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Are you in a narcissistic relationship?

By: Marilyn C. Arayata

CHANCES are you know someone who has been taken for a ride – showered with attention, “affection”, sweet words and promises – and then devalued and discarded just like a used object. Who knows, maybe it’s your own experience – but of course, the other party knows too well how to make it appear to everyone you know that it’s your fault; that you are solely to blame for the unhappy ending.

Narcissists – they don’t just masquerade as devoted lovers in the beginning! They also pretend to be loyal friends.

Psychologists say they are experts at faking affection in order to get what they need. To narcissists, love is merely “a vulnerable spot to exploit others” (Magid and McKelvey). They want pleasure, power, money, prestige, and endless favors. They have a clever way of appearing hurt and making their partners feel guilty when their demands are turned down. Yes, they listen to other people’s concerns and seem to make them happy – as long as it benefits them. Their expectations are borderless – but they are not willing to give a fraction of what they take. They are quick to flare up and to point an accusing finger when the other party demands fairness.

Narcissism is a “pathological self-absorption characterized by inflated self-image and addiction to fantasy, by an unusual coolness and composure shaken only when the narcissistic confidence is threatened, and by the tendency to take others for granted or to exploit them” (britannica.com). Some of the criteria for recognizing narcissists are given by the American Psychiatric Association: exaggerating achievements and talents, requiring constant admiration, having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others, lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent or rationalizing, chronic feelings of emptiness, inappropriate, intense anger, or difficulty controlling anger, being envious of others and believing others envy them. (For the purposes of this column, some – not all the criteria are mentioned here.)

Narcissists are very sensitive. When they feel that they can no longer get the narcissistic supply (material things, favors, etc.) from people, they start to devalue them. The true colors start to show. All of a sudden their victims are made to feel worthless. It does not matter to narcissists if these people have done countless things for them and have stood by them in good times and in bad times. Long before they dump the people who have become aware of the subtle ways in which they were manipulated, narcissists have already spotted new ones who can give them fresh narcissistic supply.

Are you in a narcissistic relationship? Narcissists are users. They play with your feelings to suit their purpose.

You can never depend on them for emotional support. When they can no longer control you, they belittle you, ignore you, and discard you – just like that! To you it might mean an emotional shock. Believe me, the wounds will heal.

Draw your strength from God. You’ll get by because you’re stronger than you think. Show them!

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Marilyn Arayata: inspirational author, columnist, speaker, and former DLSU-D faculty, your partner in preventing bullying, depression, and suicide. E-mail mcarayata01@gmail.com. Like the Hope Boosters Facebook Page for nuggets of hope and inspiration.

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