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My relationship with a narcissist

Ok, so my experience was quick. And when I mean thank God, I mean it to the bone. If you´re reading this post, either you´re just curious about my love life or you´re in trouble, and by trouble I mean in a relationship with a narcissist or recovering from one. I honestly hope you´re reading this out of curiosity, because out of my own experience a relationship with a narcissist can and will take out your soul. So just a little bit about mine: It lasted only about 5 months, with an extra month of the common discard period, which alternated from me begging him for a second chance to all the common gaslighting and blame episodes, to one or two very mild hoovering episodes just when he thought I was done and then back to the hard core discard. Just to explain further, because if you, like me have managed to save yourself from a relationship like this, I am positive you have dove in to every single piece of information available out there to understand what in God´s (or in this case S@t@n´s) name was going on, narcissists go through 5 phases:

Idealization/Love bombing: where they shower you with what you think is the biggest love anyone has ever given you, in which you are the person they were looking for all of their lives, everything you do is just perfect and you feel like you finally found your soulmate. In hindsight you will remember that the narcissist is over observing of you in this stage, asking all the right questions as if they were genuinely interested in everything you do. You will also remember that they seem to like the same things and surprisingly know exactly what you want and need. My ex pretended to like the same music as I did, and pretended to know the words to some of my favorite songs (so weird) and made the biggest effort to be in all of my social affairs. He even signed up to a photohraphy course, which I obviously learned later on that he hated. So here´s the deal: they actually don´t give a damn about the things you care about, as you will see in the next phases, but they are one of the smartest people around so they know exactly how to hook you so that they can have your complete admiration and feed off of all the love that you have within you and that they will never EVER have. And why do they do that? Because narcissists have no personality; they just mimic or reproduce things that they like about the people they have admired and liked throughout their lives. And why is that? Because they almost do not process emapthy, not for themselves and not for others, because the part of the brain in which empathy is processed is either very thin or almost non-existent in the narcissist brain (in case you´re interested, just Google narcissist brain vs. non-npd brain and you will see the pre-frontal cortex of the brain is very thin or barely there, which is the area responsible for empathy/love). This happens either because they were too criticized during the first 18 months of their lives or because their parents, in most cases its attributed to the mother, overvalued them, over complimented them and put them in a pedestal, so they just didn´t develop that part of the brain where they have to deal with the reality of their own selves, and therefore when eventually they do, it just becomes unbearable. But before you feel sorry for them, on to the next phase.

Devalutaion. This is when it starts to get manipulative and where it gets tricky. They will start to very subtly criticize some people closest to you and you will probably find yourself doing more of his stuff and seeing more of his friends than yours. This removes your support system, the people that you can share your experiences with and then you just become so easy to manipulate. My ex was particularly keen on my closest friend and her boyfriend, who funny enough were experts on diagnosing mental disorders on others (don't ask me why). Very soon things will escalate to guilt trips, silent treatments, blame, withholding of love, care, attention and obviously sex and then finally the lies. My ex started to blame me for weighing on the relationship and making it difficult for him and the main reasons, as he himself said, was because I complained of the ease at which he snapped at me for reasons such as "I miscalculated the time we would take to get to a destination" or "asked him to keep me company when we were out with his friends". I found myself taking all the blame for everything just to avoid another discussion and with the hopes that we would go back to what we had in the beginning. Just a quick episode as an example: I found out that his best friend, who was in a relationship of 3 years was picking up hookers from time to time. When I asked what he thought about this (and let´s be clear I didn´t even come to the point of was he in it too or not), he flipped saying that I was being annoying and that now whenever he would meet up with his friend, I would be suspicious and give him a hard time. (I probably would be suspicious just because he answered my question with a b!tçh fit and put the blame on me - this is called gaslighting and be prepared for a whole bunch of it during your relationship). Just a heads up: once the devaluation stage has started it will never, ever go back to the initial phase. It can for a few days or weeks max, but never longer than that, so run!

