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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Davies


The word narcissist seems to be the most generally diagnosed mental health condition of our time. When someone is mean to us even when we provoked their behavior, suddenly they are diagnosed a narcissist. The truth is, we cannot diagnose someone with narcissistic personality disorder if we are not a qualified psychologist. We can though be on the receiving end of someone with narcissistic behavior and whether we diagnosed them or not, we are in big trouble.

Many of my clients have used the word narcissist and even though I cannot diagnose said person, I have been on the receiving end of a narcissistic partner. He too, was never diagnosed, and at the time I didn’t even know the word existed. I was just a young innocent girl in love with someone that I just wanted to make happy in every way.

The scary part is that the entrapment is so gradual, that after a year looking back, you only realize that they have shaped you into someone you can hardly recognize.

I wasn’t allowed to laugh loudly, drink, see my friends. I had to dress the way he wanted me to dress, and only certain topics of conversation were allowed with friends even though he would make inappropriate sexual jokes about me to his friends.  He never loved me; I was just a toy to play with until he tired of me but then I didn’t know better.

26 years later, I only learned that his behavior could be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder, or could it?

My client is a victim of abuse. Is her abuser a narcissist? Maybe, but the diagnoses is really beside the point.  She tells me how badly he treats her and how small and invalidated she feels, only to turn around and defend him saying that she is overreacting, and she can’t call him a narcissist. I said to her, how about we take the word off the table, and we just look at the facts. He emotionally attacks her for no reason. She is not allowed to ride a bike, swear, sit on the floor etc. When we remove the word narcissist, we can replace that with what word??  Control.

Then there are people with CPTSD that control people and their environment to feel safe. They don’t even know they do it. What could we name that then?  They have the same behavioral traits of a narcissist, but it was cultivated by a narcissistic parent that made them feel unsafe.

It is not about the diagnoses; it is about the way someone makes you feel and usually there is a break in communication. We have never been taught how to resolve conflict in a mature, respective, receptive way.

Where to from here? Knowing what it is like to be in love with a controlling, aggressive, manipulator that doesn’t ever apologize for anything and that can make you feel like everything you do is wrong; the way forward is to understand that they might never change.  When a loved one is continuously hurtful and there is no room for open communication, the only thing left is to protect yourself from further abuse. In most cases, all avenues of help are exhausted.  We disappear deeply into the abyss of their control that when they leave or die, we don’t know who we are anymore.

The controlling partner I dated 26 years ago would threaten me with suicide, but I realized that he loved himself too much to do something like that, so I left.

The best way to navigate relationships is to learn and listen as much as possible. Read educational books from people that have firsthand experience and seek help. We don’t have to do everything on our own and knowing that someone else is going through the same experience makes us feel less lonely.

I’m not a psychologist, I leave the diagnosis to the experts, but I have seen the relief that Life Coaching, NLP, TIR and Craniosacral Therapy bring to my clients. The reason these modalities are so effective, and why I chose them, is because they are non-invasive and it allows the person I am holding in my heart to open up in a non-judgmental loving, safe space.  Maybe being heard and seen for the first time without control. Allowing them to come to their own magnificent realizations.  After all, there is no one that knows you better than you know yourself, so you are receiving expert advice. All we sometimes need is to be asked the right questions, and to be held in a safe space to become still and reflect.

This is what I needed 26 years ago, and now I know how to be that for others.

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