Dear INFJ friend,
You’ll probably relate to this. As an INFJ, you most likely already know that we are magnets for narcissist personalities. What troubles us the most is the feeling of guilt INFJs feel when we start thinking it’s our fault.
We are our own worst critics, especially when we face external pressure. I had my share of relationships with narcissists and I always felt like it was all my fault. I felt worthless and lonely. So I had to ask myself…
Why narcissist personalities prey on INFJs
INFJs are called protectors. However, that protection can go against our own better judgement. Because we want to indulge and “fix” our partner or friend who is a narcissist, we unconsciously sabotage our own feelings. Desperately wanting to give love, INFJs start losing the one thing we need the most — self-love.
According to Deborah Ward, the author of “Overcoming Low Self-Esteem with Mindfulness”, it’s important to remember that it’s not your love narcissist personalities need. It’s their own. Ward adds:
“You will never be able to ‘fix’ anyone. Everyone has their own path to follow and to become a whole and healthy person, everyone needs to walk that path on their own, making their own mistakes, learning to pick themselves up, and discovering how to love themselves.”
Narcissists will only see their own image reflected when they look at you. They will never see who you really are. It’s pointless to try to give love to a narcissist. They will never be satisfied, or grateful.
What you need to do is give that love to yourself, because you deserve it. Your road is not bound to someone who will stop you from fulfilling your full INFJ potential. I should know…
It’s not your fault
There was a time when I was in a toxic relationship with a hardcore narcissist. There was no us in that relationship, only her. I was at a point where I nearly repeated a year in college because I could not concentrate due to the feeling of guilt. I couldn’t convince myself that I hadn’t done anything wrong.
If you’re in a similar situation, try to convince yourself that there was nothing you did or said that brought you into a relationship with a narcissist, it just happened. The main goal of narcissist personalities is to make you feel guilty and less worthy.
Concentrate on what you can do to safely get out of this relationship and to recognize your true, wonderful value. Luckily, there are several effective ways to do this.
5 safe ways to leave a relationship with a narcissist
1. Accept where you are.
This doesn’t mean that you have to make peace with the current situation. You are only accepting it so that you can find a solution faster and more efficiently. When you accept where you are, you are ready to act and allow yourself to focus on what you can do to change it.
2. Acknowledge your worth.
Remember, the primary goal of narcissist personalities is to make you feel less worthy than you actually are. Don’t allow this. You know in your heart who you are, you know the strength of your kindness, understanding, and empathy. Never allow anyone to convince you that your amazing INFJ traits are weird or not normal.
3. Decide you deserve much more.
Your gentle INFJ personality is not meant to be with someone who will not give you the feedback you deserve. Your heart needs the same love and care that you so selflessly give. In order to flourish, INFJs need to be encouraged, not humiliated. Decide to leave anything and anyone that makes you feel bad and as if you don’t deserve more.
4. End the guilt cycle.
You are not responsible for everyone, my fellow INFJ. Narcissists will use your caring nature against you. They know that you will almost always blame yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself in moments like this, especially when guilt tries to grab a hold over you. It’s then when you must shake off the bond and say no.
5. Remember your accomplishments.
Your greatest INFJ gift of self-preservation comes from reminding yourself what you accomplished. When a narcissist tries to humiliate and discourage you, remind yourself what you’ve been through. Let your hardship give you the strength to change where you are and direct you to where you want to be.
It’s your birthright to be loved and appreciated by someone who will fully cherish and accept you, just the way you are.
You deserve to be loved
As INFJs, we always thought there was something wrong with us. We believed that we don’t deserve to be loved. We secretly sabotaged our chances of having a loving partner or friend, because we were convinced that we are not good enough. Please don’t blame yourself.
This self-shame comes as a result of external pressure. The truth is, you are so much more than meets the eye. Don’t allow anyone to turn off your internal spark. Your worth is not determined by someone’s inability to see it. It comes deep from within. Even if someone else doesn’t see it, that’s okay. You must see it for yourself and that’s all that matters.
INFJs attract narcissist personalities because of that pure goodness, kindness, love, understanding, and appreciation that shines from us. It reminds them of what they simply don’t have. That’s why they are drawn to us.
Your INFJ light leads the way, but it’s you who decides with whom you will share that spark. Choose to share it to someone who will embrace you completely, just as you are. You deserve to be loved.
What about you?
Have you ever been in a relationship or a friendship with a narcissist? How did you got out of it? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences, I would love to know how you handled this highly unpleasant situation.
