Narcissistic Relationships and Confusion
Confusion is one reason why it can be hard to disentangle yourself from narcissistic relationship dynamics.
To begin with, a narcissistic partner behaves in a way that is confusing. The things they say are often not true. Their words might twist and distort the truth in strange ways. It can feel shocking to have someone lie to your face, especially when that person seems to genuinely believe what they are saying. It takes a specific skill set, and practice, to trust what you know to be true, and to learn how to respond confidently to lies.
Confusion can also arise in a narcissistic relationship because the narcissist has a variety of personas that show up in different contexts and situations. Some personas may be charming and likable. Others may feel scary and threatening. Some might be neutral and passive. While everyone has different sides to their personality, it tends to be more extreme with narcissists. If you fall in love with the charming personality, it can be devastating to discover the less likable aspects of your partner. There is often confusion related to drastic changes in personality and behaviors.
Finally, when relationships are in distress there can be an increase in thoughts and emotions that are difficult to sort out. Just the sheer volume of thinking and feeling activity can be confusing, which is further confounded when thoughts and emotions are contradictory.
Journaling is a helpful tool for sorting through thoughts and feelings. The activity of writing things down can reduce overwhelm because it creates some space between you and your thoughts and feelings. You can look at these things on the page, and for a moment, consider them as something outside of yourself. This can be a great first step towards gaining perspective on your situation. At a minimum, it can help you get clear on where you stand – even if your thoughts and feelings are contradictory – and this is an important step for enabling change.
Below are 21 journaling prompts for your consideration. It takes 21 days to create a new habit. Consider setting an intention to work deliberately with your thoughts and emotions for 21 days. This could be an alternative to spinning endlessly in a cycle of repetitive thoughts and feelings. Set aside some time everyday for journaling. It could be as little as 10 minutes. Pick a prompt and write down whatever comes to mind. Let go of the need for it to be “perfect” or “right.” You can go through the prompts in order, randomly, or choose one that resonates.
What do I like (love) about this person?
What do I dislike (hate) about this person?
When things are good between us what does it feel like?
When things are bad between us what does it feel like?
Why do I want to stay together?
Why do I want to break up?
How does this person add to my life?
How does this person subtract from my life?
What things do I wish this person would start doing?
What things do I wish this person would stop doing?
In what ways are we growing together?
In what ways are we growing apart?
In order for this relationship to be worth the effort, what needs to happen?
Under what conditions does this relationship become no longer worth the effort?
In what ways does this relationship support me in being my best self?
In what ways does this relationship bring out my worst self?
In what ways does this person understand me?
In what ways does this person not get me at all?
In what ways do I feel loved and cherished (appreciated) in the presence of this person?
In what ways do I feel insecure in the presence of this person?
What am I afraid of?
Narcissistic relationships can be messy, complicated, and confusing. If you suspect you are in a narcissistic relationship, know that you aren't alone. There are others going through the same thing and people just like you are making changes in their lives. If they can do it, so can you.
If you are interested in more information on overcoming narcissistic relationships click here.
About the Author
Diana Calvo is a coach who helps people get unstuck and transform their day-to-day experience of work and life. After 20 years successfully climbing the corporate ladder, Diana experienced her own journey of healing and awakening. She discovered her true calling to guide others on their journey out of suffering and into a life of purpose and joy. Diana left the corporate world to start her own coaching business. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her dog Joey and a beautiful view of the mountains. She works with clients across the globe.