I sat on my client’s sofa showing them the comps in their neighborhood and explaining why it was a good time to put their house on the market. I was a year out from my ten year relationship with my ex-Narcissist and I was putting my life back together again.
In that year, I got my Real Estate license. Now I was out to conquer the world of home buying. I took a sip of tea, from the beautiful bone china cup and my phone started ringing. I looked down and saw that it was the big muscley, Vin Diesel type guy that I had just broken up with.
We had been dating for two months and we had an incredible connection – or so I thought. He was so sweet and attentive, but over the past few weekends he always seemed to have plans that didn’t include me. I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t see me. Our relationship was new and fun and we had a great time when we were together, but when we weren’t together – not so much.
I ignored what were obvious red flags like, how he would speak about women. In particular, his ex and his sister. His face would almost curve into a sneer and he would make comments like they were vermin or sluts. He had a temper too, a nasty side that I hadn’t yet come to fully experience.
I dismissed the call and let it go to voice mail. I continued my pitch with my clients and my phone started ringing again, not 10 seconds later. I dismissed it again and to voice mail it went.
I apologized profusely for the interruption, only to have it go off a third time. This time I shut the phone off and distractedly finished my presentation.
When I got in my car, I listened to the voice mail. Earlier that day I decided to end our relationship. I had had enough of sitting at home wondering if he was going to see me and I told myself I was going to do it smarter this time and not accept poor treatment. What came at me was a rush of furry and rage. I was called every name in the book and he claimed he wasn’t doing anything on the weekends, that he was just working hard.
The odd thing was he was the complete opposite of my ex in every way but the most important. I had found myself another Narcissist. I had done so much self-improvement in that year and I was still attracting them.
I kept the messages and I played them for my best friend. “Why do you still have those?” She asked.
Why did I still have them? Why hadn’t I erased them and said to myself, “Looks like I was right about this psycho.”
If I was honest about it, I’d say there was a part of me, an unhealthy part, that liked the fact that he was so upset about losing me. In my 10 year relationship, my ex never fought for me, he wanted me gone, so in a weird way I kind of liked it.
“You should not be dating,” my bestie said. “You’re not healthy enough.”
I hadn’t yet understood about a Narcissist’s need for control, their rage and their weak ego. What’s more I wasn’t ready. Not only did I need to educate myself on what was out there, I needed to do some serious self-work.
Ten years and a lot of healing later, I hear myself giving the same advice to my Skype clients –
“You should not be dating.”
What that means is that you are not in a position to make healthy choices and being with someone is not beneficial to your well-being. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common scenarios that should alert you to the fact that you need a dating time out.
You’re just out of an abusive relationship and your ex has already moved on: When someone discards us, we are often in a rush to jump right back into the dating pool to show them that you don’t miss them and that you’ve moved on too. These are the actions of a bruised ego and a new relationship is not something that should be rushed into. In this scenario you need to take the time to grieve the relationship and do the self-work necessary to ensure that you don’t end up in another abusive relationship, not to mention it isn’t exactly fair to the person you’re dating, because you, for sure, will not be emotionally available to them.
You need a place to stay/money: Moving in together is a big step. It’s something that should be considered when you’ve taken time to get to know each other and you know you’re compatible and ready to take the next step. You should not be jumping into a relationship with the notion that you need someone to take care of you. If you can’t take care of yourself you open yourself up to all sorts of abuse. Learn to take care of yourself before you even consider dating.
Being with them makes you engage in your old unhealthy patterns: If you find yourself doubting what you see and feel, if you start to lose yourself and your identity and the relationship starts to consume you – you need to take a time out. These are codependent behaviors and are indicative of the need for more self-work.
You’re in a bad place in your life: I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard that all begin with – my mom just died, or I lost my job, or my health was bad, or any number of tales of woe, that end with them being abused by a Narcissist. To me this is an energy thing. When you are in a really bad place emotionally, your emotional vibration is negative and on par with the emotional manipulators of the world. They can sense your vulnerability and are quick to dive in and play the savior you’re looking for.
You feel empty without a partner: If you can’t stand your own company, you’ll never be happy with someone else’s. You need to heal and fill yourself up, because that is not something that anyone else can ever do for long or to your satisfaction. I always say when you don’t need anyone = that is the best time to date.
You can’t recognize red flags and you have poor boundaries: “He cheated on me 3 times,” I often hear something to that effect from clients and I always say, “Once was enough.” “He stole $1000 from me,” “The only time you should see him again is in court.” “He ghosts me for days.” “He forgot my birthday.” “He was flirting with other women.” “I caught her in a ton of lies…….” If you don’t have an enough switch you should not be dating. When you don’t know when to call it quits and you don’t have that line in the sand, where once crossed there is no going back, you are not capable of have a healthy relationship. You teach people how to treat you and if you are constantly making molehills out of mountains then you’re in for a world of hurt. You need to learn how to set and enforce boundaries before you even consider diving back in.
Do you need to talk? Click here to find out how you can Skype with Savannah,
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
I stumbled across your site and the AMAZING, frank, and honest advise. I feel like you are writing about/talking to me directly. My step-dad was a master manipulator. Then I married a narcissist for 17 years before I realized how conditioned I was. Now I’m recently on the dating scene again and *almost* fell for it yet again. After reading a few of your articles, I can say that I am WOKE and will not give a manipulator my energy again. I realize that I am too vulnerable to date right now. Thanks for the advise. I’m so relieved to hear that its common and not my fault.
Savannah, thank you for your posts. Every single time I read something you’ve written, I not only feel better, I feel a little stronger too because I’m now more aware, and it’s that growing awareness that gives me the courage to move forward with my life. I had been contemplating dating again even though it isn’t fully in my heart and even though my instincts were telling me otherwise. Your post just confirmed what my own intuition has been telling me. I guess my wiser self and my little kid inside were trying to tell me to keep focusing on filling myself up after spending most of my 58 years of life worrying about and focusing on those I love. I’m an expert at taking care of others, human and everything else, but lousy at loving myself and putting my well-being first. I had to hit rock bottom by way of losing my beloved mother in order to start the journey of self-love, and it still took years before I could begin to start loving myself. Now that I’m here on this path, I can see so many things I didn’t want to look at before, like what I was willing to sacrifice for the sake of someone else’s love – anyone’s love, really. Being used to being alone and being comfortable being alone and two very different things, and only now am I honestly becoming COMFORTABLE being alone and truly enjoying it.
I have spent my life losing myself in others and I learned that from my mom who was marvelous at taking care of everyone else but herself. As much as I adored her, only now do I truly understand how she probably felt. There is immense emptiness and loneliness inside when we abandon ourselves and nothing in the world can fix that except self-love. In fact, my experience is that it’s magnified to unbearable pain when we use external relationships to try to fix it. I’m so very grateful to be on this path, to finally be learning how to love myself, something my poor mom never got to experience, and to have others like yourself helping us find our way by sharing your experience and knowledge, and shining light on what so many of us are afraid to look at within.
Please keep sharing, it benefits everyone. Thank you, Savannah, from the bottom of my heart!
*ARE two different things
This is spot on! Needed to hear this today. It always amazed me each time he discarded me how my Narc ex could move on so quickly and I couldn’t. I realize we are different people, I have a heart. Every day I feel stronger and am focused on my own healing.