I have written about my relationship with a narc. Shared articles and personal insights into how they go about attracting their empaths; the ensuing devaluing, triangulation, gas lighting etc. There is a really good chance you have dated one, and never even knew it. You might have had an inkling something was off, but just couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Narcs are crazy makers! Red Flag Series takes you to previous articles I’ve shared on the subject.
If you have dated a narc, the end goal is to not fall victim to their charms. Ever again. It’s not uncommon people to fall for a narc multiple times. The pattern and toxic cycles will continue, until you figure out the reasons why you keep attracting them.
I found the article below on Narcnation. It lays out helpful strategies and advice to protect yourself. Apologies for the length, however, it contains situations you will recognize. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and take notes!
- Be slow in trusting. Trust is not something we should just give away, especially to people we have just met or began dating. However, this doesn’t mean to question everything your new partner says and/or does. It does mean to take your time and get to know the person. Do not rush into a relationship or declare your love for each other after a few weeks. Healthy love takes time to develop and should happen naturally and with ease. If your new partner is fast forwarding the relationship in any way, then you must proceed with caution. If you attempt to slow things down and your partner gets upset or tries to talk you out of your decision then you know this person isn’t completely healthy.
- Verify and investigate information. This doesn’t mean stalk their Facebook page, or run a background check on them (although at times this needs to be done), or interrogate them. It simply means to listen and listen well. Pay attention to what they tell you. Are there inconsistencies? Have you caught them in a few little white lies? Are they forthcoming with information or do you get the sense they are holding back? Ask questions. A lot of questions. Because how else are you supposed to get to know someone.
This is important and I know this from experience. I met my ex on an online dating site. His profile said he was divorced. We exchanged a few emails before agreeing to meet in person and in one of the emails I asked him how long he had been divorced. This was in January and he answered that he had officially been divorced since October. I inquired about this because I wasn’t interested in someone who had just gotten divorced or was almost divorced. I wanted to be sure that the person I was going out with was 100% available to be going on dates. We went out and we hit it off or so I thought. Six months later, after he love bombed me with ‘I love you” after two weeks and asked me to move in after a month, I found out he was still married (I found out by searching public records because I had a hunch something was off). Being the charming narcissist that he is, he convinced me to stay and claimed he lied because he didn’t think we would turn into anything so it didn’t matter. Stupidly, I accepted this lame excuse and a month later he was officially divorced.
- If it seems too good to be true it is! My ex and I had been dating for two weeks when he told me he loved me. I don’t know if I was intoxicated that night because we had went to a bar or I was simply naïve, but I said it back and at the time thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. I had met this seemingly wonderful guy who was attractive, funny, smart, and open with his feelings. I remember thinking our relationship was like a fairytale and that I was finally getting my happily ever after. Within 3 months of dating, the cracks began to show and my dream guy had turned into a nightmare.
Narcissists are con artists. They know exactly what to say and do to get us hooked and then they pull the rug out from under us. We are then left confused and desperate for things to go back to the way they used to be, the way they were in the beginning, but they never go back because the beginning wasn’t real. The narc played us. The narc used us. They abused us and left us with next to nothing because these types of men are always too good to be true.
- Don’t expose your weaknesses/vulnerabilities. If I have learned anything from dating abusive men it is to not share every single detail about my life and my past. I am selective with what I share with people. Some people get a lot and some get very little. It all depends on my level of trust and comfort with the person. Have they proven they are trustworthy? Have they shown that they value our relationship? Do they consistently respect me? How long have I known this person? Do they have a history of gossiping? Dating a narcissist will quickly show you that nothing you tell them is sacred. Narcs love to use our weaknesses against us to inflict pain. They can take a seemingly innocent detail about us and turn it into the most hurtful and degrading insult. Does your partner really need to know that every guy you’ve ever dated was an asshole? No. At least not on day one and maybe not even on day 365. A narcissist can take your love for chocolate cake and turn it around on you by calling you a fat pig that eats cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, they are that juvenile. I am not suggesting that you share nothing about yourself with people, but instead be smart about what you share and if someone uses something you told them against you, run!
