When we start to recognize the signs, we can feel like it may be too late for us. Too late, because we love the person we are with and we are in love with them. But it is never too late.
This is something that continues to be an ongoing cycle for many. You can walk away. You need to remember to put yourself first.
There are signs are such as: control.
It isn’t just physical, as in what you wear; it is mental, how you start to view yourself. It is tearing you away from your family. There are things that you value, and that they claimed they valued but don’t really. Such an example is an event they can’t attend because they are too tired, have prior engagements, or their anxiety isn’t good around people.
Now don’t get me wrong, as I have anxiety. However, using mental health as an excuse to demean someone else, or using manipulating tactics and victimizing yourself, is abuse of power in the relationship.
DSM-4 states that Narcissitic Personality Disorder is:
”A grandiose sense of self-importance (eg, the individual exaggerates achievements and talents and expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.”
Upon reading, I stumbled across this website that gives “Official Criteria for NPD” - https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/am-i-dating-a-narcissist#1
Some things I began to assess within myself: am I, too, narcissistic? I mean, I hog the conversation sometimes. But then I remember: this is giving the relationship (that I have been out of for 4 years) control over me. I have sat and recognized things within myself that were long forgotten.
For 6 years I sat in a relationship blind in love and I didn’t acknowledge that I was being conditioned to his ways. He was tall, dark, handsome, kind-hearted, and good with children. It wasn’t hard for him to be liked. He even hung out with my gay friends and didn’t discriminate against them. So he was perfect! Right? ...Wrong!
In time, things slowly started to change. He would conveniently forget I was at his house, and leave me there for hours on end. He would blame anxiety, and then say I was bipolar (which I am not - but he did have me almost convinced I was). In the beginning he slipped his Zyprexa into my drink without my knowledge. He continued to make me sandwiches with his medication in it. It wasn’t until I got out of this relationship, 6 1/2 years later and now with a child, that the red flags started to dawn on me.
I recounted how many times I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. Like, how many times his medication ran out early. He would get a 3 months supply of his medication and he would be out before 2 1/2 months was up. He “wouldn’t remember” what happened with the medication, conveniently. And there I was, questioning my sanity and wondering why I felt like I was to blame. He would always tell me I was starting arguments. I was insecure and I would have to bribe him to go to my family‘s house.
He also did something called gaslighting. Gaslighting is: to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. For example, he would use my card to purchase something, and I wouldn’t be able to find my debit card for days. When I asked him if he could help me find it, he would say “No, that’s your responsibility.” And then, all of the sudden, it would be back in my wallet! I felt crazy! He would hit on girls and tell me that I was reading too much into it. The sex was always on his terms.
One of the biggest red flags should’ve been when he raised his fist to the back of my head and then put it down and said “I’m so glad I didn’t hit you.”
There was a lot of yelling and screaming, me giving him my checks, him telling me he loved me, an engagement... and I continued to look through it with rose-colored glasses. Finally I found information on a narcissistic abuse 101 on Instagram: how to recognize it and how to forgive myself. I saw it and I asked myself how stupid was I? How blind? I have a 3.4 in psychology and there I was living in a relationship that I was blinded by.
The last straw was when he started to manipulate my child and do the same thing to her that he did to me. He would say: “Dad’s probably not going to see you for a while, I love you,” knowing that she would cry and that she would chase him! He did this to me when we were in the relationship. He even took my daughter, without me knowing, to a place where he did not want disclosed while I was at work. He said: “I can take my daughter anywhere and I don’t have to tell you where I’m taking her...” He made me live in fear that my daughter would be taken away.
He preconditioned my mind to be fearful of him, and this is why so many women do not get PFA’s. I sat for 2 1/2 years behind shades wondering if he was ever going to come in and take my daughter away.
We need to start forgiving ourselves, because we are not weak! We are strong, we are smart, and we will survive. We continue to let people have power over us even long after we’ve been with them. It’s time to take ourselves back