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I really think I've been dating a narcissist


Breaks and Breaking Up It happens to most everyone at some point in life! Share your experiences!

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Old 2nd April 2019, 5:34 PM   #16
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Hey,
I disagree with people saying you shouldn't research get into the murky waters of trying to 'diagnose' somebody.
Whilst yes, I agree that only a mental health professional can really diagnose personality disorders, good luck trying to get a narcissist through a therapist's door for evaluation. And even if you do, are these posters who are adamant that 'only professionals can diagnose' really so foolish as to think that the narcissist is going to show to them what he reveals to close ones? Deluded.

I myself struggled for many, many years with a difficult relationship with my mother. I didn't know a damn thing about narcissism. All I knew was her behaviour behind closed doors was vitriolic, abusive, manipulative and cunning. But my god, to the outside world, she did all she could to get validation.
I remember having a horrible experience with a guy who was very similar to her. Again, no idea of narcissism. I posted on a forum about the situation, to help understand; naiively, I thought that this was just a 'relationship issue'. One reader was horrified at his behaviour and words and pointed me to links about emotional abuse, and from there I read about narcissism, and how if you have experienced narcissistic abuse from an early age, or are vulnerable, you are more likely to get entangled with such a type. All the pieces fell together. I then saw a counsellor and spoke of my family experiences and she said terms like 'gaslighting' and 'narcisssitic' of her own accord.

Later on, when I was helping a sibling get treatment for a psychiatric illness, whilst giving a history to the doctor, he asked about our mother. I said a few things, he looked alarmed and asked me to attempt to get her seen by a professional. I laughed inside - as if my mother would ever fall for this trick! I told him that it simply wouldn't happen and even if she did go, she would put on an act, as she always did in public.
A few later, she came to visit the hospital to meet my sibling and met the staff and gave an oscar-winning performance. I spoke to staff afterwards who I had grown quite close to, one of them said she could not believe this was the same woman I had described.

And today? My sibling who unfortunately decided to go back and live with dear mother - is now having another flare up of the mania that comes with stress-induced bipolar. My mother doesn't give a crap, just like she didn't before (which is why I had to take control). No-one is tending to my sibling. I refuse to be involved any longer, because of my sibling's insistence on my mother being involved, with whom I have cut off contact. A mental health nurse told me the bipolar is most likely due to my mother's treatment behind closed doors. The stories I could share would make your hair curl.

My point being: to all those who get SO aggravated by people doing their own research on narcissism, or narcissistic traits, or the full disorder, or whereever the heck the 'ex' might fall on the spectrum is - why does it bother you so much? Do you even understand the true nature of this disorder? These people are manipulative and cunning, this world 'only a professional can diagnose' is true yes, but in reality.....it is a joke to think you will ever get one of these people to reveal their true nature to a health professional!

Now onto the question of how can it help to research and apply the terms to someone in your life? Because it can help facilitate learning, education and how to spot the red flags, and through that, one can also gain a perspective on how they got caught up in it. The learning has to start somewhere. If the OP is here asking questions, that's part of her learning.
I will forever be grateful to the anonymous user who read my posts and highlighted to me notions of emotional abuse and narcissism. It shook my whole world up and got me to wake up to the dire state of affairs I was in where I had no idea that these behavioural patterns are not normal and disturbing. They felt wrong, but when you don't know, you don't know.

Since then, I spot the signs and run a mile. I've reconditioned myself when it comes to what I accept from relationships. Its been long and hard and I'm still coming to terms with the trauma from my mum, but at the very least, I no longer get entangled in these toxic relationships. And it all started with someone providing me with a link to narcissistic behaviour.

Yes, some people do get fixated on the label, and others use it to apply to their ex as a way of absolving responsibility and whatever else. But if someone is here, asking questions, trying to understand, then why is it so bad for her to indulge in exploring bad behaviours that may fall within the 'narcissistic' umbrella?
I think to shut it down from the get-go is another way in which society contributes to enabling these manipulative, toxic people.

