Hello, my loves. I’m going to be honest, I do feel a bit nervous to talk about this. This is a topic that people DM me on the regular about, but I’ve never really wanted to talk about it, and I’ll tell you why.
I’m going to be talking a little bit about narcissists today. Now, I put the caveat here that I am not a professional regarding narcissism or narcissists. It’s not my area of expertise. It’s not something that I choose to work with. If you are suffering from being with a partner who has all the signs of narcissistic personality disorder and you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, this is not the post for you. I would recommend that you don’t read any further, because it’s going to be really triggering and it’s just not helpful. In that situation, I really recommend that you seek professional help. Not me. I am not a professional in this realm, so please do not DM me. Instead, go to an actual psychotherapist who specializes in narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic abuse.
I’m gonna talk a little bit about the signs of narcissistic personality disorder from Google.
Again, a caveat: this is not my own experience. I’ve actually never dated a narcissist before, and I’ll get into that in a little bit, but I wanna share what I’ve got first. This is literally info from the Mayo Clinic, okay? So if it’s wrong, it’s not on me. It’s on Google.
According to this, “Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. Behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
Let me go through some of these signs of narcissistic personality disorder. So it says people with this disorder can have…
Those are the signs of narcissistic personality disorder, but these are not the people I’m talking about today. So if you’re like, “Oh my God, that is my partner,” literally just close out this blog post, because this is not what I’m talking about. I wanted to talk specifically about the signs of narcissistic personality disorder to begin with so that you knew what it is. And now, I want to talk about what it absolutely isn’t.
The word “narcissist” is very buzz-worthy at the moment. In the last couple of years, I’ve really seen it pop up a lot and heard it talked about a lot in the context of, “My ex is a narcissist,” or “A guy didn’t call me back,” or, “A guy ghosted me? Oh my God. He’s probably a narcissist.” Like, no, not every guy that you date is a narcissist. Not calling someone back is not one of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder. Being a dick isn’t one of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder. Let’s stop throwing around a word for an actual, very serious mental disorder as a name for someone’s lack of desire for you.
I’m going to be super direct here, so before I go on, I really do ask that you assume that I have good intentions. This is why I felt a bit nervous, because this is edgy stuff to talk about, and this is why I really wanna drive home that I am not talking about someone with the actual disorder. If you’re seeing the signs of narcissistic personality disorder in your partner, please seek help.
Just because someone’s kind of self-centered and they don’t really acknowledge your feelings very much doesn’t mean that they’re a narcissist. Those can be some of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder if they become severe, but they don’t classify someone as a narcissist right away.
Now, it also doesn’t mean that they’re a healthy person to date. It doesn’t mean that you should be with them. It doesn’t mean that they even have a role in your life, but let’s not label them as a narcissist when they aren’t actually showing the signs of narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissism is a scale. We need some signs of narcissistic personality disorder in our list of traits; everyone, including you. My love has narcissistic traits. You need a healthy amount of narcissism, because it actually acts in the name of preservation. We need to act in the interest of ourselves at times to ensure the survival of the species. So let’s not demonize narcissism completely.
This is where we get stuck in very one-dimensional thinking, because we’re not seeing the duality. We think that if someone is exhibiting some signs of narcissistic personality disorder, then that means they’re a terrible person. That’s it. You’re just a narcissist. I’ve labeled you. And that’s what we do, right? When we’re in our ego, we want to reduce people to a one-dimensional thing, so we label them. You’re a narcissist, you’re a bitch, you’re an asshole, you’re a fuckboy. You’re selfish, you’re arrogant. Whatever the thing is, we want to label them as something so it makes sense to us. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, it’s actually a reaction to deeper trauma.
I genuinely thought that I was a narcissist at times, because I tend to have a lot of these qualities and some of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve never dated someone who is narcissistic, because I was the more narcissistic one. I was the one who had like a sense of entitlement and grandiosity. Honestly, it could be quite manipulative, and I don’t feel good about that. But not feeling good about it in and of itself tells you that I’m not a narcissist. Also, narcissists don’t often seek reassurance that they aren’t narcissists. One of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder is that they don’t believe anything could be wrong with them.
For me, a lot of those traits stem from trauma. It stems from the idea that I’m never gonna get my needs met if I look after other people, so I have to be hypervigilant in getting my own needs met. I have to be very self-focused, otherwise I’m gonna lose myself. I’m gonna get left behind.
If you are with someone who is exhibiting some of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder, oftentimes the person that you’re dating is just a deeply traumatized human who, if they decided to do work, could probably work on it. I genuinely thought that I was a narcissist and had the signs of narcissistic personality disorder until my therapist was like, “You definitely don’t. It’s called trauma.” And I took that, and I worked on it, and I’m so much better. It definitely still comes up from time to time, but I’m definitely working through it.
Now, one more quick thing: If you’re like, “Yes. That means he doesn’t have a disorder. That means he could fix it. I’m gonna be the one to love him so much to fix it.” Stop. Chill, babe. Step away from your emotional first aid kit and stop trying to fucking rescue people, because you’re playing into the problem. You need to act more in the name of self and walk the fuck away.
It’s not your job to fix anyone. It’s not your job to heal anyone. And if you keep attracting people who are more narcissistic, you are playing into the problem. You’ve got to stop being so self-sacrificing, because a narcissist is never going to go for someone who has a very solid sense of self-love. They know they would never get away with it.
This is not to blame you. It’s for you to look really radically at where you may be playing into this and to start to do your own healing work so that you don’t attract these people anymore. If you are dating someone who has no fucking regard for your feelings or your boundaries or your needs, who keeps gaslighting you, keeps lying to you, keeps cheating on you, and you keep giving them chance after chance…what the fuck are you doing? And I say that with so much love, because I’ve been there. I get how scary it is to leave, but like, honestly, babe, what are you doing? It’s just really not the vibe. You have to decide that you want something different. Stop giving him chance after chance after chance after chance. Let’s stop making excuses for people’s shitty behavior. You can love someone and acknowledge that they’ve got trauma and have compassion for that, while also having boundaries around what you are and are not available for.
If you enjoyed this, right, I have a secret for you: The Connected Woman, my signature course, is coming back in January, but it’s going to be all completely new content. We’re going to be talking a lot about this sort of shadow work and how these things play out. So if you vibe with this, then I would definitely come join The Connected Woman for when we start in January. I’ll see you next time.
Be sure to connect with me over on Instagram. I’d love to hear what you thought of this post and what your major takeaways were. Or head over to my website to learn more about how we can work through your relationship journey together.
And don’t forget to join my signature 12-week program, The Connected Woman, if you’re ready to go from anxious & insecure in your relationships to setting boundaries, healing yourself, and living your dream life!
Or maybe you want some one-on-one action? Try out The Intimate Woman for some private coaching realness: https://michellepanning.com/the-intimate-woman if you’re ready to go deep. Go hard. And dive into creating the life you’ve always wanted, with me by your side with calls, motivations, and most importantly, calls on your bullshit. Stop getting in your own way, and let’s do this.
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”