Only when living with a narcissist will you truly realize how toxic they can actually be. No amount of online research can prepare you for the havoc wreaked on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. They will crush your spirit and use you to their advantage whenever they can. Here are some inside scoops about narcissists that you may not find anywhere else.
A part of me feels resistance when it comes to writing this article. I don’t want to give this relationship any more energy than I already have. At the same time, sharing might allow one of you to recognize themselves in their own relationship and leave sooner rather than later.
I met M. when he showed up at one of my workshops on hypnosis. He arrived a couple of minutes late and right away I felt this strange attraction that I recognize only exists between soulmates. At the end of the event, once everyone left, he was still there. We talked about hypnosis and we talked about his passion, astrology. I happened to have printed my astrological chart the day prior and gave it to him. We discussed how amazing it was to meet someone who was a scientist and spiritual at the same time. He was single, a couple of years younger, cute, smart, well-traveled, tall and successful. He made me feel special, beautiful and seen. We talked until midnight and the next day he returned with a composite chart of our planets showing how aligned they were. It felt that way. We liked the same things. We were both from Europe. Both looking for a fun and respectful relationship. We had crazy chemistry. We started dating right away.
The first months were great. A lot of traveling. He loved traveling and had the means to take me along. Road trips and flights: Napa, Vegas, Monterey, Death Valley, New Orleans, etc.… It was magical. We would play videogames on the plane, watch movies, talk or do nothing. All was good when we were together, and I missed him terribly when we were not.
Unfortunately, our relationship was only a part-time one. He was recently separated and had a four-year-old to take care of forty percent of the time. He also was a high-level executive and sometimes had to work long hours. I could understand all of that. What I couldn’t understand is why he wouldn’t talk over the phone instead of texting, why he would ignore me when I shared how terrified I was by his reckless driving, why when it came to choosing a restaurant, he would reject my choice only to go with it later on. Most of all, I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so miserable in a relationship with a man I loved, doing the things I loved. I felt like a spoiled brat. Here he was, taking me to amazing places, treating me like a princess and I was complaining because he passed a car a little too close for comfort? After all, as he said, our planets were in perfect synch and we had this obvious immediate connection.
As the months went by, I fell more and more in love and I felt more and more exhausted. I was going from ecstatic to miserable. One day he was the man of my dreams, the next I knew I had to leave and leave quickly. He never was abusive, physically or emotionally. At least, not that I could clearly pinpoint. He was a busy man with a young daughter and he only could give me what he could. I tried to talk to him, but he was the king of avoidance. I felt more used than loved ones.
Nine months into the relationship, I finally decided to send him an email with a few points I wanted us to discuss… He played dead and I didn’t hear from him for the next six weeks. After I told him how much I missed him, he reappeared out of the blue and he tried to go back to things the way they were. The change was that I had taken the opportunity during those six weeks to reconnect with myself and become stronger.
When we started dating again the old feelings came back, more present than ever. One day I was in love, the next one every inch of my body was tense and painful. We had planned a five-day weekend to reconnect and I was looking forward to spending time in his arms, discovering new places, visiting wineries, walking on the beach and enjoying delicious meals together but, at the same time I was not sure of what to expect. From day one, my back was agonizingly painful. Sciatica had been part of my past, but I had barely experienced it since my divorce seven years prior. I was waking up coughing for no reason and I knew it was always a sign of stress for me. I was on vacation in a gorgeous setting and was suffocating. When I mentioned it to him, his answer was that my planets were not in the best position to support me at that moment. By the end of the weekend, I asked the Universe or God to send me a message, any message to tell me what to do. My wish was granted.
If you feel trapped. Leave!
Our argument started out of nothing: the way to measure speeding in USA versus Australia. For the first time, he bluntly told me I was wrong and silly for thinking I was right. The word “narcissistic reaction” came to me and it felt true. He apparently didn’t even know the word. I explained to him it was someone who believed he was superior and always right and gave a few examples of famous narcissists.
His reaction was mind-blowing: “every powerful male is that way”. I told him it was hurtful. His response was that it was not a problem for the narcissist. Finally, I mentioned that people with this personality disorder are often like that because they are incapable of feeling emotions or empathy. What type of feeling? He asked. “Love for example”. “Love is an illness” were his words. At that moment I knew I was done. Someone who can’t feel the beauty of Love could not be part of my life.
I broke up on the spot and spent the following weeks fighting with myself, avoiding calling him to apologize for something I didn’t do.
A few weeks later this is what I realize:
11 Lessons I Learned From Living With A Narcissist
1. No one is immune to attracting a narcissist.
I am a coach, hypnotherapist. I have helped over a thousand clients to heal from past traumas and raise their self-confidence. Many of my clients have been victims of narcissistic interactions. I’m aware of the pattern and it might be what allowed me to leave faster than most. Still, it didn’t prevent me from being attracted to one. Narcissists can be the most charming partners… at first. Don’t be fooled.
2. Narcissists are actually attracted by smart, educated, strong and sensitive partners.
They like the chase, the game and to win against of all odds. There would be no fun in dominating prey that is already half dead. They tend to gravitate toward powerful, confident women (or men). Their pleasure comes from the challenge. As he put it during one of our conversations “Women want to be happy. Men want to win”. Let me translate: Loving people want to be happy; narcissists want to win.