Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists

Being in a relationship in any capacity with a narcissist is a learning experience.  In order to survive with your sanity in tact, naturally you need to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps you to understand what was really happening & that contrary to what the narcissist in your life told you, the problems in the relationship weren’t your fault.  It also helps you to spot the early signs of a narcissist, so you won’t end up in a similar relationship again.

That being said though, there are other valuable lessons you can learn from a narcissistic relationship.

Responding instead of reacting is a very valuable skill!  Not only in relating with narcissists, but even with healthy people, responding is a good relationship skill.  Reacting is done in the heat of the moment & without thought. while responding is done after some consideration.  Narcissists love reacting because people will do or things when they react that they wouldn’t normally do if they had taken the time to consider their predicament.  This can prove to the narcissist that their victim is crazy, abusive or anything else they want to claim.  Healthy people don’t act this way of course, but even so, reacting can cause problems in even the healthiest of relationships.  It’s a good idea to stop for a second to take a deep breath, then release it slowly when you’re tempted to react.  This action calms anxiety & anger, & gives you a second to consider your response.

Boundaries are a very good thing.  Narcissists respect no one’s boundaries.  They feel they have every right to say & do anything they please.  Once a victim is away from this sort of behavior, they learn that boundaries really are a wonderful thing.  They also learn to appreciate people who have no problems with boundaries.

“No” can be an excellent way to figure out if a person is functional or not.  Narcissists can take the simple word no as a victim being rebellious, difficult, disrespectful & even abusive.  A functional person takes no as a boundary & they respect it.  If you want to see if the new relationship in your life is a healthy one, say no & see how the other person reacts.

People believe what they want to believe.  Human beings like things to be as we think they should be, & we can get upset when that perception is threatened.  A healthy, functional person will consider the evidence & even if it’s uncomfortable, go along with the change.  Dysfunctional people aren’t this wise.  They may refuse to face change.  This is never more evident than when there is evidence showing them that a narcissist isn’t the great person they think he or she is.  This is when they become especially vicious to the narcissist’s victim.  Many of these people don’t want to believe that person isn’t the great person they thought they were, possibly out of fear of looking foolish.  It’s more comfortable for them to believe the narcissist’s smear campaign of the victim rather than the victim sharing the truth about the narcissist.  Or, they could be gaining something from the narcissist- money, favor, etc.  Sometimes, they are victims of abuse by someone else, & when the victim speaks out against the narcissist, it triggers their own pain.  These people will do anything to shut down the victim so they can continue denying their own pain.  For victims in this situation, it’s best to avoid such people at all costs.

Let people think what they want.  Closely related to the last paragraph, one valuable lesson I’ve learned from relationships with narcissists is to let people think what they want.  Narcissists create their own version of victims that they believe is accurate.  Their flying monkeys & those close to them will believe whatever the narcissists tell them to believe about their victims.  No amount of work on the part of a victim can make any of these people believe anything they don’t want to believe.  In fact, trying to convince them of the truth most likely will make them think the victim is crazy & treat the victim even worse.  Why go through that?  Let them think whatever they want, & live your life however works for you.

Of course, there are more things I’ve learned.  What about you?  What have you learned from your relationship with a narcissist?

9 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

9 responses to “Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists

  1. Pingback: Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists — CynthiaBaileyRug | Talmidimblogging

  2. I read this back when you first posted it, and liked it so much that I bookmarked this to my tablet to read later. I just finished reading it again for probably the third or fourth time. Two things in particular are very meaningful to me.

    ‘”No” can be an excellent way to figure out if a person is functional or not.’ — So true! A younger woman at church, whom I had always gone out of my way to be welcoming and kind to, because she looks so unhappy and I had assumed she was a wounded soul — when I politely told her that the seat right beside me was already taken by my husband (and more than half of the seats in the room were empty, so she had plenty of places to sit), she said “I know when I’m not wanted!” and made a scene by running out of the church. Since then, she has been unbelievably rude, even going so far as to call me within five minutes of me texting a prayer request to our women’s Bible study group, asking for prayer because I had just gotten the terrible news that my granddaughter and her husband tested positive for covid-19. Here I was, reeling with that awful news, reaching out to my church “sisters” for prayer — and this woman called me and yelled “You Need To Stop Panicking! You Need To Have More Faith!” This was the first time that we had spoken since about a month and a half before, when she had flipped out because I told her my husband was sitting in the chair beside me at the prayer meeting. My little, insignificant, reasonable “No” definitely brought out the narcissistic beast in that woman.