The problem with narcissistic relationships is that you can’t see them until you’re in one, and even then, you doubt your judgement, it becomes an endless cycle of ‘maybe if I did this, he’d be happy,’ But what I learned from my narcissist is that you will both spend inordinate amounts of time trying to make them happy, and no one cares how you feel at the time, not even you. And especially not them. It takes a great emotional toll, and you have to work very hard to build yourself up again from what feels like nothing. It’s painful, it takes a long time, but it’s possible. And maybe the hardest part is watching them move on to new victims, not because you wish you had them back, but because they’re now destroying yet another life.
These are good points, Leah, thank you for sharing them. I have to agree with you, it’s not easy, and when we do get out of the narcissistic relationship, due to our INFJ empathy, it’s not easy to see a narcissist are moving onto the next one.
Hi Marko, is the INFJ forum still running?
I was married to a narcissist for 15 years. I did not realize or are this side of him until after, shortly after, we were married and I asked him to participate in the day-to-day activities that make a house a home and a bunch of people a family.
By the time I got out I was nothing to him or myself. My morivation for getting out was my girls and knowing if I stayed, I was basically saying it’s ok to be treated like crap; and in 25 years when I saw them in the same situation I was in it would be my fault for not standing up for myself or them.
He actually told me, “when I leave you’ll never have it as good as you have it now.”
Financially I have struggled, but my girls and I are better off not having to live the lie.
I’m really sorry you had to go through this Jill, and that you had to hear these words. But you made the right decision, you stood up for yourself and made the right call. You got this, and you and your girls will make it, I have no doubt about that. You have my full support. And one more thing, you are enough, you matter, and you are important!
I’m also an INFJ who attracts the narcs and just want to help people and probably pick people that need my help.
I’d like to join your forum. Is it still running?
My husband of 20+ years (still married) is a narcissist. I could write a book. It’s a very complicated and hard life to live. We have children and even though I have a job I am not financially independant. If I knew a safe way out I’d leave, but the other side of the medal would be fighting over lots of issues (childrens, house, etc.). Problem is to the outside world I am the ‘depressed’ one because of my introverted personality (talking misjudgment big time). Outsiders don’t recognize the narcissist; they see the outgoing husband with his pitiful quiet wife. Therapy together? now way, even therapists don’t easily recognize it. He’s jovial, flamboyant, extroverted, outgoing while I like to stay indoors, avoid parties and like reading books, playing music and spending quality time with few friends or my children. I am sort of invisible while he is very visible. I have found out how to live in a survival mode, I have a very rich inner life that is fullfilling, a very good relationship with my children. I saw a psychologist alone for over a year. It helped a great deal. I know who I am, I have not lost myself and I do love myself. I have also learned to harden myself not to get hurt when he often shouts at me “what’s wrong with you??!!” when I don’t like to do the same things he likes to do. I play music and create art. It makes me happy….. in the midst of this missery of living with an unloving spouse. I am working out a plan to make a change for the better. I will eventually choose for myself and my children.
I’m really sorry you find yourself in this situation, Elisa. I believe that it’s not easy, and I can only imagine what you are going through daily. Narcissist only see themselves in a relationship, there is no plural. But I am glad that you know who you are, that you are aware of what’s happening and that you love yourself, this is the key. There is nothing wrong with you, there never was. You have an amazing personality!
I am living exactly the same story exept i did not love myself and i went kidda nuts. It gave him so much power. Acting up makes you look even crazier.
I have a problem recognising myself for my dear life, after 36 years living with my manipulate mother and abusive father, sister who always want to compete, I don’t have time healing because they keep on attacking abusing me making me feel I’m a worthless piece of shit, I wish i dont have this ability to pick up their and become mine, I started to see it I got job away from my family, they will chase me whenever I go. Go a vacation to see me how lovely parent they are. Then I dealing with them just 2 days, and yeah I take that opportunity, making me feel drained, my father really has envy to me, treating like crap, when I do really minor mistake, he like to yell, do some abusive behaviour, now I’m back to their home, and I’m struggle financially because of my mother also say something in a soft way, I might be suspicious of my mom to black magic to me. So she can control me, one day my mom sick and has cancer, then she just saying I’m sorry if she hurt me, but she never apologise before this and blaming I’m irresponsible to a family, careless doesn’t pay electricity bills, I feels sad about myself no able to show them that I’m not actually was, no wonder 2 different energy when I’m with them and without them, I’m very good financially but new car, a god job until I had to go bad to them because of covid, it very confusing that I had guilt that I’m a narcissist, it sad to feels like this. Now I understand how black magic work, I don’t know who the Im I have no vision who exactly Im. Right now I’m trying to search for new job away from them I wish God will protect me, im sad my family secret hate me, jealous, and bad mouthing but their game are very sneaky. I feels that I now, no one can be able to like me, but I don’t care anymore.