Exploring and asking questions to gain insight is very helpful. Shutting it down immediately is so odd - and this constant parroting of 'only a health professional can diagnose' - if you think these words, I urge you to consider how on earth you can bring one of these individuals to therapy? Do you think they will just go? And be open and honest? Most NPDs only get a diagnosis through being court-ordered to go to therapy.

Its so harmful to keep parroting this.

Last edited by LoveShack.org Moderator; 2nd April 2019 at 8:18 PM.. Reason: removed quote
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Old 2nd April 2019, 7:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by sunflower24 View Post

In regard to my ex:
- had low emotional intelligence / poor emotional maturity
- had minimal, if any, self-awareness
- egotistical / convinced he knows more and is better than most in every aspect
- obsessed with grandeur and personal success (money and living a life of luxury is HIGHLY important to him)
- ability to empathize was poor (cognitive over emotional empathy)
- lacked understanding of basic social cues / did not know how to “read the room” and adapt his behavior to match
- lacked the ability to control his negative emotions (especially when criticized or critiqued -- became very defensive and angry)
- could not take responsibility for his behavior / played the victim and shifted blame onto others
- listened unilaterally and always found a way to tie the conversation back to himself
- could not form a deep, emotional connection with me (after 2 and a half years!!!)
- all of his friendships were very superficial -- based on drinking, partying, working out, money, etc.
- made gestures / gave gifts based on how they made HIM feel
- craved attention and immense admiration

He also used gaslighting...a lot. He would always minimize my feelings and withhold from me. During the very last conversation we had, before I broke up with him, I asked him to tell me why he loved me. A simple question because he honestly never told me. He REFUSED, telling me that "we had already be over it," and he would not give in to my demands. "Already going over it" was alluding to 8 months prior, when I had asked him the same question, for the first and only other time.

I hope this helps.

Sorry to read about all your pain. There are 4 "Cluster B" Personality Disorders that are on a continuum of toxicity:
  • Histrionic PD
  • Borderline PD
  • Narcissistic PD
  • Antisocial PD
They also tend to presenting overlapping symptoms; particularity Histrionic PD with Borderline PD; and Narcissistic PD with antisocial PD

Those with Histrionic PD or Borderline PD are generally benign and can appear quite normal until a relationship goes wrong. This is not true for those with with Narcissistic PD or Antisocial PD. These always present overt external symptoms.

Personally, I don't get why Narcissists are well-liked by many. I find them obnoxious, self-centered and suck the air out every room -- the bride at every wedding and the body at every wake.

Those with Antisocial PD, aka Sociopaths, show all the traits of a Narcissist with some added features such as pathological lying, poor behavioral control, superficial emotions and criminality to name a few. These are the most toxic individuals and can be highly dangerous.

Gaslighting is universal among Sociopaths and the most WTF? trait. Sounds like your ex has some features overlapping with Antisocial PD. Keep in mind that a Sociopath's criminality does not mean an individual need not have an arrest history.

Donald Trump is a (the) textbook example of a Sociopath.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 10:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by pinkpaw View Post
Hey,
I disagree with people saying you shouldn't research get into the murky waters of trying to 'diagnose' somebody.
Whilst yes, I agree that only a mental health professional can really diagnose personality disorders, good luck trying to get a narcissist through a therapist's door for evaluation. And even if you do, are these posters who are adamant that 'only professionals can diagnose' really so foolish as to think that the narcissist is going to show to them what he reveals to close ones? Deluded.
Thank you for your post. I appreciate you for many reasons - sharing your story, your defense, and the eloquent way you worded the whole thing. I really enjoyed reading along.

I have also thought to myself about how ridiculous it would be to get a narcissist to go to therapy and seek help. I feel like a common trait of the disorder is always believing you are in the right and not thinking there is anything wrong. The whole point of the disorder is thinking highly of yourself, so how on earth can we expect actual narcissists to want to go to therapy?