    The other thing that really speaks to me in this post is this:
    “Let people think what they want.   . . .  Narcissists create their own version of victims that they believe is accurate.  Their flying monkeys & those close to them will believe whatever the narcissists tell them to believe about their victims.  No amount of work on the part of a victim can make any of these people believe anything they don’t want to believe.  In fact, trying to convince them of the truth most likely will make them think the victim is crazy & treat the victim even worse.  Why go through that?  Let them think whatever they want, & live your life however works for you.”

    I love it. Love. It! I have wasted so much of my time and energy over the years, worrying about what people think, and trying to explain this thing or prove that thing, and I am done. Let people think what they want! It really is so relaxing to just say “Whatever,” and let it all go!

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    • Oops, after I posted this, I thought back and realized that it was exactly one month after the woman flipped out over me saying that the chair was saved for my husband, that I got the news about my granddaughter and her husband, and I asked for prayer, and she called and yelled at me for not having more faith. One month, not a month and a half. Not that it matters to you, Cynthia, but I like to be accurate and honest, ya know?

      Man, it sure seems like a month and a half though, if not longer. This coronavirus shutdown is messing up the days.

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      • I understand the accurate & honest thing.. not a problem!

        I’m sure it does seem longer. Everything is so strange these days, isn’t it?

        Been meaning to ask.. how are your granddaughter & her hubby doing?

        Liked by 1 person

        • My granddaughter and I mostly communicate by phone text. She hasn’t replied to any of my texts since early last Sunday morning. Six days. I try to tell myself that she is probably sleeping a lot, and probably overwhelmed with all the family and friends reaching out to her.

          The only thing I can do at this point is pray. And try not to fear the worst.

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          • UGH! That must be horrible, wondering. She probably is sleeping a lot. My best friend is scared by this whole thing, & she shuts off her phone so she won’t be tempted to obsess, reading about it. Could you granddaughter be doing the same?

            Liked by 1 person

            • It’s possible. I know that she was obsessing about all the assignments she needs to finish before the end of this semester. Although she was given an extension, due to having covid-19, she still did not want to get behind. It seems like she has been in school forever, first at Temple for her BA, then at Harvard extension school for her master’s. Now she is about to finish her first year of a PhD program at Syracuse university, so the end is finally in sight. I can understand why she wouldn’t want to get behind at this point!

              You know, it’s funny. When she was in middle school, a school guidance counselor asked my granddaughter what her long term goals were. My granddaughter said she wanted to go to the local community college. The counselor laughed in her face. “Not with your grades!” she said.

              Well, that made my granddaughter mad. Which made her determined to prove the counselor wrong. It’s amazing what my determined granddaughter can do when she gets angry!

              I am praying that Samantha will get good and MAD at this coronavirus!!!!!

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    • I’m so glad you liked my post! 🙂

      I remember you mentioning that woman at your church flipping out over the chair! My word! No definitely brought out her narcissistic beast! Terrible! Her response to your asking for prayer is outrageous too. It seems like some folks think no one else is allowed to have problems, only them. With narcissists, no doubt it’s because the attention might be off of them for a moment & they just can’t have that! Not sure about normal people who act that way (& there are some… I’ve had friends like that).

      Oh I know! Same here with trying to prove things or explain things.. it’s a waste of time. Letting go of all that is very calming. It also can be amusing when you find out what they think of you because their thoughts are so outrageous. One of my personal favorites was my sister in-law screaming at my husband because I “stole” him from the family, kept him from their family & treated them all like “poor white trash”. At first that hurt but eventually it became hilarious because not one of those was close to true!

      Liked by 1 person

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