Hey Honey, You’re A Narcissist!

In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following symptoms:

Symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of ideal love, unlimited success, power, brilliance, or beauty.
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
  • Requires excessive admiration.
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g. unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
  • Is exploitative of others, e.g. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
  • Lacks empathy, e.g. is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  • Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Source: PsychCentral

Narcissists are the only people whose love leaves you feeling less confident, confused, and unhappy as the relationship progresses.

How many of us don’t realise that there is something drastically awry with our relationships until it hits you like a Mack Truck? I thought that I was smarter and more observant than those silly girls that looked at the world through rose-coloured glasses. Well, guess what? Turns out I’m not.

I cringe when I look back at that relationship now. I can see all of the signs like they were flashing neon.

Warning! Warning! Narcissist ahead!

This is one of those stories, where an intelligent woman attracted the wrong type of man. Honestly, I had no idea at first. He was thoughtful, sweet, funny and attentive. He would open doors for me, want to pay for dinner when we went out and walked on the road side of the pavement. An old fashioned gentleman.

We were friends for a number of years. Not super close, but close enough that I heard all about his separation and how his ex-wife was the instigator for all of the trouble in his life… Funnily enough, I now have the other side of the story, but I’ll save that explanation for later on.

He moved back to Sydney to ‘support’ his mother after his father passed away and I moved to Tamworth, so we didn’t see much of each other until I moved back to Sydney and started working out west, near where he lived (still with his mother).

Long story short, I was introduced to his family and ex-wife, then quickly became immersed in his schedule and life with his beautiful daughter, who happens to have autism.

Fast forward 4 months to where I was at the end of my current lease and was looking at potentially moving out west to make things easier for commuting over the weekends and midweek date nights. Next minute my search for a 2 bedroom unit became a search for a family home that had to have at least 3 bedrooms so that his daughter would have a room when she was with him on the weekends and another room for a baby when we were ready. It left me thinking ‘that escalated quickly’.

We found a beautiful townhouse that was perfect for our needs, so we signed a 12 month lease and moved in together. That’s when the cracks started to appear. I seemed to have subconsciously filled them with proverbial spakfilla. There were, however, a few stand-out events that I should have looked at closer.

The first was when he told me that he had told his ex-wife that she HAD to stay with us during her health crisis. What she didn’t know, was that he had spoken with all of her family and convinced them that she was an unfit mother, so that they would give statements in case he ‘needed’ to fight for full custody.

The second was when his car broke down and the expectation was that I was going to pay to fix it because it was my fault that it broke down. I had made a joke over the phone that it would be a shame if he missed the start of the State of Origin because his car broke down. He couldn’t believe that I would go on my holiday that I had planned and paid for instead of paying to fix his car.

And the last was when he said that he was ‘done’ with our relationship and walked out after our first and only fight. His reasoning was that he ‘just wasn’t feeling it’ anymore. Later on I found out that he had followed the same pattern that he had always followed; get a new girlfriend before breaking up with the last one then make up an excuse to leave and make the other person out to be the bad guy.

During that relationship, I slowly formed a specihttp://good-girl-guide.com.au/dating-kissing/al bond with his daughter AND her mother, who does a stellar job providing for their daughter, both emotionally and for her special needs. I’m not sure if Mr. Narcissist realised how much his ex and I shared. I now know the other side of all of the stories and the truth, when all of the emotion is removed and it paints a strikingly clear picture.

Image: Don’t feed the narcissist

In hindsight, there will little things that shout “narcissist this way”

His constant need to be commended on his stellar performance as a parent. “Dad first, musician second” was his motto. Which, as time wore on, I realised was absolute BS. The more I called him out on his inadequacies, the more frustrated and short he would get with me when I would try to implement some of the things that we had spoken about or had been suggested that we do during therapy.

The persistent need to blow things out of proportion that he knew would illicit a reaction from me that would paint him as the saviour. He also (still) selectively fed information to me about things that had happened with his ex, to make it seem as though she was out to get me and ruin the relationship.

All of his ‘back in the good old days’ glory stories were (and quite possibly still are) the only ones that he told consisted of name dropping or making himself seem better than everyone, like: ‘I spent one night with X drummer/singer just hanging out and playing the pokies’, ‘I knew X before they were famous. We were mates’, ‘this one time when I was on X, I tried to steal the Bounty, you know the replica one?!’, ‘You know the band X, don’t you? I sent them to X pub because they were being assholes when I was setting up stuff for them’.

Then there were the snide remarks about his mother’s cooking, even though she was paying for the food that he was eating; the ongoing story about the fight that he had with one of his sisters over children, she had struggled with IVF and he had conceived by accident, he automatically was offended by how upset she was; the constant insistence that ‘X company is headhunting me for a rep job. They just need to wait until…. so they can hire me instead’ which funnily enough never eventuated; and all of the comments about how his ex-wife’s health was ‘hurting’ their daughter and the frequent insistence that she was an unfit parent.

All of these words and behaviours seem to tick all of the boxes on the narcissist checklist.

6 months out from the relationship and I can now see these warning signs that I was in a relationship with a manipulative narcissist with a white night superiority complex. Now, at least I know what to keep an eye out for in the future, as to avoid more time-consuming and expensive learning curves.

There is one really positive thing that came of my relationship with Mr. Narcissist. The friendship that his ex and I have built. It’s nice that someone else knows exactly what I went through and I love that I can provide support and be a sounding board to her as someone who knows exactly what she has to continue to deal with. It’s always fun to sit around having a glass of wine or a coffee and laugh about how disconcerting and uncomfortable our stand of solidarity must be for him.

Author: Mia is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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