Do you have the fear of dating another narcissist or fear attracting another narcissistic person into your life? Many people, including myself, can develop a fear of dating or attracting another narcissist into our lives. That is WHY I stress that everyone needs to be educated and informed about narcissism. Not all narcissist are evil and bad people. We have to remember that they were created that way by their society, environment, trauma, abuse, or another person. When you are educated and informed, you now are in the position of power. You are in the position of having a choice coming from a place of awareness. Why I feel people end up getting abused and hurt by the narcissist is because they are not educated and informed. They are in the dark and confused about the narcissistic person’s actions, behaviors, and manners. When a person is confused, you are more likely to take things personally, instead of recognizing the narcissist is projecting their own issues upon you. So let me give you a few examples of what I mean before we dive into this subject matter.
In order to better support my kiddo and all of you, I am all about educating myself on different subject matters that can support me in making a positive difference in a person’s life. I recently started listening to an interesting audio book called, “Parenting Children of Trauma”. I did not know the book was written for parents that have adopted or fostered a child. Listening to this book has taught me so much about parenting and parenting a child coming from a place of trauma because these loving parents who took these traumatized kids into their homes were so confused. Just like you might be with the narcissist. These parents felt like failures at times, they took it personal, and were in the dark. This book transformed so many parents lives and gave them the knowledge and tools they needed. Once they were informed and aware, they no longer took the child’s behaviors “personally”, they more saw it as a cry for help and compassion. The book written by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey, “What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing”, educated me about how trauma impacts the brain and supported me in comprehending various trauma responses. It truly opened my eyes and heart. Now when I see and hear someone coming from a place of trauma, I can now better support them, instead of thinking they are crazy! It is just the trauma talking and my heart is full is full of wisdom and compassion. That is why I wrote my book, “The Undetected Narcissist”. I wanted to spare children and loving parents from further abuse because a narcissist can go undetected. Perfect example is the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trail. The smartest this Mr. Depp did was to bring in a psychologist and have Ms. Heard observed. I really feel that was a game changer, but 100% necessary. And the sad truth is, I had the same thing happen to me and my son. Yet, I did not have a psychologist in my pocket. Therefore, once I healed from psychological abuse, I needed to speak up. I felt is calling from a higher purpose to share our story and truth.
So, back to our subject, “Fear of dating another narcissist.” I want to help people make healthier choices when it comes to selecting who you allow into your life and who you allow into your inner circle. That is why I want to talk about your inner circle. And trust me, this will all tie into place because I want you to overcome that fear of meeting someone new or attracting another narcissist into your life.
What is your inner circle? Your inner circle has to do with friendships/relationships. Your inner circle are the people who are very close to you. These are the people that understand you, listen to you, respect your boundaries, love and appreciate you, and who you trust to always be there for you when you need them. These people will cheer you up when you are down. They can see the good in you, even when you are doubting yourself. These friends can feel like family. The number of friends in your inner circle should be small. The typically inner circle is most likely less than 5 people.
Why is your inner circle important? When you shrink your inner circle to 5 people or less, you free up more time for yourself. This is time you can spend with your family, connect and engage with your kids, work on things that matter to you, and focus on self-care. Whatever your goal is, having a smaller inner circle means you have more time to invest on your personal and professional goals. It allow you time and space to refill your cup of LOVE.
When we all met someone new, there are 5 levels of friendship. The 5 Levels of Friendship are:
Strangers (“I know of you”). The person you just met is on the out rings of your circle. You get to decide if you want them to become an acquaintance. What matters is the first few impressions you gather about this person. You might see them passing you by at work or school. You can like the way they look or just something about them catches your eye. Either way, the exchange in a simple smile or hello is still very superficial.
Acquaintances (“I know you”). This is when that person shows up more in your life. Most acquaintances meet because of mutual friends, shared social group, you attend the same school, work in the same building, or live in the same neighborhood. Even though this person is an acquaintance, you still have the choice to let them move closer to your inner circle or not. You could be acquaintances for years before becoming friends. Acquaintances become friends only when they start to grow closer and spend time with one another outside of work, social groups, or school. If you allow them to know more about you and you start to know more about them, this person is now a casual friend.
Casual Friends (“I like you”). Now this person has moved from being outside your circle to being in spot #3 within your circle. You have built a connection because you like this person, but you are still being selective. Casual friends are people we only talk to on a semi-regular basis. You might feel comfortable enough to invite them to parties or get-togethers, but you are not too invested in the friendship/relationship yet. Casual friendships are defined by exploration. At this point, you might be willing to share more about yourself to this person, but you’re only presenting them with the best version of who you are because nobody likes to be rejected. The connection you feel with this new person can still leave you on the fence. The friendship is still tentative and most people often keep this new person at an emotional distance. You might be happy to see them and spend time with them, but you don’t feel comfortable enough to let them see you break down and cry. Therefore, you might see them every once in a while or go out and have fun with them. The difference is you would never call them up after you broke up with your partner or go out of your way just to see them. A casual friendship is all about shared interests, fun activities, and enjoying each other’s company.
