Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Helping Friends

The Addictive Traits Of The Narcissist: 3 Tips For Breaking Free

There is something about them that keeps you around. No matter the difficult times there is still something that you hold on to. What is “it?” What is that force that keeps you going back for more and more? Why can’t you just leave? Why are narcissists so damned hard to get rid of?

It is kind of creepy to think that narcissists can be so addictive.

They are inconsiderate. They are often times ruthless. They are mean. They are thoughtless. They are insensitive. They are hardly the “knight in shining armor” we thought they were in the beginning. Take off all the hardware and what you really have is the tail end of the white horse versus that stud of a rider. They are narcissists.

And yet, here we are in our restless sleep waiting for that kiss that will wake us up to our happily ever after. Waiting and waiting, and more waiting. The problem is that we are waiting for the wrong guy to make the right choice. The real problem is that we will wait until we feel as though we are trapped. We put the right faith into the wrong guy.

It’s complete shenanigans to waste so much of our time, but, it is easy to become so deeply involved with a narcissistic person that getting free seems to be more of a dream than an achievable goal. A narcissist will either exploit your co-dependent side or create one within you making you dependent upon them. This is a form of conditioning and it is key to ensuring you don’t leave once you are locked in. It makes no sense because you know, at first, it is wrong, until they gaslight you enough that you believe everything they do is normal or your fault.

It can be really difficult to break free from the narcissist.

It can be even more difficult to explain to others why breaking away from them is so hard. There’s just no explaining it. For someone to understand they have to have been there and know it takes a lot of time to become so worn down to uncover that hidden strength to leave.

 

In the meantime, your support system gets frustrated with your inability to see the narcissist for what he is. They stop trying to talk sense into you, which makes the desire to leave, sometimes, that much more difficult. That is, of course, if you still have friends. Most narcissists will work hard to turn you against your support system. So, if they are still around listen to them. If they have since left, maybe these tips will help you.

How do you survive a relationship with a narcissist when you’ve worn out your support system? Here are 3 Tips.

1. Trust yourself. When you feel alone trusting your gut, even when it leads you to make the most uncomfortable decisions, is going to be more right than wrong. You know yourself better even if you are not aware of it and that is why you have instincts. When you have no one to talk to you are left with yourself and if you listen closely, you will hear those instincts telling you exactly what to do. This means being honest with yourself and forgiving yourself.

2. Be okay to be alone. Freeing yourself from the narcissist may look like a road to loneliness and quite honestly, it likely will – at least, for a while. The narcissist typically only wants you to have them to focus on, rely on, and depend on. If they have succeeded then your leaving them looks like a one-way ticket to lonely-town. Being alone is not going to hurt you, though. Actually, once your support system finds out you have left your narcissist they may re-enter your life if you welcome them. Remember, to isolate you takes your cooperation even if you don’t realize it. If your support system was made up of healthy people, welcome them back.

3. Expect the panic. This might be the most difficult of all. As the unknown emerges and change begins to take place it can be easy to psych yourself out, telling yourself that you are making the wrong choice or invite the narcissist back into your life. If you expect yourself to panic, to be scared, to be afraid, to feel all the negative things you can possible imagine (including unloved) you can prepare yourself for them. By preparing for all that panic has to offer, you can recognize it as it is happening and prevent you from sabotaging your freedom. Being healthy and alone is far better that being imprisoned by a narcissist.

There comes a time when you can feel it happening. Little by little, reality chips away at your patience revealing what you are truly worth. So, don’t give up. Even when others seem to have given up on you, they really haven’t – they just don’t know how to be there for you. So keep going. You’re worth more than you are getting and the only way to get what you are worth is to get it for yourself. You can do it.

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence

5 Ways To Disarm a Narcissist And Save Your Sanity

The best way to disarm a narcissist is to be in complete control of your emotions – far easier said than done but it can be done. 

There is no doubt that each of us has a narcissist in our life; that person that just can’t seem to see past the end of their nose. While many of us are able to experience the world around us and find a way to deal with the ups and downs handed out, narcissists tend to keep their surroundings very well controlled. Whatever they can’t control they blame others for.