My ex thinks therapy is a joke, and I'm sure most narcissists or those who display tendencies do as well. On a side note, when I mentioned that a statistic says that only one percent of people have the disorder, I was skeptical to even include that because as we have mentioned, most people would never admit to having it because they are unaware they are narcissists. So, most likely, that "statistic" is higher, or it is merely and estimation.

I am sorry to hear that you grew up in such a toxic environment. I can only imagine how frustrating and awful that must have been. At least with me, I can escape the situation but you had to live with that. I hope your sibling makes the right choice and moves out of there because that sounds like awful chaos brewing.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 10:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by John101 View Post

Personally, I don't get why Narcissists are well-liked by many. I find them obnoxious, self-centered and suck the air out every room -- the bride at every wedding and the body at every wake.

Those with Antisocial PD, aka Sociopaths, show all the traits of a Narcissist with some added features such as pathological lying, poor behavioral control, superficial emotions and criminality to name a few. These are the most toxic individuals and can be highly dangerous.

Thank you for all that information about the cluster - I did not know those combinations and I am glad that you provided them for more context. It's interesting what you said about not liking narcissists - as soon as I started seeing his confidence as over-confidence (while we were still dating and healthy in the relationship) I found them incredibly unattractive. I remember just shoving those feelings down (as we all do in relationships) and giving him the benefit of the doubt. After being with him for so long, I can spot over-confidence much more easily in people and find it more annoying than anything. Maybe you are great at spotting it because you have met a narcissist or two.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 11:50 PM   #20
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I hate to say this but my brother is a Narcissist. Here is the best example:


He once dated a women who was a professional stand-up comedian who also was a member of a team writing jokes for Stephen Colbert. After they broke up a bunch of us were sitting around the table and one of the comments he made about here, and quite seriously, was "I am a better comedian than she is."
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Old 8th April 2019, 5:20 AM   #21
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I was reading up on this lately, and one thing which struck me was that they may come across as arrogant but are very fragile inside. Because they have to be the best, have the best of everything, best car, best office.. think everyone is jealous of them, and they're jealous of everyone else. It's a strange thing, NPD - I think it would be very hard to diagnose as it's hard to tell if someone is just socially stunted or immature, if they actually have a disorder, or if they're just really mean. Apparently with NPD they don't mean to be rude or say the wrong thing. Diagnoses are tricky but it's the behaviour and the label that can help us analyse the situation I guess. I believe I know someone with NPD and it is VERY difficult. I would never ever choose to stay in a relationship with one as it is draining and detrimental to my health.
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Old 8th April 2019, 7:06 AM   #22
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To me this just sounds like a cocky, outgoing young man who is liked for his personality by many. It seems that every time a guy breaks up with a girl he is then labeled a narcissist. So what if he is, you're broken up and should be glad it's over if he was that horrible to you. Not worth anymore of your mind space.
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Old 16th April 2019, 12:12 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by bluesunflower View Post
I have a question for you: Did you find that your ex would say really mean things and feel no remorse? I feel like this is a narcissistic trait. None of my previous exes ever got as nasty as he did. Honestly, I was going to list a few things as examples but it is still too painful and fresh and should not even be repeated. They would also come out of no where - for example if he just ASSUMED I was out with another guy I'd get a string of texts about how much of a whore I was and how he was going to block me and never talk to me again just to take it back the next day. It was always a rollercoaster with him.

It's so weird that even after all of this, I still miss him. I think about all the awful things that he said to me and get extremely mad and upset, and yet, I still miss having him around. I hate it! I hope you are in a better place than I am. Thank you so much for your comment and support.
Hey! Reading of your specific experience has been fascinating to me, as well. There is definitely a spectrum and varying degrees of narcissistic traits, and I feel like our situations exemplify that well. My parents (and my sister, and all of my friends...yikes) did not really care for my ex either. Again, he had no idea how to adapt his behavior when it came to socializing with individuals who were not like-minded to him (aka whose lives did not revolve around superficialities). When it came to my friends and people he did not know well, he always had to put on a "show" and try to impress them with his knowledge, drunken stories, etc. He thought he was the sh*t. In all honestly, it was embarrassing.

