I am a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders who has worked with people with disabilities and mental illnesses for over 10 years.
While it's common knowledge for a lot of people that narcissists are frauds, something that isn't often addressed is that, for a person dealing with a narcissist, the entire reality they exist in is a fraud.
It isn't just the constant lying, though that's bad enough. It isn't just the false self and pretending to be someone they're not, although that's terrible in itself. It isn't even just the sneakiness or the abuse or the manipulation, although all these things are horrible in their own right and could stand alone as reasons to end any type of relationship with a person.
As bad as these things are, they are not the worst thing. The worst thing is that the entire structure of life that the narcissist has created is false. Every single thing they say and do is part of the deception, part of the fraud. This is probably why the truth of the situation is so hard for many people to accept; it's just too hard to believe. How can someone make up an entire life? But they do, and when it's finally found out and seen through, people are often devastated. Nothing is what they thought it was, and this is a terrible blow for most people.
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It would be bad enough to find out that your partner or parent is not what you thought they were—not who they said they were or claimed to be - but to then realize that your entire life is a lie is something that is just too big for some people to grasp. The shock of it and the confusion is just too intense. If this was not real, what is?
Not only do people find out their partner was a fake and their life was a lie, but they may realize some things about themselves that they didn't know, either. It's no wonder that it's so traumatic and so many people look for a way out. It's easier and certainly less painful to try and find a solution to the problem, or a way to make their reality an actual reality. The problem is that ignoring something doesn't make it go away. It just makes it take longer to fix.
And that's the good news here. In the midst of all this doom and gloom, there is a very big bright spot. Because once someone has realized these things, they can change them. They can remove toxic people from their lives, they can live more authentically, more honestly; they can grow and change and evolve. The truth is, the potential for growth after this type of event is enormous and it's only possible because something like that happened. You can't fix something if you don't know it's broken. This kind of situation—painful as it is—shines a spotlight down the path to better self-care, as well as better understanding of yourself. These are things that you may not have been able to learn any other way.
Focusing on what you need to learn is the most important thing you can do in any situation. Not just to take your mind off of things, either. People often have a tendency to focus on the negative aspects of situations—especially situations that hurt—but there is no growth without pain. Every mistake, every misjudgment and every painful thing that's happened to you in your life has taught you something, and nothing is ever a waste of time if you learned something.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.