No matter how many mistakes we make in life, we can never learn everything at once.
And no matter how many experiences we go through, most of the time, we miss the point.
Experiences might not always teach us something, but pain never fails to enlighten us, every single time. The struggle and intense emotions we go through stay etched on our minds and hearts, constantly reminding us to not live the same painful experience again.
I’m sharing my story today to let you know that painful stories leave us with important lessons—I hope you learn from mine.
When I was in my 20s, I wasn’t equipped with the wisdom and experience I now have. I went through many relationships before finding the right one and settling down—but I learned plenty from each one of them. However, there was only one relationship that was so challenging and painful that it taught me a lot: it was a relationship with a narcissist.
Back then, more than 30 years ago, I wasn’t familiar with that term. But after my breakup and consulting with a therapist, she told me that the man I had dated had narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
When I met him, I thought I found my soul mate, and at the beginning of the relationship, I was thoroughly convinced that he was the one for me.
The problem was that I was looking at him through the lens of my emotions (I was blind to the truth). And the truth was that he was only charming at first, before changing into someone I couldn’t recognize anymore.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is tough. What I went through might be completely irrelevant to you, or it could be different from your own stories with narcissists. So, although every relationship is distinct, I would like to share the signs that proved to me back then that I was dealing with someone who loved himself more than he loved anyone else.
I believe we all might be a little bit narcissistic, but since we have different stories and traumas, our narcissistic traits are also different and vary from a person to another.
Here are 13 signs that could mean you’re dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder:
>> Believing they’re better than everyone else.
>> Extremely manipulative, which also results in lying.
>> They can occasionally get defensive.
>> Their ego is easily bruised or triggered.
>> Fighting or lashing out for no particular reason, without taking responsibility for their actions.
>> They get jealous or envious when you succeed.
>> They put you down, affecting your self-confidence and self-worth.
>> Requiring a lot of attention, caring, admiration, and compliments.
>> Going into new relationships a lot.
>> Always charming at the beginning of the relationship.
>> They don’t always know how to experience love due to their unstable emotions.
>> They wear different masks depending on the person/lover they are dealing with.
>> They are brilliant persuaders, especially when they want something.
It was difficult for me to leave that relationship, but when my sense of self-worth was damaged, I knew I needed to end it.
It’s good to remember that when the negative things outnumber the positive ones, it’s time to call it quits. This was how I knew it was time to turn my back and restart my life. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Losing him made space for me to meet the love of my life and taught me how to be in a healthy relationship.
After decades from this separation, I may have forgotten what he looked like, but I haven’t forgotten the lesson: I matter.