I’m willing to bet that you’ve fallen victim to narcissism at least once in your life. If you have, then you probably know that it can be a nightmare. Like alcoholics, narcissists tend to view the world from a position of power–with the goal of making their victims feel insignificant so that they themselves can feel superior.
What it looks like
Narcissistic relationships are characterized by an ability to be indifferent to others’ feelings and one’s own. It involves a lot of projection, accusing, manipulation, blaming, and dishonesty–which makes it nearly impossible to interact with a person who possesses these behavioral traits. In certain cases, however, it’s difficult to avoid relationships with narcissistic people. Narcissists can come in the form of a romantic partner, a boss/coworker, or even a family member.
What to do when your partner is a narcissist
I’ve heard from lots of people over the years who have had “entanglements” with narcissistic partners. The types of traits they usually associate with their partners include arrogance, entitlement, a lack of empathy, and sometimes a ruthless streak of manipulation. If your partner displays any of these traits, it may be hard for you to see what’s wrong with them depending on how long you’ve been living with their behavior.
When determining which direction to go with your relationship, you should first talk with a therapist for professional guidance. I would also be aware of what your personal beliefs and desires are. What makes you happy in a relationship? How would you describe your ideal partner? What are your deal breakers? Having clarity on these things will help you figure out what’s best for you.
Your decision will come down to one of two options: remove yourself from the relationship or find a way to deal with it. Obviously, the first choice might make the most sense, but things get complicated when there are kids involved.
When you’re married with kids
Breaking up with the narcissist won’t allow you to completely break free from them if the two of you have children together. You’d still have to co-parent. Whether you have kids or not, no relationship is worth your joy. If you absolutely have to get out, don’t feel that you have to stay in the relationship for the sake of the kids. You can simply establish a co-parenting relationship with them and move on with your life.
How to avoid falling in love with a narcissist… Again
Should you ever decide to date again, try to get to know the person you’re dating from ALL angles and perspectives. See what it’s like to be on their good side as well as their bad side. Observe how they are under pressure, during conflict, and on an off day. You’ll want knowledge of their positive and negative traits before you get serious with them.
They say that many great relationships start with, “When I first met you, I thought you were a jerk.” The thing with narcissists is that they normally don’t show you their true colors until they have you right where they want you: wrapped around their finger. Narcissists are professional “love bombers” who will say anything they need to say to win you over, only to treat you like crap when they feel that they’ve won you as their prize. One way to avoid falling into the narcissist’s trap, is not falling for their crap.