Narcissism is a personality disorder that causes individuals to perceive a distorted self-image of themselves. Traits range from extreme and intense emotions to being excessively occupied with power and personal capability. To simplify, a narcissist typically only thinks about themselves, cares about themselves, and puts their own personal interests as the top priority.
Recognizing narcissistic traits can be difficult, painful, and may not be obvious at first. Typically, when you’ve attached yourself to someone that is a narcissist, such as a parent, child, or spouse, it’s natural to stray away from any ill will or negative attributes that could be placed upon him or her. Surrounding yourself with people who are only focused on their personal well-being can be daunting, and eventually be detrimental to your own personal self-worth. This is why men and women who have grown up around narcissistic family or friends, tend to align themselves in romantic relationships with partners who also posses these traits.
Putting their needs first, narcissists have the skill and power to entice a partner into a relationship. It’s typical to expect an abundance of flattery and positive attention in the early stages, but then slowly fade into a controlling and demeaning relationship that you didn’t sign up for. Partners of narcissists often feel guilty about the relationship doubts, ultimately keeping them from moving on and getting out. Eventually, the belittling, blaming, and criticism will become too much, and you’ll know your relationship wasn’t meant to be this detrimental.
Facing the reality that your loved one is someone else can often be too much to bear. After years of torment, it’s easier to believe the lies of the narcissist, than to accept that they have a personal struggle of their own. Many partners in a narcissistic relationship tell themselves: I can do better. I can be better. If I stick around, they’ll love me. Everything will be alright; I just have to try harder.
The truth is that none of this will work. They will always want more, expect greater, and nothing will ever be enough.
The first step towards moving on is to accept and be aware of what is happening in your relationship. If your own self-interests have been pushed aside for another individual, and you are no longer feeling like an asset to their lives, trust your instincts and leave the rest alone. Accept these individuals for who they are, what positive elements they do have to offer you, and understand that they are not designed to change. Ultimately, it sometimes takes the work of a narcissist to bring out our own selfishness and personal desires to be healthy and happy.
You actually deserve it.