Part 4 of 5 – NPD series
Character traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder = susceptibility not strength
It wasn’t neediness that attracted a narcissist to me (although it’s likely that neediness does attract narcissists). And I wasn’t wearing a sign that said ‘abuse me’, either. In other words, that awful treatment I received at the hands of a narcissist? I wasn’t ‘asking for it’.
The honourable character traits that draw a narcissist to us can be the very traits that make us vulnerable to a narcissist’s abuse.
The narcissist targets people who are compassionate, forgiving, sensitive, trusting and loyal. Although having these attributes make it easy to fall prey, they do not make us weak. The difference between being weak and being strong comes down to whether your heart is unguarded or guarded.
In my experience of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) I left my heart unguarded and that is why I ended up so hurt. It wasn’t because of who I was or who I am.
I refuse to believe that we need to change ourselves in order to repel and prevent abuse from a narcissist. I’m convinced we can remain authentic to our character and be strong and wise to ward of any bad treatment.
I refuse to harden my heart just because someone hurt me. I’m soft hearted and I’ll never give that up. I’ve simply become a wiser version of myself. I’ve learned from my mistake and moved on.
I met said narcissist at a course where I was looking to establish new connections. I realise now that I was too open. I was caught up in the excitement of meeting new people (I do love to socialise).
I was also going through a lonely, bored season of life (but that’s a whole other story). In the beginning, this new friendship was exciting and fun. I let feelings distort my perspective.
Recognise red flags
To my detriment, I didn’t acknowledge the red flags. I let caution slip and stupidly left myself wide open to hurt.
The experience reminded me that in any relationship, we must stop and listen to our instincts. What’s your heart telling you about this new person? Be cautious; tread carefully.
My worst me
There’s no doubt about it, I reacted badly in response to how I was treated. The key word there is reacted; I said awful knee-jerk words of anger that I’m terribly ashamed of having said. I was hurt and confused by NPD games.
I’ve accepted responsibility for my unpleasant behaviour – there’s no excuse for it. And I also think, hell, no one deserves to be treated like I was. I wouldn’t wish such treatment on my worst enemy (even if I had one).
As a friend of a narcissist, I became someone I didn’t like and others didn’t like. I wasn’t being a true representation of myself. This is my biggest regret – losing my true self (for a short while).
I also regret that I didn’t listen to the people around me who were telling me this friend wasn’t worth my effort.
At the time, I didn’t know NPD was playing with me but I still should have opted out and put myself first. I could have guarded my heart by withdrawing from the relationship.
I wouldn’t have ignored this friend (I find it hard to ignore anyone) but I certainly would have kept him at a safe distance.
I chose to believe the best in my friend. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a best in him to begin with. It was all just ‘smoke and mirrors’, as the saying goes.
I’ve learnt something I deeply wish wasn’t true and it’s this; you can’t believe the best in everyone. There are actually people out there who aren’t worth your time, effort and heart. Better to let just them pass you by.
Choose your thoughts
There are several reasons why we leave our hearts unguarded. Inexperience is one reason.
Experience equips us with tools for our future. Learning by doing is unavoidable. I encourage you to view a bad friendship experience as a valuable life lesson and harness the wisdom you’ve gained from it. Put what you’ve learnt in your relationship tool kit.
Try to see the positives from your experience with NPD. Dwelling on the negatives will only make your heart bitter and bitterness will rot your soul.
One more thing
My words of advice to you are; don’t rush into new friendships; tread cautiously. Above all, don’t bare your heart to anyone who doesn’t reveal some of his or her own heart to you.