If you’re wondering whether you were the narcissist in your past or current relationship, you’re far from alone.
In fact, I felt this question so deeply that I think I may be able to give you a unique perspective on the answer.
It’s going to be a journey. Through it, you may love me, you may hate me, but in the end, you’ll know whether or not you’re a narcissist.
Let’s get started.
I definitely went through a period where I thought I might be a narcissist. and by that, I mean a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
And I’m going to guess you’re in that phase right now.
Actually, it’s more common than you’d expect.
There are some surface-level reasons for this that we’re going to cover, but then there are also some deeper issues that might be at play.
But before we get to any of that, I’m going to give you the quick instant gratification answer.
Why You’re Probably Not the Narcissist
If you’re questioning whether you’re the one with NPD, you almost definitely are not.
If you did have NPD, you would almost definitely lack the self-awareness necessary to even ask that question. You wouldn’t be able to see that there’s something deeply wrong with your personality because, as part of the disorder, you must see yourself as perfect (or very close to it).
So, why might you THINK you have NPD when you don’t?
This is where things get interesting. We’re also getting to the part where you might start hating me, but I’ll save that until the end.
One reason you might think you have NPD is… if you were in a relationship with someone who had NPD, he or she might have projected their flaws onto you.
This is a very common behavior, and it’s not limited to NPD. We all do it in some way or another.
And that brings me to my next reason…
“Picking up fleas” from the narcissist
You may have picked up some narcissistic behaviors from your ex. In the survivor community, this is called “picking up fleas.”
When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you’re probably going to feel like everything they do is right and most of the things you do are wrong.
So it’s only natural that you’d pick up on some of the tendencies of the narcissist in your life. After all, they know how to handle themselves, don’t they? Eye roll.
But it’s common for us to mimic some of the behaviors we see in others, especially when those behaviors have a profound impact on our lives.
So if you’re noticing narcissistic tendencies after the relationship, think about whether they were present before you met this person. If they weren’t, you probably picked up some fleas. This doesn’t make you a narcissist. It just means you have some bad habits that you need to work on.
BUT if you do some soul searching and find that you did have those behaviors before you met the narcissist, then you’re in the same boat with me. Welcome.
And here’s where you really start questioning whether you are the narcissist.
Am I the Narcissist??
And here’s where I want to remind you of what I said in the beginning… This type of self-reflection and awareness is TOUGH. And if you’ve landed in this boat with me, you’re almost definitely not a narcissist.
But you may have been raised by one… or had other narcissistic people teaching you how to act when you were younger.
Example: I grew up thinking the silent treatment was a way of life. I didn’t know it was abusive or unhealthy. I thought that was just how you handled anger.
Also, I never liked admitting I was wrong. I really met my match when I encountered a legit covert narcissist. Man, we’d argue for hours about the most ridiculous things…
But here’s the thing.
When I found out that the silent treatment wasn’t healthy, I stopped. I never really wanted to hurt anyone because my empathy was intact. I mean, really intact.
In order for me to admit these faults that you probably have grown to despise, you must know that I’ve done a lot of self-reflection. I wasn’t guilty of gaslighting, triangulation, cheating, devaluing or any of the other go-to abuse tactics of a true narcissist.
I didn’t like admitting I was wrong, but I didn’t try to confuse people so I could win an argument. I didn’t change the subject in an effort to win. I didn’t employ narcissistic word salad. If I thought I was right, I’d argue till the end, but if I was wrong, I was just wrong.
Many people who get into relationships with narcissists were raised by narcissists. And if you got out of your childhood without “picking up fleas,” then you’re in awesome shape. Not everyone was so lucky.
But even still… you most definitely have narcissistic tendencies. Everyone does.
Before this relationship, I knew nothing about NPD.
And after I finally recognized the emotional abuse, I realized that I had been working through some of the same issues that plagued other survivors. I was guilty.
I didn’t leave a path of destruction in my wake, but I was guilty nonetheless.
The divine nature of the narcissist-empath relationship
This is one reason why I came to the conclusion that these relationships are divinely guided. I could have learned in other ways how my behaviors were wrong, but I wouldn’t have felt the damage of emotional abuse. I wouldn’t have known on a deep level why they were so damaging.
And I wouldn’t have been prompted to explore my own childhood to figure out where it all came from. I could have learned to change my behaviors, but I wouldn’t have seen the parts of myself that needed to be fixed.
So… that was a lot.
I hope you don’t hate me after admitting to my own narcissistic tendencies. And if you’ve had any that you feel compelled to share, I wouldn’t mind feeling a little less vulnerable here. Let me know in the comments.
See you next time!