After dating a narcissist myself, I’ve come to learn that narcissism goes beyond the “Oh, look at me I am so fabulous”-type behavior. In fact, narcissism is an actual personality disorder that, depending on the severity, requires long-term therapeutic sessions to conquer.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is quite complicated and comes with many subtypes.
A sense of pride and entitlement does exist within us. It is normal for us to have a healthy amount of narcissism because the opposite is low self-esteem, and that’s not good either.
However, individuals with NPD show an exaggerated pattern of entitled behaviors and thought patterns that are sometimes downright scary.
There is an entire lingo dedicated to narcissistic behavior—“love bombing” for example. Love bombing is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s the first narcissistic red flag, as it occurs most heavily during courtship.
An encounter will lead to someone injecting themselves into your life in such a way that makes them seem too perfect to be true. They answer every call and respond to every text. Gifts come pouring in, usually expensive, used to impress you. They will mimic your behavior in an attempt to display compatibility between the two of you. They will expend massive amounts of energy on trying to get to know you and your NEEDS.
All of this effort is crucial to them, because they want you to depend on them for everything. After gathering this data against you, they will then use it to save the day in any and every way, becoming what you presume to be as the one that will always be there for you. They become your lover, partner, mother, father, your child, your best friend, and your traitor all at once.
Once a narcissist realizes they have you totally enthralled by their love bombing, they’ll begin the process of isolating you. An NPD person, if they feel you are a good enough supply for their ego, will ask you to move in rather quickly. You begin to lose yourself in their world as yours dims in the rearview.
Once they’ve secured your capture, it’s then that a narcissist will begin to withhold intimacy—he doesn’t want you feeling too good about yourself. They want you to feel as if no one else will love you or your imperfections. There will be no kissing, and they no longer initiate sex as they did in the beginning. This form of mental abuse is just another form of narcissistic control. Some narcissists are incapable of a truly intimate relationship in the bedroom–you’ll feel a sense of coldness and detachment after the encounter.
In most cases, a narcissist will fulfill his sexual appetite with an old flame, a steady stream of pornography, or both. An article in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy stated, “Those who have ever used Internet pornography endorsed higher levels of all 3 measures of narcissism than did those who have never used Internet pornography.” A narcissist will engage in pornography as a means of bypassing the connection needed in a relationship since they are unable to provide that.
Keep in mind, not everyone that watches pornography suffers from NPD.
“Narcissistic triangulation“—have you heard of this?
Narcissist triangulation is a “psychological threesome that you didn’t consent to,” says Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a professor of psychology at California State University. The term refers to how a narcissist will constantly talk of a third person, usually an ex, in order to compare them with you, either directly or indirectly. In my case, it was much more than three. Narcissists must have a steady supply of ego-boosting admirers in waiting.
Once confronted with their behavior, a narcissist will usually gaslight you. The amount of proof presented will not make a difference—they will find a way to make you feel confused and second-guess what you saw. You may hear things like, “Don’t let your insecurities ruin what we have,” or “You need to get over it if you want this to work.” They’ll enjoy watching you hurting and crumbling before them. It feeds their ego.
If the gaslighting doesn’t work, beware of narcissistic rage.
Narcissistic rage is scary, abrupt, usually comes out of nowhere for the most minute of situations, and resembles a child throwing a full-blown tantrum. But, unlike a child, a narcissist is a grown adult wielding their might with abusive words and aggressive, loud screaming.
The rage usually comes after a narcissist has felt some sort of deflation of his ego. Getting caught for their misdoings can cause this reaction, as a narcissist does not want you to know how sneakily he moves—he must at all costs maintain the illusion of being perfect.
A narcissist will seek those that are broken, scarred, co-dependent with low self-esteem. They’ll seek out the nurturers and healers, and you must be attractive, as they need that trophy in their arm to further boost their easily deflated egos.
So, how does one survive a narcissistic relationship?
Don’t get into one.
And work on yourself, so that you attract partners who resonate on your frequency of self-love and self-worth.
That first encounter with someone you connect with can be overwhelming, so much so that we tend to miss the red flags. If you come to a new love prospect with baggage from a prior relationship, or other unresolved traumatic experiences, it becomes even more difficult to see the red flags.
We ignore our intuition because we have no faith in our own abilities. We tend to be more skeptical towards ourselves than towards those around us.
Be observant of how your new love interest interacts around family and friends. Question their intensity in wanting to have you all for themselves so quickly.
Don’t engage a narcissist with back-and-forth communication once it has ended, or you may find yourself on their list of extra supplies.
If you have invested more than enough time in trying to salvage the relationship, do not go back once you leave. Because it never changes. It’s only a vicious cycle.
And you have to protect your heart and your spirit, always.
Featured image: “lovers paint like a child couple kissing relationship and love paintings the kiss painting artist painter raphael perez” by Raphael Perez Israeli Artist is licensed under CC BY 2.0