Our society loves to hate narcissists.  We never are totally shocked by the people we read about in the papers who seem to have no problem breaking the law, as long as they don’t get caught, or cheating in business or on their loved ones.

We all have narcissistic tendencies.  We all need to protect the “me” at times.  But there’s a difference between the normal and the extreme.  Know what I’m talking about?

Here’s the thing: Nobody is born a narcissist.  It happens from childhood – often from too much or too little attention – resulting in an extreme need for love and attention as an adult.  Narcissists tend to be angry people who often accuse you of not doing enough for them, even when you are.  They need your energy to feel good.

When you first meet the narcissist, they seem charismatic, honest, open and loving.  They claim that everyone loves them.  That you are the only one who doesn’t see them for the great person that they are.  But, it always turns out to be a false projection.  Their acts of “sincerity” are obscured by hidden insecurities.

I’ve been hurt by the narcissists in my life – no question about that.  But, if I’m going to be totally honest (and why not?!),  I really do need to thank the narcissists in my life.

The narcissists are the ones who have challenged me the most. They are the ones who caused me to grow up and to see the world in a different – clearer way. They are the ones from whom I’ve gained the best lessons on how to take care of myself in work and in personal relationships.  They’ve taught me that I’ve got to watch my boundaries and they’ve taught me that I don’t want narcissists in my life.

Narcissists take energy.  And, in this oh-so-brief life we have, it’s critically important to be with people who share energy and are not afraid to give energy without receiving anything in return.  So, if you’ve got someone in your life who is taking from your emotionally generous self – and not giving back – leave.  And, if you can’t (or don’t want to leave) then set clear boundaries and don’t allow them to be bent.

I don’t know if I would be where I’m at now if I hadn’t had my life experiences with narcissists.  Holding that mirror up (often for the narcissist!) has taught me more about who I am, than any expensive therapy session!

Have a great day!