Updated: Feb 5
I am sure in today's society; you have all heard the word narcissist; it's thrown around when describing someone's personality or a behavior trait. As a woman in my 30's, many of my friend groups are dating or married, including myself. Many are in search and want to be ready for the right one. We have run into a narcissist or two along the way. You know the scenario; everything is fantastic at the beginning of the relationship; you're madly in love and feel as if you know everything there is to know about each other. You are absolutely on top of the world, and there is nothing that can knock you down. No one can tell you to slow down your roll with this guy or girl. They say everything you have ever wanted someone to say to you; they have to be the one.
Well, chances are, if they seem like perfection wrapped in that pretty 6'5 bow, you are being love-bombed. Let's fast forward six months and maybe even a year into the relationship; things have changed, right? Suddenly, you can do nothing right, everything has turned into a fight, and you feel crazy. Does any of this sound familiar? My friend, this is narcissism. Narcissism, by definition, is "having an excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance" in layman's terms, they think they are God's gift to the world! Statistically, more men have these personality traits. (sorry, guys). If you still aren't sure if this is who you're dealing with, let me give you some signs:
An exaggerated sense of self-importance
Feeling superior to others and that they deserve special treatment
Feelings are often accompanied by fantasies of unlimited success, brilliance, power, beauty, or love
2. Excessive need for admiration
Must be the center of attention
Often monopolize conversations
They feel slighted, mistreated, depleted, and enraged when ignored.
3. Superficial and exploitative relationships
Relationships are based on surface attributes and not the unique qualities of others.
People are only valued only to the extent they are viewed as beneficial.
4. Lack of empathy
Severely limited or lacking ability to care about the emotional needs or experiences, even loved ones.
Sense of self is highly superficial, extremely rigid, and often fragile
Self-stability depends on maintaining the view that one is exceptional
Grandiose sense of self is easily threatened
They retreat from or deny realities that challenge grandiosity
6. Difficulty with attachment and dependency
They rely on feedback from the environment
Relationships only exist to shore up a positive self-image
Interactions are superficial
Intimacy is avoided
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom
When attention and praise are not available, narcissists feel empty, bored, depressed, or restless
8. Vulnerability to life transitions
narcissist have difficulty maintaining reality-based personal and professional goals over time
Compromises required by school, jobs, and relationships may feel unbearable
Young adults may have a "failure to launch."
Suicidal attempts, suicide, and personality disorders are significant risk factors for the narcissist.
Do any of those characteristics sound familiar? I know I didn't realize that was happening to me either until I was too deeply involved. So many of us, including myself, don't leave because we become "trauma bonded." What is a trauma bonded, you ask? It is a psychological response to abuse. It occurs when the abused person forms an unhealthy bond with the person who uses them. The person experiencing abuse may develop sympathy for the abusive person, which becomes reinforced by cycles of abuse, followed by remorse. Has he ever hit you or belittled you and begged for forgiveness, promising that it will never happen again? I've heard that so many times.
The moment you find the bravery to leave, they swear they'll kill themselves and can never live without you. (Sound familiar?). So, let's talk about leaving and having a plan for a break. I can tell you it will take guts and bravery. He will communicate with you in any way possible, even by a carrier pigeon in the sky, but stand your ground, you and God in you, has this.
Leaving your narcissist:
Don't tell them you're leaving - I know that doesn't seem to make sense. Here is what happens, though, you inform them, and the cycle of love-bombing happens for the umpteenth time. They will change for a time, ensuring that you will become emotionally connected to them once again. Eventually, they will see that you're getting more robust (I see you, girl!), and it will make them angry, and the behavior will become more volatile.
Make a copy of all your documents - If you haven't gotten a lockbox in another location or at a trusted friend's house, do it! Ensure that you have bank account info, birth certificates, and any vital documentation for your kids if they're involved.
Make sure you have cash on hand - If you are dealing with someone who likes to control the finances, you'll want to have your money or a bank account ready once you leave. Most banks require 100 dollars to open an account.
Re-Establish your old relationships with friends and family - The most significant thing a narcissist will do is isolate you from anything and anyone familiar. I encourage you to reach out to that best friend you haven't talked to in 2 years; I promise she is waiting to hear from you. Call your momma; she isn't mad at you; she is highly concerned. The ones who love you intensely are waiting for you to come back into their lives; let them.
Once you leave, stay away - Our brains are good at remembering the good times and blocking out the bad. Keep in mind when those thoughts come flooding back, chances are they are all a lie. The narcissist is a master of pretending to be good.
Get Counseling/coaching - Chances are you are feeling confused about is happened to you; talking to a great coach like Dorothy isn't weak, it isn't a crutch, but it is brilliant to get help to process emotions and begin the healing journey. Impact Dynamics is here to help.
I am so proud of you; you are brave, strong, and capable of beginning a new healthy journey of loving yourself, accepting and forgiving yourself, and accepting nothing less than what God has for you! Healing is possible, and it doesn't have to remain this way. I am praying for you, and I'm with you.