Apr 24

“It’s Not You”: It’s Your Narcissist

Clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula has a new bestseller: It’s Not You: Identifying and Healing from Narcissistic People. Previous titles by this expert that also tackled issues of narcissism are Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist and “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”: How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility.

Durvasula, by the way, not only has significant experience working with survivors of narcissistic abuse, she’s also confronted it in her own life.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Narcissists can be charming and seductive, often attracting partners with ‘love bombing,’ but soon their self-serving behavior surfaces. As her detailed case histories reveal, among the traits that mark a narcissistic personality are a craving for constant validation and admiration, delusional grandiosity, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of empathy. They abuse those close to them with behaviors such as gaslighting, dismissiveness, rage, threats, revenge, isolation, and betrayal. Victims of this abuse, she has found from her patients, tend to blame themselves and feel shame, confusion, depression, and anxiety.

Selected Quotes from It’s Not You

Identifying a narcissistic person is far less important than understanding what qualifies as unacceptable behavior and what it does to you.

I am tired of people calling those of us who get stuck in these cycles “codependent” or “addicted” to the narcissistic relationship. It’s not that. If you have any empathy, have normal cognitive functioning, and were shaped by societal and cultural norms and realities, it is not surprising that you would get stuck. The narcissistic relationship is like a riptide that pulls you back in even as you try to swim away. The intensity, attentiveness, and highs and lows are why you swim out to where the riptide is. The abusive behavior makes you want to swim away from the riptide, but the guilt and fear of leaving, the practical issues raised by leaving (financial, safety, cultural, family), as well as the natural drive toward attachment, connection, and love are what keep you stuck in the riptide’s pull.

Selected Quotes from Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The narcissist is like a bucket with a hole in the bottom: No matter how much you put in, you can never fill it up. The phrase “I never feel like I am enough” is the mantra of the person in the narcissistic relationship. That’s because to your narcissistic partner, you are not. No one is. Nothing is.

Gaslighting qualifies as a form of emotional abuse that involves denying a person’s experience and making statements, such as “that never happened,” “you’re too sensitive,” or “this isn’t that big a deal.

Selected Quotes from “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”

…(I)f a person leads with charm and charisma and plenty of confidence, sit up straight and pay cautious attention. Make sure that there is empathy, that entitlement is not at play, that the person is genuine, that there is respect and, frankly, that he or she has the goods to back it up. Don’t let the charisma and charm blind you and stop you from looking deeper for the rest of it.

Narcissistic and toxic relationships leave you feeling depleted in a variety of ways: feeling like you aren’t good enough, chronically second-guessing yourself, often apologizing, and/or feeling as though you are losing your mind, helpless, hopeless, sad, depressed, anxious, unsettled, no longer getting pleasure out of your life, ashamed, guilty, and exhausted.

In fact, the best narcissist repellant out there may not be yelling or screaming or revenge but simply indifference.