This is what makes narcissists so difficult to work with. Even if you have a good argument and viable solution the narcissist will use his repertoire of ammo to put you down and make you the person at fault. It might be easy to think that we can just drop kick that person and move on with life but sometimes it is far easier said than done.

Narcissists aren’t people we choose to be in our lives they are just there. Quite frankly, sometimes we are stuck with a narcissist and, therefore, we must learn how to deal with him.

In order to do that, you need to know how to disarm the narcissist to make them a bit more tolerable.

Here are a few ideas to help you do just that…

1. Don’t fall for the temptation to sink to their level. Narcissists love a good fight and not because they are any good at arguing but they know how to push your buttons. By pushing your buttons you are tempted to verbally protect yourself. The narcissist needs for you to fight back because then you are the one who lost control. You are the bad guy. When he throws the first verbal judo chop it is on you, right? How do you get around that? Be cool. Don’t react to the emotions in the room. If you are not familiar with emotional intelligence get familiar with it. That will be your first defense in disarming your narcissist. It is important that you remain in control of your emotions, as the narcissist will not!

2. Don’t feed the ego. Surely, you have been to the zoo and see the signs to not feel the “wild” animals? Well, narcissists are much like those encaged wild animals. They seem fine behind a fence and that fence gives you a false sense of security. Don’t be fooled. You don’t feed the zoo animals because they can be quite unpredictable just as much as the narcissist except his “wild” side in his ego. Remember, narcissists have an impressive sense of self and when you throw numerous verbal praises at that ego you empower that unstable weak mind. As you feed his ego, he doesn’t hear praise; he hears how much better he is over you. If you don’t feed the bear, he won’t have the energy to attack your confidence later.

3. Don’t take responsibility for his emotions. If he is pissed let him be pissed. He will try to make you the martyr for his negative emotions. After a while, it might be a hell of a lot easier to accept that blame because it encourages him to stop but it tears at you from the inside out. Before you know it, you are offering to take the blame for him his emotions by doing everything he wants. Let him get happy in the same pants he got mad in – he will always get over it.

4. Don’t use ultimatums. No relationship should ever include an ultimatum – it is a form of control, which is why he will use them over and over again. If you don’t like something he is doing or you feel the need to use this to gain control you might have become just as toxic as he is.   Remember, your actions and words provide him immediate permission to do the same to you – even if that coin doesn’t flip both ways.

5. Don’t give him negative attention. Like emotional teenagers, narcissists enjoy attention. Positive attention is great for the narcissist but negative attention is crucial to their ability to hold you accountable. It is the unhealthy part of their thinking. Once you give them that negative attention they will hold it over your head. They need you to give them that negative attention as a means of lashing out and targeting you. If you are the closest person to the narcissist you are the consistent, most reliable target for receiving negative attention. It is this reason the narcissist will work for to make sure you stick around. After all, who else would put up with such…nonsense?

Narcissists rarely take responsibility for their emotions and yet they expect you to be accountable for yours. Your narcissist has worked hard to know what makes you tick, how to push your buttons and then how to convince you to stay. The best way to deal with a narcissist is to be in complete control of your emotions – far easier said than done but it can be done.   Give your emotional intelligence a quick look over and figure out how to use that to control yourself. The most important trick to disarming the narcissist is to control your emotions. Once you do that, you remove much of his armor and he is left to his own devices – which he knows the least about.

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

Get Out and Stay Out

It is already a tough decision to think about, let alone execute.  Some respect the decision though they may not understand it while others can’t for the life of them “get it”.  These people, no matter their intent, don’t really make things any easier.  In fact, it is not really a particular person that give you the strength to follow through such a big decision.  It’s that “it” factor that you can feel but don’t really know what it is.  All you do know is that you have had enough and come hell or high water you are done – and this time done for good.

You are FINALLY leaving that unhealthy relationship!!!

For starters, when I use the word “unhealthy” I am talking about the kind of relationship where there is abuse.  This is the kind of abuse that is designed to control the actions of another.  The abuse could be physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual, or spiritual.  Abuse is a pattern of negative behavior from your partner that results in a pattern of submissive behavior from you.  This is not a clinical explanation but a quick and dirty definition that will make sense to those who have been in an unhealthy relationship. Additionally, abuse can happen in any relationship, but the intimate ones tend to be the longer lasting ones due to the intimacy factor.  (We can dive deeper into this in a later conversation.)

