I’ve had a lot of exposure and romantic relationships with men that have very strong narcissistic behaviors. Growing up with a narcissist (not diagnosed), I didn’t know that my brain was conditioned that certain behaviors were normal and acceptable.
Even though those behaviors hurt deeply, my brain still didn’t know to leave. This is because from early on, that is what men do. This wasn’t conscious at all. Consciously, I worked hard to try to avoid men with Narcissistic behaviors. Still, I would attract them. The most toxic one was a covert narcissistic man. Far worse than my ex-husband that hit me and then brutally beat me up.
The subtleties were so undetectable that even therapists thought I was the one with the problem. He could convenience anyone he was the nicest, softest, gentlest man. He had so much public support. Even my own family (of course they wouldn’t notice) would take his side. It was the epitome of hell on earth.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the year is when I start getting confused that is when he has me. Chipping away slowly with tiny micro-aggressions. Passive aggression and silence. It was hell!
Now, I know to trust my body when it wants to rage (for what most say is overreacting) or get away from him. I trust that now. It took years of therapy to understand that my body keeps score. Even when my brain was cloudy and confused. My body knew exactly what was going on.
People began to look at me as if I was some evil woman. That is when he got his greatest reward. He loved it when he pushed me way past what a human should endure and relished the fact that he was bringing me to my knees.
Here are the 5 things I learned from a covert narcissist:
- Listen to your body and your reactions. Especially rage.
- Trust yourself – beyond everyone’s opinion
- If it hurts, and it feels bad, sit with it and try to understand what it means
- Find time away to get out of your cloudy, confused head.
- Have empathy, not judgment for yourself.
- Keep track of what they say and what they do.
This might take time. Especially if you are extremely caught up in a toxic bond. Meaning you can’t seem to take time away or consider life without them. Be careful who you ask for advice. If they are siding with them, stay away. Seek out people that can see more clearly what is going on with you and will be supportive on the days you doubt if it’s you or them.
Having a conscious relationship with yourself is paramount. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself getting caught up in these traps over and over.
If this is something you would like to investigate further, contact me for a Free Get to Know Me session.
Photo by Milada Vigerova