I have had the unfortunate experiences of dating narcissists. Each time I got involved with one was during a period of my life when I needed to spend time working on myself, but I also wanted to take a chance on love. Now that I have perspective and a better understanding of my past, I am learning to forgive myself for getting involved with these people who nearly destroyed me. Here are the biggest lessons that I’ve learned from dating these succubuses.
1. You will become complacent and settle for them.
I used to be someone who would drop everything I was doing to attend to my partner. Although I’m aware of my own self-abandonment, I also recognize that my narcissist wanted my purpose to be feeding their ego and their attention. To them, your purpose in life is to be their “partner.” I would start to convince myself that the world didn’t need my art and that I should allow people like my partner to be the creative one. I would convince myself that I wouldn’t find anyone better to be my life partner.
2. You will lose friends and/or family.
The narcissists that I dated were people who had few people in their lives. They were isolated either by choice, by cutting people out of their life, or simply by being unlikable. They were jealous that I had a support system and people who loved me. Narcissists want the same for you so you can be on their “team.” They want to try to turn you against your people. As unfortunate as losing my friends or family was during these times in my life when I needed support the most, it did help me sift through who wasn’t able to weather the storm with me and be there for me in all seasons of my life. It helped me realize that I was better off without those people, and that the right support network stayed.
3. They will bring out the worst in you.
Narcissists want to bring you down with them. When you are fighting to protect yourself and your sense of reality while constantly being denied it, you might be brought to their level. Since their intention is to destroy your autonomy so that they can keep you in their grasp, you might feel compelled to dish it back to them. You may say things in a tone that you would never say to anyone else. No matter how much more hurt you are by them than they are by you, you are not completely innocent.
4. You might be repeating a relationship pattern if you date more than one narcissist.
From the location of where and how I said “I love you” first; to the pet names; to the exact same emotionally abusive phrase that they used to hurt me; to the sensation of dropping back into my body when I was halfway home driving on the highway; to being triggered into an emotional breakdown when they blocked the door when I was trying to leave, I didn’t realize until I was out of the relationship and not so deeply under their spell that I was repeating a relationship with a previous narcissist.
5. It might take hearing voices for you to wake up to your circumstances.
Months before my relationships ended, I heard voices that stopped me dead in my tracks. They were warning me about what was to come. “He’s cheating on you.” “You’re not going to last.” Initially, I thought I was crazy, but I kept those thoughts in the back of my mind. Those voices weren’t just warning me, they were also giving me permission to leave. “It’s okay. You can leave now,” one voice told me when I started gathering up my belongings. Even if I didn’t have the support of physical beings at the time, I am thankful that I had the support of my spirit guides.
6. You might be triggered into a manic episode when you leave.
Freedom? What’s this? Every time my relationship with a narcissist ended, I became hypomanic and I felt the compulsive need to make up for lost time. Lost time connecting with other people after spending almost all of my social time with the narcissist. Lost time working on projects and setting goals. Lost time formulating a healthy relationship with myself. Lost time actually having a life. As long as you’re mindful about what works for you when you’re manic, then you will get back to your sense of self in no time.
7. It might take you as few as four days to get over them.
Longevity of a relationship does not correlate with how long it takes to get over an ex. My previous narcissistic partners are people that I pitied and were embarrassed to be associated with to begin with. As the relationships started to fall apart, I was already mentally checking out and preparing for life without them without realizing it. I wasn’t hung up after we broke up.
8. It might be difficult for you to ask for and accept help.
Since taking charge of my life after being in relationships that diminished me, it has been a challenge for me to accept help from others. Being controlled so much by someone else has made me want to relinquish control. It might take awhile, but you will realize that people need other people, and asking for or accepting help isn’t a bad thing. Surrendering control and accepting that life has a plan for you is a way that you can have compassion for yourself and how your life has turned out.
9. You will realize how incredibly strong you are.
No matter how many relationships with a narcissist that you’ve had, you are a badass. You were with someone who stole years of your life that you will not get back. You were with someone who wasted your precious time, but you never gave up hope. You are fucking resilient. And you will know your worth enough not to let that person back in your life again.