This is something I’ve been reflecting on lately. A friend recently told me I have narcissism. It was a bit surprising but not that surprising as I saw it happening myself. Due to my deep healing process, I have felt pretty vulnerable and felt myself adopting all sorts of grandiose personalities and behaviors in order to cope with what was happening to me. But where did it begin? I have been a severe codependent all my life. The switch occurred after my last relationship, which ended earlier this year. It wasn’t even a relationship, but was a super confusing situation that left me feeling violated in every way imaginable.
After I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at 27, I really hit a sort of rock bottom, but also a sense of relief that there was a name for what was wrong with me. I gave up, but in a good way. Now I knew I wasn’t imagining my pain or symptoms, and I had a description in front of me that I could understand and see myself looking back at me. I spent three years in therapy after my diagnosis. I had become such a shell of a person that nothing mattered anymore than my survival. Not dating, not anything. All my energy went toward surviving my career and staying alive. And I was fine with that. I spent the next seven years on a path toward recovery, one way or another. I don’t recall dating anyone during that time, and if I did, it didn’t work out or was fleeting. I wasn’t connecting with anyone anyway. I didn’t see myself with these people long-term and I was sick and needing to recover.
When I moved to Austin, I spent a year and a half getting myself out of my autoimmune disease. That in and of itself was tough. I never had any real desire to date that I can remember. I just wanted to get better. I eventually went through my spiritual awakening, and during that process, I met a shaman who predicted I would marry a blonde man. I got other messages that said I would know when I met this person. I eventually got introduced to this local “conscious” community in Austin. It was really exciting at first. I was very impressed by the artistic talent in this community, something I’d never seen before. Blown away was more like it. Almost immediately, I met someone. He wasn’t at all flashy. Just a really simple, nice guy. I thought he was cute. He would stare at me for long periods of time in the beginning when we first started bumping into each other. There was something different about him. I was interested.
I started hanging out with him. We went on a date. I invited him over to hang out and the evening turned into a weekend. It unfolded very naturally and it was the most comfortable I’ve probably ever felt with anyone, and him me. He was very busy during the week but he’d come over Fridays at 5:30 and spend the entire weekend with me. It was very intimate, but not in a sexual way. We simply stared into each other’s eyes and had experiences with each other. I had really struggled my entire life finding people to connect with on this level. I’d connected to other soulmates in some way, but this was different and felt more permanent. I truly thought I’d met the man I was going to marry. I told him I wanted a baby. It was a lot quickly, but we both spoke about the past lives we’d had together. We both remembered. And for the first time in my life, I felt like I found my soulmate, and we both said I love you to each other.
Although, that’s not what happened. I had to leave six weeks after spending time with him to drive to California to go to Hypnotherapy school for two and a half months. I was crushed I had to leave him. But there were red flags right before I left. I had an emergency and was paralyzed on the couch for four days. I told him about it the first night. I got very scared, knowing I couldn’t even get up to get water. I was afraid I might die on that couch. I told him about it, and he didn’t even come over or respond. Luckily, one friend came over to help me. I couldn’t even get up to barely use the restroom. I was upset that he didn’t immediately respond, and that should have been the warning sign for me to run for the hills. But I was already in love and just felt pain and denial. He eventually came over three days later. I then had to leave to drive to California about five days into this state. When I was driving there, he never called me. Driving with just $800, my car had two or three issues on the way there. I had no money and had to couchsurf with strangers. I got scared of one of the people I had planned to couchsurf with and made an escape and drove away. I didn’t hear from “John” for two weeks after I left, and I was the first one to make contact. I remember feeling more and more disappointment and let down with each passing day that I didn’t hear from him. I was in denial and simply couldn’t handle any emotional pain due to the fact I was going to recover memories of being abused for the first time. Long story short, he checked out and I only spoke to him 3 times in the two and a half months. I turned to substances every single day I was out there to get through it. I couldn’t cope. I had some really great people in my life there, fortunately, which made things much easier. I began attacking him for his lack of care. I would only be able to take so much of his ignoring and then I’d have massive panic attacks and text him hundreds of times. It’s really hard for me to talk about but my coping mechanism is messaging people. Some people take crack. Some people drink. Some people write thousands of emails or messages. I write thousands of emails and messages. This has been my coping mechanism of choice for my borderline.
By the time I got back to Austin, I met up with him and he was clearly very angry at me for all of my messaging. I thought, this was my fault and I’ve ruined it. I desperately wanted to make it work with him. I tend to actually think most things are my fault, or I at least try to see both sides objectively. I decided I had ruined things and I needed to earn his trust back and hold space for him to open up to me. Admittedly, I had dumped a lot on him and our relationship had been too much about me and my problems. I unfortunately was going through one of the most difficult times of my life right around the time I met him. Nonetheless, all my friends had warned me about him, but I didn’t want to listen.
