Studies show that 1 in 10 people in their 20s is dealing with narcissistic personality disorder, a condition in which "people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others."
To explain further, narcissism is the expression of the ego, which we all have. But this condition is an even higher level of the ego's unconsciousness. Narcissists lack basic levels of empathy for others. The hallmark of a narcissistic is an unwillingness to unravel the false ego self to live authentically.
The narcissist thrives on other people's fear. It's an unfulfilling strategy, which necessitates a constant draining of the vitality of others. Narcissists haven't learned that the only true power is love — of self, other, and universe. And if you've ever fallen in love with a narcissist, you know how painful it can be.
But painful relationships are blessings in disguise. They unwrap our deepest wounds so we can heal. They free us by helping us to reclaim our power. They make evident the wounds we never knew we had, forcing us to address them.
So, how do you know for sure if you're dealing with a narcissist? Here are nine signs:
1. A narcissist will often call you "crazy" (and slowly start to convince you that you are).
They are known for what's called "gaslighting," which is a form of psychological abuse employed to create anxiety and confusion, dismantling the other person's own trust in themselves and their ability to discern what's real and what is good for them.
2. He or she harps on your personal insecurities or struggles.
Personal insecurities or struggles that you might not have otherwise been aware of seem to be a constant source of tension and are often addressed critically and insensitively.
3. You're constantly being blamed.
Narcissists don't accept that they create their own experience. Instead, they are constantly hurt by your behavior and project the blame onto you. Their responses are triggered by unhealed wounds, so they're trying to relieve pain, subconsciously, through harmful emotional abuse.
4. He or she comes on strong in the beginning...
The beginning of the relationship seems like a fairy tale in which you are heavily pursued and showered with attention by someone charismatic and charming.
5. ... but then plays hot and cold.
When they have gained your trust, they'll turn on you and pull back, acting like you're crazy for responding in a healthy way by questioning their negative feedback. They cannot be vulnerable — it would shatter their ego, their entire identity.
6. Once you get real, the narcissist isn't interested.
You will notice that once you stop feeding their ego and start getting real (maybe calling them out on their stuff), they will quickly abandon you and jump ship.
7. You start feeling obsessive, needy, or codependent after spending time with this person.
An empath's light is bright; highly sensitive people have a high love quotient. Oftentimes, the more powerful we are, the more challenges we face in keeping that power and harnessing it in a way that serves others. If you're feeling obsessive, needy, codependent, and drained, that's a red flag.
8. You start to lash out and/or behave like the narcissist.
You might notice you are handing your power over by starting to lash out or becoming reactive in ways similar to the narcissist in your life.
9. They are genuinely damaged but not open to healing.
The narcissist appears damaged or needs your help. But it's not your job to save or fix someone else.
Why Are We Attracted to Narcissists?
Well, for one, society glamorizes these personality types. They're the "charmers." They romanticize the pain of love, the drama of dysfunction. Connection through pain is the new sexy. Not just with narcissistic personalities but also with sociopathic and psychopathic ones.
So, why does our society try to normalize this unhealthy dynamic? Some would argue that these dominant, manipulative personalities are making a lot of our high-level decisions and perpetuating a media structure that pushes fear and violence, as well as contributing to huge discrepancies in the representation of genders.
It Starts With Parental Patterning
That's the bigger picture. On a personal level, the desire to pursue unhealthy relationship dynamics usually begins with parental patterning. As a mentor who has worked with hundreds of women over the past five years, I've seen many of my highly sensitive and empathetic clients experience a series of narcissistic relationships — one that usually began with the parents.
Parents create a template for all future relationships, and the parental standard most adults in 2016 experienced as children included tough love and criticism, with a lack of awareness of or empathy for the child's needs. Children of these kinds of parents grew up never feeling heard, seen, or validated, and many were emotionally or physically abused.
Ironically, narcissists have the same wounds as the children of narcissists. The difference between the two is that the narcissist is unwilling to unravel the false ego self, which is a necessary part of the healing process.
If You're Choosing Narcissists, You May Have Childhood Trauma You Need to Heal
In adulthood, we attract partners who reflect our wounds until we heal them. We create relationships that mirror these wounds so vividly that we can no longer ignore them. It's a growth opportunity, and can allow us to heal so we have the ability to move into relationships rooted in love and service.
If we're still trying to prove our worth, we attract narcissists.
The way out of a narcissistic relationship starts with awareness and is followed by taking responsibility for our choices and feelings and learning how to love ourselves enough to leave. What happens when we blame the narcissist for our pain is that we become even more needy or codependent.
Blame keeps us trapped. The narcissist is not responsible for our wounds. They trigger our wounds. They allow us to see and feel them so we can heal them. Only then can we realize it's not about the other person and return to ourselves. This is how we win. We rise above their frequency, above the ego, which is the only level the narcissist lives on. That's how you are able to leave.
This relationship is an important spiritual assignment to heal your deepest wounds. Knowing the higher purpose of relationships helps us to detach and release painful life patterns.
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