Leaving is the first tough step but the real challenge is how you stay out.  One of the toughest things to deal with after leaving an unhealthy relationship is re-igniting an old friendship, or in some cases a new one, with yourself.  Being out on your own is not like moving out of mom and dad’s, which had a sense of excitement and liberation.  Leaving an unhealthy relationship does come with a similar sense of freedom along with a sense of fear, anxiety, and “what the hell do I do now?”

Don’t worry; those are all normal feelings and questions.  What’s more? You should be feeling those things!  Those are great signs that you are on a path towards healing and getting you back.  What sucks about these feelings? They don’t feel good.  They can easily position you for another unhealthy relationship.

I know what you are thinking…”WTF? Why? Why do we have to go through these crummy feelings to move on?”

Well, my dear, because what you were involved in didn’t happen or evolve overnight. It took a lot of time, for some of you years, to get to where you were.  So, it is pretty unreasonable to think that a new normal occurs by simply moving out.  Moving out and spending some time alone is just the first few steps down the road of healing.  The real work starts at this point despite how tough all decisions were to get here. 

So, a few things to keep in mind as you venture down this new road:

  1. Do recognize you will question what you have done! This is normal and to expect it is what makes it easier.  It is totally fine to wonder if you are doing the right thing or if you made a mistake.  You literally took the puzzle of your life and removed some pieces of it giving you the space to feel as though you are not whole.  To counter this remember, you were whole and always will be.  (Let’s visit this idea later, too, it can get pretty deep.) J
  2. Expect to have free time on your hands and no idea how to spend it.  When living in an unhealthy relationship you were likely always worried about what things would be like if the abuser was gone or worrying about how to walk on egg shells for the day.  Maybe you spent your time presenting yourself, your home, your children, or anything in just the most perfect manner to avoid triggering your abuser.  Now that the abuser you don’t have all those expectations to live up to. This is time to learn about you and what you like…time to date you for a while! J
  3. Realize that you are not a bad person for leaving.  This is such a tough feeling to deal with particularly if there are children that miss the abuser or others who don’t understand.  First, it’s hard to remember your abuser doesn’t abuse everyone or doesn’t abuse them in the same way. This puts you is such a crazy position when others feel they should have justification for your decision.  This leaves you with opportunity to take blame based on reactions of others.  DON’T! Just as you need to feel through your emotions others need to do the same and all at your own pace!
  4. Realize you are easy to deceive in your own home!!!  Your abuser is no fool.  They know how to work you over and spent a good amount of time doing so in the home you two shared.  Being in the space that you now solely manage doesn’t make you the power in the home; just makes you the only provider.  You can expect your abuser to try to weasel their way in your territory using all their best tricks – some tricks you will recognize and some you won’t. The abuser doesn’t want to be alone any more than you do.  They don’t know what to do with themselves, either. Their object of control left and therefore will play that “vulnerable” card better than Luke Skywalker begging his father for help against Darth Sidious.  Know it could take a few times of falling for those tricks (old and new) to realize the abuser is working towards an Oscar nomination.  Don’t get down on yourself when it happens. Forgive yourself and try a new strategy.  Easier said than done but you will do it though it does take time and a lot of: “Oh shit, not again.”

These are just a few of the things you should expect.  Avoiding them only makes things harder on you.  If you learn to expect them or continue to expect them, they will be easier to work through when they happen. Half the battle of leaving the abuser is knowing that there is a rough road ahead and a lot of uncomfortable feelings that you are unfamiliar with. These are all good things that are indicative of better choices.  They don’t feel like it at the time but if you review on some of your others “firsts” you may find there are several of them that didn’t feel that great at first but wound up to be not that bad.  😉

You can do it.