However, the way he acted, was, for me, inexcusable. He led me on for another six months. But during that six months, he said nothing to me for Valentine’s day. He asked me if I would be at a party, and when I went and saw him there, he refused to touch me in public or let it be known we were associated like that. I started only seeing him on Saturday nights when he would text me at 11 pm. Disgusting, I know. And so sad that I accepted that. This is the pain of the borderline. We accept shit. I was so unbelievably vulnerable I couldn’t stop making excuses for him. I wanted so badly for it to work I let myself be shit all over, again and again. All my dreams were evaporating but even more so, my heart that had expanded so much from the love I felt when I was with him, the type of love I had dreamed of all my life, was constricting and slowly dying and bleeding to death. To have your heart expand in a way it never has before and to have to slowly close is not an experience I ever want to have again.
On top of treating me badly, he was giving me silent treatment and ignoring me viciously. When he didn’t have anything pre-planned for my birthday, and texted me at 8 pm on the day of, I didn’t invite him out with my friends and I texted him the next day and told him that to be clear, I was upset how he had treated me at the party, and I didn’t feel comfortable bringing him around my friends. He wanted to see me and I agreed. I went over and he wound up crying to me and admitting he loved me. But even after that, something felt off. I asked him sometime over the next week to go hiking with me on the greenbelt as my birthday present. First he was sick. Then he was busy. I lost it and broke things off with him permanently.
I had a very hard time completely letting go over the next few months. I found out he started dating someone new and flew into a borderline full blown rage and panic. I was unable to cope with all of the ways I felt violated by him. In the test of my life, I had completely held space for him for four months to open up to me, but his vicious behaviors continued. I was reading about narcissists online and found an article that described exactly what he had done to me. The silent treatment, gaslighting, shaming. I sent it to him and he blocked me. I spent months in unbearable rage and anger that I had to find many ways to release. I was nearly completely consumed by my anger. After eight years of staying single, and opening my heart to this person completely, I was totally lied to and deceived. I know I was at fault in various ways too. But this felt like the most brutal attack of my life by a narcissist, and by someone I trusted so fully.
Since that relationship ended, I have found myself adopting narcissistic traits and behaviors. What made this situation different? I had really opened myself up and given this relationship my all for eight months when it meant nothing to him. I snapped and switched. Since then, I’ve noticed myself switching back and forth between codependent and narcissist. I have become much more egotistical and grandiose at times. I recognize that this is a new coping mechanism. But I’m saddened that this has become a new part of my reality. I have more work to do, and more work to heal, to now free myself of these behaviors. I have been extremely careful of opening my heart to anyone. Like anyone else, I deeply want to be in love and be in a partnership with an amazing person. But I can no longer afford to be hurt by people who are deeply unable to look at their shadow. This is a person who thinks he is perfect and can do absolutely no wrong. We have to recognize that sometimes, people are not bad people. They simply are unable or unwilling to face their shit.
My opinion on love and dating has shifted since this experience. I know I need to open my heart to love. I know I need to receive. But as long as I’m in a state of vulnerability and deep healing, is it possible or even desirable to attempt to be in a relationship with another person? I feel many, many people are struggling deeply with dating right now. They are struggling so much after many, many bad experiences one after another. Is it time for us to look deeply inside of ourselves and quit running toward other people for “completion” of ourselves? I am remaining open and optimistic, but I must continue my healing. I must resolve all of my own wounds that continue attracting these people to me. Every person I attract is simply a physical match to my wounds. It’s actual physics and law of attraction. We will always attract people who mirror our wounds back to us. Until we heal those wounds, we will keep setting ourselves up for pain and suffering. This is a mistake countless people are repeating mindlessly over and over again, including myself. It’s taken me 15 years to get it. I hope to spread awareness so other people don’t have to go through the same suffering I and countless others have. I hope shadow work becomes a well-known thing that everyone sees just as much importance in as they do “shiny” concepts like manifestation. Who wants to be doomed to a life of pain and suffering in their relationships? Not me. Sometimes it’s easier to give up and realize that you have to do some really deep healing in order to overcome these patterns. Once you stop worrying about what everyone else thinks about why you’re “x” age and single, you can really let go and focus on yourself. I used to be so desperate for a boyfriend, love, marriage, children. All the things the world told me I needed to be a complete and whole person. I still want those things but not at the expense of my sanity, and not to the point where I’m harming myself to get them.
Teal Swan says that 90% of relationships are codependent/narcissist. This is completely staggering. If some of us don’t stop and do the work, where will this world be headed? Every single person counts. The work you do ripples across the wounds and consciousness of every person on the planet, every being in the universe. Believe it. The greatest gift you can give yourself, the greatest gift you can give humanity, is to heal yourself. Just a few thousand people who do this deep, deep work can affect the consciousness of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. The outward effect of healing is compounded. The more that do the work, the healing keeps compounding exponentially. One brave decision to do one session is equally as important as people who do hundreds of sessions. If millions of people did one session, the entire reality would change. WE NEED YOU NOW.