Have you ever met someone who utterly confused you, one moment seeming to be sincere in their relationship with you, then at the next turn leaving you to feel disconnected, emotionally exhausted, and used?
What about someone who appeared to have good intentions in working with you, but when the “goal” was met, not acknowledging the part that you played that lead to the success or possibly even acknowledging your existence whatsoever?
How about someone who seemed to appreciate having a relationship with you, but ended up throwing you under the bus or abandoning you if they were unhappy with something you said or did?
These are just some ways in which people dealing with narcissism in relationships with others have experienced this mental illness. It leaves individuals, families, and coworkers in a lot of confusion and pain.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a disorder which appears to stem from early childhood experiences which were neglectful, abusive, or otherwise destructive to the individual. This disorder develops over time, and if left untreated can lead to a lack of attachment and healthy relationships in general. Individuals who struggle with this disorder are often just as confused as others, as to why people in their lives are not always welcoming or understanding of their personal needs and priorities.
Those who struggle to have relationships with narcissists often put forth intensive effort into such relationships, only to feel consistent rejection and detachment, no matter the sacrifice. This dynamic can lead to emotional burnout in relationships, and further sacrifice of personal priorities and boundaries, self-blame for the lack of mutuality in the relationship and many other painful experiences. These individuals often struggle to feel understood by others when explaining the unhealthy relationship dynamic that they are experiencing with a narcissist. Sometimes they are told that they are the problem and that they need to be more understanding or increase their sacrifice in order to make the relationship work. These efforts typically lead to further the shame that they feel in connection with this relationship.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, there are things that you can do to protect yourself from further pain and disappointment. Your experiences are valid. It is important to seek assistance, to further your growth and understanding of how to maneuver in these unhealthy relationships with greater safety and confidence. We can help you navigate this difficult relationship.