Signs You're Dating Someone From a Narcissistic Family

My husband and I had a conversation a while back on what we would change about our past, if anything. Hindsight is 20/20, looking back I would still be with him- BUT I would have noticed the warning signs and planned our lives accordingly to have as little stress as possible on our early marriage.
 The scapegoat/black sheep of a narcissistic family can make a GREAT marriage partner, but it's not for the faint of heart. I wouldn't discourage anyone from marrying someone like this for that reason alone. Often ACoN's are the most kind, intelligent, thoughtful people. A life of abuse has made them that way and, if they can get out of their circumstances, they are often the best advocates for victims of abuse.
So, here are some signs I wish I knew before I got caught up in the whirlwind of deceit and gaslighting:

- How is your significant other's family in terms of distance- do they all live together? Close by? Is there that one lone wolf that is away from the pack for no good reason?

Often, dysfunctional families have one or two things going on: someone that SHOULD be in the family fold isn't for whatever excuse people may tell you, or even more than one family member? The question you should be asking is WHY? If you can meet this person, the better for it! If they are a level-headed non-addict, aka normal- why do they have nothing to do with this family?

On the other hand, you may see an unhealthy level of attachment to the core family group. No one moves away, everyone is present for everything- even a second cousin is expected to show up for so-and-so's kindergarten graduation or there will be tears and gnashing of teeth. I'm full aware in some cultures, this is normal- however in the modern, American world very often people will move away as they get better job offers- the family should understand this as well as why not everyone can drop what they're doing at the drop of a hat to attend Jr's cousin's flute recital. Is your SO expected to attend all these events? That saying- are YOU expected as well? Even if you are not family by marriage- you may experience an unhealthy level of attention expected of YOU to this family even if you have never met them.

That being said- this IS different than the usual healthy family who is attached to each other. If they are not understanding under normal circumstances- RED FLAG.

-How do they talk about themselves? Do they dwell on the past? Is there any talk of the future when everyone is together? Do they encourage each other's hopes and dreams for change?

In many cases, the refusal to acknowledge a future is a sure sign someone is in arrested development. If the only thing anyone can talk about is 'remember when....' you might be dealing with an N in the family. Healthy parent-child relationships have a 'future' aspect to them. Healthy adults like to look ahead and hear your plans- even if it involves something they are unfamiliar with. They can listen to you and not HAVE to relate what you're going through to themselves or anyone else. Don't you just hate that?

-Do they have personal space?

This could mean that they respect their adult child's boundaries and privacy. Unlike my in-laws, healthy adult parents do not snoop through their adult children's rooms or decorate them without permission to please every whim and fancy they might have. To do so is a breach of privacy. If they don't even respect their own child's right to privacy- what makes you think they will respect YOURS?

-How do they use social media?

Don't be fooled. Even if your SO's family member does not have facebook accounts- this doesn't mean YOURS is private. As with my own in-laws, they may have no problem using someone ELSE's facebook or twitter, etc, etc, to snoop on you. Are they using their adult children's accounts to snoop on people? To write to other people via the other person's email, facebook or media? If so- red flag!

-Do they contact your family members/friends if they've never met them?

This is a huge breach of trust, in my opinion. In my case, if the in-laws have no qualms in contacting (inappropriately) your work, school, or great aunt Sally just to start rumors about you- they are probably N's.

Thinking this all over as I write, I see a theme here. If you feel claustrophobic when you are with your SO's family- chances are- something is up! Don't ignore that little voice in your head that screams every time they act too familiar with you and you barely know them.

All in all, though. Don't let this stop you from pursuing a relationship with an awesome man/woman. Some of the best people come with the worst backgrounds. And no, you do NOT have to marry their entire family- regardless of what others may tell you.


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