As you go through life, people let you down.
Hearts get broken. Jobs come and go. Sometimes Life just sucks.
And sometimes the people who are supposed to care about you end up being the ones that hurt the most.
And sometimes you let them.
I’ve dated more than my fair share of narcissists.
And let me tell you, dating a narcissist is not a fairy tale relationship. It is nothing like the romance in movies or books.
I talk to the people on our site every single day and every single person who has gone through a crappy breakup asks themselves (and me) if they didn’t do something to deserve it. people who find themselves loving a narcissist, they get hung up on this idea that there is some cosmic force that is doling out karma for something they did in the past.
You know who thinks the world revolves around them?
Well, it’ s kind of a narcissistic way of seeing the world.
Anyways, if you’ve been through a breakup with a narcissist, or even thought you were, there are a frew things you should consider.
How to Spot a Narcissist
Firstly, narcissist aren’t rare these days, but it’s not like they come with warning And whether you aren’t sure if your ex is one, or you are sure and you want to be able to avoid them in the future, you have to know how to recognize a narcissist.
Recognizing Narcissists in Relationships
Overprojecting Self Image
Narcissists are usually struggling with insecurity. The people that care about them usually get the brunt of it. When in relationships they tend to make the person in it with them feel that same insecurity. It doesn’t stop there. The other people in their life that care about them generally have to fight to feel as if the feeling is returned.
Fear of the Feels
These days, everyone is is afraid of catching the feels. But feelings hit all of us, lots of them with normal every day interactions.
Narcissists like to feel like they are in control of themselves and the people around them. So, when they start feeling like they are being influenced by other people, challenges their sense of self-reliance.
You’ll learn to recognize it when they are hit with feelings and retreat into themselves, perhaps even push you away or lash out in anger.
Another common tendency is to look for perfection when dating and in friendships. Either in a quest to have it rub off on them or to be considered perfect by association. But the downside to this is that no one will ever live up to that ideal forever.
Few experiences in life prepare you for feeling the fixated disappointment of a narcissist.
You can recognize this because it comes along with any pressure to conform.
Recognizing Narcissists in General
Overwhelming Need For Control
Narcissists can’t bear to hand the reigns over to anyone else in any situation. They orchestrate people and situations into an outcome that they want. And when they don’t get what they want, they lash out. There are a few obvious red flags. There are certain topics you don’t feel like you can talk with him about. And you don’t feel like it’s okay to make choices.
A Messed Up Past
Yeah we all have problems. But insecure and abusive personalities are usually born from neglect or abuse.
If you’re dating someone and their childhood story makes no sense or seems to be TOO perfect to be true, then it is likely that they are painting it that way for a reason.
The Lessons You Learn From Dating Narcissists
If we’re getting real here, I wouldn’t suggest dating a narcissist at all. But hey, we like what we like, right?
If You Don’t Draw Lines, Then All of Your Boundaries are Going to be Set By Other People
I learned this the hard way… twice… maybe three times. Basically, what I am saying, is that it’s true. You get the type of treatment that you accept from people. However, once you let a narcissist treat you poorly, it’s basically impossible to change the way that they see you, short of simply walking away.
It’s important that you decide how you want to be treated and then stick to it. If you like someone, but they don’t respect you, then it’s time to find someone who does.
Drawing lines in any relationship is important.
Trying to Change Someone to Be Happier Will Only Make You Unhappy
That being said, I know that it isn’t easy to walk away from someone that you have already grown attached to. So, you try to rewrite the way that they see you. It’s human nature to try and fix things. I mean, if people didn’t think this way, ExRecovery wouldn’t even exist.
There is one thing that is different with a narcissist.
They don’t like change, least of all change instigated by someone else. It makes them feel out of control.
Basically, If you don’t like the way things are or who he is, then leave. Walk away and find someone who respects and appreciates you.
Showing Affection Isn’t Being Needy
There is a fine line between being affectionate and being clingy these days. We joke about it, but the stereotype of being an “overly attached” girl friend has made all of us fear scaring someone away. But being with a narcissist is like dating a cat.
“Love me!! Adore me!! But not like that… or that… or that…”
Caring about the person you are dating is supposed to be a given, but narcissist don’t care if you care. They thrive off of telling you what you can or can’t do.
Like I said before, there are inconsistencies with the way they describe their lives. Narcissists are chameleons. They tell their lives like stories and make them into what they need them to be to get the outcome they want. Dating is more about having control than it is about creating a partnership, which is really what a relationship should be.
The point here is, even people who can’t handle emotions will make an effort to if they really care about you and you can’t make them.
Rejection Isn’t Necessarily About You
Narcissists don’t see connection as a good thing. For them, even the slightest push towards connection is like being suffocated. And when they inevitably push you away and withdraw, the utter sting of rejection hits.
But the truth is, it’s not about you. It’s about them. You have to learn not to push so hard.
