I will say, it takes immense honesty for me to write about this because I’ll be admitting to my own weaknesses when it comes to loving. You might be wondering, “how can love be associated with weakness?” Well, I’ve had to learn the hard way that you need to be extremely strong and vigilant in order to survive the ways people will manipulate your love for them. It happens more often than you think; with family members, friends, coworkers, and sometimes even strangers. When someone wants something from you and they suspect you’re ‘easy’, you become a walking target. To that, it gets worse when you have feelings for that manipulative someone and they happen to be fully aware that you do. That saying “eating out of the palm of my hand” applies to this very situation. Now, you may ask another good question at this point: “Why would I ever become attracted to someone who uses people?” Well you see, if you are a dumbass like me… nah, JUST KIDDING! That’s not the direction this is going in. Truthfully, sometimes you do see it coming from a mile away and your gut instincts put you on red alert. That isn’t always the case, though, because various types of people will walk into your life over the years and they won’t always be what they seem. A lot of us, somewhere deep down, are looking for someone specific when we start thinking about dating and getting serious. That person tends to fulfill something we’re subconsciously missing or yearning for in our lives. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with us. In fact, you could be very successful and be making things happen for yourself left and right. You may even be an inspiration to others, a natural leader, and a great friend and ally. At the same time, you just happen to be single because you haven’t met ‘the one’ yet. Then the day suddenly comes where a contender strolls into the room and automatically captures your whole soul and being. They happen to have it all; very good looks, a great sense of style, charm and charisma, money, and a whole lot of confidence. They are the most popular person in the room and your first impression is that they are way out of your league. You start to low-key crush on them from a distance, until one day they walk right up to you and start a conversation. Your reaction? You just had a silent orgasm in your pants. Of all the people in this place, why is this person barking up my tree? This is where I have to break it to you… there is a very big chance your dreamy crush is actually a narcissist.
This is a tall assumption, I know. Keep this in mind… I’m not assuming there is anything wrong with you. It’s actually the opposite, in that you are probably all of the things I listed above and then some. Remember when you asked why this Godly individual would be barking up your tree? Well…
#1 rule about understanding narcissists:
while they do have extensive reach and tend to speak to everyone and know every single person, they are only truly attracted to people with the most influence and power.
No, you don’t have to be the CEO of the company or the principle’s child. You’re someone that’s on the same level as them or slightly above, but close enough within their reach. Sure, they can just sample any of the swarms of people who are infatuated with them, but why not go for someone who will benefit them in some way? Remember when we talked about seeking a partner who brings something specific to the table? For a narcissist, they want power and they want to be on top. It’s sorta like this… have you ever wondered why the evil enemies only ever went after Sailor Moon specifically when there was an entire Earth to terrain? How did the monsters only show up in Tokyo? It turns out that Sailor Moon’s light shined the brightest in the galaxy and everyone was attracted to it. When we look at her personality, she unifies people and loves everyone unconditionally, even her enemies. Her friends (who all had their own social anxiety issues) all wanted to be in her life because she completed them. On a similar note, people who don’t have good intentions will also be attracted to the light. I found after my second time falling for a narc (and mind you, we’re at round THREE right now), I kept asking myself what I was doing wrong to cause this. It wasn’t until I realized I’m a light-worker that it became clear that it comes with the territory. All of that aside, what I’m trying to communicate to you is that you are not the problem and that, in fact, you have to be a special person in order to catch their eye.
