We’ve probably all heard the terms ‘narcissist’, ‘gaslighting’, ‘relationship red flags’ or ‘toxic personalities’ at some point in the last couple of years. These terms have become popular social topics of discussion, especially when it comes to the dissection of relationships. In fact, many of these terms are being misused or overused. Below is a story which illustrates just what kind of emotional turmoil it can be when you are in a relationship with an actual narcissist.

Before we start – the Oxford definition states that a narcissist is ‘a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves’. Simply put, this means that they’re incapable of putting themselves in another person’s shoes, lack genuine empathy and use any means necessary (e.g. emotional blackmail) to make themselves look good/ innocent, and to make the other party believe they’re in the wrong, or are imagining things once they’re called out on any wrongdoing (i.e. gaslighting).

So, the story: *Samantha has been in a co-parenting relationship with a narcissist for the past 2 years. Initially, they dated for a few months and parted ways; however, she found out she was pregnant a few weeks after the breakup. When she told him the news, he advised that he would only consider supporting the child once a paternity test could prove that he was the father.

During the same time she found out she was pregnant, she lost her job due to Covid-19 hitting the industry she worked in particularly hard. With no work and no job prospects for the foreseeable future, and with her ex refusing any kind of support until such time that the child’s paternity could be proven, she was forced to sell anything of value in order to feed herself daily to sustain her growing baby. She also had to rely on the generosity of friends and family to help her with donations of baby essentials/ clothing, groceries, lifts to pre-natal check-ups, etc.

The paternity test eventually proved the ex was indeed the father. At this point he suddenly backtracked on what he had originally said, saying that it had been Samantha’s choice to keep him out of her life when she found out she was pregnant, and insisting that he would have supported the pregnancy if she’d allowed him to. This is typical narcissistic tendency – they literally alter their accounts of events, as many times as it takes, to as many people as they deem necessary, in order to paint themselves in a favourable light.

Samantha did not want her child to grow up without a father if she could help it, so she eventually agreed to the ex visiting the child, and taking on some financial responsibility with regard to his schooling and basic needs.

During the visits, and despite being in a serious relationship with another woman, he often toyed with Samantha emotionally, one minute giving her the impression he was deeply attracted to her, then completely changing his tune and treating her with a cold indifference, the next. He’d blame her for his rollercoaster emotions toward her, saying he was still angry she’d cut him out of her life when she found out about the pregnancy. Whenever she asks him about a possible rekindled romantic future, he says he doesn’t know if he can ever forgive her.

Samantha is an unfortunate, classic victim of the sly nature of a narcissist. Even though she had initially hated him for leaving her destitute throughout her pregnancy, he very cunningly used physical, emotional and psychological means to convince her that he still cared for her. She was at his whim for whatever passing emotional or physical need he had, then he’d shun her when she confronted him about it. Thankfully he has a good relationship with his child, but the journey to co- parenting with a narcissist has done a lot of damage to Samantha’s self confidence and she’s still picking up the pieces emotionally.

This is just one example of how one life has been dramatically affected by someone with narcissist tendencies. Race and gender don’t define narcissism. it could be anyone who’s self- interest is so excessive that they’ll abuse people’s genuine concern and love for them to get what they want, and derive satisfaction from keeping others in their control. Samantha’s story is a cautinonary tale…

Tell us: do you know people with narcissistic tendencies?