- Take a break from dating. If you have recently ended a relationship, whether with a narcissist or not, it is imperative that you take time for yourself. Taking a break from dating is the only way to really heal. It is during this time that we should take stock of our lives and decipher the reasons why we ended up in an abusive relationship. What is at your core that attracts you to men who treat you poorly? Low self-esteem is typically to blame. We don’t love ourselves. We don’t believe we are good enough or deserving of healthy love, especially if we have never experienced it. Sadly, a lot of our parents failed to show us what healthy love is supposed to look like so we are on our own trying to figure out what we need to do or change about ourselves to attract healthy people. Attracting healthy people into our lives ultimately starts with us. It starts with us liking ourselves and saying no to people and things that are no good for us. To do this, we must take time and not jump from one bad relationship to the next without healing from the previous one. I suggest taking at least 90 days and committing to caring for yourself. Commit to having better boundaries. Commit to your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Read books, listen to podcasts, exercise, go on a trip, organize your entire house, go to therapy, and learn to cook, or plan a party. Do anything, but do it without a partner or bringing a date. Solitude is so good for us. It is so good to sit with our feelings, especially our loneliness. Push through the bad feelings and eventually you will work them out and move forward.
- Do a boundary check. Do you know your limits? Do you know how to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty or offering a lengthy explanation? What are your dating deal breakers? Do you even know what you are looking for in a partner? Make a list. Get specific. What will you tolerate and what will you walk away from?
- How does your partner speak about their exes? If your partner talks poorly about his exes and blames their breakup solely on them, get out now. This is a huge red flag and should be taken very seriously. If your partner bad mouths their ex, you can guarantee they will bad mouth you as well. At first you might feel bad for your partner and what they went through with their supposedly “crazy” ex. However, if you have done the work on yourself and are stepping into the dating scene armed with information, education, and a good sense of what a healthy relationship is, you will realize that this person is no good for you. Healthy people are able to breakup with their partners and not talk badly about them. Healthy people do not blame the failure of an entire relationship on the other partner. Healthy people can experience the end of a relationship and walk away without seeking revenge or name-calling.
On our first date my ex told me his ex-wife was crazy and had cheated on him. He even went as far as calling her a borderline (meaning she has borderline personality disorder). Now, his ex may very well be disordered and she may have cheated on him. I don’t know for sure. But, what I do know is that my ex was horribly abusive in every way you can imagine and told me I was crazy and accused me almost daily of cheating on him when I never did.
- How do you feel when you are not with your partner? Are you calm and secure because your partner is consistent with their character and showing you care and respect? Or are you anxious and restless because you never know if your partner is going to call or stick to scheduled plans? Do you have mixed feelings about your relationship or have a strong feeling of uncertainty? Do you know where you stand with this person? Has the relationship been defined? Have you been open with what you want and what you are looking for in a partner? Our bodies can tell us a great deal about things, people, and situations. When we are around good company we feel calm, secure, and at ease. There is peacefulness when being around these types of people. When we are around bad company our bodies can feel tense and stressed. We can experience worry and anxiety, doubt and confusion. Being involved with a narcissist can make us feel on edge, keyed up and chaotic, which is exactly the type of response that gives them pleasure.
Trying to fall asleep with my ex next to me was nearly impossible. I would be anxious and restless lying next to him. My skin would itch all over and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I remember feeling like I couldn’t go to sleep because I didn’t know what he would do. He would badger me when we argued and everything I said was taken out of context or twisted around. He had an excuse for everything and normally I was to blame for why he lied or called me a cunt or choked me. These one sided arguments could last for days even without my participation. I eventually realized that it didn’t matter what I said because he would always find a way to make me the bad guy. I was always wrong. So, instead of fighting back, I shut down. I stopped talking or I would respond with one word answers or simply say ok. This infuriated him and thus kept it going. I know why I was anxious sleeping next to him. I didn’t feel safe and my body was telling me that.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you need a list of more resources, please feel free to get in touch!
Until the next post,