Edited by SiestaDawn, Teresa, ShrUtiable, Yessica_ and 1 other
“Narcissism” is a disorder wherein a person tends to focus on self more than the others. In this type of trait it is more about the “self” and this behavior affects the others. If this is prevailing in a relationship than it does a lot of damage to the partner.
Go for therapy. If your insurance won’t cover it, or if you can’t afford individual sessions, find a support team. Most women’s advocate groups and domestic abuse shelters can give you excellent references. And yes, you are a victim of abuse. Use the therapy to learn everything you can about what can you do and say, and the intuitive signs you keep dismissing in yourself, that make you a perfect NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) victim.
Use your therapist’s/support group’s balanced, objective feedback to help you through the grieving process you are experiencing now that your NPD has stopped recognizing you as a primary supplier, and is engaging in the behaviors that hurt you so much.
If you are still with your NPD, they will do everything they can to discourage you from doing this: they will attempt to embarrass you, accuse you of being imbalanced (and that’s why “you” need therapy, they will say), disrupt your schedule so you can’t make your meetings / appointments – anything to prevent you from getting help from outside.
- The more s/he does this, the more you can be assured that you need the help, and the more determined you should be about getting it.
Learn everything you can about NPD. Become an NPD expert. There are tremendous resources literally available at your fingertips through any web-connected computer, just like the message you’re reading right now. And when you think you know it all, learn more. There is no truer statement made, in the case of an NPD victim, than this: knowledge is power.
Stop all contact with your NPD abuser. Know this: being with a narcissist is very much like being addicted to a narcotic — wonderful at first – so wonderful that you keep longing for that initial high, and keep “taking the drug” (taking his/her abuse) hoping to get that amazing high again. And just as with a narcotic addiction, that initial high will never happen again. S/he’ll lay out the lures for you, but see #2 above.
- The more you know about NPD, the easier it will be to recognize that all s/he is doing is baiting a hook, and you know what happens when fish bite on a baited hook.
- But the only way you can avoid the lures is to make it impossible for him/her to leave them in your path. This step is critical: *no* contact. Read that again: ***no*** contact.
- In some cases, NPD victims actually have to move, where violence or other threats are imminent from their abuser for the act of leaving them. If that is your case, and you cannot or do not want to move, engage your support group and local law enforcement officials in what you are doing and why; make them aware that you are afraid for your safety, and they will, in most cases, help you.
- Get a restraining order if you have to (although most NPDs are “above the law,” and that would be meaningless to them).
Learn to defend yourself. Take a martial arts course, or learn to handle and effectively and comfortably use a weapon until it is second nature, get a license for it (if necessary), and buy one for yourself. Buy a dog of a breed well-known for its owner-protective qualities, and make that creature your best friend above all others. Make it unsafe for your *abuser* to contact *you*, instead of the other way around. Not only will you be providing yourself (and your children, where applicable) some measure of protection from further abuse, but you will build confidence and strength and belief in yourself — all qualities that your NPD abuser has systematically eroded, and which s/he is counting on you never having again. Turn the tables!
Start a journal – today. Find a notebook at any local drugstore, keep a pen handy, and write down your thoughts every day. Most especially, start a list at the back of it of all the behaviors, all the things s/he has done, that even in the beginning caused you to have doubts. Keep working on your list, every day, as you remember things. Its purpose will serve you in several ways, the two most important of which are the following: a- you can go back and read it when you are feeling “weak” (need your “drug” again) and need to be reminded of the true nature of this soulless person with whom you have shared your heart; and b- it becomes very cathartic over time. You find yourself realizing that this person is truly mentally ill, and that there is nothing wrong with you; you just became a target, and you are now ready to move out of the firing range.
Get rid of every reminder of your NPD – take that energy out of your home and your environment. Find everything in your possession that were the early gifts from your NPD, and/or the (usually cheaper, less significant) later attempts to schmooze you back into compliance so you continued to supply his/her narcissistic needs. Eject every item from your life. Donate them to charity, sell them, give them away, or throw them away, even if you like them.
Find new friends, and cultivate new **non-romantic** relationships. Perhaps the most amazing discovery you may make is that suddenly all kinds of genuinely nice people were coming into my life. Give yourself that same opportunity! Join a pottery class, or a yoga class, or a book club, or a birding group – whatever interests you! It doesn’t have to cost money. Just put yourself outside of your home, and into the company of new people, and learn again how wonderful it is to have an active, normal social life without this huge black cloud dominating it.
Give yourself time to grieve. *don’t* jump back into a relationship. Not for a while, anyway. The sooner you do so, the higher the likelihood that you will attract and get involved with another NPD. See #1 and #2 above. Especially as you become more aware, through counseling and/or your support team, that an NPD is incapable of loving, you become aware that you are, in effect, a widow/-er, yet even worse. Not only has the relationship that you thought was perfect died, but that person you were involved with, the NPD, is not the person you fell in love with. You fell in love with something that never existed, and cannot exist, for those afflicted with this mental illness. So your partner is not only “dead”, but they never actually lived. You have to mourn your loss not of what was, but of what you believed could have been: but the sad fact is that your real loss is that it was all an illusion. Your belief was, and is, a false one. This person never loved you, and never could love you, because s/he is incapable of it. S/he is mentally ill. It does not have the capacity to be a he or a she. There was no “him.” There was just this “it,” and its entire purpose in my life was to suck mine out of me, to fill the emptiness that it feels inside itself. This sounds cruel, but the cruelty, in reality, has been against you, and you have a lot of healing to do. So take the time. Grieve. Invest in yourself. See steps 1-7 above, and focus on you, because no one else has been doing so for the entire duration of your NPD relationship – not even you. When you have given yourself back to you, then you can think about what you want to do next. Until then, be “selfish.” Yes. Does that sound familiar? It does because that’s what your NPD would say, along with all the other “faults” s/he said about you which were actually him/her projecting what s/he knows to be his/her deficits – see #2 above. Love yourself, just as you are, and give yourself time to learn once again how lovable you are to others…
Again, step 4 can be the most dangerous, in the case of some NPDs. Remember, if you have been physically abused by an NPD, your decision to stop all contact with him/her could become, literally, a fatal one, without appropriate protection. If you have ever been physically assaulted, or threatened with physical assault, by your NPD, engage law enforcement and a support team to get you (and your children) away from him/her. Do not underestimate a violent NPD’s reaction to being ignored by you.
[This is so important – know what is necessary to protect yourself. GET HELP..Lara/Trace]