5 Reasons It Was Easy For Me To Be Taken In By a Narcissist
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By Jordan, Guest Author - May 30, 2016

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All relationships with a narcissist follow a pattern: idolize – devalue – discard. During the idolization stage, he’s prince charming. Once he’s sucked his victim dry, he’ll move on with no remorse. The survivor will be shocked and he’ll be working on a replacement or already has one.

 

I was two weeks into a new relationship and my small New York apartment resembled a funeral parlor. Scattered throughout my two-bedroom were so many bouquets of carnations, lilies, and tulips that I had run out of vases and resorted to using a tacky plastic pitcher.

After years of ill-fated romances, I met a Charles, a fellow Midwestern with a boyish grin and the wholesomeness of an Eagle Scout. That he was also intelligent and head-over-heels with me only sweetened the deal, and for the first time in years, I felt giddy with excitement.

It was a whirlwind courtship, fueled by Charles’s determination to win not only me but also my 7-year-old daughter. He was almost telepathic in discerning our needs, stopping by my apartment every few days with flowers, groceries, and gifts for both my daughter and myself.

“Don’t worry, I’ll fix it” or “What do you need from the store?” he was fond of saying with a smile and wink.

For a single mom who had been flying solo with a child with medical challenges, being doted on was heady and, following his cues, I allowed him to become fully involved in our life. It was a decision I would later regret. One week before Christmas he dumped me with no explanation other than he “had personal issues to deal with.” I would never hear from him again, but found his ad on Craig’s list two days later.

I was devastated, as was my daughter, whom he spent a year wooing with ice cream and promises to take on great adventures. I would later learn what I interpreted as sincere gestures of kindness is something called “loving bombing,” a tactic narcissists, as well as cults, use to lure a person into trusting them so to gain power and control over her life. The victim, feeling flattered and overwhelmed by the attention she gets from the love bomber, becomes disoriented.

The purpose of love bombing is to create a source of narcissistic supply, which the narcissists uses to feed his ego, whether it be with sex, attention, finances, social status, housing, or whatever. Once that source has been used and lost its luster, he quickly discards the person, as happened to me.

Before Charles I considered myself savvy about people and relationships, so couldn’t fathom something so soul crushing could happen to me. When I heard the word narcissist images of Donald Trump, Madonna, Kim Kardashian came to mind. Certainly, not someone in my personal circle

Yet, according to the largest study ever conducted on personality disorders by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 5.9% of the U.S. population has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and 6.2% has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). As some people fit both diagnoses, about 10 percent of the U.S. population has BPD and/or NPD.

Given these statistics, it’s not surprising that Charles wasn’t my only encounter with a narcissist. I have since learned that when a narcissist targets someone, he is relentless and his love bombing is highly seductive.

There are many ways a narcissist love bombs, but the primary ones include:

1. Constant communication. When in pursuit, the narcissist doesn’t recognize boundaries and wants to be in constant contact. Charles's text and e-mail started before work and would continue throughout the day. The messages were over-the-top, as the one he sent after our second date: “With all our silliness, jousting and teasing . . . you touch me in so many ways. You amaze me and always brighten a day. You are a very special woman and tonight was special.” Such e-mails, which now seem canned, were the norm.

2. He’s crazy about you. Flattery is the narcissist’s secret weapon. He will often profess to be impressed with everything you say or do. Steven, another narcissist I briefly dated, was telling me I’m “wonderful” and “great” after only a handful of dates.

A narcissist will also often go out of their way for you and do favors. Charles once waited outside my chiropractor’s office for nearly 90 minutes to drive me home and another time took off work to drive me 200 miles to a yoga retreat.

3. Future faking. A narcissist will give hints or indirect statements about the future in order to keep you hooked and controlled in the present. Steven would sprinkle sentences with “our” and “we,” as in “Why don’t you put that in ‘our bedroom.’” He was also fond of discussing vacation plans with “our kids.” I later discovered he was flat broke and could barely afford a movie ticket.

4. Very charming. Think Warren Beatty in the movie “Shampoo” or John Edwards before his political scandal. A narcissist is very charismatic and knows exactly what to do to make you feel special and wanted. When in pursuit, he is witty, intelligent and well mannered. My two narcissistic ex-boyfriends both graduated from Ivy League schools and were well liked by friends and colleagues who would never get to see their dark sides.

5. Declarations of love. People can be in relationships for a long time before they utter the words “I love you.” Some never do. Not so with a narcissistic. He is often quick to declare that you’re soul mates. Within a couple weeks of dating, Steven declared he loved me. Charles’s favorite phrase was “I adore you,” which he used in correspondence the way a tween uses emojis.

All relationships with a narcissist follow a pattern: idolize – devalue – discard. During the idolization stage, he’s prince charming. Once he’s sucked his victim dry, he’ll move on with no remorse. The survivor will be shocked and he’ll be working on a replacement or already has one.

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