Discard: This is when your brain starts to fail you and the darkest part of you comes out. And not because you´re a dark person, but because all that effort you put into the relationship, all the times you tiptoed around your words or your actions to make that person happy, to keep you two connected and every one of your dreams and plans are thrown in the trash like a broken toy with absolutely no regrets, no room for discussion (at least for now, but let's wait for the next phase) and with no real explanation. So here's the deal: it´s not about you, it´s 100% about them because narcissists are 100% about them, so suddenly you became too difficult to control, you stopped idolizing them in the way that they thought you should continue doing forever or they found a new supply who just fuels them more or who they think ranks higher in making them look good to the public eye (maybe he or she is better looking or richer or whatever is it that they "value"). In my case, I am lucky to have had a handful of very healthy relationships that made me see the value of healthy boundaries, and when these boudaries are crossed it's a no go. Just to name a few: I am proud to say that I am the best company in any sort of outing, just because I love to be out with friends or new people or whoever more than your average girl, so taking me somewhere with you and then leaving me alone for hours while you do your guy stuff just doesn't do it for me. Just don't take me and I'll wait for you happily in my pj's at home. Also getting drunk and picking fights in public are just big "NO´s" and don't get me started on drug abuse (and I don't mean your average Joe kind of drug, if you get me). But even with all these red flags, the discard was still very tough for me. It came when I finally broke down due to all the weird behavior, and not because of the behavior itself, but because everything was so different from the beginning. I fell in love with the person I met and I recognized nothing of that person now and that was the most disturbing thing. Still, I almost begged for a chance to talk it through so that we could work out our differences and went through so many therapy sessions to seek for an explanation or some closure or absolutely anything that didn´t leave me so lost or feeling so guilty. But my closure eventually came, obviously after various therapy sessions in which my therapist starting hinting me that there was a possibility of narcissistic traits and after a few exchange of very contradicting messages with the guy, in which at one point I was the love of his life and at another it was impossible for him to take me back because he couldn't get over "everything I had done". I obviously admit I should have never have lost it, at least not in front of him, because that's exactly what a narcissist wants: to blame you forever so that he can easily control you and gaslight for as long as he feels you´re useful. But on the other hand, later I realized (and let's highlight "later" because until then I was completely in love and would have gone back together at the blink of an eye if he wanted to) that he did me the greatest favor of his life. By refusing to take me back, he gave me the perfect excuse not to answer any messages or any sort of attempt of contact without making a fuss about or starting a fight (since they are the smartest and most observing people, a fight with a narcissist can be quite grueling since they know all your weaknesses and are not afraid to throw them in your face to humiliate you in every way possible). It was only then that I started picking up my pieces, understanding the disorder and the danger of what I was dealing with.

The last phase is the hoovering. If the narcissist is not convinced that you have suffered enough to validate him as much as he wants, or if you leave the door open and he feels you still haven´t recovered from the relationship, feel guilty or would take him back and go back to the idolization that you did before, he will do everything in his power to win you back. The thing is that now the devaluation will come back in a much shorter timeframe than before and these episodes will take a heavy toll on you, especially mentally, since the abuse literally damages your brain. Apart from loneliness and love of that person I found out that there are 2 main chemical reasons we stick around, and they are the hardest to overcome: 1st is cognitive dissonance, which is when your mind goes through a process of confusion and cannot tell the difference between an existing and a new information, therefore it knows that that person is bad for you but it doesn't separate it from the "perfect" person you knew in the beginning. The second reason is the effect of hormones these kind of relationships release in our body, especially dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine is the hormone that keeps you wanting more of something that gives you a very strong high, and that's why abusive relationships are just like drugs. And oxytocin is the love hormone, which our body produces when we bond and trust someone. We produce that in such high levels with narcissists because they mimic us so well that we fall in love with a perfect image of ourelves, and how can we not trust and love something like that? I didn´t have the hoovering phase in my relationship, and the story I tell myself is that my ex was not a hardcore narc, just because I think that the situation as a whole is all just too sad, for us who are victims and for humanity as a whole.

Just a few clarifications if you like myself were caught off guard and didn't know a thing about this disorder: as I explained before, narcissists are made, not born and they are this way because of the stimulii they get from their parents when they´re very young, which disconnects the image their parents have of them to their true selves and image of themselves. Their brains just don't develop to process empathy, and therefore obviously do not have the neurotransmitters that process oxytocin and then again can't love. It was believed that they loved themselves too much, but truth is that they don't love themselves at all. They actually loathe themselves, even though they will never admit it, oftentimes not even to themselves, but that's why they feed off of admiration from others.

