If You Love a Narcissist, Make These Commitments to Yourself
Narcissism is a word that gets tossed around often in order to describe someone who is self-absorbed, abrasive, or overly confident, but understanding how a true narcissist is defined is very important. A note before explaining narcissism, the pronoun he is used because most narcissists are male, but it is referring to all narcissists which includes some females.
A narcissist will display a terribly inflated ego and sense of importance. He may seem to believe the world should revolve around him and will behave critically, impatiently, and lack empathy. A narcissist will blame you for all their problems and may accuse you of plotting against them. He may threaten to cut you off and at some point, may follow through, all while making you question your sanity and logic in an effort to undermine your viewpoint. This is called gaslighting and is highly common with narcissists. It is a form of control. When these characteristics are part of someone in a relationship, it affects everyone in that relationship. These are just characteristics of a NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Surprisingly, not all jerks are narcissists, some people are just jerks. With a true narcissist, when they approve of you and love you, it will be an electric feeling, like being in the spotlight. Then, when you need to seek his approval, you will be left in the dark and be told it is your fault for being needy. There are a few things that can mimic narcissism. These are shared below.
- Sociopathic – Sociopaths do not have a conscience and hurt others because they can without caring.
- Addicts – An addiction can alter moods and reactions causing people to try to blame others for what the addiction led them to do.
- Learned behavior – Abusive behavior is often learned and continued because it was part of a person’s life for so long.
- Depression – Depression in men can often come out as anger and agitation, especially if it began with some loss.
No matter what the cause of the behavior, if any abuse is present, leave the relationship quickly and safely.
What to Do if You Love a Narcissist
If you love a narcissist or have ever loved one, there are a few things to do and not do that can help. These are shared below.
- Don’t Argue About Your Worth – You want him to understand you love him, but detachment and non-engagement is the only form of effective communication with a narcissist. You will not win any battle, so do not try to argue to prove a point.
- Confront Demeaning with Strong Boundaries – Challenge what is said, not with him, but within yourself. Set a boundary within yourself that you will not accept abusive or bad behavior. If it becomes too much, leave, or at least seek professional help.
- Take Responsibility for Being Attracted to His Charm – Narcissists often start with over the top charm and it is likely the attention is what you loved. This may be because you have low self-worth. Recognize your part in the dynamic so you are able to detach more easily.
- Recognize Manipulation – Narcissists seek people pleasers who can easily be manipulated. He will use your deep need to please against you if you do not recognize such manipulation.
- Decide on What You Can Tolerate – You must learn not to simply accept blame because you are blamed. Learn to step aside and let go of what they say so you can find some closure.
Whether you stay or go is totally up to you. Either way, commit to the five things above. If you stay, avoid emotional, drawn out battles, you will lose. Detach and use logic only. He will not like this, but over time may learn to respond appropriately. If you leave, things will be bad for awhile as narcissists do not give up and things may get ugly. Do not try to engage in battle. If children are involved it can be even harder because the narcissistic parent may not want to provide love or support. It is difficult to watch, but do not get involved, just provide love and steady support for your children. It is hard to love a narcissist and hard to leave one as well. Remember to take care of yourself, stay calm, and strong. It will be worth leaving in the end if that is your decision.