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Do You Feel Emotionally Safe in Your Relationships?

Have you ever found yourself in a relationship that just does not feel good to be in? Maybe you are in that kind of relationship now, where you know something is just not right. Maybe you feel manipulated, uncared for, not heard, or maybe it feels like your needs just don’t matter to your partner.

You might be living with a narcissist. Like many other mental health issues, narcissism can have a broad spectrum of degrees and may range from narcissistic tendencies or traits, to a diagnosable narcissistic personality disorder.

Either way, people who exhibit these traits make life inherently more difficult as they are often incapable of loving well and showing up as safe people for us emotionally.

Some of the traits you may notice or experience may be:

  1. A profound lack of empathy or compassion, towards you, or others. People who behave in narcissistic ways often are unable to show up as emotionally safe people so when the chips are down they may tell you to “buck up” or put your big girl panties on. They may seem surprised when you are sad, frustrated, or having a moment and may react with contempt, blame, shame or verbal or emotional attack.

  2. They almost always have a self serving agenda. When trying to get your need met or negotiate a compromise that could work in a situation, a narcissist may steer the ship in the direction of taking all the marbles and leave you wondering what happened.

  3. They are highly manipulative- When you are with someone who exhibits these traits you may notice that you often feel manipulated or controlled in situations as your partner attempts to gain control and pursue at all costs what he or she desires.

  4. They believe they are superior, smarter, better or deserving of special kudos. A narcissist will often dominate conversations telling you how brilliant they are, what they have accomplished and why you should look up to them and their special skills or powers.

  5. It feels like they talk at you and not with you. Often a narcissist in unable to actually engage in conversation with you or others. In a social setting they may tell story after story that serves to promote themselves or elevate their position.

  6. They rarely if ever apologize. The sad truth is that narcissists often carry deep wounds from the past that render them incredibly insecure. When something goes wrong, or there is a problem in the relationship their tendency is to blame anyone or anything outside of themselves. Since virtually nothing is “their fault” and they are not to blame, there is nothing to apologize for.

  7. They can be abusive- physically, mentally, emotionally, verbally, sexually, or financially and often very controlling. In the thinking of a narcissist, you are there to “make them happy”. They often feel threatened if you begin to spend time with others, do not constantly put them first, or for some, even having a difference of opinion on a matter can be enough to set them off on a verbal or physical rampage.

If you are dating someone with these qualities, be aware these behaviors often worsen over time. Narcissists can be quite charming and gregarious initially. It is often not until much further down the road that these behaviors become apparent- In part due to their acts of kindness that are intended to win you over, and in part because in new romantic relationships we tend not to see the red flags while our emotional brain is on the “high” of a new relationship.

Be sure to introduce your new sweetie to close friends and family who will speak truth to you if they observe any of these red flags. And then take time to listen and observe to save yourself a lot of misery and grief. If you are exhibiting these qualities, or are married to someone who is, there is help available. There are many competent counselors or therapists who can help.

Do you know a competent therapist or counselor? Live Well Kitsap is looking for mental health providers for both our LWK on line community resource site, and the upcoming LWK vendor event! Contact info@livewellkitsap.com to refer someone you know and trust.

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