Pro Tip: Go back through the list and when you see the word “abuser” or specific pronouns use the name of the person and their pronoun. Make this about you and hear what you are going through 

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

How I Let Him Go Even Though I Still Loved Him

How did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

woman sitting in front of tree

And there is it was – staring me right in the face. I knew it immediately but despite my knowing I still questioned it. My gut was on red alert and my heart was on the verge of sobbing. My ears were ringing. My eyes felt frozen. It was the red flag that couldn’t be denied and I denied it anyway – at least for a few more years. Ugh. (facepalm)

We seemed to have so much in common. We could talk for hours. Our pasts seemed parallel giving us an exclusive understanding of one another. We had genuine interests in each other’s hobbies. We could see through to one another. Being together we both emerged with a side from within that was buried so deep. The connection was unique. It felt rare. It redefined passion.

So, why is it I am not with him today? How could I not eternally embrace something that sounds as though it was delivered from “a land far far away”?

Well, I finally saw what everyone had been telling me – that he was not right for me.

What we had was a very passionate relationship in every romantic sense of the word that you can imagine. And yet with the positive passion came the negative passion. Both were intense at their own distinctive level. Both were scary. Both were invigorating. But also dangerous to my mental health.

I won’t go into the details of the relationship but what I will tell you is that we had little to no support from our friends and family. This is a definite sign that the relationship is not what you think it is. Sometimes, the best measurement of the health of a relationship is the level of support from those around you.

I refused to listen to those people because there was always that one person who stood out and said, “Yes! Yes, you are the one for him!” My desire to hold on to that positive passion was fed by the repetition of that one statement for two years – in my head.

woman in black full zip jacket

So, how did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

I had to recognize that what I felt was not equal to what he felt or the negative passion would not have been as strong.

Don’t be mistaken. He liked to keep me around for his pleasure and fun or his needs but when it came to what I needed? Ha. It was not only my fault he was unhappy with our situation but it was my fault if I was experiencing turmoil or trials. It was my stupidity or my bitchiness that created my situation and that wasn’t his problem.

But, he loved me. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. But, wildly enough, I believed that he loved me and I needed to stay. It took me about 25 months to finally pull the trigger and walk out of his life and back into my own.

I don’t know if was time wasted or the most influential learning experience I have ever been through. What I do know is that the experience is mine to share with you.

So, back to how to let go if you still love him. How did I put my love aside to escape my prison?

1. I kept all the text messages for reference. He used to get mad that I would retain our text conversations and refer back to them. He rarely came off looking like a nice guy (and my responses weren’t always pretty, either) and therefore he would demand I delete them or sweet-talk me into deleting them.

Once they were gone I had nothing visual to remind me who he really was. Once those texts were gone he would turn on the loving charm and then cycle back into the emotional deviant I was hooked to. I do have some of the texts to remind me of why I left when I start to miss the good times.

2. I had to push my emotional brain aside for my logical. I had to really think about his actions and how they aligned, or misaligned, with his words. I had to look at his expectations and my expectations and determine how they balanced. I had to stop deceiving me and come to terms with the reality that I was not getting anywhere with him and my life was depleting the more time I devoted to him. Once I realized that it was easier to not respond his last text message.

photography of woman using laptop

3. I needed something to maintain my focus. My attention had to be placed somewhere else so I could go through the process of grieving a relationship I had with a man who was mentally dangerous. I found that focus and protected it with every fiber of my being. That focus remains today as a reminder that being me is a great thing and not a result of someone else’s demands.

4. I prepared myself emotionally for the final walk. I literally stood in front of a mirror and told myself, “You will want to text him so the crying will stop. You will want to run back to him to feel normal again.” I knew the real problem for me was fighting the addiction created throughout the relationship. Maybe the uncomfortable tears of grief would stop by contacting him but they would be replaced with the comfortable tears of name-calling and emotional abuse I had been so accustomed to.

Maybe I would feel normal again by running to him but would hurt myself more by embracing that sense of “normal” versus developing myself by venturing out of my comfort zone. The funny thing about a comfort zone is that it might be comfortable but it doesn’t necessarily feel good nor is it healthy. It is just comfortable.

