This is often the response I get to the most basic question that I ask when someone reveals their sheer unhappiness in a relationship, “Have you considered the possibility that you might not be in a good relationship?”
Such is the confusion with a narcissist. Most of the individuals that I have coached on this topic have regaled me with stories of ‘love at first sight’. They detail how much the two of them have in common and how close and comfortable they felt right away.
There is usually a history of a whirlwind romance that was so all consuming that many other priorities were simple dropped. In the more severe examples, the individual was convinced to leave their job, their apartment or their town during this overwhelming stage when they were the total focus of the narcissist.
I believe love at first sight exists. I even believe that it is possible to meet someone that shares your interests, your fears and your outlook. The problem is that narcissists use this to hook you long before you’ve had a chance to learn about who they really are.
After breaking up with Eric, Bonnie was horrified to find out that Eric’s sole interest in Buddhism was to convince Bonnie that they had this interest in common. Eric on the other hand, had bragged to his friends about how gullible women were and that they would even buy that!
The goal here is not to convince you to be cynical or suspicious of everyone. I just want you to be aware that there are some people that will lie to you.
At the beginning, decidedly the most romantic part of any relationship, you have a lot of factors working against you. First, you are likely lonely, or you wouldn’t be looking for a relationship at all. Then there is the power of having someone pay attention to you. Add in touch, one of the most powerful ways you can bond with someone (those hormones will give you all kinds of false readings–7 billion and counting). Now add in the final ingredient: they agree with almost everything you say.
Being included socially is a strong motivating factor in life. Finding someone that not only loves you the way you are but also shares your views is an irresistible combination.
Problem is, this is easy to fake if you don’t mind lying. Narcissists know this and use it against you. What I’m suggesting is that you do your best to look past that initial positive hit that someone gives you by supporting your point of view and ask a couple of questions.
Bonnie could have said, “What drew you into Buddhism? What do you not like about it?” These next two answers are harder to fake. It is difficult to know what you don’t like about something if you really don’t know the topic.
The initial positive hit from the positive feedback is quickly diminished when there is no content behind the statement.
The reason people come to me is because sooner or later narcissists have a way of showing their true colours. Others have called this having the mask drop.
Once the mask has dropped, it is the memory of the initial phase of being in sync that people try to get back to. I am asked, “How can I get back to the relationship we had initially? Where is the person that I fell in love with?”
Unfortunately, if you’ve fallen for a narcissist, that person never existed. The persona was created for a specific reason, to pull you in.
As for soulmate, I have some bad news. If the person you are with now hurts you, undermines your self confidence and has you questioning your sanity, they were never your soulmate. Just a narcissist pretending to be the person they knew you would fall I love with.
They are the person that you have come to know. The mask has fallen and it will only go back on if they are trying to keep you from leaving. Someone that is only nice as a way of keeping you from walking out is not your soulmate. Sorry for the ad news. Next choice is yours.