First a few explanations about this article. I do not usually write about dating a person with a personality disorder because it is my strong belief that we sometimes are too eager to judge a person or diagnose them from experience rather than from a professional point of view.
The article is written in “he”, but you can read “she” as well. After all, I write from own experience and you read it from your need for knowledge.
When you date a person that is a total jerk, he is not automatically a Narcissist, and not all cheating liars have a personality disorder.
We all have some narcissistic traits, we have to otherwise we would not survive int his world. So who am I to cast the first stone?
The content of this blog is not a statement about my experience with narcissists like you find so often on the internet. And I am not a licenced psychiatrist or psychologist. I do have, on the other hand, some experience with dating guys with strong narcissistic tendencies, that might fit in the profile more so than other men I have dated.
And the last and most important explanation: IF you are dating a man that is abusive in a physical way? I do not recommend you to push his limits, I recommend you to push your own limits and leave him. Find help, call the abuse hotline and break with him.
I think my last boyfriend, or lover or whatever you want to call him, fitted in some sort of social disorder spectrum. In the beginning, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, for we had a language and cultural barrier. But after a while, a pattern emerged.
And at some point, I could no longer deny that pattern.
He lied constantly, about everything
He bullied a man in the supermarket for no obvious reason
He got highly irritated with me when things did not go his way
He had multiple relationships and flirts with women that assumed they were candidates
He needed a constant flow of appreciation and admiration to boost his ego and self-esteem
He denied he suffered from low self-esteem or that anything was wrong with him
If he agreed on a mistake, IF he agreed on one there was more to gain from a feeble “Sorry” than standing his ground
It was always about him and his life
He talked me down in a way I felt like a toddler
He exaggerated his own life and his abilities to a point of unbelievable
He love-bombed me
He tried to stonewall me and manipulated me to get hat he wanted
And I can add a few things to that list.
For example, he tried to gaslight me, I think that was the most obvious thing he tried to do and since I dated a diagnosed narcissist before I knew what was happening. So every time he tried to change the story, I changed it back. I stood my ground. Until he had no other option than to settle or change the subject.
And that is the trick: How to hurt a Narcissist? Hurt his ego and his image.
A person with a social personality disorder builds a fake image to protect himself.
Whether the person you date is emotionally unavailable, an abuser, a narcissist or a border-liner, it does not matter much, what matters is that you follow your gut feeling, test it for credibility and train yourself in recognizing patterns that make you feel uncomfortable.
I was at a point where my date told me just a little too often that he was not going to physically hurt me, and it is my strong believe he told me that so often to calm himself down and keep himself under control.
They know themselves, they learn from past mistakes and they will comfort you by telling you random stuff that will not happen to you, but what happened in past relationships that caused a breakup.
I was told he was not jealous, but he was. I was told he would never break a woman’s trust, and especially not mine, but he did. So why would I believe him when he told me over and over again he would never hit me?
Do you see the pattern?
Usually this type of men date empaths, he was correct there, but they also like empaths they can manipulate, that have a dependent attachment style. My “whatever disorder he had”-ex-boyfriend made the mistake of dating a person with experience and knowledge. He would have never chosen me if he knew upfront.
And he made the mistake of dating a person that writes about personal experiences. After our break-up, my blogs drove him up the wall.
He must have gotten so annoyed when he read them. Yet he knew what I was going to write, I asked permission, when we were still together, I wrote about sex and my dating experience, but after the break-up, he was very upset. I wondered why, until I connected the dots.
His reputation was at stake here. And he did not like that.
His, so carefully build, projection of himself, being a kind person and a good lover, being a gentle non-jealous monogamous, too good to be true boyfriend and human being, all of that went down the drain. And he hated it.
These were my mistakes in the aftermath
Even when you have a lot of knowledge on the subject of emotional unavailable men, breadcrumbing, gaslighting and personality disorders, and you seem to have gained back control over the situation, you can oversee some things. I connected some of the dots a little too late for my own good.
I was on a powerful train leaving him and doing no contact. When the Harem started to send me messages, I contacted him, mistake number 1.
I should have left it with the message I send: Get them off my back and away from my social media, but when he asked me how I was doing I took the bait, mistake number 2
When he told me he needed to talk, I agreed, mistake number 3 and mistake number 4 was believing all the bullshit he told me at that meeting.
He did not care for me, all he wanted to do was damage control and I was not listening to what was said between the lines. I was so much on the high horse that I was in control, that I lost control and fell for him again, it lasted 3 days, and then I dumped him, this time for good.
He never was interested in getting me back, he wanted to know more than anything else who the women were that contacted me. And why I wrote the articles and who read them. And in his pity little mind, he thought that the world would recognize him in my articles and would be able to give him an identity. He wanted to calm me down so I should stop writing about him.
Do you see the thinking pattern?
I was breaking down his image, I was crushing his ego and imago publicly
Now I do not say you all should start a blog to crush your narc’s ego. There are way too many blogs and articles about that topic as it is. The last thing the digital world needs is more blogs on the topic of undiagnosed personality disorders and abusive men.
But there are other ways to handle that ego of him
Are you ready to do some damage control on your behalf? Here is how you can damage his control, his ego, his image, here are a few steps on how you van take back control and push back.
