As I began to stand up for myself over the last several years, I was dealing with one narcissistic person after another. First, there was my ex, who fits the definition to a T in that she was all about herself, without even the faintest hint of concern or care for my interest or the interests of anyone. It wasn't that she was TRYING to cause me harm, it was that she was careless as to if I was uncomfortable and unconcerned what I needed to be happy...complete lack of empathy. I am sure many of you out there can relate. I have written blogs in the past about how society gives a pass to those that do not INTEND to harm you, while I think it only makes it worse. Someone that wants to harm you is at least AWARE of you. To be in a relationship with a narcissistic person is to be both alone (in your needs) and used (for theirs). It is slavery.
In any case, as I pushed my way away from her, I would discover more and more narcissistic people in my life...first, my older daughter. Then, there was my sister. I am glad that I finally found my fiance, as well, because I was starting to think that everyone out there that could be dated was suffering the same personality flaw, as well. So, I began to wonder...what was it that was causing me to be surrounded by so many such people? There is the temptation to think I was misreading them. However, my older daughter, as an adult, lived for two years in my house (after I paid for her college debt and her tuition), only to pay no bills, work no job, demand my driving her around, criticize me, and NEVER once text or email or even ASK how I was doing in my own life. My sister literally broke into my house I was moving out of and took all my things out of it, without even ASKING for permission to enter it or to tell me she was doing it or that she did it. I only found out AFTER by asking if they knew anything about it. Then, busted, they refused to apologize and, upon my demanding an apology, broke all communication with me. This fits, though, considering my sister had not EVER traveled to visit me or my daughters at my house or texted or messaged me to find out how I was doing, as well.
So, upon reflection, the facts bare out that yes...I was surrounded by assholes. I believe that ALL that start to stand up for themselves, after a life of servitude to enabling their own abuse will see the same thing happen in their own life. Here's the problem....we are nice. I have had a LOT of people tell me I am too nice. Many tell me that I give people too many chances and let them get away with too much stuff. That is starting to change and THAT is the unifying fact, behind all these stories.
Here is what I think. Consider the narcissist. They do not care about the needs or wants of others. They are ONLY interested in what THEY want. So, what kind of person are they going to choose to be around...someone that stands up for themselves and says no or someone that is nice and gives them a pass. Considering that question, I see exactly why my life became surrounded by assholes. I was literally their bait. When a caring person goes out into the world and says...I care and will sacrifice myself for others, ALL the narcissistic people says...aha...my kind of person. Indeed, they don't even see this as a character flaw or even NOTICE that it is bad for the person they intend to use. No ...to them, they are "just being myself" and found someone that "works with me"....to put it simply, the abuser seeks out someone they can most easily use. It reminds me of when I was a security guard, and they asked...what kind of place will a robber want to steal from...a guarded car or house or one without a guard. The very presence of a hard or security system deters criminals, and the presence of SELF RESPECT deters the narcissist.
So, yes...as you start to wake up to self respect and stand up for yourself, you will have to go through a period of house cleaning of those that call themselves your "friends" but REALLY just find you an easy target to use and care nothing for what YOU want or need in your life. It will piss a lot of them off that "suddenly" you want them to care, and they know that is not who they ARE as a person and what they cannot provide. However, you have to look out for you, no one else will.
However, this is not to say not to be caring. A caring heart IS a treasure. What it means is that you shouldn't be unequally matched in what you give with what you give. Provide to others the same amount of care that they give to you. Honor those that care with more time and attention and effort than those that do not give you those things. In the end, it is simply true that not everyone deserves the treasure that you are, and only those worthy should even get to see your heart.