The 11 Lessons I Learned from 11 Months with a Narcissist
I met M when he showed up at one of my workshops. I specialized in subconscious work; he was passionate about astrology. We were both from Europe. We were both scientific and spiritual at the same time. According to him, our planets were perfectly aligned. We started dating.
The first months were magical and confusing at the same time. He would treat me like a princess and took me on many road trips but would ignore me when I shared how terrified I was by his reckless driving. I was feeling strangely miserable in a relationship with a man I loved, doing things I loved. I felt like a spoiled brat and wondered if I was sabotaging a beautiful relationship.
From day one, my back was in agonizing pain. When I mentioned it to him, his answer was that my planets were not in the best position to support me at that moment. As the months went by, I felt more and more in love and I felt more and more exhausted.
During an argument more heated than usual, I pronounced the word narcissist. His answer was that “every powerful male is that way.” I told him it was hurtful. His response was that it was not a problem for the narcissist. I mentioned narcissists were incapable of feeling emotions or love. “Love is an illness” were his words.
I was done. Someone who can’t feel the beauty of love could not be part of my life.
A few weeks later, this is what I realize:
No one is immune to attracting a narcissist.
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. Still, it didn’t prevent me from being attracted to one. Narcissists can be the most charming partners…at first. Don’t be fooled.
Narcissists are actually attracted to smart, strong, and sensitive partners.
They like the chase, and to win against f all odds. They tend to gravitate toward powerful, confident women (or men). Their pleasure comes from the challenge.
He gave me multiple hints. I chose to ignore them.
Our schedule was based on his calendar and his desires, never on mine. He never introduced me to his friends, and he isolated me. He told me we would always be connected and that I had no choice. He even told me that his mission on this planet was to be a “gift of God to women.” I thought he was joking. Apparently, he actually believed it.
He never was openly mean or dismissive. Narcissists usually aren’t until they know you’re hooked.
Physical abuse is easy to recognize. Emotional abuse can be hidden. If you’re hurt by what he said, ask yourself: What would be the equivalent if he used his hands instead of his words? If it feels like violence, leave!!!
My friends were seeing what I couldn’t see.
Some of my friends told me to leave. Talking with them allowed me to hear my own words from another perspective. If your loved ones tell you to pay attention, pay attention.
My body was telling me the truth.
The pain and fatigue in my body were signs that something was out of alignment. Don’t wait until your body screams at you to listen!
A narcissistic partner can be your soulmate.
Soulmate connections are there to help you grow. Some soulmate relationships are supposed to last, some aren’t. I learned from this relationship that I could say no, that I was stronger than ever, and that I loved myself too much to accept being treated in a way that didn’t feel good.
You cannot change him.
M was a man with strong narcissistic tendencies, which meant he loved himself first and was convinced he was right. I tried to ask, to question, to argue, to love—nothing worked. Not because my message was not powerful, but because he didn’t want to hear it.
You cannot fit into their box.
He put this box in front of me. Maybe if I acted happier, smarter, nicer, or more distant…he would love me. I had tried to fit into a similar box during my 20-year marriage and most of my childhood with my mother. Once I recognized the pattern, I knew I had to leave.
If his heart is closed, it’s not your job to open it.
A narcissist is not capable of genuine compassion, care, or love. He will be nice, kind, and generous only if it serves him. He might be the way he is for very good reasons, and you might want to help him open his heart. This is not your job. He won’t open his heart for you. In his eyes, he is perfect the way he is.
The only way out is self-love.
I could not change him, and he didn’t care for my love. Today, I realize that the only way out was to claim that I was worthy, valuable, and lovable. I needed to be stronger than the doubt I allowed him to create in my mind. I am enough, and in order to love others, I have to love myself first.
A few questions before we end: Where are you in your relationships: in a box that is not yours or on top of it, dancing with joy? Do you love yourself more than anything or anyone? Do you value your opinions, your feelings, and what your body is telling you? Do you love yourself enough to let go of someone who makes you doubt yourself?
It is not easy. I still have moments when I’m one digit away from calling him. But I know I’m worthy of an amazing relationship with myself, and I will banish anyone from my life who tries to make me believe otherwise. Your turn!
Previously published here.