5. I had to be fair to myself and allow myself the time to heal and try life without him. I had to be permitted to be me again without his permission or approval. I had to give myself enough time to feel the emotions I prepped myself for. I had to give me a chance to heal even if it hurt like hell. Even if I cried myself to sleep. Even if it meant I would never be loved again. In the end, it meant I would love me and not have someone attempt to make me feel guilty for it. There is no guilt in loving me but there is guilt in knowingly hurting me via an unhealthy relationship.

woman holding a smiley balloon

So, the time has passed and here I am. I didn’t die without him like I thought I would. I didn’t spiral down into depression like he had predicted. I continued to breathe and live my life. I am free to be me and am happy being me. I have grown and continue to do so every day. Why? Because I didn’t give up on me.

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

You Weren’t Enough For Him Because He Wasn’t Right For You

“Why wasn’t I enough?”

These are the words that make me cringe. They make me grit my teeth. They break my heart. I have yet to hear these words come from a anyone who deserved to say them. These are the typical words of a woman devastated by a man who decided another woman (or path, whatever) was the way to his future.

Let me say this to you loud and clear…

Him Leaving Was NEVER ABOUT YOU NOT BEING ENOUGH!!!

Yes, it more than sucks that the man you call “the one” would consider anyone or anything else over you but honestly, if you think about it, do YOU really want to be with someone that is thinking about somebody else? Do YOU really want to waste your time with someone who isn’t happy being with you? Do YOU really want someone to fake a life with you?

I sincerely hope your answer is “NO”.

Yeah, I know. It’s commitment and it is supposed to be an extended one, maybe even lifelong because that was the mutual agreement. You made a promise.  You made a vow. You devoted your life, therefore, he was supposed to do the same. And yet, he didn’t.

Why!? Why didn’t he!?!?

I know there are so many of you wondering why the man of your dreams left you behind. So, the super sucky thing about his decision is that you may never know the real “why”.

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

What sucks more? He probably wouldn’t be able to tell you because, in the end, he may not ever really know, either.

Eff that, right? I know. He should know, shouldn’t he? You are owed an explanation. You are owed the reason behind his actions. It is only fair that you be given an understanding!

Is it, though?  Is life so fair and just that we all know why we do what we do when we do it?   Sometimes, there is no known reason at the time.  There is just a feeling, an emotion, that drives the decision and before long, people are hurt and the damage is done.

Quite honestly, you have to get over being left! 

woman with red long sleeved top

If you are still pining after a relationship that someone else flushed down the toilet you might consider the contents of the toilet. Maybe what you had in the relationship was not worth spending eternity in. Maybe you value commitment over happiness. Maybe there is a lot going on in that commode that you didn’t see. And then again, maybe it wasn’t a wasted flush. Bottom line, someone didn’t want you – why in the hell do you want them???

Moreover, why even ask about being enough? You’re not designed to be “enough” for another. You’re not structured to be the filling putty for another human being. You’re a person. An individual. You are YOU. Consider yourself as something more than someone’s “better half”!!! You are NOT a better half or a worse half! You are a full wonderful, beautiful, incredible you. Doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like to have someone special in your life but that person should NOT complete you.  Your continual evolvement will continually complete you.  But them?  They are a GREAT compliment to you. Like wine with a meal; either can be great on their own or they can be thoroughly enjoyed together.

(I don’t even know you and I believe that about you!) 

adult attractive beautiful beauty

So, do you and me a favor? Don’t limit yourself as “enough”. You’re not just “enough”.  You’re an individual – a special creation that no one else in the world could possibly be!  Maybe you’re a handful of crazy.  Maybe you are that ever elusive unicorn.  You must be more than he could see and that’s just fine! Not everyone will see you the same way. Different parts of you come out with different people. The better guy will believe in the way you do you.

Do not, by any means, define your life as an extension of another, ever. You are not an extension to a guy (or anyone, for that matter) – you are a compliment to them as much as they are a compliment to you! You two are not “one” – you two are a powerhouse! Be proud of you and only allow a person into your life that is just as proud because if they aren’t you end up asking yourself…”Why wasn’t I enough?”

…And then you might just tear yourself apart unnecessarily.

Get yourself into gear and be you.  It’s not about being enough – it’s about being YOU.