I can recommend my book to help you if you are new to it and don’t know where to start, or how to heal.
You will go through several stages – and there too many different opinions on just exactly how many stages there are… I’ve read countless books, blogs, FB group posts who say different things. For example, according to Narcissist Abuse Support, there are three key stages, ‘Victim- Survivor – Surthriver’. Other experts compare it to Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s 5 stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think the first stage is awareness, then comes shock and horror to learn that this is even real. Then you have to learn as much as you can about it so that you really understand it, and know that it was not your fault. Then you need support – from family, friends, support groups and a therapist, who can really help you on the road to recovery.
One thing I do know for sure is that you will go through a number of stages before you can come out the other side, all shiny, new, and healed. You will never be the same person, but you will be a STRONGER person for it. Believe me, you will be. I’ve lost count of the people who have told me that the experience taught them so much about themselves, and what they gained was deep personal insights into why they had gotten tangled up in with a narcissist in the first place. Those lessons have helped them to find the way back to unconditional self-love, and there is nothing more powerful than that.
You too can get out, you can get over it, you can heal. If you get nothing from reading this other than that knowledge, take it and treasure it like the pearl of wisdom it is. Start saying to yourself right now 'I can heal. I will heal.'. And believe it.
That is the start. The healing recipe that’s going to help you the most will depend on where you are in your journey to recovery. If you’d like me to help you figure it all out, click here!
And keep an eye out for my post tomorrow, where I’ll talk about the hallmarks of narcissistic abuse.
Post updated 01/02/2022