Parents teach their children about dangers. We teach them about stranger danger. We teach them not to text and drive. We drill into them that they should just say no to drugs. We warn them against many things that can trip them up and weigh them down in life, but we rarely discuss the signs and dangers of a toxic relationship. I wonder why that is? It’s safe to say that everyone has been in some kind of a toxic relationship at one time or another be it bullying as a child, or an emotionally and/or physically abusive boyfriend or spouse. But mum is the word when it comes to sharing our experience. Years ago I warned someone I love about warning sign I saw in a new relationship. This loved one lived in another state at the time, but was visiting me when they took a call from a new boyfriend. The one-sided conversation I overheard, made the hairs on my arm stand up. I was in an abusive relationship in high school, and the conversation was a Déjà vu moment for me. I couldn't help but share my fears, but they wanted to believe the best in the new relationship and as they say…. The rest is history. Maybe we don't discuss it because it is hard to believe that you have been duped. Maybe it's shame that keeps us silent, or fear that it will happen again. It's probably a combination of all of the above, but whatever the reason, it's something everyone should be aware of. I have had my share of heartache from relationships that were peppered with warning signs all along. I want to say they are in my past, but I'm sure there are more in my future. Why? Because I sincerely want to believe the best in others. I want to give large portions of grace, because I know that I require large portions of grace..... And last but not least, I am a people pleaser. The easiest way to love, is to be aware and believe there is such a thing as safe love. I found the following portion of an article that describes one of the most toxic relationships. I wish I had read years ago. This type of relationship left me wounded and caused me to question myself and others. I keep this close at hand so next time I'll love at a safe distance.
NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER
A Narcissistic Personality Disorder comes across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. A Narcissist will often monopolize conversations. They may belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior. They feel the sense of entitlement - and when they don't receive special treatment, they become impatient or angry. They have trouble handling anything perceived as criticism. They have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. They often react with rage or contempt and try to belittle others to make themselves appear superior.
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Exaggerates achievements and talents
- Believe they are superior
- Require constant admiration and affirmation
- Expects unquestioning compliance with their expectations
- Takes advantage of others to get what they want
- Believes others envy them
- Behaves in an arrogant or haughty manner
Although some features of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder may seem like having confidence, it's not the same. Narcissistic Personality Disorder crosses the boarder of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of themselves they put themselves on a pedestal and value themselves more than they value others.
Love without boundaries, but always be aware. I can love a Narcissist, but I'll love them at a safe distance.