To be successful in a relationship, you have to create a balance between self-oriented pursuits (such as self-care and self-development) with its opposite: care and respect for the interests and needs of the other.
We all want to be cared for. The trick is to learn to love as an activity you actively engage in, not a state you expect to be swept up into. In a mature relationship, each person takes full responsibility for the entire triumvirate: oneself, the other person, and the third entity: the relationship itself.
Relationships fail when partners focus too much on getting their own needs met, and not enough on the needs of the other. This results in arguments over whose needs are most important – which is almost always damaging.
Psychologically, it’s hard to focus on the other person’s needs when your own needs are screaming out to be cared for, but if you can, your relationship deepens, as does your capacity to love.
Because safety is a key to making a relationship work, narcissism is destabilizing and damaging. Someone who acts selfishly without regard for the other is unpredictable. At any time, they may suddenly focus on getting their own needs met, and withdraw from the two-ness of the relationship.
Ultimately, in my journey from narcissism to the healthy loving partnership, the woman I now love has been a teacher. She has shown that honoring the needs of a beloved other can bring with it a potent sense of satisfaction and well being, more so than any of the short-term fixes of following selfish impulses.
In her own words: “Men: Do you want your woman to really open to you? With her heart, mind and passionate body? The key to this reality is your honest, continuous care about her, and about your impact on her. You can tell when you have hurt her or harmed the relationship with your selfish behavior. She will react quickly, look unhappy, and express disappointment. She withdraws when you try to relate to her, closing down, disconnecting – the opposite of how you want her to be with you. You don’t need to be perfect or relate perfectly, you just need to own that you caused damage when it happens, get curious, and repair it as quickly as possible. If you make your woman’s happiness your priority, she will fill up with her own Feminine Spirit and want to give you her best all the time. You’ll get your deepest needs fulfilled as a result.”
Ultimately, narcissism is a win-lose game. But I have learned when I consider myself and others equally when I put my partner’s needs alongside my own, we both win. And that is a sweet place to land.
Here’s a video about Narcissist Personality Disorder which you might find interesting
“Narcissists try to destroy your life with lies because theirs can be destroyed with the truth”
Narcissism can never be a positive thing but always a negative thing. Being a narcissist might let you experience temporary gratification, but in the long run you will be left alone by the very people who loved you. Narcissistic behavior doesn’t just break someone’s confidence, it can also break their spirit and that is incredibly difficult to heal from.
Why make someone go through that? Especially if it’s the same people who love you and have always been there for you? Know and understand that the world does not revolve around you and that the feelings of other people matter too. The moment you start respecting their opinions and wishes, you will find much-needed stability in your life.
Confessions of a Recovering Narcissist
Originally appeared in The Goodmen Project
You may also like:
How I Survived A Narcissistic Mother and how you can do it too
Yes, Narcissists Can Change – Here’s How
5 Behaviors You Display Because You Were Raised By A Narcissist
4 Steps to Recovery After Childhood Emotional Neglect