Dating a narcissist makes you feel on top of the world at times but it also makes you feel terrible about yourself and question your reality.
Here’s what you need to know about dating a narcissist…
- Keep in mind – not everyone who is emotionally unavailable is a narcissist. However, a narcissist is ALWAYS emotionally unavailable.
- ANYONE can fall for a narcissist. But only those with low self-esteem who need validation like oxygen will start dating a narcissist and continue to STAY. They will refuse to “give up” on a narcissist because they gave up on themselves a long time ago. They put all of their eggs in the “I’m going to be cool/smart/sexy enough for them to change/commit/love/validate/notice/not be so so selfish,” basket.
- Narcissists are not capable of mutual relationships. They are only capable of self-serving transactions.
- Listening to the actions (which make up the patterns) of a narcissist is imperative. Their words mean nothing and will drive you crazy. Any words you speak, excuses you make for them in the name of zero-boundary’d love, understanding, etc., will ultimately be used against you.
- Dating a narcissist makes you want to get off of your white horse for good. You have to stay on though because once you’re off, the narcissist will step back/recoil/give you the silent treatment and use your unraveling against you, as in indication that YOU need help – not them. Narcissists love this turn-around-deflection dynamic because it allows them to further victimize themselves, never experience any real consequences, and continue their all-important, all-about-me behavior. Remember, the crazier they can get you to look, the more in control they look. Your reactivity is caviar for their ego;
- Narcissists are experts in emotional Chinese Water Torture. They keep dripping water on you and when you finally realize there’s a hole in your head and you react, they’ll say “Whoa! Re-LAX. That was just water! It’s non-toxic and it’s natural! What’s your problem? There’s no hole in your head! I was baptizing you with my love. Guess you don’t want it. You must have some real issues. Maybe you should go talk to someone.” You are then left feeling even worse about yourself and crazy. So, you take responsibility for the hole in your head, further blame yourself, and apologize.
- No matter how cool and care-free they so desperately try to appear, narcissists are image and control freaks.
- Narcissists are energetic and emotional vampires, who will passively suck the energy, the empathy, and the sanity out of you. And then, they will finger point and make you feel ashamed for being depleted of all three.
- Looking back, I think I had such a hard time accepting that I was dating a narcissist because that meant I would have to accept that my parents had a certain level of narcissism. It also forced me to address my own narcissism. Just because I wasn’t what I call a “direct narcissist,” I was very reverse narcissistic. I was making the selfish actions of a narcissistic people all about how I was not enough. I was making everything about me, just like the narcissists I was attracted to.
- There is no need to EVER worry that after dating a narcissist, he/she will move on to a better partner and be a better person, in a better relationship. Narcissists are highly insecure people whose emotional development was arrested when they were given conditional love, abandoned, betrayed, abused, or bullied as a child. And as heartbreaking as that is, the fact that they don’t see themselves as wrong, didn’t get help, and use their romantic relationships to revisit the scene of an emotional crime and perpetuate is downright toxic. They thrive on creating a grandiose image of themselves and controlling that image at all costs. But because they are so insecure deep down, they can never keep up with the image that they portray. Eventually, they unfold to reveal a shell of a person who will only ever be compatible with people whose levels of self-esteem are just as low as theirs.
- Narcissists are unable to operate from a place of love – for themselves or others. They operate from a place of fear and the only way to keep that fear at bay is to be in control of others (in the form of mind f*cking, blaming, deflecting, chain yanking, mixed signaling, swooping in and out of your life, hot one minute cold the next, etc).
- If they know that they can gaslight you and if they are sure that they can keep you guessing, make you feel jealous, crazy, possessive of them, and obsessed… that’s all they need. To them, it’s as good as going to bed with you. Control is the only thing that will truly turn a narcissist on because deep down, they are scared, emotional bed sh*tters who have such a lack of control, they feel like they have to control the emotional responses of others.
- If you’re dating a narcissist, you will never truly know how they feel about you or to what level they are invested in the relationship because they are perpetually hot/cold/yes/no/maybe. This “unknowing” keeps you invested because the more that they negotiate your boundaries and instincts down, the more “curious” you become. This causes you to become delusional enough to believe that if you turn your head for a hot minute, they’ll transform into the man/woman of your dreams.