Unfortunately, conventional medicine has not devised an effective cure to narcissism, and only indicates psychotherapy and antidepressants. However even specialist psychotherapists have said in several occasions that it is very hard to work with them because they don´t process their responsability for their actions, and because they make up different versions of themselves and genuinely don't know their real truth, they forget about their wrong doings. However, alternative treatments have been known to make progress at least in mollifying some symptoms. It is said that meditation at 432 hertz frequency regenerates the brain, so does hypnotherapy and ayahuasca. However it is not officialy proven. There are a couple of other treatments that are supposedly effective, which are ECT (electroconclusive therapy, which sends electric current to your brain) and rTMS (repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, which is an electromagnetic induction in your brain), however they are relatively new methods and have only been superficially tested in narcissists, as it is one of the toughest disorders to cure, together with psycopathy.

So, you see? Although being a victim of a narcissist is awful, emotionally and mentally abusive, once you´re out and recovered of the trauma, that's it! If you understood the traits and the red flags, you´ll probably never go into a relationship like this again. But the narcs? They're doomed for life. Imagine being trapped in a dark mind like this, in which your whole existence is empty and your worth is based entirely on what people do and think of you. And they'll probably never seek help or even if they do, they will most definitely abandon it halfway. It's a lifetime jail sentence. And if you jump in to Quora and read about what happens to them as they age, it's even worse. Yes they can and most of them do get married, but they suck the souls out of their spouses, constantly cheat, have no empathy to their kids and are eternally hurting the ones that love them the most. Eventually people get tired and leave. So, don't worry. Being discarded is or was your gift, and as for revenge? I understand you might want it at some point because it hurts probably more than any breakup you´ll ever have, but your biggest revenge is shining as bright as you possibly can, because what the narcissist ever wanted is everything you have, especially your light. If you're up for the fight, unmask them to everyone around you and them but be prepared to go as low as you can go. But if not, go no contact, look for professional help and shine your brightest.

As for me? I honestly believe this relationship was one of the greatest gifts life has given me. The whole experience itself was so shocking and I hit rock bottom so hard, that once I picked up my pieces, I came back stronger than ever and promised myself (and my therapist) that I would never seek approval from outside again, or at least try my best to do so. I became so true to myself and so strong to my own truth that even my business shifted. I created a support group online and offline and have became in touch with so many people that went or are going through the same situation as me. I also believe people like them exist for 3 main reasons: 1st is karma, and it goes both ways. I believe they must have done something not so good l in their previous life so in this one, they´re just trapped in this very sad existence. Then again I also believe we must have hurt them in our previous life too or else they wouldn't cross our paths. 2nd, is I believe people like this are just an embodiment of how sick our society is. Their parents are so self absorbed or so guilty or so genuinely desperate and trapped that they transfer all their hopes, expectations and somewhat disconnected vision of reality and of themselves to an innocent child and do not realize that they have just doomed this kid for life. And the 3rd reason is that, spiritually they agreed to be "self-love accelerators" as I like to call them, since when their victims recover, they, like myself are never the same and discover a power that would not be possible to achieve through any other method. Of course these are just my beliefs, and you are welcome to feel whatever is real and valid for you.

If you want to know more, there are several support groups on Quora, there are accessible therapy apps and websites such as in Brazil and in the US (or if you´re an English Speaker). The most famous books on the topic are :

Rethinking Narcissism, by Dr Craig Malkin

Will the Drama Ever End, by Karyl McBride (this book looks at female narcissism, since narcissists used to be only thought to be men)

Us, by Terrence Real (this book is actually a good read for narcissist themselves as sometimes, if they know their problem, it can be less embarrassing than talking to a therapist or admitting it out loud)

Disarming the narcissist, by Wendy T. Behary ( this one is my favorite as it helps us reach closure by just understanding that it's their problem and not our responsibility to help them)

I also wanted to thank my therapist, Dr. Katja Wirth for all the time and patience to answer all my questions and help me not to write something too stupid here.

Last but not least, feel free to write me a message and open up so we can share experiences like these. After all, we´re always #strongertogether

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