Written by DAnn
If you have ever been in an intimate relationship and discovered the person you loved was not who she pretended to be, perhaps you have already experienced loving a narcissist.
A narcissist comes into your life because she is seeking a SOURCE to supply her with the love and admiration she needs to survive. She may appear to offer you love, but she is indeed coming to take, and once she has finished with you she moves on to the next source.
A narcissist or someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is grandiose, with an exaggerated sense of importance, self-centered, and entirely lacking in empathy for others.
A good narcissist can be charming and charismatic. She is a skilled manipulator with years of experience. She probably does not identify herself as a narcissist, because this is who she has always been. She does not recognize her dysfunction and does not care that her behavior causes pain for the women who love her.
But the one thing you can be sure of is a narcissist will show up in a package that appeals to you. She may be a beautiful femme who floats into your life with an exotic perfume that fills up your senses night and day. She could be the sweet, handsome, butch you’ve been dreaming would show up on her white horse and rescue you; but think twice before getting on the horse. Princess Charming may be a narcissist in disguise, who is really offering you a rough ride to hell and back.
The Games Narcissists Play
When I met my narcissist-ex on a dating app, we spent our early dates dining out and talking for hours. It wasn’t unusual for us to stay until the restaurant closed for the night. One night she shared with me that she knew we were both “caretakers,” because we cared so deeply for others. I didn’t realize it, but she was slowly introducing me to the games narcissists play.
A narcissist will observe a character trait in an individual and “mirror” it back by claiming she possesses the same quality. She may, in fact, believe she is a kind, caring person. Mirroring reinforces the belief that you have met a kindred spirit, but please be aware that the woman in the mirror is not who she seems to be.
The Three Stages of a Narcissist
A narcissist is not going to identify herself, but there are signs you can look for. A relationship with a narcissist usually unfolds in three stages:
First, comes the love bombing stage. She will overwhelm you with love and affection. She will wine and dine you, buy expensive gifts, and be attentive to your every need.
The Second stage is the devaluation stage. A narcissist will start to focus in on your flaws real or imagined. She will begin with subtle criticisms and put-downs, and make statements like, “I am only telling you this to help you.”
Over time the criticism becomes intense and mean-spirited, and you start to feel uncertain, sad, and insecure. But a relationship with a narcissist is like being caught in a spider’s web. If you start to pull away, she stretches out her sticky tentacles and pulls you back with more love bombing. The push and pull dynamic will go on until she decides she is done with you.
In the Third stage, the narcissist will discard you.
This can happen gradually or abruptly, but a narcissist will almost certainly disappear from your life. The disappearance may not be permanent, but it will be brutal.
The first time my ex discarded me, was the week after we went to my surgeon’s office to discuss my recent cancer diagnosis. She told me: “I know the timing is bad,” and then went on to explain she needed to end the relationship.
I was shocked; I never expected her to abandon me while I was battling cancer and needed her support.
Eventually, my ex disappeared, and I never heard from her again. I was stuck in a grief cycle for many months, even though I realized I was grieving for a woman and a love that never really existed.
Sometimes the intense sadness would swallow me whole and leave me gasping for breath, and then fierce anger would come over me like a raging fire.
But gradually, I started to heal. I realized the person I loved was not capable of loving me back. God brought the right people into my life to support me, and I started to build a new relationship with myself. My journey is not over, but I am looking forward to what comes next.
A Poor Imitation of Love
If you’ve been through what I’ve been through, then your narcissist betrayed your trust and did her best to erode your self-esteem.
The first step in your recovery is understanding who you were in a relationship with. The hard truth is: the one you fell in love with is not real. She studied you until she knew your heart, and then pretended to be the woman of your desires and dreams.
She created a mirror reflection of your goodness and the abundant love you offer to those who stand in your light. You no longer need to settle for a narcissist’s poor imitation of love. Beloved, you are all the love you need.
You Need People to Reinforce the Truth of Who You Are
If you are healing from a relationship with a narcissist, it’s crucial to create a support network of family and friends. You may decide to include a therapist or life coach in your network. This is a time when you need people in your life who will reinforce the truth of who you are. You must remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and in God’s eyes, you are perfect.
DAnn is a writer living in Baltimore, who is in recovery from loving a narcissist and looking forward to her next adventure in life. She is a member of Spiritually in-tuned Lesbians (SiLhouettes) meet-up group, where she fellowships with other sisters who are seeking to stand in the truth of who they are.