Find out what you've signed up for if you're with a narcissist, and what you can do about it.
One day you meet a great guy or girl. You're drawn to this person from the beginning. You feel a strong connection — like you've finally found your soulmate. You're charmed and feel very special. You inhale the intoxicating feeling of being in love. All is good. Then one day, out of the blue, you feel dismissed, rejected, unimportant and irrelevant. You're confused, wondering what went wrong — wondering why your new love has suddenly changed. The minute you try to confront your love, asking why their attention has suddenly gone away, you receive a patronizing, condescending attitude, as if somehow it's you who has the problem. Your need for attention and validation becomes heightened. Instead of feeling special, you begin to feel crazy and judged. You see yourself as desperate, when in truth it's your new love that's desperate for constant attention and validation. And if you dare to criticize your new love in any way, you're met with anger — for a true narcissist does not like to be seen as anything other than perfect.
You find yourself altering your behavior so you can once again find that charming person who made you feel so good. You may compromise your personal integrity and values. You focus all your energies on how to make your partner love you, spend time with you, and treat you once again like the answer to their prayers. All your energies are drained — you get little, if anything in return for your love.
Being with a narcissist (or anyone with a character disorder) is draining. You continue to work hard to capture those few moments in time when being with your love felt great. Now here's the tricky part. He will. She will. That is the drug that a narcissist gives. It is the intermittent reinforcement of feeling so special and cared for that keeps you hanging in there, waiting and wanting more. That is the narcissist's hook. It's not bad all the time. And when it's good, it's really good.
Here's What's Important For You to Know
Narcissists are easy to love, at least in the beginning. Narcissists are nice people, at least some of the time. And narcissists are engaging and ready to come to the rescue, at least when it behooves them to do so.
While this all may sound daunting, here's the good news: Not all narcissists are alike.
Narcissism runs on a continuum just like all other character traits and behavioral tendencies. So you may find yourself with someone who exhibits more of some narcissistic behaviors and less of others. Only you can decide if this person is someone you can live with. Only you can decide if the relationship works. If it does, that's great.
But beware, there's some bad news.
People with character disorders (and remember, most lay people are not qualified and do not accurately diagnose their mates) are not going to change. They may learn how to change certain specific behaviors, but the motivation beneath those changes and the way they relate to their world will not.
So if you are involved with a narcissist, accept this person as is. And if the relationship does not meet your needs, then you may want to release your attachment and let go.
If you or someone you know is struggling in their relationship, please don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don't need to wait, you can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity and receive the support and guidance you deserve.
As always, I'm here to support you in creating strong and intimate relationships.
P.S. Don't forget to catch my radio/TV show Pathways to Love w'Julie Orlov LIVE every Sunday 1:30pm PST on LATalkLive!
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at www.julieorlov.com/quiz Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com
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