The good news for me is that I “only” had to experience someone with a classic narcissistic personality disorder once, did the research, talked to mental health professionals, learned my lessons, moved on, and readily recognize narcissism now. My tolerance for any kind of remotely narcissistic behavior is extremely low. This article that I saw today and the study it cites are just the tip of the iceburg.
By accident, when I was researching something for work earlier this week, I discovered that there are all sorts of blogs to help people learn about narcissism, including this one. When I read the description of a narcissist and his behavior, my jaw dropped. It was like the author had been watching the narcissist I used to know.
Other blogs and websites help people, mostly women, recover from dating or being married to a narcissist. It is a bigger problem than I realized and many suffered worse than I did, which at the time, was unimaginable to me.
Another friend was involved with an online infidelity forum for men and women who suffered at the hands of cheaters. Cheaters are often classic narcissists. I never engaged in those online discussions because I was so done with talking about it, but I know how helpful it was for her.
Here’s a blog and website I discovered a few years ago, after the same friend above shared the author’s book with me. The blog/website and book, deal with a certain kind of narcissistic man you want to avoid (Mr. Unavailable) and the low self-esteem women who fall for them (The Fallback Girl). For one thing, it helped me understand the kind of pitiful woman who would cheat with a married man. Just reading the topics in the Table of Contents was therapeutic for me and I’ve forwarded the book and blog to countless friends who I thought could benefit from repeating mistakes.
Several years ago I met one of the previous victims of the narcissist I married. The mutual friend who introduced us couldn’t figure out how two beautiful, intelligent, well-educated women fell for this horrible little man (her words). We said, in unison “you don’t understand” and then proceeded to explain how charming he seemed at the beginning. Both of us had grown up in stable, two parent families, and expected the best in people. We didn’t know how much dysfunction and evil lurked behind the facade. It was long ago now, for both of us, and had we had blogs to refer to, it would have made the explanations easier. She once proposed that we write a book together to help other women NOT to follow in our footsteps, but I just wanted to move on. I’m glad to see that bloggers have done for women, what she wanted to do.
It can take years to recover from the abuse suffered at the hands of a naricissist. Therapy can shorten that. Talking to someone who was victimized by the same man helped me tremendously. Our first meeting lasted five hours and we’ve remained friends now for many years.
The biggest silver lining of my narcissist encounter and recovery was that I was able to help others along on their own journeys, just as many had helped me. It is great to see communities of people on-line who are out there to help other women understand what happened, and then successfully move on and avoid these monsters in the future.