When I read about narcissistic personality disorder, it was mind blowing. Honestly? I just thought my ex was unable to argue effectively. I thought I could fix it.
I read all about effective arguing, all about how we should say things like “when you say this, it makes me feel _____”. I even tried writing letters when I was too nervous to have another conversation that I knew would somehow circle back to how selfish, spoiled, or poorly raised I was.
I remember realizing that the only time my ex and I would ‘bond’ was if I was engaging in his negative opinions of others. If I was being judgmental of others.
I didn’t like what I was becoming, I didn’t like feeling nervous about having an occasional drink or dinner with friends because the flack I got just wasn’t worth it.
These are just a few signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist. There are levels of narcissism, and there are also other personality traits and disorders that can be part of the issue as well. You MUST get support and learn all you can – it is truly the foundation for your mental and spiritual health.
- You feel like the crazy one a lot these days. You feel warranted in the feelings you are having about an issue with your partner. Then you try and have a discussion with your partner about it, and it somehow gets waaaayyy off subject, and now your partner is somehow circling back to an old argument (or 10) that has nothing to do with the subject at hand, and pointing the finger at you as to blame. For all of it. Hey, this is typical behavior of a narcissist. Check out gas lighting.
- You are starting to realize how negative your partner is. Like, all the time. I started to realize that I was only able to feel any bond with my ex when I complained about someone (anyone!). I realized that I was getting into a nasty habit of being judge-y for that reason, because my ex would relate and chime in. I also started understanding that my ex was always a victim, and never accountable.
- Your partner is never wrong. Every argument you end up having, results in it being your fault, even if you were the one with the hurt feelings to begin with. Name calling and complete disrespect is the recipe of a narcissist’s juvenile arguing abilities.
- Your partner has no ability to argue effectively, and goes right for the jugular when you are trying to have a calm conversation about your feelings or an issue that hasn’t been resolved. Are you being name-called? Are you being told you are ‘just like so-and-so’?
- Your sex life is shit. Obviously, when you don’t feel respected or supported, you may start to reciprocate those feelings. For women, it’s generally difficult for us to get intimate when we’re not feeling loved and when we’re not feeling the love for our partner as much or even at all anymore. Any sex is because you feel guilty or sorry for your partner. Pity is not love, my friends.
- It’s just easier not to go out with friends/family on your own anymore because it’s not worth the argument/frustration/anxiety. Trying to get out for a girls night out is a nail-biting effort to even think about broaching, because you know that somehow you will feel guilty about leaving your partner alone, or that he will be calling you an inordinate amount of times when you are out without him. Deep down you know it’s crazy behavior and you don’t really want to sit there and make excuses or apologize for your partner on this behavior. If you’re going to go out, why be on eggshells the whole time? Okay, this may not be just a narcissistic thing, but for me, it was part of a systematic control issue, trying to isolate me from my friends and family.
- Your partner feels like he is better than other people, and that others are jealous of what he has. I realized this when my ex would continually find fault with others that he worked with, and eventually flippantly tossing it out there as those people being ‘jealous’ of him. His shit list would consistently get longer over the years that I was with him – no one was immune from that list, not even family.
- Little to no empathy for others, or other people’s property. If you are with a narcissist, this should ring quite true and vivid for you. My ex simply could not put himself in someone else’s shoes. With regards to property…here’s one of many examples. My ex drove a company car and when he was let go, he did some horrible things to that car before turning it back in to his manager (things you couldn’t actually see, like messing with the transmission, putting the radio on full blast so that when his manager started it up, it would give him a surprise), among a laundry list of other passive aggressive things to ‘get even’ with others for ‘wronging’ him.
Listen, the list goes on, I assure you. If a ton of what I said here rings true for you, please ask yourself how on earth can you be your best self when living with a person who makes you feel less than?
So what should you do if you are married or in a relationship with a narcissist? I will not beat around the bush. GTFO. You need to leave. It WILL NOT get better, but it WILL drag you to points of despair and depression that you may have never known before. If you have children, you do not have the right to settle for this. Period. I stayed for 7 years, and I actually still suffer from PTSD due to those years of being made to feel crazy, that my feelings were not justified. It has taken amazing friends and an outstanding therapist to knock that insecurity and narcissistic packing tape from off my soul. You are so much better than a relationship like one I have outlined. I can promise you that life is great and more than you could have ever thought if you just do you and live with joy. It starts with a choice. It’s not an easy one, but to live a life of integrity and authenticity? That is worth the most difficult and terrifying of choices. Sending you my biggest hugs and encouragement…