My ex actually would love-bomb me when it came to telling me that he loved me; he would just never tell me why he loved me. In our 2.5 years together, the only compliments I received from him were physical or very vague and non-personal, such as "sweet," "cute," and "sexy." The closest I would get to a "why" was purely egotistical: he liked the compliments I gave him, the way I looked at him, the fact that I laughed at his jokes and always listened to him, etc. Essentially he loved that I boosted his ego and made him feel good about himself.

I honestly have no idea if he felt remorse for the mean things he would say; however, he truly lacked empathy. He could never understand why I felt sad or angry or upset; he lacked the ability to relate and connect with me on those emotional levels. On a few occasions when I did get angry with him (which was rare; I am laid-back and extremely non-confrontational and compliant...probably why our relationship lasted so long), he laughed in my face and treated me as though he could care less how upset I was. Strangely enough, though, there was a time when he got very verbally nasty and told me to pack up and leave, and then some time later (I had fallen asleep) he came to me hysterically crying, saying that he didn't mean it, he loved me, etc.

There is so much more I could write on him, but I should probably stop for now. In all, our communication was extremely poor and our conversations were very non-productive. He lacked the ability to see from my point-of-view on any given issue, and we had the same arguments over and over again because he never truly listened to me and therefore failed to adjust his behavior. At night, I would actually wait until he fell sleep beside me and then take to writing my feelings out in my phone, because that was more productive than actually talking to him. It was sad. I didn't realize our relationship was toxic until the end, but I'm glad I know now.

I'm sorry you are not in a great place yet, but you will get there eventually, I promise!
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Old 16th April 2019, 12:22 AM   #24
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I have also thought to myself about how ridiculous it would be to get a narcissist to go to therapy and seek help. I feel like a common trait of the disorder is always believing you are in the right and not thinking there is anything wrong. The whole point of the disorder is thinking highly of yourself, so how on earth can we expect actual narcissists to want to go to therapy?

My ex thinks therapy is a joke, and I'm sure most narcissists or those who display tendencies do as well.
Also just want to add that this is spot on. During our last conversation preceding our breakup, I mentioned to my ex that maybe he should seek a professional for emotional issues he incurred during his childhood (he dealt with a lot of family dysfunction; is extremely insecure deep down, and my theory as to why he may be narcissistic, but that's another story), and I was met with absolute rage and fury. How DARE I suggest something of the sorts; it was so "f*cked up" of me. So, you are absolutely right. I, too, understand that NPD is strictly diagnosable by professionals, as it should be. But the expectation that narcissists would ever actually seek out therapy in the first place is ludicrous in my mind.

Last edited by sunflower24; 16th April 2019 at 12:25 AM..
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Old 25th May 2019, 11:24 AM   #25
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I hate to say this but my brother is a Narcissist. Here is the best example:


He once dated a women who was a professional stand-up comedian who also was a member of a team writing jokes for Stephen Colbert. After they broke up a bunch of us were sitting around the table and one of the comments he made about here, and quite seriously, was "I am a better comedian than she is."
Sounds like your brother and my ex would be great friends That is absolutely ridiculous though. To be fair, it is actually pretty funny. Just not in the way he expected!
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Old 25th May 2019, 3:11 PM   #26
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John101 hit on a very telling trait for identifying narcissism -- Gaslighting. Gaslighting is a hallmark tool used very frequently by a person who is operating on the higher end of the scale for narcissism. It is a very powerful tool for mental and emotional manipulation. Most "victims" of narcissists will complain of feeling as though they are going crazy when they speak of dealing with a partner/friend/relative who is a narcissist. The narcissist uses it to confuse and confound their victim and obfuscate an issue so that the other person usually gives up trying to address an issue out of frustration and or begins to question themselves which conveniently allows the narcissist to "win" the issue or it just goes away which is what they hope for.

