My goodness, it has been a minute.
I have been listening to Dr. Ramini's amazing podcast, called Navigating Narcissism for quite some time (Spotify link below). Why? Because there are a few people in my spouse's and my life that are undeniably narcissistic.
I wanted to learn how to deal with the negativity, the blame shifting, the story-changing (gaslighting), love-bombing followed by emotional abuse we were enduring. Growing up with narcissistic parent(s) paves the way for you to end up with a narcissistic partner later in life. Why? If you are used to "love" being shown in a certain way you gravitate towards its familiarity no matter how awful it actually is. It's called trauma bonding.
There is so much to write about on this topic, but here are a couple of traits/behaviors of a true narcissist.
1. The permanent victim. Everything is always everyone else's fault; The relationship failed because of YOU. I lost my job because of him. My child is behaving badly at school because of the teacher. I'm unhappy because of everyone and everything around me, and nothing happens to me due to my own shortcomings or failures.
2. The trophy collector. Appearances are everything. They want outsiders to think they are superior to others, they have a perfect spouse, kids, job, house, clothes, etc. They keep people around for what those people can offer them, not because they actually love them. Everything their family does is a reflection on them and if they don't look perfect, they will make you pay. Accomplishments are celebrated because "Oh hey, look at our perfect family! We love each other so much and nothing is ever wrong." Failures or shortcomings are punished passively or overtly because "how dare you make us look bad."
3. An inability to apologize, accept responsibility, or empathize. And if they do happen to apologize, it is not actually sincere. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is a common line, and that is NOT an apology. If you call them out on something I guarantee it will be shifted to be your or someone else's fault, but never their own.
This weekend I actually experienced gaslighting and blame shifting by a family member, and it was sooo crystal clear to me.
This family member left a voicemail on my phone telling me how surprised they are that I could cut another family member out (the narcissist) so easily. She even said, "I don't know what happened to make you react this way." The problem with this is that she was actually a firsthand witness to everything that led up to me cutting that person off, and she even expressed understanding as to why what he was doing was so hurtful in the beginning.
Well, don't underestimate my ability to see straight through the b.s. I will not let the cycle of abuse continue any longer, and I will not tolerate things being swept under the rug for the sake of ease.
I did not realize there was a name for what I have been experiencing my entire life, and neither did my husband who is in the almost exact position with two people that used to be in his everyday life. Now we are both dealing with the effects of long-term narcissistic neglect and abuse and seeing things so clearly. We have a giant toolbox with tools to deal with our narcissists, and Dr. Ramini is to thank.