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New York City, Psychology Today helps identify characteristics of one-sided relationships

Posted by 
Karen Madej
Karen Madej
 2021-05-13

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Call me out of touch, but I had no idea there was such a type of person as an empath. I know people, maybe just one person — you know who you are ;), who would argue there are no such people, they are empathetic people, not empaths. Before early last year, I thought a narcissist was some good looking dude who loved his reflection.

“I don't care what you think unless it is about me.”
Kurt Cobain

Two years ago I identified rage as one of three emotions I had been feeling towards my three ex-boyfriends over the six years I stayed with each of them before I walked away.

  • Selfishness; should she indulge or smother?
  • Insidious; years of failure to find what she craves.
  • Rage happens when a man does not care for, consider or adore his woman.

Spooky, right? I didn’t know what I had gone through, I didn’t have a label for it, and I don’t even much like labels. But hey, you know, sometimes the shoe fits.

To end the final nightmare, I left what was supposed to be my retirement dream home on an island with the man I thought I loved.

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To put the nightmare behind me I moved to a new country. The Czech Republic, Prague, was the place where the healing could happen.

After years of being manipulated by the narcissistic men in my life, I label myself as someone who over-adjusted and became what she escaped. A narcissist. But only for about five years. And was I really a narcissist? I’ve never been able to manipulate or make anyone feel guilty because I don’t like what they are doing or saying.

The following four years led, with the help of my empathetic friends, to my transformation as a new woman. They helped me emerge from my protective cocoon which kept all people at arm's length.

This new woman knew she didn’t need a man for anything.

One who sought pleasure from creativity in the form of photography, writing, and sparrows singing the dawn chorus from the trees and bushes in a park.

Plus, the women who became my confidants and supporters — financially and emotionally, as well as collaborators in enjoyment; eating good food, quaffing wonderful wine, and travelling to other European cities. They were the catalyst and the support for my personality upgrade. And they remain so.

And lastly, appreciating the freedom of my online teaching job, which meant I could live and work from anywhere in the world.

However, you might not have the luxury of moving to a new country to heal, with the help of friends, and find yourself awash with new opportunities and pleasures.

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What can you do to change a narcissist?

The takeaway from an article called Is There Any Hope for Relationships With Narcissists? in Psychology Today, headquartered in New York City, for me, was narcissists can empathise with a person in a terrible situation if they think it is happening to them. Oh, dear. Do you feel all warm and fuzzy? It sounds like the kind of person I used to be when it was all about me.

I was able to change, so maybe I wasn’t a narcissist after all. And to a certain extent, I think many people are able to change if they want something better or want to be someone different.

Unhealthy narcissists are not able to change. I am a writer but I’m not a narcissist. So two empathetic people should, in theory, be able to live together in harmony.

One of them is a writer, very selfish with her time. She has limited financial resources and is easily stressed by the slightest inconvenience put in her path to personally ruin her day.

The other looks after people who need to be looked after. He thinks the writer needs looking after.

Turns out she does not need nor want to be looked after or told what to do.

A word of caution, though, from the writers of ‘Is There Any Hope for Relationships with Narcissists?.’

These studies appear to show that perhaps change will, someday, be possible with different therapeutic interventions as science begins to understand in greater depth what makes a narcissist tick. But for now, certainly, I’d be inclined to keep my eye on the exit if I were involved with a narcissist. ~Peg Streep

I lived with the three men I had long term relationships with over the course of my prime years because I thought I was in love with them. The latter two were likely for lustful reasons. The middle one needed looking after.

Each in their own way was a selfish bastard, only wanting me around when I willingly accepted everything they wanted from me.

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I’m not prepared to live with another man with narcissistic tendencies. I might not even be able to live with another man ever.

I’m selfish and I’m not going to apologise for loving myself and being content on my own.

Thanks to Psychology Today, New York City, and their amazing articles we can all learn how to deal with one-sided relationships.