Being with narcissists presents its own set of challenges. In general, narcissists are both calculating and moody, making it difficult to coordinate engagements. Being strongly controlling, they can be stubborn and superimposing. Likewise, they are argumentative and even in simple disagreements they can be ridiculously defensive. Commonly, when you are with them, you feel as if you are looked upon as "less than."
Simply put, narcissists let you know that you don't measure up, and if there are defects within the relationship it was caused by your deficiencies. It's exasperating.
As your many episodes with the narcissist pile up, the impact upon your psyche can linger for a long time. This is especially true when the narcissist occupies a position of influence and significance with you.
Let's take a look at some illustrations:
Cases such as these remind us that phrases like "Out of sight, out of mind," or "Easy come, easy go" are not at all applicable. A narcissist's influence can remain for a long time, and as you try to adjust in the aftermath, it can become the proverbial gift that keeps on giving.
That understood, let's identify eight of the most common patterns that can linger, with the idea that you can heal more readily when you know what to watch for.
It is quite understandable that you would respond with a wide array of emotions due to longstanding narcissistic invalidations. You need not apologize for feeling futile. That said, your futility can foster positive resolve. And a major first step toward healing is to determine that you will ground yourself in healthy initiatives.
Understand that the narcissist needed you to be both deferential and dysregulated. You were trained by a master manipulator to run your choices through that person's grid. That needs to cease.
True to the nature of narcissism, that person sought control over you and wished to rob you of your True Self. Narcissists want you to forget that you are a free agent who gets to choose how you will prioritize your many needs and responsibilities. Your task is to take back your freedom by asking: "What does a free me look like?"
If you stay in a reactive mindset, you are allowing the narcissist's negativity to linger indefinitely.
But as you freely choose a proactive mindset, you will cease participating in the narcissist's codependent dance and lean into your own intuitions and preferences. Yes, there will be aftereffects that will rise within you, but over time you can learn to trust your Real Self.
Be patient with yourself.
Also, do not assume the narcissist will ever endorse your desires to be distinct. Yet, go back to the basics of healthy living. You are meant to be loved and respected, and if the narcissist proves incapable of that, it proves that you are making the right decision to move away from such distorted thinking.
~Les Carter, Ph.D.
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