I have a habit that I believe is shared by others who have suffered narcissistic abuse. I gravitate to those who don’t have any friends. Not that this is always a bad thing, but it can be. Sometimes these people are detrimental to your mental health.
People who don’t have friends may be in this position for valid reasons. They may be extremely introverted, preferring very little socialization since it drains them quickly. Maybe they just recently moved to the area & haven’t had time to meet new people. Or maybe they recently escaped an abusive relationship, & while in it, their abuser isolated them from friends & family. Once away from that person, they may not feel ready to trust new people in any capacity just yet. There are plenty of valid reasons like this a person has for not having friends. These people are not the ones I am referring to in this post.
The people I’m referring to are the ones who have no friends for years on end. They may discuss former friends, & always in a negative light. Those friends weren’t there for them when they went through hard times, they wouldn’t help them financially or in other ways or they say their friends just stopped speaking to them without any reason or warning. Everyone has friendships that weren’t good or ended badly, but when someone says such things about the majority of friendships they have had, it’s a big red flag. The average person’s friendships usually aren’t intensely negative experiences. Their friends may not be there for them every single time, but they will be there at least most of the time. Also, if people continue walking away from someone, there is a good reason for that.
Years ago, I felt so badly for these people. I naively thought it was so sad that life had treated them so badly, leaving them without good friends! I treasure my closest friends & can’t imagine not having them! Knowing these people weren’t able to share this kind of friendship made me feel sorry for them, so I would befriend them. It usually didn’t take long before I realized this was a mistake.
People like this are friendless for legitimate reasons! Some are covert narcissists, portraying themselves as innocent victims to unfair life circumstances & needing someone to take care of them. Even ones I knew that weren’t, were still highly dysfunctional at the very least. These friendships started out full of flattery & kind gestures, which made me want to be there for them. Much like love bombing behavior narcissists are known for doing in romantic relationships. Before long, they would monopolize my time whenever possible. They would call me often, keeping me on the phone for hours listening to them drone on & on about their problems & not listening when I said I had to go. At that time, sometimes they would ask what was happening in my life, then after a couple of minutes, turn the conversation back to them. They never wanted my advice, even when they asked for it. They just wanted me to pity them. They also wanted to get together on a constant basis, even when knowing I had other things going on in my life that needed my attention. Once in a while, they would feign interest in something in my life, but it never lasted long. They would become minimizing or invalidating quickly, letting me know whatever I said wasn’t a big deal, & certainly not as big a deal as what was going on in their life. Simply put, these people were emotional vampires, draining my energy to feed their dysfunction.
There are so many people out there like this, who love gaining the friendship of victims of narcissistic abuse. They know that victims are often very giving, understanding & patient, glad to help others. Don’t fall for it as I have! If someone you meet says they don’t have any friends, learn why. If there isn’t a valid reason such as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, stay away from this person. They may come across as naïve & a bit needy, but they are nothing so innocent. Given time, they will use you for everything they can, & if you set boundaries with them, they’ll cry victim to anyone who will listen.
Like so many things in life, the more you heal from the abuse, the less frequently you will interact with such people. People like this are repelled by functional, healthy people with good boundaries who don’t tolerate their manipulation.