Don’t Let Anyone Tell You That Something That Matters To You Isn’t Important
So, you started seeing this guy and after a while you realize that absolutely all of your interests have changed. Narcissists have a natural charisma. They can get you to do what they want, and even things you really don’t want to do, and make you think it was your idea. Three weeks into dating, you notice that you have suddenly picked up new interests and are convince that that thing you have liked doing for most of your life is just “not that worth it” anymore.
Learn from a million people who have dated a narcissist or two.
(Newsflash: I’m one of the ones that made the mistake of dating more than a few of them.)
If you love doing something (that isn’t harmful to you or anyone else), don’t let ANYONE tell you that it isn’t important or isn’t AS important as whatever they find more important. That isn’t how a healthy relationship works.
There is Absolutely No Point In Arguing With a Narcissist
Narcissists are always right… or at least they think they are.
And you can’t convince them other wise, no mater how much thought you put into your side of things.
Don’t tell me that you haven’t stood in the shower coming up with all of the things you should have done or said again after a disagreement.
With a narcissist you never get to say any of those things and if you do, and if you do they just respond with anger.
Having Chemistry Isn’t a Foundation
A lot of the time when you ask someone why they left someone, they’ll say th mlkat “the spark just wasn’t there anymore” or “there just wasn’t ever a spark.”
Well, that “spark” is just the passion of a new relationship, and narcissists are great at making people feel that spark even when it isn’t there for them. They are charismatic and are basically chameleons. They can blend in with anyone and make them feel like they are loved and cared for. Except with narcissists, they don’t invest much into relationships. So, that spark doesn’t last very long on their end.
Knowing this isn’t really a lesson for the relationship you lost. It’s more like a warning for any future relationships. Don’t get with or stay with someone simply because you have chemistry, If you feel less than appreciated you should redefined what you are willing to accept from the people in your life overall.
What it boils down to is that we make to many exceptions for this simply because we love someone, devaluing ourselves simply to keep someone in 0ur lives. And that is… well, it’s sad.
Forgiving Yourself is Imperative
The last thing, but a pretty important lesson I’ve learned is that you have to learn to be able to forgive yourself.
There is a difference in holding yourself accountable and punishing yourself for things that are out of your control. The women I talk to every day blame themselves for not being able to make narcissist (or even just guys who are jerks) happy. They think that it is their responsibility to change them.
That isn’t how the world works.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve known a few addicts in my life. Some of them were big people in my life. I have found myself to be a supportive friend or family member in more than one support group over my adult life. And there was a thing that was said in those meetings that I think applies here. It’s called the serenity prayer. I can’t remember the entire thing, but this is the gist of it…
“…grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference”
Or if you prefer the wisdom of my nephew…
“You can’t pick your friends. You can pick your nose. But your can’t (or rather shouldn’t try to) pick your friend’s nose.”
To be clear, what I am trying to say is that you should recognize that what you do and don’t have control over.
You can change your mind at any moment in your life. You can alter who you are. But outside of your own tiny little bubble you can only attempt to influence.
If someone is treating you crappily or not respecting you, you can’t make them. You can only make it clear that you won’t accept it, that you would walk away even. I think that is part of why No Contact is so effective.
Exes realizing that their partners are willing to walk away from the things that hurt them.
You can change your own mind and your own life, but you can only make the people around you consider it and make that choice on their own.
Now, I know that some of you will want your ex back even if he is narcissistic and doesn’t treat you right. And that is your choice. But I will tell you right now that even if you do, you will find yourself making sacrifices and losing the things that make you you.
Generally speaking, if you take these lessons and decide that you can do better, you will have an arsenal of these lessons to help you build a relationship rather than let the person you are with make all of the decisions.
How to Recognize a Narcissist
They made a serious effort to make you feel insecure.
He freaks anytime he starts to get the feels
He started the relationship putting you on a pedestal, but at some point he realized that that wasn’t really you.
He has an overwhelming need to control everything.
He has a messed up past but they omit the parts that remind them that their life may not be ideal.
Lessons from Dating a Narcissist
Know what you are and aren’t willing to accept from the people in your life and don’t make exceptions for anyone.
Trying to change someone who doesn’t want to change ends badly
No one is going to love you exactly the way you love them. But if he is punishing you for loving him differently then you should walk away.
Narcissists think the world revolves around them, they rarely make decisions based on other people. Rejection from a narcissist isn’t about you.
If it matters to you, then don’t let anyone tell you that it shouldn’t… ever.
You can’t really win an argument with a Narcissist about anything.
Feeling a spark with someone isn’t the same as building a relationship. And fighting to keep a dead flame alive basically ends up with you fanning ashes to exhaustion.
You HAVE to forgive yourself for the things that are your fault. Otherwise, you will hold onto that feeling forever.
Now, I know that we didn’t really talk about what to do with this info. And that is because it’s simple.
- If you think you are with a narcissist, find out for sure using the information in this article.
- If they turn out to be, now is the time to decide what you will accept from people, respect or lack of it.
- Then go from there.
Alright. Go be the powerful women I know you all to be.