The Moment You Knew He is a Narcissist
Someone dear in my life just asked me what it was like when you knew you were with a narcissist. Retrospectively it is so easy to see the red flags, and with that someone dear, it is easy as well. We are texting again after a decade-long absence which was likely isolation via my narcissist. Narcissists get rid of most of your friends.
Before I forget what it was like in the moment I knew I was with a narcissist, I want to share the texts from someone dear in my life. Let’s see what it was like for her the moment she knew.
The First Signs of Danger
Here is the first sign of danger that I see:
So, she is upset and, more importantly, exhausted. The narcissist sucks you dry and makes you feel incompetent. It is exhausting. You don’t sleep well, and your psychosomatic illnesses keep you from 8 hours of sleep a night.
You stop expressing emotions and wear a mask publicly.
Next, “walking on pins and needles,” just like the famous book with that title (Amazon Link) about living with someone with borderline personality disorder (also a Cluster B).
“I don’t feel like I can be myself or even relax around him. And yet I’m reliant on him financially to take care of the kids.” It amazes me; truer words have never been spoken by someone being gaslit. Can you feel that her intuition knows what is going on, but her mind hasn’t figured it out yet? Your intuition knows well in advance of the moment you know.
The gaslighting above results in an inability to be yourself. You become who they want you to be, and you forget even what you like (forget about what you love). Who you are. And you can never relax. You must always be on call to their whims and, when they are bored, their emotional abuse.
And yet I’m reliant on him financially and in other ways. This is the way they lock you in. They have you thinking that you cannot live without them, that you cannot leave. You must be somehow reliant on them because they cannot live without your supply. These manipulation tactics are common, as well.
The Next Rusty Knife in the Back
They like to bring up stuff you fought about and resolved in the past. They do it time after time, and it feels like a rusty knife in the back. But, come on, man, we already talked about this four times already, and I’ve admitted that it is my fault, and you were right even though that’s not true.
The narcissist makes you believe that you are at fault, especially when they beat you down with issues you believed to be resolved.
You never feel like you are good enough or doing enough in their eyes. Always somehow deficient.
Then she recognized that many of the dynamics between her and her narcissist were abusive because she heard the stories of other women. Yet she stopped going to the group because he found out about it.
This is turning red flags yellow.
Turning Red Flags Yellow
It is common before the moment you know you are with a narcissist to turn red flags yellow.
What this means is that you make excuses for them. Since they haven’t physically hit me yet, it can’t be that bad.
I guess it’s ok he won’t let me go to this meeting because… I’m not sure why. You get confused why they tell you to stop doing certain things. They gaslight you into thinking that it is not good for you. It is not good for you to learn the truth about how confused you are. About them.
Read the above and see how narcissists make you turn red flags yellow. She says:” I constantly second guess myself and tend to blame myself before ever blaming another. It must be me who has the problem.”
My Reply: He is a narcissist. You have to leave him. It will get worse.
It Will Get Worse
The moment you know is when you figure out it will get worse.
He is gaslighting you and saying you are the crazy one. It is right out of a narcissist’s playbook. When you can start reading the playbook (they all sound remarkably the same but act very different since there are so many different types of narcissists), then you know it will get worse, and you have to get out. You have to get out for yourself and the kids.
My advice: fundamentally, you have to buy into the fact that he is a narcissist, and you have no choice but to leave.
You Have No Choice But to Leave
I told her she had to leave, but not everyone can. No contact is the best but takes preparation. You have to be good and ready to leave the narcissist, but the moment you know you have no choice but to leave is when you know they are a narcissist.
You have watched videos about it or read books. There are different ways to get there, but it is always a revelation that they are narcissists. Some of them are so good at charming your pants off that it takes forever to figure out that they were just mirroring and love-bombing you. People will say to you that they have not changed, but they did not see how the narcissist was initially. The way the narcissist acts in the beginning is only something you start to see when you decide to leave them the moment you know it was all an act.
They mess with your mind so much that you cannot think straight.
You have to get some perspective by hearing other people’s stories. YouTube is a good source of information, but you need to watch the main two or three people there; there is a lot of misinformation and confirmation bias going down on the tube.
“There is no doubt he is toxic, and things will escalate. Don’t wait until he starts hitting you before you leave.” And chances are he is cheating on you, too. They all do.
I didn’t know how to tell her that she had to leave, so I begged her to get help from someone. Anyone. Start learning about your options and planning your escape. Take any help that is acceptable to you in the moment. Keep asking. Keep asking for help.
It is probably Shame that makes you susceptible to narcissists.
