Loving a narcissist
Narcissistic individuals are great at drawing people in. They are so great in fact, that it’s pretty easy for anyone to fall in love with a narcissist. Narcissists can be a blast. They are witty, charming, attractive, and can make you feel unique from everyone else. But it’s very difficult to remain in love with a narcissist and to not take on his/her baggage. Loving a narcissist often comes with an emotional price. Loving a narcissist can mean becoming the narcissist’s emotional protector, enabler, caretaker, emotional punching bag. Regardless of the label, the role remains the same. You look out for the emotions, needs, and wants for the person you love. The common theme for a narcissist is “you made me do it.” It’s very difficult for a narcissist to accept any contribution to something negative. If they had a meltdown, or made a mistake, instead of taking responsibility for their part, they are unable to see this and often focus on how someone else (likely you, the loved one) made them do it. The problem is because it’s easy to become sucked into their world and their false sense of reality, it’s difficult to be able to stop and assess if this is a role and relationship that you can handle. If you are being someone’s emotional caretaker, but you’re not sure if what you’re taking on is too much, or even “normal,” read the following list to assess if you connect with any of the following scenarios.
Note: The person closest to the narcissist, the person he/she loves the most is the one that gets the brunt of it.
- Do you like to feel needed?
- Do you like to feel important?
- Do you like to feel like you are the only answer to fixing the problem, or the only one that can talk your loved one back down?
- Do you believe it is up to you to “fix” your loved one?
- Do sacrifice your own needs and wants in order to help your loved one meet his/her own needs and wants?
- Do you have your own needs and wants separate from your loved one? Or, do you share the same needs and wants?
- Do you hold yourself up to impossibly high standards but have a very high tolerance and forgiving nature for others mistakes?
- Do you have difficultly saying “no” to others, especially your loved one?
- Do you thrive from making others happy? If yes, is this how you make yourself happy too?
- Have you lost your own set of beliefs and adopted your loved one’s?
- Do you ever feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster with your loved one? From feeling exhilarated and happy together, to stressed and negative, to anger and being blamed?
- Do you feel like your loved one holds you to different standards and expectations than he/she holds others? Do you feel you see a side of him/her that is often kept from others?
- Do you feel dependent on your loved one? (Whether for validation, monetary, etc.)
- Have you lost friends, spouse, family because of your involvement an role in this person’s life?
- Do you ever feel these following things more often than not: blamed, emotionally drained, isolated?
- Do you feel as though you have a strong sense of self? Or have you lost your sense of self?
- Do you feel as though you have a healthy self-esteem? Or do you struggle with low self-esteem?
The above examples give you an idea as to what one often experiences and struggles with when it comes to loving a narcissist. There is much more that is involved for each person, and with a huge emotional cost. When focused on the needs, wants, emotions of a narcissist, the caretaker eventually realizes that there is no room for his/her needs, wants, or emotions. The job of caretaker is exhausting, and rather thankless. Nothing will be enough for a narcissist. There’s always a better way to do things, or there’s always more to want. It’s extremely difficult to explore your individuality when you’re drawn into the world of a narcissist.
Narcissists can be very difficult to break away from, and it can be just as difficult to try and change the power dynamic and expectations in the relationship. They are super convincing, manipulative, selfish, and often they try to use power (whether it’s intelligence, money, resources) to get what they want from you. As the caretaker, it is important that you have your own supports and ways to cope with such a challenging situation. Here at the Center for Growth, we believe you have a right to your own emotions, beliefs, needs, and wants. If you can identify with the above list, or even part of the list, and you want to learn how to break away from role as the caretaker, help is available today. Call: (267) 324-9564.