Lifestyle Magazine

In Love with a Narcissist? How to Tell. Oh, and RUN!

By Oppositeofnormal @oppositeonormal
I have recently discovered while poring over numerous articles about relationship psychology that I have spent the past 3 years in love with a narcissist. Finally, a label! A tag! Something that made sense of his behavior. Of course, all of this time I thought it was my fault (narcissists are FABULOUS at this one!).
This is an extremely toxic place for any person to be, and it is more likely that the relationship will end in a fanfare of emotional destruction so great that one will likely need counseling. I am in the process of untangling myself from a relationship with a very sly narcissist currently, and tell you what, it's hard work. He is very persistent in staying until he figures himself out even though I have begged him to go and have done everything short of calling the police on him to get him to go. I am unemployed and am willing to take the financial risk to save my sanity, but he says he is staying to help because I would be "screwed without him". Well, either way I am screwed right now. The more I look at the REAL reason for him staying, the more I can see that it has nothing to do with me. It is convenient for him. And THAT my friends is the main component of a narcissistic personality.

In love with a narcissist? How to tell. Oh, and RUN!

And, yes, it is. All about them.

The typical narcissist is born during infancy and early childhood. During infancy, starting at around 6 months of age, the baby will begin to establish an attachment style in response to the parenting style that he or she is subjected to. A narcissist will typically eventually develop the avoidant style due to neglect from the primary caregiver. This will carry into adulthood and into intimate relationships. Yes, I like Freud. Quite a bit! My narcissist was given up by his mother to his grandparents as a toddler because her new boyfriend (eventual husband) did not want him around. OUCH. Please, view a childhood situation like this as a red flag/stop sign, NOT as a reason to help or fix someone. That is what I did. I gave him everything I had and swore I would never leave him (soothed his abandonment issues) and it still wasn't enough. It will end badly, I can almost guarantee it.
What to look for:
  • See picture above. IT IS ALL ABOUT THEM! Nothing they do has anything to do with you. No matter how hard they try (and how good they are at making it seem) like they are making it about you. It is a farce. A lie. A manipulation. There will always be a selfish motivation behind their actions, whether it's to earn yours or someone else's attention, affection, praise, or to twist things for their own personal gain. 
  • Extremely attentive and charming in the beginning of the relationship. Again, nothing to do with you! They are only serving their selfish needs in some way. They need your validation, and will go to great lengths to get it. Once they have it and realized you are hooked, the devluation comes into play. Things you used to do that never bothered them all of the sudden become annoyances. They blame you for their mistakes. They constantly nag and criticize. This is to make them feel superior, it's not because you all of the sudden became the most annoying, incompetent person in the world.
  • A narcissist has a need for attention that can NEVER be filled. Think, black hole (of the outer space persuasion). No matter what you do, it will never be enough. When they feel they are not getting the attention they so rightfully deserve they will find it elsewhere. (Ahem, cheating-dating sites-Craigslist). Mine even admitted to me once that he needed the validation from other women to feel better about himself, the validation and adoration that I gave to him and had for him was NOT enough. *sigh* Guess that was one time where it didn't pay to be completely smitten.
  • They will play the mystique/vagueness/tortured soul game with you. You will never know of or be able to comprehend all of their pain (ugh) or how they feel about you. You won't understand it, they say. This is hollow bullshit and is used only to manipulate you. He's been using the "It's complicated" cop out on how he feels about me lately, when all I want is some honest validation that he did OR EVEN did NOT care about me during the past few years. I have since given up caring how he feels or felt about me because he will never tell me. That is a complication I do not need in my life. In my book, "it's complicated" just means "I am too much of a pussy to tell you I never really gave a shit about you.". And now I know why.
  • Excessive self absorption is a common trait with narcissistic personalities. As if you haven't gathered that by now! *ahem* redundant. My apologies.
  • Inflated sense of self even though on the inside they are the epitome of low self esteem. They will always project an image of self confidence and will build themselves up to others every chance they get. They do NOT accept criticism well at all, and will go to great lengths to deflect it and prove that either the person dealing the criticism is somehow wrong or is an idiot. A narcissist is horrible at accepting that they may in fact be WRONG!
  • Center of attention seeking behavior. Always wanting to be the life of the party. Guaranteed they will be the loudest most persistent voice in a crowd. I remember trying to have conversations with people and he would cut me off constantly, or interrupt. It was infuriating! I just thought it was because he was Italian! People even called him on it a few times. "Hey dude, she was saying something!" Usually in that circumstance he would leave to sulk or find someone else to talk to. It got to the point that during social events I would often just sit there quietly because I knew if I tried to talk to someone he would cut me off, often to point out how wrong I was about something, or prove that he knew more than I did about any given subject. 
  • Okay, this is going to hurt a little if you are in love with a narcissist. A narcissist is INCAPABLE of TRUE empathy. They will put on a great if not occasionally AMAZING show of feigned empathy. They may even cry. Whoa! BUT, just know that they are only doing it to serve themselves in some way. When mine finally admitted to cheating on me with his ex, he cried. He showed remorse. He swore it was killing him to hurt me. Then 3 days later he went behind my back and slept with her again, even going so far as to lie about it to me when I put him on the spot because I was suspicious about it. His argument when he finally fessed up = he couldn't handle hurting me again. Yeah, sure. Whatever, fucktard.
  • Know this, when you cut off the attention to your narcissist they ABSOLUTELY WILL go seek attention elsewhere. With a quickness. It will make you feel like you were worthless to them. The cold, hard truth is that you were only a tool of self gratification for them. Mine was carrying on online (and very likely offline) relationships with other women for the whole duration of our relationship. (Which he STILL refuses to admit to even though I have seen his emails and texts!!) At first it made me feel worthless, and incredibly hurt. But, in hindsight it was his issue. All of the love and devotion in the world will never be enough for a narcissist. It just will not be. This is no way reflects on you. 
  • They are controlling, and will usually use guilt to manipulate you and/or the situation to get what they want. Even going as far as to let you get your way sometimes but making you miserable during the process. This will never be a give and take relationship. If you want your emotions and finances to be sucked dry, continue in this relation-shit. Be my guest. Can't say I didn't warn you. I am left holding about $10,000 in student loans used to help him grow his business. Should take me quite a few years to pay that mistake off.
So, if this sounds like a situation you are in, I am sorry. I feel your pain. The saddest part of this besides the waste of the last 3 years of my life is that I actually feel sorry for this man. I know that his behavior is not completely his fault, and I know that he possibly doesn't even recognize that he is behaving this way, or is at least not intending to. If he does realize it, he will never admit it. Narcissists are sad little creatures. Low self esteem motivates them to display these behaviors. They are sad, lonely and scared that they will never measure up. They are scared that they will be left behind. Sad.
But, you CAN break free. No matter how much you love this person, you absolutely, positively MUST. I am not saying it's an easy thing to do. It has been 7 months of hell, and I am almost certain that this has created a revolting fear of relationships within me. BUT, There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you WILL get through this! This person will never love you completely or the way you deserve. They will always put themselves first, with very little of the give and take that a healthy relationship requires. You deserve better. Now go find it.
Some people come into your life just to teach you how to let go.

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