Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

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:

Gaslighting – creating uncertainty in your thoughts, beliefs & abilities.  This is used to diminish your self-worth and create dependency on the narcissist.

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.

Shaming – sounds like a compliment, but leaves you feeling small & insecure.  Used to reduce your self-confidence.

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.

Triangulation – Bring a third-party into a conversation to back up their thoughts & beliefs.  Used to force you to second guess your thoughts & beliefs.

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 my 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.

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.

  1. Contact your local abuse shelter: they will help you with a safety plan, housing & Legal Counsel
  2. Contact your local Police & tell them you are planning to leave a toxic relationship& ask for a Police Escort if needed. Let them know of any weapons in the home.
  3. Begin to slowly save & hide money.
  4. Pack a bag of essentials & leave it with a friend
  5. Download this Safety Plan for Domestic Violence 

You cannot fix this person.  They do not see themselves as the problem.  They feel you are the problem.

The honeymoon (those moments when you are treated like a queen, the apologies, the gifts, the promises) won’t last.  You know this.  This is just another manipulation tool to get you to stay.

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.

Andrea Scarborough
Life / Parenting Coach

Why I Do What I Do?

I do this because I don’t want your family to go through what my family went through.  I do this because I want to help you avoid the hard lessons I had to learn.  I do this because I don’t want you to sit in an emergency room listening to the doctor tell you how close your child came  to successfully committing suicide.  I do this because I have learned that if dysfunctions in the family are caught early enough, they can have successful outcomes.

As a Result of my Family Dysfunction

I have spent the last 10 years working with children with extreme behaviours.   Every one of these kids reported family life that was riddled with strife; divorce, abuse, addiction, trauma, death, or general lack of structure.  Each of these kids began to act out for 2 reasons:

  1. Negative attention was the only attention – they felt they didn’t exist unless they gave their parents something to scream about.  Positive behaviours were expected – good grades, obey house rules.  They felt they were not acknowledged for the good things, but they were for all the bad, and the bad always got worse.
  2. Trauma / abuse within the family – every family have a history.  There is some sort of trauma in the closet.  My family was abuse, divorce, life-threatening illness, un-intentional neglect and a lack of coping skills for all of us.  The kids I worked with reported similar issues.

The Coles-Notes version of my family story

I had 2 beautiful little girls and an sociopathic husband.  As my awareness of his disorder grew, so did my strength.  I eventually asked him to leave and we divorced (no…it wasn’t that simple).  This was both a relief and a point of insecurity for the girls and I. Shortly after this, my oldest daughter was rushed to emerg with a  pulmonary embolism.  This is a life threatening blood clot in her lungs.  She was 14.  My entire world flipped upside down.  I spent every waking moment trying to balance her care and protecting my little one from the devastating news.  Somehow, we saw the light at the end of this tunnel and she recovered.  I knew I hadn’t recovered, but as a single mom, there just wasn’t time for me to break down, so I pushed on.

In the next four years, I remarried.  This time to an incredible, kind, caring man.  We had support, but my trauma was still very evident (to everyone but me).  Then the same daughter who was deathly ill, was involved in a single vehicle roll-over that most people wouldn’t have survived.  Again, I threw myself into caring for her.  Again trying to balance a healthy child with a sick one.  Little did I know, my healthy child wasn’t so healthy.  She had begun to self harm, hid in her room and withdrew very deeply into herself.  And this is where my learning began.

I Learned

Life has a funny way of teaching us things we don’t want to learn.  In order to help my child with her mental health, I had to help me with mine.  I had to show her that it was possible.  Children watch us like little hawks.  She needed to see me growing, learning, dealing, coping and this began her journey of growth.

My Journey Has Lead Me to You.

As every member of my family embarked on a journey of self-discovery (we all had skeletons), it became clear that we were not the only ones struggling.  I turned my career to support children of abuse and neglect.  I loved working with these children as I was able to witness amazing feats of determination, strength and resilience.  But each one of my clients had the same secret wish – they wished their entire family could support their growth and celebrate their potential.

So, I am here to help you to help your children.  I understand that life happens.  I understand that we, as parents don’t always have the time to take a step back and deal with our skeletons.  As much as we try to avoid it, our “stuff” usually becomes our kids “stuff”.  I also understand that as a parent, it is really hard to determine when, or how, or even where to seek support.  I have made it very simple and hopefully non-invasive.  On the left hand side of this post, you will see available free downloads.  Start here and reach out when you are ready.  There is hope, let’s try to catch it early.

As always, loads of love

~AndreaFamily Coach

PS: Update – my girls have both grown into amazing young ladies!  They are both using their own talents to help others and our family only grows stronger with time.  Yours can too…