This is Part 2 in a series of posts, if you missed it please begin with Part 1 by clicking here.
In this series we are looking at various types of men to avoid. Narcissists, hot and cold and emotionally unavailable men. As mentioned in Part 1, the behaviors of these three seem to overlap a great deal which can make it difficult to decide which sort of challenging man you’ve come across.
While hot and cold men or emotionally unavailable men are difficult, the most damaging to a woman seems to be the narcissists. They leave women full of self doubt, insecurity and wondering what they could have done better. Before I share the story of a friend's experience let’s look at the definition of narcissism.
Narcissism: excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
Synonyms: vanity, self love, self admiration, self absorption, egotism, conceit, self centered-ness.
In Psychology narcissism is viewed as extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
There are many articles available online discussing narcissists and relationships with them. Books, websites and blogs all dedicated to the men who swept into women's lives and turned them upside down with their narcissistic, hot and cold, and emotionally unavailable behaviors.
Now, for the story.
I have a friend who does not fit the typical characteristics of a victim for a narcissist. She is a single mother who is very devoted to her child. She has a wonderful career and works very hard to be financially stable and independent. She has been though a bad marriage and divorce and when she does decide to be interested in a man she is looking for an equal partner not a one night stand or a sugar daddy. But she’s not really looking either, so it would take someone pretty amazing to become an important person in her life.
Recently this friend was in a position to get to know someone she was mildly interested in. At first he was great. He was determined to win her over, giving her the hard sell of all his great qualities and showing her that he would be a good addition to her life. So she gave him a chance despite her deep mistrust of men and relationships.
Things progressed until one evening when he was having dinner with her and her son she finally decided to ask “Are we dating?” This is a question that most women end up asking at some point or another just to clarify whether the relationship is going somewhere or whether seeing other people is still an option etc. His answer was No.
Considering that the “relationship” had already led to physical encounters and her introducing him to her son she was dumbfounded. He was the one who had pushed his way into her life, yet according to him they were nothing serious. She had made it clear from the beginning that she wasn’t looking for a casual fling, if she was going to invest her time and affection in someone it needed to be going somewhere. So what kind of jerk leads a woman to believe he’s looking for the same thing, then just backs off? A narcissist.
He sold himself, won her over and got what he wanted from her, then left her wondering just what she had done wrong. She had done nothing wrong, and in fact if you look at his history and speak to women from his past you’d probably find that this is his modus operandi. If a woman is not responding to him and falling for his charm he’ll up the ante and make himself into whatever she needs…temporarily. Once he wins her over the challenge is gone and he knows that she will soon see how flawed he is so he backs away leaving her to wonder what is wrong with her.
Even the strongest and most independent women will fall prey to a narcissist because he knows how to play to the things they want in their lives. He offers all that and more then backs off. He’s gotten his ego boost, his conquest and he can move on. But he’ll be back when he needs a bit more of an ego boost.
My friend’s guy decided to volunteer to take care of her animals while she was out of town with her son. A friendly gesture, to keep the door open. When she thanked him his response was a comment that he wasn’t always a jerk. A little bit of fake self loathing there, as if he’s apologizing for being a jerk but still not taking back what he’s done.
More than likely he wanted her to reassure him that he hadn’t been a jerk and that she understood, to keep her on the hook a bit longer in case he needed another ego boost he could reel her in a bit and slip away again.
Lucky for my friend she’s strong enough not to fall for that tempting hook and will keep him out of her life now. But the moments of self doubt and wondering what was wrong with her were damaging and it will take her a while to recover and even longer to be able to trust what a man says or even how he behaves again.
Many women aren’t so lucky and find themselves with empty bank accounts, ruined self esteem and nasty divorces after they invest their whole lives in someone who only loves himself and only needs a woman to boost his ego and make him feel powerful and good.
Have you ever been in a relationship with a narcissist? Were you able to get out and move on with a different man and see just how detrimental that relationship had been for you?
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