If your PARTNER is a narcissist...
It can be devastating to find out you are dating or married to a narcissist.
Your current or former partner was probably extremely charming in the beginning when you first met. Narcissistic personalities are highly capable of making people feel good, attended to, and special. Unfortunately, rather than being about genuine care, their performance is used to manipulate and to get what they want. Their act is very convincing and extremely easy to believe.
By now you have most likely had a taste of the crazy making world a narcissistic partner creates for everyone around him or her. Because narcissists are incapable of empathy, they behave in unexpected and unbelievable ways. Their inability to register how anyone else is impacted by a given situation is truly astounding. Without intentional training and practice, there is no way you can expect yourself to have the skills you need to effectively interact with a narcissistic partner.
Maybe you are dating a narcissist, or married to one, and you are trying to make things work using relational strategies that reasonable people use. It is beyond frustrating when you treat someone with honesty, decency, respect, clear communication, and reasonable expectations, and you do not get the same thing in return. Narcissists are master manipulators who can twist your sincere intentions and behaviors in such a way that you walk away feeling you are the one who did something wrong.
Many people find themselves in a relationship with a narcissistic partner. You are not the only one.
We are all looking for love and wanting to find that special someone. Narcissists make you believe you have found it. Feeling special, seen, and understood are all basic and valid human needs. It feels great to be the center of someone else’s undivided attention!
Also, narcissists have a sixth sense about your insecurities. They use that knowledge to manipulate you, to get what they want depending on the circumstances. Oftentimes your insecurities, and the narcissist’s manipulation of you, are taking place on a subconscious level. This means that it is all happening below the surface, making it that much harder to detect and protect against.
It is also important to remember that narcissism is not widely understood in our society. While the word is thrown around quite easily these days, very few people understand the depth of the psychological and emotional wounding that occurs when there is narcissistic abuse. As a result, it is extremely unlikely that the average person will recognize narcissistic behavior for what it is, until after a significant amount of damage has been done.
Psychotherapy and coaching sessions with me are a unique opportunity for healing and to find yourself again.
An important component of healing is skill building. We will work together to increase your ability to recognize narcissistic behaviors in your partner, or in potential partners. You will then learn how to respond in new ways that leave you feeling more empowered and in control of your destiny. A significant component of skill building is learning how to recognize your habitual patterns of reacting, creating new patterns, practicing them, and then adjusting as needed.
We will also explore the root causes of your attraction to narcissistic partners. In many cases, people in relationship with narcissists grew up with narcissistic parents. Understanding the origin of your attraction is an important part of stopping the cycle. With awareness you free yourself to make new and different choices.
During our sessions, you will have the opportunity to find yourself again. In narcissistic relationships, the focus is always on the other person. In our sessions, the focus will be on you. In a supportive environment you can feel free to reconnect with your true emotions, needs, wants, and desires. Reconnecting with these aspects of yourself will foster your ability to heal from a narcissistic relationship.
Psychotherapy and coaching can help you to recover from your experience, and to find a way forward that feels right for you.
You might be starting to get the sense that something is not quite right in your relationship. Maybe you suspect that your partner is a narcissist and you are struggling to decide what to do next. Perhaps you have already left a narcissistic relationship and want to make sure your next relationship is different. Psychotherapy and coaching can help, wherever you are in your journey.
When you are involved in a narcissistic relationship, there is a tendency to stop trusting yourself and to feel confused about your own truth. Psychotherapy and coaching provide a neutral sounding board that you can use to see and hear yourself more clearly. When you have the repeated experience of connecting with your true self, and feeling what that feels like, you eventually stop needing the support and can do it on your own.
Also, narcissistic abuse is a form of trauma. To recover from a narcissistic relationship, you will need to feel feelings that are particularly difficult. Experiencing those feelings is what allows them to be metabolized and released from the body. Psychotherapy and coaching are a means of working with your trauma in a supportive environment where you are not alone and where you are in control of how much and how fast.
You might not want to end your relationship, despite the challenges of being with a narcissistic partner.
The only person who can decide whether to leave or to stay is you. I will never try to force you to do anything. My job is to facilitate your exploration of yourself and your relationship, and to support you in your inherent ability to see your situation clearly. There will be times when I provide a different and potentially challenging perspective; however, these are only suggestions for you to consider. You are always the ultimate authority on what to do with your life.
Perhaps you feel you have tried everything when it comes to your narcissistic partner, and you are skeptical that psychotherapy or coaching have anything worthwhile to offer.
This work is not about changing your partner. It is about accepting your partner as he or she is, understanding the realities of what it means to be with a narcissistic partner, and then deciding for yourself how you want to move forward. Acceptance is simple and usually quite difficult and painful. Acceptance is not for the sake of giving up; rather, it is for the sake of moving forward. Without acceptance, you are stuck wanting things to be different. Things do not change when you are holding on to them as they are.
Also, your partner is no accident. We pick our partners based on deeply held beliefs and attitudes that are buried deep beneath the surface in the subconscious. It is extremely difficult to uncover these subconscious barriers without support. We simply cannot see these things because they are as pervasive as the air we breathe. Psychotherapy and coaching will help you uncover these aspects of yourself. Once uncovered, you are free to make different choices. This might include discovering that there is life after a narcissistic relationship.
Maybe you feel too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about being in a relationship with a narcissistic partner. You might believe you missed the signs and that this is somehow your fault.
Feelings of embarrassment and shame are common among those in a relationship with a narcissist. If you express yourself authentically to someone, and that person repeatedly makes you wrong, shame is a normal response to that experience. Additionally, if you are trying to be close to someone who rejects you repeatedly, it is highly likely that you will develop feelings of shame. An important part of the recovery process is recognizing shame, understanding where it comes from and how it works, and then learning how to let it go.
It is so important to realize and believe that your relationship is not your fault! Of course, as adults, we must take responsibility for our actions. However, no one deserves to be abused. Not ever. Getting yourself support to stop the cycle of abuse is a critical first step. It can be very frightening. You know in your heart that you are worth it! If for any reason you doubt that, you can borrow my belief in the meantime. You can learn to recognize the signs you’re dating a narcissist so that you don’t repeat the same patterns in the future.
From the blog...
Healing from a narcissistic relationship is possible.
You can learn from your experience, rediscover yourself, and break the cycle of abuse. You don't have to figure this out on your own. I am located in Denver, Colorado and I see clients in person and via video conference. Use the link below to schedule a phone call where we can discuss your needs and how we might work together, or to schedule an appointment.