To celebrate the release of my newest workbook Self-Care for Breakups: Healing from Toxic, Abusive, and Codependent Relationships I want to share an excerpt from the section on relationships with narcissists and signs you’re dating a narcissist.
Narcissism has become a hot button topic in the last few years. It also plays a part in many relationships, especially complicated and emotionally abusive ones. I want to touch on this subject because it’s so important to be able to recognize these signs so that your personal healing isn’t compromised.
Narcissist: a person with an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement.
Someone can be narcissistic due to a personality disorder, life circumstances, upbringing, addiction, or personal trauma.
They are selfish in a way that looking back seems obvious but while you’re in that kind of relationship it can seem well-intentioned or innocuous.
My last ex was narcissistic. She struggled with alcohol abuse and at the time I was lured in under the guise of needing to help/take care of her. I ignored that everything was always about her. We never really talked about me. After three years together she honestly couldn’t remember the name of my website.
I was never allowed to have a negative feeling.
It always got turned around on me. I was making her upset. I was stressing her out. She wasn’t “doing this right now”. Whenever I wanted to talk about my feelings I was shut down. If I confronted her about her drinking she would break up with me and stop speaking to me for a short period of time. I financially supported her for almost the entirety of our very on-off again relationship. Even when we weren’t together she would guilt me into paying her bills because I would be “ruining her life” or threatening her sobriety when I refused to.
The thing about narcissism is that it takes the things that you are and then it twists them so that you exist for another person. It’s about giving them attention, meeting their needs, and never complaining about it because if you do then you must not love them.
Most narcissists are very charismatic.
They’re great storytellers and they often come off as sympathetic. In their world, if you don’t love them then you are the enemy. I heard so many stories about how friends and family were so terrible to my ex and how they cold-heartedly abandoned relationships with her. Later, I would learn that they were tired of being used.
You feel sorry for someone like that and for a lot of people, we have this thing inside of us that says “I will be different and show you that people are good and loving.” and it is used against us in the most heart-wrenching way.
Narcissists do this thing called love-bombing.
They will be sweet and adorable and meet your needs and the instant you do something they don’t like it’s all taken away from you.
You’ll get yelled at, or complete coldness, and it’s almost a type of behavior training – you learn what not to say or do because there will be consequences. You remember what it feels like when they are being kind and loving – so you spend all of your time trying to be worthy of that behavior again.
Here are Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist:
Punishing you when they don’t get what they want. Breaking up with you or threatening to, blocking you, giving you the silent treatment, bullying you, accusing you of not caring about them.
Gaslighting by making you disbelieve your reality or making you feel like you’re crazy or forgetful. I had to keep screenshots of texts or my ex would deny entire conversations and tell me that I was crazy and delusional.
Emotional blackmail like threats to hurt themselves, blaming you for things in their life that you have no control over. Telling you that if you don’t do something for them something bad will happen to them and it will be your fault.
Exploiting or taking advantage of you. Asking you to do something and then taking credit for it. Pushing past your boundaries when you’ve said no. Guilting or manipulating you out of money.
Sabotaging your friendships or other relationships. Making it difficult to do your job. Getting jealous of your accomplishments.
Constant lying to avoid responsibility. Never being at fault for any issues in the relationship. Turning all of the blame toward you.
Making you out to be bad or crazy at the end of the relationship. Changing the narrative so that they are the victim in the relationship.
Check out the rest of Self-Care for Breakups: Healing from Toxic, Abusive, and Codependent Relationships for journaling prompts on narcissistic relationships as well as self-care tips for