Self, Heartbreak

How Dating A Narcissistic Man Made Me Wake Up And Change My Life (For The Better)

Photo: Mitch Lensink via Unsplash
How Attracting & Dating Narcissist Men Made Me Realize All The Mistakes I Made In Life

Dating a narcissist is never a good idea, especially if you're treated like a rebound relationship, but this is how it woke me up from my existential crisis.

So, how did I get here? I’ve been asking myself that with a good measure of shame woven into the inquiry. I also now understand why people have a midlife crisis at age 40. It’s because you're starting to see your youth fading and all the moments, motivated by desperation, was wasted on trivial things.

At least, that’s what my 40th year on this earth has consisted of. 

RELATED: 4 Stages Of Your Mid-Life Crisis And Why Each One Is Essential To Your Future Happiness

I’ve spent most of my life vacillating between wanting to die and trying to find reasons to be here. So, over the course of a decade, I burned through about $300,000 dollars of inheritance money searching. I used some of it to get my Masters, some of it to travel, some of it to pay for life, and some of it as recovery money.

My regret? That I didn’t buy a home at the age of 28 years old and create some form of stability in my life. 

Instead, I ran from the pain. I kept "busy" by moving from one place to another. The symbol of the baggage that has been haunting me is a storage unit that has worthless things in it that I kept "just in case" and has been amassing annual payments of $1000. 

It’s humbling to be living in the circumstances of running from life while simultaneously trying to really live it. 

It’s embarrassing to think of all the men I let sleep with me because I was "in it for the adventure" and was equating the adventure with thriving. For three consecutive years in a row, I dated three different men who were all narcissistic.

One of them was hooked on "doing ayahuasca" and was no more awake for the process. The next was a total fraud who was telling multiple women he was looking for a wife when he was really looking for an escape and was also on the verge of going bankrupt. The last one...well, his brand of narcissism was the conduit to my "Come to Jesus" moment. 

There is one pattern that I repeated with each one of these guys — I tried to get them to be something they weren’t. From the jump, every one of them was a "no" for me but they offered the chance at an "adventure" — and adventure was the only way I knew how to keep myself alive.

It was like defibrillation for my broken heart and it worked most of the time. 

But, this last time, I totally exhausted myself trying to build something with someone who was lying to me the whole situation-ship in the form of "Let’s see where this goes."

The reality is that I was just a rebound girl in between his on-again and off-again relationship. And, as with most rebound relationships, it ended badly.

I insisted that he was a narcissist. He shot back that I was the "psycho". Then he got back together with his light-switch girlfriend. 

I kept contacting him because something felt unfinished. I felt like I had left a part of me behind and kept going back to get it. I felt like she won. Then the "stone was rolled away" and I realized that I wasn’t fighting to have him in my life. I was fighting to exist. 

You see, when his girlfriend came back in the picture to claim him, she said to me, "I just want you to go away."

It struck a chord. But, at the time I understood it to mean, "Leave us alone so we can be together again." 

It wasn’t until I picked a fight with her for following my Instagram after having provoked her to do so by sending messages to the guy (I own up to it) that I realized where my upset was coming from. 

I was supposed to stop existing and stop being relevant. I was just a throw-away-girl. I created a throw-away life. I spent all my inheritance money. I dated throw-away-boys. I lived in throw-away-homes. And my career was a total "toss-up".

Mind you, I can see all of this through hindsight. 

RELATED: 6 Steps For Dealing With Your Mid-Life Crisis (& How It Can Help You Reach Your Destiny)

But, the moment when I lost it is when I finally "got it". I told that girl who was now in partnership with the last guy, "I hope you get married to him and he chips away at your sanity, 'because you can’t regulate your emotions.' You are blind AF! You are [selfish]…You are weak and he is a narcissist." 

It was really nasty. 

In fact, I had to call in my friend as a referee and she was like, "That was really nasty. Why did you send that?!"

I sent it because I’m fighting to exist and they just exterminated me.

But, it’s not about them. It’s that I’m lonely. It’s that I want a partner. It's that I feel like a fraudulent healer because I'm not fully healed. It’s that I feel like I messed up and I’m an idiot.

It was then that I asked the question "How did I get here?"  that's often followed with "Why am I here?" 

And the answer to that is often, "It doesn’t matter because no one is listening and no one cares." 

I feel like, we are all too hung up in our own blindness and our own list of the things we want to manifest. 

I can’t even begin to describe how vulnerable it feels to not have a husband by my side doing life with me. So, I lashed out. I’ve been raging against the dying of the light for a long time — way before I ever even knew about these two jokers. 

And you know, now, having a 9-5 job "like all the schmucks" looks pretty good. Having a reliable car that gets me where I want to go — also awesome. Having bills to pay and the money to take care of them, where do I sign up? 

I’m paying a heavy price for not investing into more than just "adventure". It cost me my well-being, stability, and peace. So the lesson here is to hang those evasive habits on the cross and pray for a resurrection. 

RELATED: What Is An Existential Crisis, And How Do You Survive One?

Rebekah Freedom is a Spiritual Adviser & Breakup Specialist who holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. She divides her time between living in Colorado and California.​