And again, the disclaimer: If your boyfriend is abusive and physically harming you, do not do this, find help and get out, do not push back, for he will hit you even harder.
– push back when he is gaslighting. Make sure you put the story back in its right parameters, every time again. When I kicked my ex out of MY house the first time because he was in a relationship with another woman while he told me he was monogamous and single, he blamed me for putting him in the street.
I did not do so, he had his own place, he always told me he never needed me for a place to stay, and now all of a sudden he blamed me for kicking out of our house? It is my house, I pay rent, I live here, he only came to stay a few times and left some clothes. We talked about him moving in someday, but we still had to finalize that. Instead of me focussing on my hurt and pain he kind of made me apologize for packing his things and handing them to him denying him access to my house.
Every time we talked, in the days after, he started with that fact, overlooking his own broken promises and lies and the pain he caused.
I kept correcting him explaining that my behaviour was pretty normal for a betrayed woman and that we should focus on his betrayal and why he did what he did. It made him powerless, for he had to face a subject the wanted to avoid.
– push back when he does not own up for his mistakes:my ex kept blaming me for calling him a liar and he denied to have ever lied to me…..I am not even going to explain this one to you, I guess by now you have the picture
– keep asking questions, if he says one thing and the next day another thing, remind him of his own words, of he tells you a story about his day and your gut feeling acts up, ask for details, make a conversation. I asked him lots of questions and he felt trapped. I could hear him breathe heavily, get irritated and sometimes even talk to himself saying: Don’t get angry, don’t get angry, stay calm……I was so happy those moments happened over the phone. For I did not feel safe in those phone calls, the only safety I felt was him not being there in real life.
And that is why I advise you not to do all this pushing back when he is physically abusive or you are afraid he might become physically abusive. He might hit you when he gets in that mantra of controlling himself.
– outsmart him, whenever you can, find evidence of his betrayal and his lies, or his fake identity. I do not encourage you to break any privacy agreements here, but we girls are smart. I found out through Facebook he changed his relationship status a few days ago with this woman whom he told me was an old girlfriend that found him on the internet and meant nothing to him.
They were a couple for 8 months while he was dating me and building a future with me. I took screenshots of the evidence, and of other evidence, I found on the internet of his lies and infidelity. I showed him some, not all, I kept some just in case I needed more force to convince him that I caught him red-handed.
I can tell you he was not pleased with the snooping around, and he had to improvise. Although a good liar and smart with words, it was during those improvisations he started to contradict himself. And because of me asking so many questions he got provoked in saying things he regretted later on because they gave me control over the relationship.
– stay calm. Mostly these men love drama, pain, tears, anger. It somehow fuels them. IF you can stay calm you have already won the battle half. I am a cry-baby. I tell you when we had our talk I cried. Torn between the love for the man that did not exist and that was sitting there telling me lies again, and the jerk he was that I should hate and walk away from I felt so sad. For me, he loved my tears. he became all gentle and caring. He thrived on them because he thought he had taken back the control.
Most of the time I stayed icy calm. He would get annoyed and shout things like: Are you still there? Why don’t you talk?? And I would calmly say: I listen as you told me to do. I do not want to annoy you any more. There we go again, of course, you blame me, I am not annoyed, he would tell me highly agitated and irritated.
The mix of being calm, not apologizing but confronting him with questions and contradictions or with the simple truth, made him fume in silence. I could hear it in his voice. Again: I feel so lucky this all happened only over the phone or in video calls and never when we met. I would have felt very unsafe. I remember I once talked to him about that, he kind of unnerved my feelings for being foolish and told me not to worry, but at that point, I did worry what could happen when he was in my house.
– cut him off. The best way to deal with people like this is to erase them after the breakup. The best thing you can do is break up with them. Not wait for them to ditch you, but to always be a step ahead of them.
And when you break up delete everything, all social media posts, all memories, all contact moments, all likes from you to his posts, everything. Don’t stay friends, don’t even try!
Unfriend them and block them. They hate that. They so terribly hate not knowing what you are up to. For that way, they totally lost control over you. That will feed that chronic low self-esteem and insecurity they feel deep down inside that we emotional available people cannot even begin to imagine.
Go full No-Contact after you guys breakup
The so-called “No contact” is a good time for you to heal. And I do not mean “No contact to get him back” I mean no contact forever. These kind of men are not worthy of you. A relationship should be fun and pleasant.
When he calls, let it ring, or block his number if you are afraid of being hoovered in. When he texts, delete it without reading, and again block him if you are feeling insecure, tempted or when it upsets you.
Consider yourself very lucky when you never hear from him again. You got away before it got worse and you totally lost yourself by serving him in all his needs.
I remember my realtionship with my diagnosed Narcissist many years ago, I will never forget. I was totally burned out when I left him, my best friend broke up with him for me for I could not think anymore. I was gone. it took me years of therapy to rebuild myself, I almost lost my job over it and I was so sick and emotionally damaged that Iat one poitn I did not see myself recovered. But here I am, recovered and well, and with a lot of knowledge in my backpack that is very useful when roaming around on dating sites.
In every relationship is a learning curve even when they end: mine, in this case, is to not blame language barriers and cultural differences but to trust me if it doesn’t feel good, I should be out. It should primarily be about me, not about him.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.