It seems like it is shame in men (they think they are “bad”), and sometimes it is fear of abandonment in women, but shame is also common, along with a host of other comorbid features in both sexes.
But I think this speaks of shame. Read on:
She says she does not deserve a loving, healthy relationship. Why not? Because she is bad. Because she does not love herself.
Self-Love deficiency is at the root of why we attract narcissists.
I am not blaming you for attracting them, but on the other hand, don’t feel like a victim, either. You have to understand your part in this to get healthy, and your part is that you likely don’t love yourself. It’s ok, it’s fine; plenty of people hate themselves or worse. But it is ok to love yourself. It is not selfish or self-centered; it is the natural way for people to love themselves. So don’t worry about being vain; just worry about being healthy.
Remember that you will let people treat you as poorly as you treat yourself, so why would anyone else if you don’t love yourself?
“Narcissist” and “Gaslighting” as Buzzwords
It is good that narcissism and gaslighting are buzzwords. This will help people.
One guy I spoke to said most lawyers are narcissists, and they all know how to deal with them. However, I doubt that is the case. That they know how to deal with them, that is.
After her black-and-white thinking on the top of the page, she starts intellectualizing as a defense mechanism to stop her from concluding he is a narcissist. It is amazing how many protective mechanisms you utilize to prevent yourself from realizing you are with a narcissist. The moment you knew comes after self-gaslighting. You cannot yet admit that everything is a lie, so you gaslight yourself.
Self-gaslighting is common the moment you know you are with a narcissist. Again, it is a protective measure, just like the initial wound in the narcissist and us. We are as good at gaslighting as they are; we just don’t know it and don’t have decades of experience with it. They have been practicing gaslighting since they were 8 or 10, so they are pretty good at it now.
You are not so good at it. You will see through your self-gaslighting before you see theirs. You have to discover that they are the narcissist. You will think you are one, but that means you are not. They will accuse you of being one, but that’s just a projection.
Eventually, you will be able to trust your mind again. Until then, trust your gut. Does it tell you that you are not seen and that they don’t really love you? Believe your gut.
Someone Dear in My Life
Someone dear in my life writes so well that I’m just going to let her continue to tell her story:
I was Devastated. Betrayed
She then asked if I remembered the moment/circumstance that flipped the switch for me and made me understand that I had to walk away.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was devastated. I felt betrayed (and I talked about how I got over post-betrayal trauma on this blog).
It was horrific and painful. I cried a lot because I discovered that I had wasted so much time and energy with this person; it was all a lie. You have to leave to find yourself again and heal.
It was rock bottom for me. Yes, true rock bottom. I had a revelation afterward.
And I was so angry at myself that I did horrible things to the narcissist in my life. You learn from them just how mean and awful you can be, and you start feeling guilty that you allowed yourself to throw the mud right back in your own face. The need for revenge and even vengeance leads to anger. The resentment builts up and explodes into truly horrible things you cannot believe you would do to another person. It is common to try and get even.
But if you are strong enough, don’t try to get even. It doesn’t help. It hurts you because the narcissist won’t learn any lessons, and you wind up suffering an unnecessary surge of cortisol. Remember that they are like poison, yet anything you try to do actually poisons you.
They will never believe, let alone think that they are a narcissist if they have NPD, and trying to get even just hurts you and wastes time when you should be healing yourself. Don’t forget to forgive yourself if you were mean to the narcissist in your life. After decades of emotional abuse, it is hard to let that all go. Forgive yourself for being angry that you missed it all that time, too.
The Moment You Knew You were With a Narcissist
And here is what it feels like the moment you know you are with a Narcissist:
The moment you know you are with a narcissist is when you discover that the problem is your problem. Until you do the work to love yourself, until you practice self-love, you will keep attracting the same people into your life that will hurt you.
People only treat you as well as you treat yourself. When you hate and abuse yourself, so will everyone else.
It is a blessing in disguise! You know you are the problem. You learn that the moment you knew.
You can be truly happy for the first time in your life! Instead of feeling like you don’t fit in, instead of that constant buzzing in the back of your mind keeping you uneasy and uncomfortable all the time, not truly able to inhabit your own skin, you can heal.
But Most Importantly When You Know
But the most important thing to remember is that this is intergenerational trauma. If we don’t suffer, our children will. We have to do the work, so they don’t have to.
Leave so your kids might have a better life. You have a choice, so staying is deciding to continue to hurt yourself and your children.
If you are being emotionally abused in a relationship, you need to start to plan your exit now. The moment you knew that you can do better, believe in your old self and start to figure out a way to leave.