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Old 25th May 2019, 3:14 PM   #27
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All narcissists are not charming. One I know is certainly outgoing and attention seeking to a fault. But one I know is not at all social nor charming and is just mad half the time at the world not placing her first.
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Old 25th May 2019, 3:25 PM   #28
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All narcissists are not charming. One I know is certainly outgoing and attention seeking to a fault. But one I know is not at all social nor charming and is just mad half the time at the world not placing her first.
There are often co-morbid issues that cloud the ability to diagnose a narcissist versus something else running along side of narcissistic traits. My point is, she just be someone who has fairly high-end scale narcissistic traits with another disorder that is, perhaps, more prevalent or overlapping the narcissism.

All narcissists who are "pure" disordered narcissists are charming. Frighteningly so . . . If they have co-morbid features of other disorders, they may have a very dark side.

It's very difficult, if at all, really to get to analyze a true disordered narcissist because they would never realize or understand that there is a problem that they need to seek help for or if they did, they would never, ever admit it.
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Old 25th May 2019, 6:13 PM   #29
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I was reading up on this lately, and one thing which struck me was that they may come across as arrogant but are very fragile inside. Because they have to be the best, have the best of everything, best car, best office.. think everyone is jealous of them, and they're jealous of everyone else. It's a strange thing, NPD - I think it would be very hard to diagnose as it's hard to tell if someone is just socially stunted or immature, if they actually have a disorder, or if they're just really mean. Apparently with NPD they don't mean to be rude or say the wrong thing. Diagnoses are tricky but it's the behaviour and the label that can help us analyse the situation I guess. I believe I know someone with NPD and it is VERY difficult. I would never ever choose to stay in a relationship with one as it is draining and detrimental to my health.
This is very interesting - it seems like a lot of you on this site know a lot about the disorder and how it can differ and it's been very enlightening. It is quite draining to be in a relationship with one. And despite getting many sides, I still believe he has it or at least many traits of it. It's difficult to summarize these traits and moments to people on the internet and I can see why some would be skeptical, especially since I was the dumpee so people think I am jaded and angry. The sad truth was I suspected narcissism before it all went super horribly so this was not an afterthought by any means. Thank you for all your information!
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Old 25th May 2019, 6:43 PM   #30
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To me this just sounds like a cocky, outgoing young man who is liked for his personality by many. It seems that every time a guy breaks up with a girl he is then labeled a narcissist. So what if he is, you're broken up and should be glad it's over if he was that horrible to you. Not worth anymore of your mind space.
He's only liked by the many that do not know him closely. Despite having friends, each and every single last one of them (I promise this is not an exaggeration) have expressed their frustration to me and more than half have branded him a narcissist without me prompting it. They keep him around because he's been there forever and he is definitely a fun person to have around, a "life of the party" type. But I promise you I'm not just labeling him that because I'm angry that I was dumped. I suspected narcissism, or traits of it, early on before all this mess. And I've been dumped in the past and never once turned to narcissism, in fact, I usually painted them in positive lights, even if I was upset and angry with them. I can see why you would say this, but the fact that everyone close to him has said this to me is a clear indication that I am not making things up.

Shortly before we broke up, we visited his family 6 hours away. While staying with them, his mom waited until he was out of the kitchen to turn to me and say quietly, "I would not blame you if you wanted to break up with him. I think you should." Without a chance to respond, he walked back into the room as I looked to my friend who was with us in shock. We both were speechless. There was NOTHING prompting this, and she said it to me so quickly without looking at me that I almost felt like I wasn't supposed to hear it.

He has huge ego issues. Whether it's a disorder or not, it affects many people in his life. I am not making it up.
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