- When you break up after dating a narcissist, it feels so much more excruciating. Not only are you vulnerable, but because your boundaries and expectations have been bartered down to such a low level, you feel like you have no identity or purpose. Rejection plants the seeds for FBI stalking obsession. Often, narcissists will all of a sudden disappear or break up with you and not contact you at all. Narcissists know how much ghosting paralyzes you. So, as long as they can keep you thirsty in the emotional desert, they have you primed to welcome them back into your life at any moment with their crumbs. They do this so that they can use you as an option, do even less for you than they did in the relationship, and STILL get the sexual/emotional/financial benefits of having you as a partner (without the commitment or the monogamy). By keeping you in this state of starvation, they know that you’ll never be totally done with them. If you ever did decide that you were totally done with them, they wouldn’t know what to do with that loss of control. So, they have to weaken your defenses to ensure their emotional survival (remember, deep down they feel insignificant and worthless).
- Narcissists don’t care about anything but control- on their terms. You can never “scare” them into thinking that “this is it” or that you’re leaving or moving on. They know better. They’ve conditioned you to be their 24-hour emotional/sexual/excuse-making/cheerleading, ATM.
- REMEMBER this: it takes a narcissist to be attracted to one. I am NOT AT ALL saying that you are an empathetically bankrupt narcissist who is selfish and thinks that he/she is all-important. You HAVE empathy (and your empathy is what will ultimately get you out of this pattern). What I am saying is that (this is a term that I totally made up and this is my non-professional opinion), you are a reverse narcissist. You truly believe that other people’s hurtful, deceitful, and heartbreaking behavior is ALL about YOU not being good enough. And however you want to slice and dice it, that’s STILL making it all about you and that’s STILL narcissism. The only difference is that reverse narcissists have the ultimate game changer that conventional narcissists do not: they have empathy (professional term: Empath). Empathy is an incredible thing to have, but you can’t truly give it if you’re not getting it from yourself (which is why I started using the term “reverse narcissist”). Work on your reverse narcissism by consistently having your own back and WATCH how your life transforms. You’ll soon stop being attracted to narcissists like a fly to horse sh*t. There ARE good guys out there. You just have to be good to yourself, first and foremost.
Dating a narcissist? Here are the only ways you will ever be able to keep a relationship going with them:
- Accept that the relationship is 100% on their terms.
- Make it ALL about them and their needs. Never about you or yours.
- Never question them, their decisions or their behavior.
- You can’t love yourself, have your own back or regard yourself in a healthy manner. Ever. If you do, you should feel guilty about it.
- Accept their hurtful actions and behavior as an indication that you need to be better.
- Never, I repeat NEVER think that you are enough.
- Take all of the blame and apologize for everything.
- Never have any kind of discussion about your relationship or where it’s going.
- Recreate bad, disconnected porno sex in the bedroom and don’t ever voice any of your sexual desires.
- Fake every orgasm.
- You must always downplay your intelligence, looks, success, and accomplishments so that he/she can feel more secure.
- Understand that he/she will always (either directly or indirectly), compete with you (and you must always lose).
- You must have a Ph.D. in pedestal building of him/her, door matting of yourself and under-the-rug brushing.
- You must keep giving and giving so that they can keep taking and taking.
- Never age or gain weight.
- Accept that he/she needs A LOT of validation from others (not just you), to keep their pseudo-self-importance parade going. Do not try to compete or ever be number one. You will be made to look crazy.
- Don’t ever make him/her feel bad about talking sh*t about “haters.” If you don’t agree with them, they will ice you out.
- Accept that he/she will never be able to consistently value you because they don’t value themselves. If they did, they would understand that they are enough – independent of all of the superficial minutia (that they think legitimizes them).
Is there a silver lining in any of this?
The silver lining in dating a narcissist is that they always reflect what we need to work on: loving ourselves and healing past trauma. They also make us address our own reverse narcissism because really, who would ever waste their time dating a narcissist other than a (reverse)narcissist?
I know that somewhere deep inside of you…
You have the ability to truly love yourself. You have the ability to empathize with yourself; to be in a mutual relationship with yourself first, and to authentically connect with and truly love others who are deserving of your time and love. I know it.
Instead of subscribing to the “Why me? Why am I not good enough?” dialogue, know this: the narcissist was put in your path not as an indicator of your lack of value but as a spiritual northern star.
And we all know what northern starts do, don’t we? They are there to guide us; to point us onto where we need to be. NOT to be the Happily Ever After, end-all-be-all.
If you recognize dating a narcissist as the northern star that he/she IS, you’ll be open to the motivation that your involvement with them provides – motivation to work on loving yourself, owning your decisions, acting on your intuition, and having your own back.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.