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Am I in a Relationship with a Narcisist

You have probably heard the phrase, "In this world, there are typically Givers, and there are Takers." You might be asking yourself, "Which one am I?" or "How do I know if I'm a Taker?" Chances are: if you are asking yourself these questions, then you are probably a Giver - rather than a Taker.

How do I know that? Because Takers aren't normally concerned about how those around them feel. And most of the time, they aren't even aware that they are "taking" from another.

The strange thing is: GIvers & Takers are almost always drawn to each other. Have you ever noticed that in most relationships, Givers almost always wind up with Takers? Why is that? Those of us who are Givers, were raised to think that our worth, or value, lies in how well we can please others. Or in how productive we can be, or that our integrity lies in what other's think of us, or our ability to give to others. My Grandmother always said, "Always be willing to give the shirt off your back - There is a special place for Givers in Heaven." (I was conditioned to be a Giver)

Therefore, most Givers, because we have been conditioned to seek outside approval, subconsciously seek out opportunities to prove our worthiness by over giving, over producing, or over gifting ourselves to others. We actively give our power away to those who "suck up" any attention available (ie: Takers). We also tend to struggle with personal boundaries. We are not able to proactively use the word "No" without experiencing feelings of immense guilt. And - Takers struggle to acknowledge or honor boundaries.

Takers on the other hand, can be totally oblivious to the fact that they take from others. Most were raised, since birth, to be the "trophy" that the parental unit kept shined, and would show off to others . They were raised to feel as though they deserved the lion's share - if not all- of the attention, or the resources, in any given situation. Most takers rarely take into consideration that someone had to "Give" in order for them to recieve in the first place. They have been raised to be professional manipulators of boundaries. So it appears this should be an optimal match- right?

Not really- This match eventually leaves Givers feeling depleted, and trapped in a one sided relationship. Have you found yourself in this sort of unbalanced relationship? Are you feeling depleted in your attempts to bring balance to this relationship? And asking yourself- "How did I get here?"

It's important to understand that most Takers probably suffer from a mental condition known as Narcissistic personality disorder And I use the term "suffer" lightly, because in essence, it is actually the Givers who surround them, that suffer. That is, until we can figure out how to establish and maintain our boundaries.

How to know if you are in a relationship with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance

  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration

  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it

  • Exaggerate achievements and talents

  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people

  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior

  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations

  • Take advantage of others to get what they want

  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them

  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious

  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

At the same time, people with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don't receive special treatment

  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted

  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior

  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior

  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change

  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection

  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation

While counseling may be helpful, the Narcissistic person will usually view the counseling as criticism, and pull away. The Giver on the other hand, may find counseling beneficial in establishing and maintaining boundaries, and reclaiming your Power.

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