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Friday, September 28, 2012

Dating After a Narcissist


Watch out, ladies! You know that once you've been with a narc, you're primed to fall for another one. Usually, you'll be too afraid to date for a while, but when you do, beware of the ones who make you feel too good too soon.

Throw away that idea that you're going to fall madly in love again someday. Falling in love is a crock of shit. And although you might have been able to participate in that insanity before you met the narc, now that you know the level of lying some people are capable of, you'll want to steer clear of getting involved on a whim, responding only to chemistry, or putting your brain on the back shelf while you get swept off your feet.

Too soon? You've sworn off dating forever? You'll never be able to trust again? Maybe, but sooner or later, you will come across men who remind you that you're still alive. You'll feel that attraction some day. And you might be tempted to act on it. That's exactly when you need to hit pause and hold off.

It might sound boring and old-fashioned to think it over carefully, to observe a man's behavior, to weigh your values and goals before dating; to make sure he is capable of intimacy, of depth; to verify that he is indeed capable of analyzing, forgiving, and growing from the difficulties in his childhood and family dynamics (and if he denies that it was anything but perfect, you know already that he's not capable of honesty with himself - there's no such thing as a perfect childhood); to see if he can accept fault when wrong and if in times of interpersonal conflict, he can focus on himself and what he can do; to make sure he's solution-based when it comes to conflict instead of a drama queen; to wait for proof that he has a lot of empathy and compassion for others. The list goes on. What you need to do requires a lot of thinking and time.

But another narcissist would just be too hard to bear. Although you might be tempted to jump on that express train back to feeling human, back to feeling "loved," you must take your time, diligently do all of your homework, and make sure you're choosing wisely. It takes away the excitement of a budding romance, for sure. You're not missing out on much, though. What is falling in love, anyway? When you "fall in love" with someone, you're mostly feeding on them mirroring your positive qualities back to you. So if you're madly falling in love, it really means that you're lacking something in yourself and you've found a person who will give it to you on a silver platter. At least for now. Sooner or later, that will start to disappear and you might very well find yourself with someone who's less than a suitable partner for you. So part of doing your homework not only comes from observing him but from strengthening yourself and doing a ton of self-work. You have a lot of work to do after being torn down by narcissistic abuse. You have to build back up your self-esteem from scratch. You want to work toward being a person who is completely comfortable in her own skin and does not need a partner to feel confident. And only then will you be sure to find a partner who is nothing like the narc you were once with. Only then will you be certain to join up with someone healthy who is capable of commitment, growth, honesty, love, and true intimacy.

Be wary of the ones you respond to immediately and with whom you feel an immediate "connection." You might be drawn now to exactly what is the worst for you. Examine your attractions. Think about everything. Don't let yourself fall for another narcissist. Your soul won't be able to handle it.

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