I always thought that I was strong, intelligent and independent—it’s highly unlikely that I could’ve ended up in a relationship with a narcissist, but I did.
I had to battle with this relationship for a year and a half. I felt so trapped and violated that I could no longer recognize myself.
Where exactly did this feisty young, determined woman disappear too?
I met him when I least expected it and it was no fairytale romance—it was through a group of friends who didn’t have the slightest bit of interest in setting us up or introducing us.
It all happened extremely quickly and to be honest I didn’t even question it. Even though he wasn’t my type—his eagerness and the fact that he fed me a future just got me hooked. Consequently, I failed to see the cracks in the relationship that it had become one-sided—I was the one who became the support system and the pleaser.
A normal relationship is two-sided and it’s about give and take, a relationship with a narcissistic is in fact the contrary, it’s about pleasing the narcissist and supporting them constantly.
Throughout the ordeal I put my own needs and feelings to one side, as I was engrossed in the idea of being put on a pedestal and being in love—which in retrospect was not love, as there was no self-respect or mutual compromise.
Tragically, both my mother and grandmother passed within several days apart, it hit me hard as my relationship with them had soured over the years, but yet they were both highly important figures because they shaped me into the independent and feisty woman who I am today.
I was extremely perplexed, vulnerable and fragile—my romantic relationship had come to an end, as I could no longer provide the support the other person needed, in fact it was me that needed support for the first time.
I was at my lowest and had to deal with both two bereavements and a relationship breakdown. I wanted to withdraw away from life all together, but I decided to pick myself up, which by no means was easy. I looked into some grief counseling and started to meditate and practice reiki on a daily basis. I worked on releasing my anger by running and reading up on narcissism which actually helped me to understand that it wasn’t a healthy relationship to begin with and I was never loved, but rather more of an energy supply.
It’s hard to accept that I wasn’t loved—but, the most important lesson I learned is that although I was left feeling utterly broken and abandoned—like my heart had been taken out, unlike a normal relationship, that I wasn’t going to be defeated. I had almost lost my dignity and self-respect due to this abnormal relationship with a narcissist.
The best thing was to accept it by letting go and finding life within myself and refocusing on my dreams and goals again, that I had pushed away to one side.
As they say “time is a healer” and it definitely is, as I have become creative again and have started writing again.
Here are some red flag warning signs of a narcissistic partner:
Many people say that first impressions can be wrong, but, in this case, don’t rule them out, as there must be a reason why you are not immediately drawn or attracted to the person.
If he/she is too eager and you are constantly on their mind, that could be the early signs of a needy person, someone who is looking for support and comfort to enrich their dismal life.
Now commitment for a narcissist doesn’t come easily—if during the early stages of the dating period he/she is planning well ahead and wants to meet your family and friends, and even starts talking about children, question it. Why is this person in such a rush, are they trying to get you hooked?
If his/her friends and colleagues, who have known them for a while, say that that you must be a saint to put up with him/her, just be careful. Do really you want to settle with this person? Remember these are clear indicators, so listen for them.
Is he/she constantly down, dwelling on about poor life choices, do they get verbally abusive to you or disrespect you, and make you feel sorry for them under the same breath? This is a clear warning that you are dealing with a manipulator—hence a narcissist who is only looking out for themselves and wants to use up your energy resources.
Should I stay or should I go?
Love is built upon mutual respect and should be based upon give and take. If you feel a relationship is starting to weigh upon you, to the point of having self-doubt, pick yourself up before your self-respect is tarnished.
If he/she has unresolved issues with his family that he/she chose not to deal with and hasn’t bothered to seek help, this could be a warning sign. Do his/her family members seem to think your union is a bit precarious? In my case, he had severe issues with his mother who despised his behavior and warned me that he was no good.
Author: Annie Surdi
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: flickr/Jane Fox