Why am I not more high-class, boujee, and shit?
I should be more into sports.
I’m bitchy and overbearing.
I’m not the funny one, I belong on the sidelines.
My testes are itchy… Wait, I don’t have any… WHY DON’T I HAVE TESTES, I’M SUCH A FAILURE!!!!
These are just (mild) examples of thoughts that crossed my mind when in a relationship with someone who falls on the narcissistic continuum. (Okay, so the last one might have been a slight exaggeration… maybe.)
Empaths are more susceptible to narcissistic abuse because narcissists thrive on making people feel bad for them, praise them, and kiss their asses, while empaths are full of selfless love that often blinds us to the abuse. The narcissist can do no wrong in our eyes; but the narcissist is never truly satisfied and always finds a reason to be unhappy, so they suck every ounce of energy they can from the empaths around them.
Everything becomes about the narcissist. So naturally, us sensitive sizzlers support this skewed, selfish sense of self, and as a result, we lose ourselves along the way.
We forget what our bacon tastes like. Our unadulterated, unique self in its full Baconator glory.
Why is that? Well, I’m about to tell you. (SPOILERS.)
As an empath, you are used to feeling what others feel. But when you’re the victim of narcissistic abuse, you dedicate more time to feeling what the narcissist is PROJECTING, so much so that you completely neglect your own emotions, personality, and desires. You start envying the qualities of the narcissist, comparing yourself to him or her because they’ve convinced you that they are the end all, be all.
They believe they’re the hot, holier-than-thou kookaburra shit, and everyone else should feel blessed to breathe the same air as them.
And they LOVE stickin’ their leachy suckers onto us empaths, because they know they can make us feel bad about ourselves, which makes them feel superior and powerful.
When we feed into their abuse, we disconnect from our bacon. Here’s what that looks like.
You Envy Their Seemingly Admirable “Morals”
Before we started dating, my ex told me a “story” (it was most likely an elaborate lie) about how his ex called him some time after they broke up to apologize for cheating on him. He then gave a convoluted speech about how he held no ill will against her, and how everyone goes through bad things, but he will always “love people.”
I remember thinking, “Gosh, this guy is so forgiving and mature… Am I that forgiving and moral? This is an amazing guy. I’m lucky to even know him.”
And I felt his emotional projection, because my empathetic self felt obligated to tune into it and believe and feel everything he was telling me.
It never once occurred to me to look at it from an objective standpoint and notice how he was intentionally framing himself to look like an outstanding individual. He also seemed to subtly talk down to me, making me feel inferior.
I did find it odd that he often bragged about sitting down to pee… As if it made him the Prince Charming of any lucky girl’s dreams… (The parody would be called the “Princess and the Pee.”)
The more time I spent with him, listening to his stories and “honorable” worldview, the more I envied him and what I perceived to be his “bacon.” I became blind to my own upstanding qualities the more I played his game and admired the person he convinced me he was.
I didn’t notice how often he talked about himself. I didn’t notice how, even though he talked about how kind and loving he was, he was actually quite cruel to the people around him (including me).
He was both tactful and malicious, hooking me into jealousy through his words without actually BEING the person he convinced me he was.
If you frequently find yourself envying someone’s admirable morals and feeling badly about yourself whenever you’re around that particular person, you may have a narcissist on your hands.
You Blame Yourself for Their Outbursts
The first time my ex lashed out at me in anger, it was after I had tried talking to him about neglecting and mistreating me. So when it happened, I immediately blamed myself.
If only I hadn’t said anything.
I should have phrased it differently.
I was overbearing.
I looked at him the wrong way.
I’m acting like his ex, what is wrong with me?
And of course, he would explain how his outbursts were my fault, so that certainly elevated the self-blame.
You Start Trying to Change Yourself in Various Ways
The more you invest in a narcissistic relationship, the more you attempt to change yourself in order to feel “good enough.”
For example, I tried to tone down how often I stood up for myself because I didn’t want to upset my ex. I also tried changing my interests, wanting to “fit in” with his, because I thought it would make me worthy. I pretended to enjoy smoking cigars (I mean, I looked super badass, but damn those things taste awful and take FOREVER to burn), feigned interest in factoids about booze, and toned down my sarcastic comebacks to avoid accidentally offending him.
Every day I tried changing, and over time, I just felt worse and worse about myself.
You Wonder Why You Seem to Have Lost Yourself
Narcissists are master gaslighters. They are skilled at manipulating you into completely losing touch with yourself and making you feel crazy. When you’re in a narcissistic abusive relationship, you often find yourself feeling off. You know you’re not feeling like yourself, but you don’t know why. You wonder why you can’t get your shit together and just be YOU again.
