How did I know that I was dating a narcissist? Let me answer that by telling you the story of my close encounter with one.
Not so long ago, I met a nice guy. He was kind, “religious”, charming, sweet, “gentleman” witty and funny. He would open doors for me. He would wait for me to be comfortably seated on the passenger’s seat before he hops on to the driver’s seat. He would crack nuts for me. And yes! He would press me one of the best coffee (no pun intended).
Being the naïve person that I am, I trusted him at a max. I thought he was sincere. Not to mention, that he was introduced to me by a member of his family that I trust. In hindsight, I should have been wiser to think that people from the same bloodline does not necessarily mean they have the same attitude.
After a couple of months of just meeting him, I agreed to join him in ticking off one item in his bucket list – travel to the southeast coast of Negros to The City of Gentle People by the Long Route.
In short, we are going on a long road trip. And I, a soul with an itchy sole who loves to travel particularly on long road trips did not hesitate. I was obviously thrilled to the idea of a long road trip with him, because when two people travel together, they collect and share experiences that can become a lasting memory.
When we came back, we continued to see each other. He would go out with me to the organic night market. We would watch a movie that he would have never watched otherwise. One road trip, one movie, two Starbucks delivery, several dinners and coffee presses and I thought he was serious and sincere.
But all the “kind” deeds didn’t last. Though he had drop MAJOR hints and told me “I love you” not only once, but a few times and confessed to me very clearly that in his eyes we’re a ‘perfect‘ match. Though he presented himself as someone sincere and even stood firm that everything he has ever told me were not lies but truth, in the end he pulled his hibernation tactic. I thought for a moment I was dealing with a half-man, half-polar bear.
The most disappointing thing about this situation is that this guy didn’t feel like he owed me a proper explanation and owed the situation the proper closure. He would slither off silently into the bushes and would come and go as he pleases, commitment-free. One moment he is in. The next moment he is out.
Rather than man up and be honest with me about things so we could move on with our lives in a healthy, more mature way without having to burn unnecessary bridges, he left me wondering. In the absence of clarity, one is left to simply fill in the blanks themselves. And the times I asked him, all he could say is “I don’t know.”
I took his “I don’t know” as “I’m too cowardly to tell you the truth so please do the dirty work for me because I don’t want to hurt your feelings even more then I already have.” He cowered at telling me the truth, he let me do the dirty work – and it’s exactly what I did.
I debated with myself whether or not my lack of proper boundaries – trusting him too quickly, letting him get close to my personal space – allowed him to feel as though he could treat me as disposable rather than with the respect and dignity I deserved, especially as a woman.
I am not going to shoulder the blame for this guy’s bad behavior but with God’s great mercy and grace, I am going to work harder in the future to ensure I put the appropriate boundaries in place from the start of a relationship so there are no questions about how I deserve to be treated at the end of it.
Four days to his 2nd hibernation, I asked him through text to call me which he quickly did (his quick response came as a surprise to me). We set a time to talk face-to-face.
And the talk went on like this:
Cut the crap.
Face the truth.
You are not that into me.
So, stop the emotional roller coaster play.
Because I am not willing to play “somebody” to someone who sees me as “nobody”.
Find your happiness.
I will remain in mine.
Let’s bid goodbye.
And that’s when I burned the bridge – for good.
For the record, I don’t think this guy is a bad guy – he’s just so into himself and finding his own pleasure. I can only pray that he man-up and evaluate himself because he can’t fix what he can’t see as broken, and that by God’s grace he can change what isn’t working in his life.
After all, we need to see inward so we can change outward.
SET BOUNDARIES, with your heart, your time, your LIFE. Not everyone who knocks on the door of your life should be allowed in. Not everyone has good intentions.
This is not to say you should barricade your heart behind a brick wall and never allow anyone in but you owe it to yourself to protect yourself. You shouldn’t be the one doing all the bending, and the stretching, and the compromising.
People who truly want to be in your life and belong in your life will ALWAYS be willing to meet you halfway. And if they’re not willing to meet you halfway, perhaps they shouldn’t be given the pleasure of meeting you at all.
So cultivate discernment, take your time, get to know people, and only THEN welcome them into your life. Trust is to be earned, not just handed out freely.
Boundaries will only ever offend people who aren’t really all that invested to begin with.
And anyone who wants and deserves to be in your life will always respect your boundaries, period. End of sentence.
-Mandy Hale, The Single Woman
Know the Narcissistic Signs
This post isn’t easy for me to write because it’s about admitting my failing, yet it’s necessary because I know that there are also single women struggle in putting up boundaries with men that “appears to pursue” them.
God has been dealing with me, as He has always been but more so lately in the area of boundaries. This is one test I keep failing, but I hope to pass sooner.
To be perfectly honest and contrary to popular belief by those who know me personally, my boundaries are a little loose, more specifically in romantic relationships. Most often, I seem to lack the discernment to put the boundaries in place with the appropriate people, or should I say, with the “INappropriate” people. Or maybe the problem isn’t that I don’t sense when a boundary should be put into place, it’s that I have a hard time actually doing it, or that I am being stubborn and do not want to do it.
I am a woman who trusts in people to a fault. I tend to be extremely naïve when it comes to people who get closer to me. I trust that they are exactly what they say they are and who they present themselves to be. This has caused me to fall into hurtful relationships and faux friendships.
It helps to remember this verse:
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
~Proverbs 22: 3, New Living Translation~
With my lack of boundary and falling into more holes and ditches than I would have wanted, I learned a few things.
Based on my experience, here are some basic signs that you’re dating a narcissistic:
They blow hot and cold, appear when they like it and disappears for a few days or weeks leaving you wondering what happened and when he re-appears, he acts like nothing happened.
He gives you mixed messages and you try to figure him out. They can’t figure themselves out, so you aren’t going to fare any better. When they leave you confused, it’s enough to bail out.
There’s a lack of empathy. I dare say that they are not thinking of you at all. They don’t really care if you’re hurt, confused or devastated. All they see is what they want at that moment – and in certain cases it might be you – but when the thrill wears out, they’r out, too. And will be back only when they need your affection again.
The bottom line is that a narcissist have missing pieces that is required to a mutually fulfilling intimate relationship with another. Those pieces aren’t there and no amount of wishing it can change the fact.
Please understand that if someone wants to walks away from you, then let them. If they can discard you like you mean nothing to them, that this is true, you really mean nothing to them.
You don’t need to figure it out, you don’t need to be a Nancy Drew or a Hardy Boy, all you have to do is make sure they don’t get another chance to do it again to you.
Part of growing up in life may sometimes mean we have to walk away from an unhealthy relationship.
Abandon Any Abusive Relationship. There are four kinds of people in your life: those who add, those who subtract, those who divide and those who multiply. Those who do not increase you inevitably will decrease you. It is the responsibility of others to discern your worth. Access is a Gift…that should be earned. ~Mike Murdock~
This post was originally published on 24 January 2014.