How To Get Over A Narcissist

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How To Get Over A Narcissist
Heartbreak

Have you ever felt distraught or found it hard to move on after dating someone who was self-centered? If so, your partner might have been a narcissist or a person with narcissistic tendencies.

If you're unsure about whether or not you were in a relationship with a narcissist, ask yourself these questions:

1. Did your partner isolate you from your friends to maintain control over you?

2. He your partner make themselves feel better about themselves by putting you down?

3. Did your partner chip away at your self-esteem?

4. Did your partner only give you compliments when you seemed ready to leave?

Only a psychiatrist can diagnose a narcissistic personality disorder, though the broad definition of a narcissist is someone who expects to be recognized as superior or special, without superior accomplishments, expects constant attention and admiration from others, is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of success, and lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings of others.

RELATED: 5 Seriously Messed Up Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head

In short, a narcissist is arrogant and expects special treatment — whether or not he or she does things to warrant it. If you're wondering whether your partner could have been a narcissist, it helps to know these basic traits, especially when breaking up with a narcissist and getting your life together.

The only way narcissists can satisfy their grandiose ego and create the illusion of superiority is by putting others down. They love to play cat and mouse, establishing a pattern of putting you down so routinely that you begin to believe that they are better and more accomplished than you — and you accept being the mouse.

We understand narcissism well enough to know that if you are dating a narcissist or someone with narcissistic tendencies, you will very likely feel unsupported and put down. Your partner will not empathize with you and will not be there for you. Narcissists expect all the attention and will steal your good ideas, making them theirs. They will almost certainly get angry when you disagree with them.

If you experience any of these feelings, it's time to consider breaking up with a narcissist. Moving on quickly is your best bet — no question. There is lots of information available to help you figure out if you are dating a narcissist.

Learn what you need to know and move on. There is nothing to be gained by spending a lot of time on a person who is causing you so much grief.

How To Get Over A Narcissist

1. Focus on yourself.

Before you can move on, the most important thing to understand about narcissists is that underneath their apparent self-confidence is a profound lack of self-esteem. Narcissists do not think well of themselves, and to make themselves feel better they choose partners who doubt themselves and their capabilities.

Let me put it this way: If you had strong self-esteem and confidence in yourself, you would not be chosen by a narcissist as a possible partner. This is because narcissists like to control and feel superior.

People with healthy self-confidence who make the mistake of entering a relationship with a narcissist quickly become aware of the emotional abuse and cut the relationship short. They recognize that there is something out of balance and that it's easier to move on.

Most importantly, they refuse to take the blame. Instead, knowing they are unhappy, they focus on themselves and deal confidently and quickly with a relationship that has no value.

2. Stop judging your every move.

When you doubt yourself and lack confidence, you become the perfect target for a narcissist. Narcissists are appealing at first. They give the impression of strength and confidence. Their goal is to charm you and make you think it is all about you.

If you weren't blinded by the attention and weren't questioning your own self-worth, you would realize a lot sooner that your date is interested in you only because you appear weak and less worthy. Of course, if you had known this in advance, you would not have entered the relationship.

To avoid entering another relationship based on your self-doubt, ask yourself: How can I take care of myself better? How can I avoid sending out signals that I need help or a savior, or lots of attention? Nip it in the bud by believing in yourself. Then you will not attract someone who spots a good potential partner because of your low self-esteem.

Some narcissistic traits, when used appropriately with personal boundaries, make for exceptional people. Ambition, motivation, even arrogance and desire for power are good attributes when balanced with humility and not used at the expense of others. Wanting to feel powerful is a positive desire. Needing to feel powerful by putting others down is unhealthy.

3. Revisit any early clues you missed.

Was there a time at the beginning of the relationship when you asked yourself, How is it possible that such a great person is choosing me? That was a good clue. Your lack of confidence was the reason you attracted a narcissist.

If you are overcoming dating a narcissist, remember this: You are a solid, genuine person and probably more successful than you allow yourself to believe. Narcissists are picky. They don't date just anyone; they look for successful, accomplished people who are nice enough to let the narcissist's self-created superiority overshadow them.

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If you have allowed a narcissist to prey on your lack of self-confidence, stop! No more downplaying who you truly are. It's time to rise to the top. The lesson here is that you are much better than you think you are. Embrace the truth and move on!

4. Identify the reasons you were attracted to them.

How are you neglecting yourself? How are you putting yourself down? In your own nice way, do you feel that you are better than others? Do you subconsciously put others down when you are feeling insecure about yourself?

Not all the narcissistic traits may be mirrored in you. A good question to ask yourself is: What traits are the biggest problem for me, and how do I do that to myself? Then ask how you do it so subconsciously that you had to attract a narcissist to teach you a lesson.

This idea is a lot to absorb. It is what you need to shift from being a victim to owning your own journey. People who have dated and gone through breaking up with a narcissist are bruised emotionally and often collapse into being a victim.

Because they are hurt, they feel even less confident of themselves, and that can lead to blaming themselves for staying in the relationship too long. They can become abusive toward themselves and actually perpetuate in themselves the narcissistic tendencies they had the courage to leave.

5. Identify boundaries you need to be more aware of in order to stop allowing yourself to be victimized.

Be a victim no more! The relationship has ended. Embrace that truth. You want to move forward with no more abuse.

Rise to the top — your top — by consciously shifting from putting yourself down to showing deep empathy for yourself. Then rebuild your self-confidence by taking an objective inventory of who you are. No cheating! No counting yourself short!

Promise yourself that from now on, you will be your own leader. You will believe in yourself and your achievements and will shower yourself with empathy. Yes, empathy — the quality totally missing from a narcissist may just be the perfect antidote to dating one.

RELATED: 9 Signs Of Narcissistic Abuse, Explained By A Therapist

Monica Magnetti is a Certified Life/Business Coach and writer who holds multiple certifications.