- excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.
- extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
- self-centredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.
I was boredom browsing on the web when I came across an article called “10 Signs That You’re Dating a Narcissist” written by professor Preston Ni M.S.B.A on psychologytoday.com. The article hit home for me for multiple reasons. I have experienced the effects of narcissism for the majority of my life from different people. However, I was unable to see it for what it was. I just thought that those people, the narcissists, were “just like that” and it was normal; but it is not.
As a child I saw and heard a lot more than I feel is appropriate or necessary for a child to see and hear. I was brainwashed and controlled. I was talked at but wasn’t able to have a voice. I was made to feel guilty or stupid for not agreeing with the horrible things that I was told. I was manipulated. I was irrelevant and my feelings were disregarded. I was used as a tool against loved ones in order to torment them. I was called upon, scared and humiliated, to make unhumane choices and decisions. I was hurt. I was damaged. I was tired. Most importantly, I was not okay. I was a child.
When you’re a child, between 4 and 10 for example, and you deal with that (above) it feels normal. You don’t know anything else. That is your life. All you know of the person who makes you feel like that is that behaviour, so to you it’s normal. You subconsciously make excuses for them. You start to defend them to others because they have manipulated you into feeling sorry for them and that the world is against them; and you believe it. Children are very impressionable and a narcissist knows that. To take advantage of someone’s start to life in that way is very unfair.
In my teen years I rebelled to free myself of the invisible chains that I felt were on me. I drank a lot of alcohol, started smoking, stopped obeying my parents and adopted an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. I also abused myself with: medication, starving myself and stabbing myself; in order to be in control of myself, in control of the pain inflicted upon me and in control of when to be numb.
I never allowed anyone to genuinely know me in my teenage years so I carried an alter-ego; bossy, popular and fun. It was all a façade. In the midst of my front I met my other narcissist. This one made me feel so comfortable and could see right through the person I was pretending to be. All of the years of hurt came pouring out of me! Everything that I had kept to myself was out. The days of suffering in silence was over… Or so I thought.
Almost a decade of being mistreated, belittled, accused and ignored followed. All of the flaws that I hadn’t noticed about myself were pointed out to put me down. I began to believe what I was told, all over again, but this time it was horrible. Unlike my first narcissist, who genuinely loves me to death (although had a strange way of showing it in my childhood), this narcissist had no good intentions for me at all. The secrets I had shared were then used against me. The pain I had endured and the traumatic experiences that I had been through, and shared with them, were publicised to humilate me. They turned people against me in order to make me feel like all I had was them. They set rules for me to follow but never once did they abide by them. They were not reliable nor honest, yet made me feel as though I was the problem. So again, as a teenager and as a young adult, I was hurt; I was damaged; I was tired. Most importantly, I was not okay.
It has taken a lot of self-evaluating and soul searching for me to be where I am today; free. Patience and understanding played a big part in my progression. I realised that all of the self-harming and things that I used to hide my pain (e.g. alcohol) were not helpful at all. I was not healing nor was I over it. I had simply replaced the chains from one person with the chains of another. All I knew was to be was controlled and taken advantage of.
Now looking back, I can’t explain the feeling of freedom in words. It is strange at times and sometimes I wonder if going back is still an option because it’s comfortable for me. It is all I’ve ever known. However, this is like a rebirth. I can now be who I actually want to be, whoever she is, and now I am truly in control of myself. I’m 22 and have been experiencing narcissist’s for my whole life and I was able to free myself from them; which means that everyone can. I’m not superwoman nor am I stronger than everyone out there. I am just a person who deserves freedom just like everybody else; and so are you.
Remember: No one is allowed to control you unless you let them.
As a child it is harder to have a voice and stand up for yourself, however as an adult if you see a child that you feel is being abused in any form, emotionally or physically, then it is your responsibility to help! To watch a child suffer and do nothing is just as bad as to abuse them yourself. If someone helped me when I couldn’t help myself I wouldn’t have suffered for so long.
As a teenager, self-harm is not the answer. Seek help! I suffered in silence for so long until I took myself to the doctors to express how depressed I felt. The sooner the better. Your feelings matter! You deserve to be happy and you deserve to be helped. We cannot get through everything on our own and that is okay. We don’t have to be independent all of the time. You don’t have to tell your friends or family members, if you feel uneasy doing so, but tell someone. You can tell a professional (e.g. teacher, doctor) or even call a helpline. You are not an alien. You are not abnormal for feeling low. You’ve been through, or are going through, things that are making you unhappy and you are entitled to and deserve to be supported!
As an adult, control your own life! You have made it this far, through all of your good and bad times. At this point you should be patting yourself on the back because life isn’t easy and look how far you’ve made it. You are strong. Do not ever let anybody control you or put you down. Anyone who wants to hurt you is not deserving of you in their life. It is not your loss, it is theirs. Sometimes it may seem like what they say is factual and you’ll never do better. I have one (naughty) word for that: BULLSHIT!
You will do better. You may be told “you’ll never find someone like me” from partners, friends and even relatives. GOOD! That is the whole point. Anyone who doesn’t respect you and treat you like the King or Queen that you are, lies to you, manipulates you and harms you, is not good for you. You don’t want to find another one of them. Spread your wings and fly! It is your life and the only person that has to live it is you. Be selfish for a while, it’s not always a bad thing to be selfish. Focus on you and what makes you happy. Cry if you need to cry, scream and shout, then release.
You do not have to deal with anyone’s narcissistic behaviour! I’m not saying that all narcissists are horrible people because they’re not but that is not your problem. Also, you do not need to help someone who doesn’t want help. The same will go for you, if you want help then you will find help or it will find you but if you don’t want help, it isn’t going to come. It’s time for you to make a decision, do you want to spend the next 22 years suffering in silence or do you want your freedom now?
Thank you for reading.
Love and light, Liss x