Not every man who doesn’t concede to your wishes is a narcissist.
Not every relationship that breaks down does so because one partner is a narcissist.
Not every argument or misunderstanding is due to the other party being a narcissist.
I don’t for a second underestimate the destruction a narcissistic personality can cause, I’ve coached women through the recognition and acceptance and such destructive relationships either romantic or with their parents, I know the healing involved in stepping back into your power and finding peace with your own intuition and inbuilt guidance systems.
That being said I have coached and mentored many more women who have read and come to believe that they may be in a relationship with a narcissist, if you pick up any article on relationships, you may feel that the who the whole world is full of narcissists.
The problem is narcissism, or the media portrayal of it sells.
Here is the big news – we all have so-called narcissist traits, we need them to survive and it can feel in moments of communication breakdown that the other party is displaying strong narcissist behaviour, but are they?
Or is it that they, like so many other (maybe including yourself), haven’t been taught or don’t have the intuitive guidance on how to manage deep connections?
Could it be that fear of not being enough, being unlovable, not being worthy of love or some deep childhood trauma cause fear of confrontation, fear of being called out, fear of abandonment if they don’t match your expectations?
Is it not true that we can manifest all sorts of unpleasant behaviour when our baseline emotion is fear; which although not nice to be on the receiving end of; does it make your partner narcissistic and does it therefore make you victim of narcissistic abuse?
To claim otherwise diminishes your sense of self, makes you a victim and stripes you of your power.
How about you are both just two souls trying the best you can with your own limitations, beliefs, hurts, traumas and desire to be happy, loved and accepted.
What if instead of labelling yourself or your partner or your parent or your sibling, child or whoever is manifesting this pattern, you tried to understand rather than make yourself understood.
What could make you behave this way? What hurt could make you act defensively? What may make you deny those words you throw out in anger?
Often “Gaslighting” is used as a definer of narcissism, but this is really oversimplifying the situation.
What mother hasn’t told her child the things aren’t as bad they seem or aren’t as they perceive them to be? Is this not also a form of gas-lighting? Does it not undermine that child’s own feelings and inner knowledge?
What couple hasn’t had an argument about what was said or not said in the heat of an argument, both by denying what was alleged or changing the tone and meaning, is that not gaslighting?
Who among us has never denied or minimised the meaning behind a statement in the cold light of day, with the hope of making the other party feel better(or worse)?
And who has not at least once in their life downright denied something happened or was said?
Who has never at least one tried to convince the other party that what you choose to understand was actually what they meant?
Are these not all examples of manipulation, gas-lighting and coercion that we use in everyday life and would leave us horrified if someone were to accuse us of narcissism?
A relationship where one or both parties are constantly walking on eggshells is no fun, it can feel intimidating and can create anxiety and fear, but it isn’t necessarily that narcissism is at play.
It merely tells me that there has been a breakdown in communication, the people involved may be afraid to tell their truth for any number of reasons:
– Past experience
– Low self-worth and believing you don’t deserve more
– An overbearing parent who wouldn’t allow you to express yourself
– Lack of self-awareness, therefore no conscious knowledge of the behaviour.
I have a client who complains her partner never tells her when he has a business trip coming up. He always tells her with minimum notice and she gets mad, feels deceived, doesn’t always believe that is is a last-minute thing.
She wondered if he had narcissistic tendencies.
When I asked her how she reacts to his business trips she admitted that she hates when he goes away, she moans, complains, picks arguments and accuses him of putting her behind his career.
I asked what would happen is you told you three weeks in advance, how would that change things for you? She admitted that it is the feeling of being abandoned, rather than the amount of notice that upsets her, so it’s likely her behaviour wouldn’t be dramatically different. It was easy for her to see that if she addressed this issue then the other part may well resolve itself. She could let go of the story that it was her or his career and find a story that supports their relationship together.
The idea that if you don’t get what you want your partner is narcissistic it is also truly insulting and dis-empowering to those women and men who are caught up fighting for their mental and emotional lives in the face of narcissists and sociopaths.
To lump everyone in together is irresponsible.
It erodes your power and keeps you firmly in victim status, my wish is to allow you to look at your particular situation without labelling it good or bad, without defining roles of victim and abuser, (so often we are both), but with compassion and understanding rather than bitterness and hurt.
I see people who spend so long trying to label people and situations they never step up towards the solution, how about we deal with the reality, learn how to step out of the cycle and then when harmony, balance and healthy communication is restored, you can address the why, if your still feel the need.
It is my aim to stop the reckless talk about emotional abuse and instead allow you to regain power in your relationship, by understanding the patterns at work in your relationships by the offering you the tools to embrace change.
Change always starts within ourselves. We are so incredibly powerful, yet often we are unaware of that power and how we use it to create our reality.
If you are questioning your role in any of your significant relationships, stop for a second download my training program on Identifying and Changing Emotional Abuse Patterns.
It will offer you a fresh perspective and many aha moments.
This certainly doesn’t mean that you need to continue having dis-empowering communication or that you need to accept other people’s bad behaviour, what it means is let’s take a step away from the label and look at how to implement, healthy, loving and honest communication and open yourself up to the best relationships of your life.