But the fact is, you can’t be YOU again until you detach from the narcissist. No matter how hard you try to make it work, your discomfort will continue, because it’s your gut telling you to GET THE FUCK OUT already.
You Feel Very Uncertain and Insecure
Before (and a bit after) my narcissistic relationship, I felt confident, funny, clever, and badass. But during the relationship, I was never funny enough, lost my clever edge, and any badassery felt forced.
I had lost my confidence, so I was in a constant state of uncertainty and insecurity. Everyone else was better than me. I became quieter and hesitant whenever my ex was around, because I felt like anything I did or said was pathetic in comparison. It was easier to withdraw than force what I thought I had lost.
The fact is, I never “lost” it. I did, however, lose touch with it, because I was giving this other person so much power instead of recognizing him for what he was: a narcissist.
You Feel Like You’re Always Competing… and Always Losing
Whenever anyone else was around, since I felt so insecure, it felt like I was always competing with my ex. Every time he said something, he said it with an air of arrogance, which felt like a subtle jab in my direction; like he was trying to look better than me.
Unfortunately, I would play right into it. If they laughed at something he said, I tried to say something funnier, and then vice versa. If I said something helpful, he tried to one-up me with a “better” piece of advice.
And no matter what, I always felt like the loser in each scenario.
You Drift Away from YOUR Wants and Interests
I became less invested in my writing and improv when I was in a narcissistic relationship. I felt like I had to be with him ALL. THE. TIME. I felt like none of my interests matched up to his. He also never showed any support for my interests. In fact, anytime I tried to talk about them, he’d quickly change the subject to something HE was interested in, talking over me so I’d shut up.
I forgot how good it felt to make an audience laugh. I forgot how meaningful it was to write about mental health. I even forgot how awesome it was to take a personal, at-home spa day to pluck my nipples and eyebrows and pubes (oh my!).
The less time I spent doing what I REALLY wanted to do, the more disconnected from my bacon I became.
You Start Acting the Way They Want You to Act
My ex criticized me a lot. He called me obsessive (I have OCD, dumbass), judgmental (because I was a virgin), and rude (whenever I spoke up).
He got in my head. He convinced me I was a crazy stalker, even if I wasn’t talking to him.
But the more he treated me like a crazy person, the more I acted like one.
I began trying too hard to reason with him. I became determined to make things work between the two of us. Whenever he flirted with someone else, I became extremely jealous. I’d send him super long texts in order to get a word in edgewise in any argument.
And that’s exactly what he wanted.
Not All Wounds Have Scars
Narcissistic abuse is dangerous because it doesn’t leave visible scars or bruises. Yet it still cuts just as deep.
Narcissistic abuse, when you’re exposed to it over a long period of time, makes you feel really out of whack. You start worrying about whether you’re actually being yourself, so you try too hard, act like the person the narcissist convinces you that you are, and you envy them for who they made you believe THEY are. You feel bad when you fall short, which is all the time when you stay in such a relationship. You’re always going to lose.
There’s no way to feel good about yourself when you’re around a narcissist. He or she will make you regret things about yourself that you can’t (and aren’t supposed to) change. Your bacon begins to lose its taste, because your taste buds (keeping the analogy going) go numb from the abuse.
But there’s good news: your taste buds can be revived. All you have to do is break all contact with the narcissist.
Easier said than done, of course. But you can do it. Trust me.
Oh, it hurts like hell. Believe you me: I know. You feel like your world is crumbling. You feel restless, desperate, and full of anguish, like someone cut off your pinky toe. You want to rush back to them, concocting every possible excuse for their behavior that you can think of. You feel like you will be alone forever without them; What if he/she was my only chance at love? What if I’m nothing without him/her? You blame yourself for everything and rethink every conversation you’ve ever had with them, wondering if saying something just a little differently would have saved the relationship.
I’m here to tell you this: It’s normal to feel this way. But feeling this way is the strongest indicator that you need to get as far away from that person as possible.
You can do it. I did. You need to, and as more time passes, I promise you: it will be worth it, beyond your wildest dreams.
As a good rule of thumb, always remember: You are NOT a failure for not having testes, and you are NOT a failure for having them. You can’t change who you are; narcissistic abuse makes you feel guilty for qualities about yourself that are unchangeable. The only true failure in life is treating people like shit, and the longer you stay with a narcissist, the more you’re enabling them to do exactly that.