This is an important position to STOP and reflect. What do you like about this person? How comfortable to you feel around this person? Have you started to share more personal details about yourself or your life? Have you set any boundaries with this person or does this person respect your personal space and encourages boundaries? And, can you trust this person? Have you observed how this person treats their friends or strangers? Have you started to see what hobbies or core values you might share? If you do start to ask more personal and deep questions, and if this person aligns with your personality and core values, then this person might move into slot #4.
When I wrote the blog post about love bombing, I was on the fence about including this information in the love bombing blog post or your inner circle. I decided this spot was the right placement because not many of us stop and reflect upon your inner circle. Asking deep, thought provoking, and questions can shine the light upon who you want to allow into your close friends inner circle. And just because these cards are labeled, “intimacy”, when you do have a best friend, you do share intimate and personal information about each other. Therefore, these questions and cards can be used when you are trying to learn more about someone that you are forming a deeper friendship with. That is why I love communication cards and how they can be used in a friendly, fun, and informative setting as in playing a game with other people. Here are some examples from the intimacy deck from BestSelf.
- What’s the angriest you ever felt and why?
- Is there anyone in your life who you’re holding a grudge against and please explain.
- What are some things you liked and disliked in your previous relationship?
- Is there any history of addiction, abuse or negative habits in your family? How has this affected you?
- Describe some times or areas in which you find it most difficult to be open and honest with me.
- Have you ever flipped me off when my back was turned? If so, when and why? If not, when have you wanted to?
There is another great deck called, “Icebreaker“. These cards will support you in sparking up a meaningful conversation. It can support you in strengthening the relationship or deciding that your friendship with this person will either move forward, stay the same, or move backwards. Information is POWER. This deck allows you to move beyond small talk and it can breakdown barriers. What I love about these tools is you can cultivate a connection, openness, and vulnerability by just playing fun, friendly, and informative game. The icebreaker deck gives you the tools to get to know people better in the areas of life. This deck is perfect to use with friends, coworkers, family members, and strangers. I highly recommend these cards from BestSelf.
Close Friends (“I understand you”). When you’re good friends with someone, it means you’ve already accepted them as a part of your inner circle or one step away from being in your inner circle. You have developed a strong bond of mutual trust and respect. You have developed a comfortable sense of familiarity. For some people, this stage of the relationship needs to be cultivated, which is why it sometimes it can take a long time for people to reach this stage – especially after surviving narcissistic abuse. That is why some friends might be in your inner circle and others can be one step away.
It is about you feeling safe, valued, respected, seen, and heard. It can be so scary to meet new people after you recovered from narcissistic abuse. The biggest fear I hear survivors mention is they DO NOT want to attract another narcissist! Therefore, I recommend getting some of these couples card games to support you in asking the right questions. And when you do get your questions answers, take the time to see if that person’s words match their actions. I have learned that most narcissistic people will say one thing to please you or to keep you in the relationship, but their actions tell a very different story.
Most people do not have a lot of close friends. To me, if someone feels the need to have everyone as a close friend, that is a warning sign that they are coming from the core wound of “people pleasing” and are stuck in the “fawn” trauma response. I discussed this topic in, “Can a narcissist change? – Part Two.” People need to be careful about who we let into our lives and who we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with. Some people become good friends over time or because of certain experiences. While not all close friends end up becoming life-long best friends because as we grow and change, our friendships can grow and change as well. If you stay life-long friends or grow apart, the friendship you share with a good friend is still worth cherishing.
Intimate Friends (“I connect with you”). When you have established an intimate friendship with a person in a non-sexual way, you know that no matter what happens, this person is there for you. They got your back. They will understand you and support you 100%. They embrace your flaws and strange/unique qualities. You feel comfortable being your authentic self around them. And this friendship is not just one-sided, it comes from a place of mutual respect and acceptance.
Now, for some friendships, we can have deal breakers. For me, these signs of self-sabotaging behaviors are warning signs. Some I can live with and others are too toxic. Have you ever met someone that does the following?
- Self-criticism. That voice in your head that fills you with self-doubt.
- Negativity. Always complaining, worry wart, and judgmental.
- Procrastination. Making excuses and blaming others.
- Disorganization. Their house or work space is cluttered, dirty, and messy.
- Imposter Syndrome. They doubt their own skills, talents, and accomplishments.
- Overindulgence. Addictive behaviors show up (binge drinking, gambling, drugs, cutting, porn, etc.)
- Initiating Conflicts. These people love drama and feed off it.
- Out of Focus. This type of person feels no sense of direction or purpose. They feel stuck or trapped.
As I wrap up this information, I wanted to share some extra resources I Googled over the internet that might be helpful to you. Below are six links to various websites that can shed light on this very subject matter I was addressing today.