How I am going to share this story is backward, so try to stay with me, and it will eventually make sense.
When gaslighting, manipulation, love manipulation, control, deception, emotional avoidant, and anger are all a part of the equation from childhood to today that becomes normal to some. In other words, when you grow up around a narcissistic parent, the odds of being romantically involved with a narcissist are very high and perhaps dating back-to-back narcs is even more common due to the normalcy of going with what you know, even if you don’t want to date one, you still may end up with one since it’s familiar territory.
It’s an insidious life-sucking cycle.
What I am trying to say is I had no idea that growing up with a narc parent would lead me to date not one but two narcs despite the studying and research the first time around, but the second one was ignoring the red flags because it’s all too familiar and normal for me. It is heartbreaking to know I put myself in that situation not once but twice. To keep it simple, I saw all the bread-crumbing, love-bombing, and red flags, but I still chose to ignore them and justify them as.
Fast forward to now, I can say no faster than justify and allow myself to be manipulated by love and stay longer than needed. It’s very freeing and empowering to be here.
I was not aware I had a narc parent because it was my usual, so not realizing that until a few years ago was honestly mind-blowing. Then, to know I succumbed to dating and settled with a narc for my first boyfriend was a challenging enough experience for me and the fact it was my first boyfriend/love. Being the person I am and a go-getter/how can I do better because I researched, read books, watched videos, and listened to podcasts… I thought I knew it all, as I tended to believe and thought it couldn’t happen again, unquestionably.
Well, low and behold, Sierra, the second boyfriend you choose, will indeed be another full-on narc, but differently from your first one. So, I justified it as he wasn’t a narc. He had excellent excuses for every single challenge or question I had when it came to curiosity about some of his choices, manipulation, lies upon lies upon lies, and being emotionally shut off with no empathy offered. In hindsight, it was a recipe for disaster and would not last long-term, even if engagement was talked about and the ring was picked out (and I was the crazy one). Research shares that an empath with a narc is the deadliest relationship combo out there, so I should buy a lotto ticket, as I dated not one but two back-to-back narcs.
Here is the crucial part of what I want to get across: because I knew more of who a textbook narc was, I was able to see the red flags in my second relationship. I was able to see and pick up on the lies early on and detect the changing of stories, inconsistencies, irresponsible behavior, and love manipulation.
WELL, WHY DID YOU STAY WITH HIM??– Great question, let me share why.
I still chose him because of my deep empathetic side and massive heart to love, especially to those who are deeply hurting. I didn’t want to be alone, I was so “in love” with him. But the most significant reason was that it was normal for me to be treated as such. The chaos was engrained in my childhood upbringing; I went with what I knew. Even though I was not too fond of it, agreed with it, appreciated or wanted it. Love is very complex, and if you’re an empath (narcs search that out (they’re very, very smart people)), they will use that against you like kryptonite and destroy you in the long run.
All that to say, I was gobsmacked to be in a back-to-back relationship with narcs. I was so angry with myself and in disbelief that I let it happen again. I justified and was manipulated to my core in any instance when it came to challenges, asking questions, or just day-to-day life. I also chose this narc over someone who was an incredible friend at the time and potentially becoming more. Because he was different from my childhood experiences, I ran as far as I could right into the arms of someone who had never been and was not capable of loving me in the form I wanted and needed to be loved because he couldn’t even love or accept himself for who he was. You live, and you learn and know that I have faced this pain level not once but twice.
Throughout this process, I have learned more to tap into my intuition, listen to those gut feelings and step back when those red flags are waving or when something doesn’t seem right. As an empath, we can be hyper-aware of when something so tiny shifts in any circumstance, so listening to my body (am I anxious or calm) is a start to becoming aware of what we will be getting ourselves into. For those with a chaotic upbringing, we are used to being in fighter mode and anxiety-filled situations. So the calm may be dull, but the peace is steady, reliable, tender, and emotionally available. Almost all of what a narc is NOT. What is calm, stable, and boring is what I crave, I need, I want.
Listen to the body as it does keep the score.
Another unfortunate consequence of involving yourself with a narc is that you lose a lot being with them without realizing it. And for me, it was a very special potential opportunity with someone incredible who will forever be a massive regret and or the one that got away, on my behalf– that’s even more heartbreaking. But that’s another story for another day.