Women are perpetually distracted from what is truly important by the many messages, posts, books, videos, articles, etc., focused on the problems and issues of other people.
In my news feed yesterday morning I found (yet) another article* about how to tell if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist. As might be expected, each of the warning signs was about the narcissist — as if he/she needs more of our attention?!
Can you already see the insanity?
As a thought experiment, I decided to take the four signs that you’re dating a narcissist mentioned in the article, and instead of focusing on the narcissist, I focused on you — the only person in your life who has the power to change, heal, grow, and transform yourself.
The first sign was:
The relationship is not about you, it’s all about them.
Notice your thoughts and how you feel when you think, “this relationship is all about them.” I feel angry, resentful, and hurt. I also notice I feel stuck, because what I want is for the relationship to feel more balanced. How can I experience balance in the relationship if it requires the other person to change — something I have no power over?
Here’s how to switch the focus, and return to you:
When you notice that you are in a relationship where there is no “you” in it because the space is filled with the other person, please consider this experience as an invitation to go inside and discover what the situation means for you, and what action — if any — you may want to take.
The second sign mentioned in the article that you’re dating a narcissist was:
They continuously put you down and gaslight you.
Feels like a dead-end, right? If you want to return the focus to you — the only real source of truth and change — when you notice that your partner regularly puts you down or gaslights you, how do you feel? Based on your emotions, how would you like to respond?
The third sign:
You feel uneasy in their presence.
Okay, then what happens next? When you notice you feel uneasy in another person’s presence, what is the most loving thing you can do for yourself in that moment?
And finally, the last sign that you’re dating a narcissist was:
They have no empathy or emotional awareness.
I don’t know about you, but when I think this thought, I feel complete despair and hopelessness. How can I make someone more empathic or have more emotional awareness? I can’t.
So, rather than focusing all of your effort and energy on another person’s lack of empathy and emotional awareness, here is how to return the focus to you:
When you’re in the presence of a person who apparently is not capable of empathy and has little/no emotional awareness, how does that feel? Based on your emotions, what would you like to do, or what needs to happen for you, as a result of the emotions that come up for you?
See the difference? When I am focused on your behavior, your perceived deficiencies, and the ways in which you are treating me that I do not like, I am powerless. When I focus on how I feel in your presence, what I am thinking, and what I have power over, everything changes.
Focusing on another person’s narcissism, their addiction, their mental health issues, or any other perceived problem in them is pure distraction, and keeps you separated from yourself.
When you get clear about that, you get to focus on what truly matters — your reality, your truth, and the actions you have the power to take.
How have you allowed another person’s issues to distract you from yourself?
*Dr. Mariette Jansen, “I Know Narcissists. Here are Four Signs You’re Dating One,” Newsweek, 6 September 2020.
© Vicki Tidwell Palmer (2020)