Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?
Here’s a scary statistic; 35% of women report either a current or past relationship with a narcissist. 35%. Are you one of us? Are you uncertain? Let me help you clarify.
~ You firmly believe that your partner is smarter, wiser & more capable of managing life. You depend on him/her to help you navigate your life because they have helped you realize that you are unable to do this on your own. Your thoughts & choices cannot be trusted because you have made some grave errors in the past. He or she is more likely to provide a solution to the sticky situations you find yourself in. Without their constant guidance, instruction or input you would not be able to complete even the simplest of daily tasks. Tasks you thought you could manage, such as choosing appropriate outfits, how to properly clean a home, effective discipline for children and managing finances are too much for you.
~ Your partner is very compassionate about the abuse you have suffered in the past and understands that because of the damage done to you, you are too broken to survive on your own. He or she is your protector, your hero. Your partner can see through the manipulation of your family & friends. He or she knows that you are unsafe with them alone. Your partner has suggested that you start to create distance between you & the people you thought loved you. To keep you safe from these people causing further harm to you, perhaps you should cut ties all together, because your partner is the only one you can trust to keep you safe.
~ Your partner is always considerate enough to point out that little changes would be a great improvement. “It’s too bad you can’t put together an outfit like her. She’s hot in those heals with her hair up like that.” He is also very careful to point out that you do not suit an up-do in heals, because it makes you look like a hooker.
~ Your partner encourages open dialogue to discuss the relationship. You feel valued when you offer suggestions for improvement and he explains the reality of your situation: “I wish you looked at me they way you look at her.” “I look at her that way because she is strong & confident, something you will never be because you’re too broken.”
~ There have been times when you have doubted the wisdom and the authority of your partner, but each time you question this, he is able to mention a friend or co-worker who feels the same way he does, thus proving that you are once again to broken to form an opinion about anything.
~ You are fully aware that you are damaged goods and are so grateful that your partner was willing to take pity on you and love you in spite of your past. You are unlovable to everyone and without him to save you, you would be lost.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Let’s insert the appropriate terms for each point above:
Ø Gaslighting – creating uncertainty in your thoughts, beliefs & abilities. This is used to diminish your self-worth and create dependency on the narcissist.
Ø Isolation – creating distance between you & your support system. With your family & friends out of the way, your abuser has more control. You are no longer guided by outside positive influences and are fully dependant on him.
Ø Shaming – sounds like a compliment, but leaves you feeling small & insecure. Used to reduce your self confidence.
Ø Deflecting – blames you for their indiscretions. Narcissists are unable to accept responsibility for their actions. They deflect accountability and choose to be the victim of others.
Ø Triangulation – Bring a third party into a conversation to back up their thoughts & beliefs. Used to force you to second guess your thoughts & beliefs.
Ø Projection – they are unable to accept their own feelings of worthlessness, so they cast these feelings on to you in such a way that you are convinced they are true. They project their insecurities onto you.
How do I know this?
Because I was one of the 35%. I was in an 11-year relationship with a narcissist. I was told that he was forced to sleep with other women because being pregnant made me fat (I gained 12 pounds in 9 months). I was told that cocaine & hookers were necessary because of the burden I placed on him. I was told that he deserved the settlement from my injury for dragging my sorry ass around all these years. I was told that I was lucky to have him because no one else would put up with my stupidity & laziness.
I was also told that it didn’t have to be this way. I heard whispers of strength & determination. I saw the fear in the eyes of my daughters. I heard the inner voice tell me that this is not what I would choose for them. This is not the example I wanted them to structure theirs lives on. They were worth more than this. They deserved more than this. They, my girls, gave me the strength & the courage to want more, believe more and hope for more.
My girls are the reason I can do what I do today. Today, I inspire women to listen to the inner voice that tells them they are brave, they are strong, they have value and they have a voice! Today, I help women break the chains that bind, so they are free to be who they choose to be!
How do you break free from a narcissist?
Start by listening for that voice. The voice buried deep inside you that tells you this isn’t right. The voice that brought you to this article. The voice that has led you to secretly seek out alternative solutions, choices & possibilities. Look around you. Find your source of strength. Is it in your children, your family or even a memory? When you’re ready, reach out. There is always someone close by that will support you. Contact your local abuse shelter to help you create a safety plan and find housing, if needed.
You are never alone in this. There are thousands of narcissists in this world, but there are millions of survivors. When survivors band together, we begin to thrive, to dream, to create & to conquer!! Together, we will change this world. We’re ready for you to join us. Let us know how we can help.
Click here to read more stories of survival.