With that out of the way, this is not enough intel to know if you’re entering a bad situation or not. You will either have to go with it and learn, or listen to the talk around you. To be specific, if this is a person who has newly entered your life and the lives of everyone around you, none of you are going to know any background history, so you’ll have to just go with the flow and see what happens. However, if this person has been knocking around your circles for a hot minute, remember one thing… not everyone will fall to the woes of a narcissist. Some people are just brilliant at sniffing out a fraud and will call it for what it is upfront. These are the friends, colleagues, or acquaintances that tend to be different from you, but you still get along with because your light meshes well with everyone. For every dozen of the narcissists followers, you will meet one person who is tired of their bullshit. My advice? Heed their warning. Why? This leads to:
#2 rule about understanding narcissists:
even though they’re nice to everyone, they will make you feel like the most important person in the world, even sacrificing their own time, money, and effort just to ensure you believe they are the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
It sounds quite devious, right? That’s because it is. If you start to think that it’s too good to be true and it doesn’t add up in your mind, then chances are there is a catch. Your gut instinct is never wrong, and I wish I had listened to mine a bit more. The problem here is that you might overlook this entire operation because what you’ve been looking for all along is a partner who will make you feel like numero uno. When the dates and the gifts and the support start happening, you’ll start to fall into the trap. All those people who said those terrible things… they have to be crazy. “I see the good in this person,” is the lie you start telling yourself. The honeymoon phase is real when it comes to a narcissist because they will wine and dine you to the moon and back. They’ll call every day, want to hangout more, give you advice to your problems, want to meet your friends, and will create the idea of almighty respect between you two. If they’re a real piece of work, they won’t force you into bed right away or ever make you feel pressured. Keep in mind, the bond will start happening fast, but they will also wait for as long as it takes to flourish because they play the long game. They need to establish all the trust in the world with you first in order to know they fully have you captured. Yes, I just described a predator, but that really boils down to what a narcissist is, only they’re wrapped up in a nice package with a bow.
Let’s just say they got you now; you’re in the cage and you have no clue. What do they want from you? For me, the first two times it was success. Anyone who has ever worked with me knows that no matter what job I’m doing, I excel in it. I am not a person who thinks highly of a lot of the things I do, but I know for a fact that my work ethic is sometimes over 100%, and when you have that trait it takes you places. I mastered it at my old workplace and now it’s what just landed me my umpteenth promotion at the current workplace (congrats to this bitch by the way!). In all of the jobs I’ve ever done, I’ve always helped people to grow and I love to bestow my knowledge (that’s the trainer in me), so I literally couldn’t tell the difference when these two narcs came into the picture. I must say, I’ve levelled up in narcissists. The first one was a seasoned rookie, the second one was a champion, and this third one might be in ultimate form (I realize I just described Digimon Evolutions). The first time, there was a lot of turbulence in sustaining the relationship, and I mention this because my narc would break away, but surely come back. I’m a pretty finite person, so when you burn me, I am equipped and prepared for things to be over. At the same time, my heart is a mushy bastard and will forgive easily. This fool ended up coming back three times, but it was on the fourth that I shut it down and never allowed it to happen again. Fool me once? Yeah, okay. The thing is, my narc had to keep coming back because I hadn’t finished giving them what they wanted. When they finally obtained a certain level of success, I didn’t react well, probably because I was in my early 20s and petty as hell. I felt emotionally exhausted as this was after the third breakup and over the span of two long years. My response was to expose my narc as a fraud and in the process I came out victorious. That’s the other thing you should know… narcissists cut corners in every way possible. While you’re busy following the instruction manual, they are manipulating someone else into building that piece of furniture. After all, if they were these great moral beings, why would they need to use you? Take a deeper look and you will see all the unfair ways they jumped ahead in life. This is the next point:
#3 rule about understanding narcissists:
the reason why they need you so badly in their lives is because while they see all the power and riches you have, they also see how you struggled to get it and they do not intend to put in the work you did. So, you’re going to do it for them since you’re an expert.
