Kelly O'Brien is a Wellness Expert at MindBodyGreen, Freelance Writer for multiple publications including Wellness Revolution, Cafe Truth and a host of wellness chronicles. She shares some compelling insights about unhealthy narcissism in the context of relationships:
" Most of us have been in a relationship with a narcissist. Perhaps you've been sucked in by a self-absorbed family member, a spouse, a boyfriend, a co-worker, or a friend.
Perhaps you thought it was your fault when the narcissist left you feeling diminished and full of despair.
The truth is, your only "fault" was getting involved with the narcissist in the first place!
Learning to spot this toxic behavior before it hurts you is crucial to your health. A huge part of wellness is surrounding ourselves with healthy people and healthy relationships. If we have unhealthy relationships, we need to assess whether or not they can transform, or we must find the strength to walk away.
So, let's talk about how to spot a narcissist and how to walk away from one.
Here Are 6 Qualities of a Narcissist:
He or she rarely takes responsibility for problems and instead blames them on everyone else.
The narcissist expresses little emotion, particularly during conflict with you. When you do express emotion, he or she blames you for doing so. It's a subtle form of abuse.
He or she drains you, but thrives on your energy. Consider how much energy you are expending on this relationship... my guess is that it's your effort keeping the relationship alive. You're most likely exhausted emotionally and physically because you do all of the planning, all of the apologizing, and all of the work to 'fix' what is wrong.
This person is charming, often a flirt, and thinks very highly of himself.
This person is irresponsible with his finances, career, drinking, and/or keeping his home in order.
Jekyll & Hyde: This person is so incredibly endearing, but when you say one thing wrong, she snaps at you. You walk on eggshells wanting to do everything right.
Once you have determined that you are with a narcissist, the wisest thing to do is to walk away.
There is no reasoning with this individual. You will inevitably lose every single argument and end most conflicts thinking everything was your fault. You will end up apologizing. You will end up in counseling and you will be the one to end up losing your self-esteem.
You can avoid all of this!
Here are 5 Steps to Ending a Relationship with a Narcissist:
1. Distance yourself emotionally and physically from this person.
If they are a co-worker, do not accept their invitations anymore. If it's a boyfriend, take a step back to get your bearings so you can walk away. If it's a family member, this may be more difficult, but there are numerous ways to distance yourself from a person like this.
2. Realize that the problem is not you.
You need to explore why you attracted this personality type, but that's the only place where you need to put your focus. Anything this person said or did to you is their challenge and not a fault of yours. A narcissist will never blame himself.
3. When you are ready which I hope is quickly, walk away.
It will be painful but walk anyway, and quickly. Do not argue with them or provide long explanations as they will attempt to bait you into staying. Walk and don't look back. You will be glad you did. If it's a spouse or boyfriend, narcissists move on quickly. Within weeks or a few short months, they will be in love with someone else.
People may wonder how you let such a "charmer" get away. Stay true to yourself and do NOT worry about what others think. Trust that any intelligent person will go through the same situation and will walk as well.
4. Free yourself from needing others approval.
Often, people who need approval are the ones who attract this abusive personality type. Do not look to another person for 'approval' because you will never feel fulfilled. If you look to a narcissist for approval? You will fall into feeling completely abused and you will regret.
5. Love yourself and surround yourself with people who genuinely love you. "