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Is Your Friend A Narcissist?




Narcissism. This word is everywhere these days, but for a good reason- narcissists themselves are everywhere, lurking behind your insecurities, waiting to drain you of energy and happiness for their own selfish gain.
In a yet to be told story, I dated a narcissist, although I didn't know it until it was too late. I was belittled, talked over, told I was wrong for anything and everything. It was hurtful and humiliating, and escaping that relationship was the best thing I have ever done for myself.
However, as luck would have it, I still live with narcissists.
Some are relatives, some were co-workers. Some are even my friends.
That's right, a narcissist is my friend, coming over, sizing me up, going on about how great they have it going and maybe I should get my shit together too.
Um, excuse me? Did I ask? Why are you coming at me like this? I thought we were friends.
Unfortunately, no one is a true friend in a narcissists world. There's always something more you can do for them, you're lucky you have a friend as compassionate and successful as they are. They are a gem in your life. But as far as jewels go, this particular friend is better described as "Fool's Gold."
You see, I thought avoiding dangerous men would be alright for the safety of my mental health. When the word narcissist is thrown out, it is typically in relation to men and romantic relationships. What about when it's not a man, but a dear best friend who maybe isn't that dear at all?
There's still narcissism in my life. Is there an escape from this one like there was before? It's difficult to say, as the connections and friendships surrounding this one are more complicated than it was in my sheltered relationship. There's no easy cut off method, and it would most likely get ugly before it got better. But by first recognizing the signs of a narcissist, we can begin formulating a plan to free ourselves from their grip.
The following are parallels and characteristics I have seen between the narcissist in my previous romantic relationship and the narcissist I see in a friendship. Maybe you'll recognize some of these too.


1. Everybody Is A Letdown

As a good friend, we all want to help out when we can. But it's just not possible all the time. We each have individually rich and complex lives, and dropping everything to help the narcissist is impossible.
"No, I cannot stop my day to babysit your dog all day. No, I cannot rearrange my schedule to accommodate yours. No, I would rather do what I am enjoying now than go out, maybe another time?" Saying no when you want to is perfectly reasonable and you have every right to do so. But to a narcissist, these are excuses.
"You are no real friend, you are FAKE. If you were a real friend you would be dropping everything to come hang out with me and do me favors. I can't believe you're ditching me."
They may say this to you, or respond with a simple "k." One thing is for sure, they're gonna message everyone else in your friend circle and talk about what a fake, undependable bitch you are.

2. I Can Do It, Why Can't You?

My ex worked two days a week- Saturday and Sunday- and still managed to make a decent living (I won't reveal what his job was exactly for privacy reasons, but it had to do with prisons). I, on the other hand, worked 30-40 hour weeks at a grocery store on top of going to school and never came close to his income, yet I was expected to split all bills 50/50. He made a point to tell me I wasn't trying hard enough, I wasn't working hard enough. How am I supposed to work harder when I have classes to go to and a job that wouldn't even ALLOW me to work more than 40 hours a week. What are you expecting me to do?
Your narcissist friend probably does the same thing. You can't make ends meet? Work two jobs! You can't afford to go out? Be more responsible! Look at me, I have everything and tons of money.
Ok cool. Have one income and a child to care for and then get back to me.
It's stressful because I DO NOT want to talk about money with friends. It gets awkward having to explain why I can't do anything. And being limited financially makes it difficult to be friends with a narcissist because they won't understand why this is an issue. To them, it's just another excuse, another reason why they can't depend on you.

3. Other People Don't Like You, But I Do

I've been insecure my whole life. I've gone through more than my own share of friends moving around during my school years, and hanging on to the ones I have is important to me. Sometimes they drift, but at the end of the day, if we can hang and have a good time, then I still consider that a friendship, even if it's not a very close one.
But to a narcissist, these people are not friends, not in the slightest.
"You know she talks about you right? Always staying stuff behind you back. I wouldn't do that, I think it's messed up."
Lies, lies, every one of them (at least I hope).
No matter what, we can't please everyone. You can be the sweetest, most genuine person on the earth and someone will still have beef. And that's ok! My issue with this is that I'd rather not know. I would rather not know because once I do know, I start brooding over it, playing over every little action I've made, every word I've said, trying to figure out what I did wrong to make someone want to talk to me. It's a pit I would rather not fall into, so unless it's something insanely messed up, don't tell me.
Of course, it's hard to know if it's even legit. It's always a vague "they said stuff about you." My ex used to come home from visiting his sisters and tell me the ugly things they said about me. Not once did he stand up for me. He made a point to tell me to hurt my feelings.
In a narcissistic friend, they would usually point this out to make you like other friends less- it's their version of isolating you so they can keep you to themselves. Everyone is talking shit, except them, so they are the only one they you can trust.
How much you wanna bet they're saying just as much shit, too?

4. Preying On The Vulnerable

My ex met me at the most convenient time to him. New to college, life falling apart, no where to turn.
"Come here, I will guide you, I will protect you..." And then he would suck what was left out of me to fluff his own ego.
With the narcissistic friend, having someone who can answer their every beck and call is what they are looking for, so friends who are busy and complex are not worth their time. But the friend who has few other friends, or doesn't work and is ultimately stuck at home 24/7- well, you're pretty much a sitting duck.
You can say your out of gas- "I'll come get you." You can say you have errands to run- "Great I'll come with you." You can play the offspring card, but how many times before they are offering to help you bring all your baby stuff over to make them comfortable? They know I'm home, they know I have no one else to be with, and so I'm sitting here, racking my brain, trying to figure out how to say no. I can just say no right?
WRONG.
Because once I do, I get the "k." I get the "I guess I'll just be by myself...", and the "Wow no one has time for me. Crazy." And then here I am, anxiety starting to spike, and I feel like a shit person. Because to them, being conveniently available at all times means that I should be just that- available at all times.

Having a friend like this is exhausting and hurtful. Even when there are times that I feel like we've connected, and that we are very good and close friends, something has to come up to  make me re-evaluate how much our friendship is actually worth. When she speaks so little of others, it makes me wonder what she says about me. When I want to try and make something work with someone, they are never worth it. When I want time to myself, it's time not wasted on her.
It's terrifying to think of because being with my narcissistic ex was an emotional shitstorm, and not something I would want to ever step into again. But when the passive aggressive comments start coming up, it makes me stop and wonder if I had unknowingly stepped back into this life. I don't want my friend to be a hurtful narcissist. I want my friend to be a good one.





Comments

  1. Yes, they are everywhere. And it's not just partner relationships. It can also be a friend and sometimes it takes a while to see why the relationship is so frustrating. You've got some great insights here.

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