Getting back to the point, though… the interesting thing is that the entire time our relationship lasted, I was made to feel like the bond would exist forever; that someway and somehow we’d know each other till the end of our days. Let’s be honest, this is something we all want. No one ventures into a relationship of any kind thinking about how it will end, especially when you really like the person. You know that, and they know that too, so a narcissist will work hard to make you believe it’s happily ever after. In the real world, though, the truth is that you’re only valuable for as long as you’re useful to them and you haven’t figured out their game. To put it simply:
#4 rule about understanding narcissists:
as long as you serve a purpose to them, they will stick to you like glue. The moment they get what they need from you, they will pull away and you’ll start to see their true colours. Similarly, if you realize what they are up to and call them out on it, they will try to make excuses, but once they see how strong your resolve is, they will abandon you.*
Just know one thing… the narcissist is the partner who will cheat on you. Remember, anyone who is power-hungry is never going to be satisfied when they obtain it; they will always want more! If you happen to be their trophy, you have to understand they do not intend on polishing you, which will cause you to dull and lack luster over time. Since they are lazy fraudsters, they also aren’t going to dust you off when you stop shining, and therefore will go out and buy a new trophy. The same applies to situations like mine, where my first narc realized I couldn’t ultimately provide a status boost, so I became chopped liver the next day and never saw them or heard from them ever again.
That was my first love, so it took a very long time to get over it. After about a year, I started to reflect on some of the conversations I had with people and the things I learned after the fact. It turns out the entire time I was close to this narcissist, I didn’t really know anything true about them. I got caught up in the fact that they knew every single thing about me and my life and I mistook that as having an openly honest relationship. The reality was that I was never let in and was never shown the real human being I was dealing with. That being said:
#5 rule about understanding narcissists:
they will be patient enough to listen to every single thing you ever tell them about yourself and have open discussions about your life and feelings. This is to mask the fact that they will never tell you anything tangible about themselves. They will throw you breadcrumbs if you start asking questions, but you will never know them for who they really are.
When you were dating you thought the mystery was the allure, but it’s far deeper than that with a narcissist. These are individuals who think very highly of themselves and genuinely believe they are better than everyone else. They deem themselves the alphas who were handcrafted by the Gods. As such, you may notice you can never tell them anything critical about themselves, nor ever convince them they are wrong. My second narc was an expert in allowing me to believe my sentiments were well received, but it was just a tactic to make me feel better and like I carried some weight. Narcissists have no self-awareness for anything that may be wrong with them because they do not believe there is anything flawed about them. In their shallow world, beauty, charm, style, and money make them perfect. Suppose you figure this out and think you’re going to be the one to change a narcissist with you healing powers? Then I apologize… more bad news:
#6 rule about understanding narcissists:
you will never be able to change them. They are hardwired by nature to be who they are, and the same way you will never lose your integrity, they will never gain any.
You’ve now entered the bottomless pit so to speak because you’ve done everything you can to see the best in this person, but you’ve now established that they don’t have genuine intentions for you. You start to think about how to protect yourself, and more importantly how to protect your heart. This is where you’ll try to do what I did and take a step back; ghost them a little so that they feel like you’ve lost interest and will start ghosting you back. This will never work. Why? Refer back to rule number four… they will never let you go as long as you have something they need. This is when they will ‘fight for you’, and at the end of the day is that not something we all want? A narcissist will quickly close any gaps and buy your loyalty with cheap talk and grand gestures. At this point, the only thing that’s left for you to do is to be the one who terminates the relationship. It is a lot easier said than done because walking away from a narcissist is one of the biggest challenges in the world. Mark my words, it was for me, and I’ve been through a lot of different shitty situations in my life till date. What makes it so hard is that they become your emotional crutch. You look back and think about all of the kind things they’ve done for you, from the gifts to the advice, the time they invested to the security they created. You start to wonder if you’ll ever find someone else who will be that sexy, who will turn you on, who will provide for you, and etc… If you’re anything like me, your guilty conscience kicks in and you think about how you will be hurting someone who hasn’t truly harmed you nor ever outright attacked you. Now, you’re officially a hot mess.
