There's no point sugar coating it - narcissism and relationships are never a match made in heaven. Fire and brimstone's more like it. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is to be manipulated and bitten - in ways that really make your blood boil once you realize the full extent of it.
That's how many of us do get involved in relationships with narcissists. We don't see them coming when they're still just a date; and after that, it's already too late.
Whether you know pathological narcissism as egomania, megalomania, malignant narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder doesn't really matter. All different names for the same malady, what matters is that a person with this pathology lays a path of destruction everywhere they go.
Perhaps you find yourself in the midst of devastation as we speak, or in the wake of it. Maybe you're still reeling from an ended relationship where you've been mind-boggled, bamboozled and left struggling to understand.
Every relationship is challenging in its own ways. Even the healthiest relationship brings its fair share of misunderstandings and confusion. And it certainly isn't rare for relationships to end in heartache and emotional turmoil.
So what makes narcissists love so very different?
Ok, so being involved in a relationship with someone that has 'a path of destruction' written all over their relationship resume is probably not such a brilliant idea. Perhaps we were thinking, 'with me it's going to be different'. Or, more likely, we were scarcely aware of the skeletons littering our lover's closet.
Even if a narcissist were to keep a relationship resume close at hand, they'd be the first to make sure it reflected upon them in the most complimenting light. Narcissists are absolute masters at manipulating and blackening others reputations through innuendo and hearsay.
Who's to say what was true after all? The narcissist weaves their make-believe web of reality combining magical thinking with outright lies.
Pathological narcissism and relationship history is the stuff that great works of fiction are made of - don't laugh. I've paid the tickets and watched the movies. I'm telling you - fiction at its best!
Let's face it, relationships aren't easy. In order to afford the best chance at success we need to build on solid grounds. Copious amounts of trust, shared values, consideration of each others feelings and needs - not to mention good communication - all ingredients that contribute to such a foundation.
What about moral sanity? Oh, yes, I almost forgot. That too - it's best if both partners are morally sane. A conscience goes a long way to keep a relationship strong.
Where does that leave pathological narcissism and relationships?
On shaky grounds indeed.
The world of pathological narcissism is unreasonable. It doesn't bend to the dictates of conscience or basic ethical or moral decency. The narcissist lives in a world divorced from our own.
Yet here you are, trying to navigate alien territory to make a relationship work. Good luck - you're going to need it.
Your usual points of reference, the ones you've used to navigate relationships and many of life's challenges in the past, will be absent from this strange and barren land. Your navigation instruments won't work here - you'll be 'flying' blind.
And of course your narcissistic girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife (as the case may be) will offer some navigation tips of their own. They'll offer to take your arm to help you cross the hectic and unfamiliar street - and then - splat!
Was the narcissist just careless? Did they make a mistake? Or was the accident deliberate - even carefully orchestrated?
Sometimes it can be hard to tell - especially if you're in the first of the three phases of a narcissistic relationship and everything is still relatively new. If you discover that you are, take a deep breathe and then don't forget to check out the rest of this site.
Seriously, it can help.
Narcissism and Relationships