All I can say to you is this: be strong and don’t be afraid of what you already know. That is, you know your self-worth and you deserve better. You can’t get wrapped up in the fear that no one better will come along because no one knows what the future holds and we cannot live in fear of it. Just because someone hasn’t physically harmed you does not mean they aren’t hurting you, and the amount of heartbreak and ruin a narcissist brings is enough to destroy your light. Cut them loose. You will not be able to maintain a meaningful friendship with them or else they will crawl back in and take advantage of your kindness, so you’ll have ask for your space indefinitely. Additionally, you will not be able to openly explain why you are ending things; refer back to rule number six. You will never be able to convince them that there is something wrong with them because they self-identify as perfect. Sure, you can try to reference rule number 4 and strongly call them out on their game, but *I don’t recommend this because you don’t want to provoke a narcissist into exerting their social dominance over you. This is what happened with my second narc when it became obvious that I knew what was up. A narcissist will always have more reach than you do socially because they speak to everyone, so all it takes is for them to bad-mouth you to the masses and you’ll end up losing more than just your heart to this person. There is no ‘winning’ here, so the best thing you can do for yourself is understand there is no ‘losing’ either. This leads to my final point:
#7 rule about understanding narcissists:
avenging your heart and trying to bring them to justice is not a battle you are going to win. They will move onto another target, and as much as you want to prevent that from happening, you need to look out for yourself first and know that karma will sort them out.
Part of you being this amazing person is that you look out for others, and because you feel this great injustice was done to you, you don’t want it to happen to someone else. Not only that, but you don’t feel that this narcissist should be allowed to get away with this lifestyle. I want you to know that you are absolutely justified in feeling this way, but it isn’t your responsibility to shoulder. Remember, you will almost always be socially outranked by this person and even if you do succeed in discrediting them, they will simply find another clique to join and start over the process with. The time and effort that will go into revenge would be better served in you regaining your identify and building your own happiness. The universe will deal with these heathens accordingly. Know that they will never find true happiness because they will never open up to anyone. If they do end up opening themselves up to someone else, that person will do back to them what they made a career out of doing. They will start to get older and still be single, forcing them to settle on a trophy that is all looks, but no brains. They will let everyone see their perfect life, but behind closed doors they will suffer and miss some of the solid relations they had. They will also face random hardships and devastating events, sitting there wondering what they did to deserve it without the ability to self-reflect on what got them there. Trust me, I’ve already seen this happen with narc one and two, and I can’t lie when I say it makes me tingle a little bit on the inside.
In conclusion to all of the above, you might be wondering one last question: “Sean, why did you feel the need to write about all this?” To tell you the truth, I wanted to write about this a long time ago in order to expel all the toxins from my system, but I didn’t have enough insight and experience to share. I went through immense heartache, depression, anxiety, unhappiness, and self-loathing because of these relationships. Finding the light at the end of the tunnel was hard after the first one, let alone the second one, which was far more intense. This leads to the second reason being that (as you may have noted above) I am dealing with a potential third situation now. I wrote about number one and two a bit, but I haven’t ventured to say much about three because I just don’t know too much yet. After writing this all out, I am a little more convinced I am dealing with a narcissist who doesn’t have ulterior motives, but just happens to be a piece of shit. Oy. Lastly, as always, my hope is that this enlightens and assists you all in some way. I want to be clear in saying I didn’t have an epiphany and just ‘come to know’ all this one day. A good friend of mine had to walk me through it and point me in the right direction of self-discovery, so I am hoping that if you have ever had a similar experience, this has been helpful. If you’re in a conundrum at this very moment, maybe some of this advice will guide you through it. This might be depressing to say, but as long as your light shines bright, more narcissists will show up in your future. The best you can do is recognize them and know how to establish your distance from anyone suspicious who walks into your world. Beyond that, just know you’re never alone and others (including me) stand with you. With that, here’s hoping to less narcs and more love!
ARTICLE ARTWORK“Notes From a Self-Loathing, Narcissistic, Hateful, Shallow Gay Man… Because That’s What Readers Insist I Am” HuffPost News www.huffpost.com/entry/notes-from-a-selfloathing_b_5274628.