I watched a video on YouTube. 5 key phrases to disarm a narcissist. It was very informative.
“The sociopath next door” was also a helpful read. Has steps to recognize and what to not do. Most narcissist have many sociopathic qualities it’s a thin line.
As an INFP, I have found myself over my lifetime in narcissistic relationships with a partner, friends or family members. Whether it is the “idealistic dreamer” of the INFP, seeing the goodness we hope people can be? Or, wanting to believe in the “authenticity” of people and celebrate “who they are” that causes us to become involved. But, there is a similarity of the INFJ & INFP to get caught up and deeply involved and many times lost within these relationships with narcissistic people. Over time though it does become apparent that these narcissists are only in it for themselves.
As I have gotten older, it has become more apparent and easier for me to just quietly walk away from such relationships. Generally, they are far too involved with their own reflection, that they aren’t even aware when you have moved on from the relationship.
You are absolutely right, Deborah. Narcissist are just too much involved in their own image that they are not simply interested in anyone else, only to “feed” that image they have created for themselves. I can understand you when it comes to being in a narcissistic relationship all to well. And yes, there is a huge similarity between the INFJs & INFPs in this, because we share a deep level of emotions, devotion, and dedication.
This was so very helpful to remember since I enjoy by default looking for the highlights in others and this default generalization of looking at life through these filters; I fell and fall prey to narcs. I don’t enjoy looking through a suspicious lens or overly adoring one. I have learned to observe myself and analyze patterns of behavior. I caught myself this morning feeling down about not being liked by a narc co-worker and manager; only to coach myself through these feelings and declare to myself, I’ve been through this before, I won then and I will win now; no more handing myself over! I deserve inner harmony and I’m kicking them out of my headspace, over and over again.
Hi Liza! I’m glad to hear you found the article helpful. I’m glad you made this decision, you will win again, and you do deserve inner harmony. 🙂
Thanks for the great article. The comments have been insightful, too! I almost cried while reading this, it hit so close to home. I have more narcissists than I care to admit in my life right now, and am just at the point of seeing them after dealing with the self blame for a few years now.
You are most welcome, Brittany! I’m glad you liked the article, and the comments too. 🙂 I understand you. Just remember, it’s not your fault, and be more gentle to yourself.
Ps: I’d like to add this goes for non-romantic relationships, too! This article is the perfect “pep talk” for when we start to lose ourselves and forget we matter, too.
Great observation Brittany! Yes, this is also for friendships and other non-romantic relationships as well. And thank you so much once more. 🙂
I was raised by a narcissistic mother. I still have difficulty with my self esteem and I’must middle aged!
I’m sorry Sally you still feel what happened in the past and that it affects your self-esteem, but I hope the article helped you a little and gave you some insight. It’s never easy for INFJs to handle when the people who should be closest to us turn out to be narcissists.
I was raised by a narc mother. It was only after she passed away did I realize what the harmful dynamic was. Thank goodness for my wonderful, gentle father who loved me in a healthy fashion. Poor guy had to be in a married relationship all his life. I know now why I attract narcs, am doing a lot of research via you-tube videos on the subject.
I had a Narc brother- it took years to work out what he was- it hurt me he hated me. Jealous of me , didn’t want me to succeed. He destroyed my self esteem, confidence- then one day I found out he was a Narcissist- my World changed overnight! There was nothing wrong with me! For years I believed him- and now I am kind to myself, and live away from him entirely. Trouble is, he did not like that- and now has turned my whole family against me- they think I am a basket case and wont believe what I am saying about him
thank you for your words,
I believe that my mother was a narcissist as well. Even though deceased now, I think she has passed some of these traits down to my sister. I have always felt that I attract this kind of person, even outside my family. I am always giving to them and they don’t seem to even be aware that I might need something in return. I do believe that I deserve better, but I’m middle aged too and it doesn’t seem to be happening. I’ve tried various therapists and even spiritual directors but they don’t seem to get the problem, or be able to help with it.
I belong to a Facebook group for the victims of narcs. A while back we did an experiment on personality types using Briggs Myers. I’d long suspected a link between narcs selected victims and personality. Sure enough over 90% of us came out as INFJ’s will all others combining out as INTJ’s or INFS.
I’ve been no contact with my narc adopted mother for 18 months. Best decision I ever made!!
I’m glad you are in this FB group, Eowyn, and that you feel good about the decision you made. Sometimes, this is the safest course of actions for us INFJs when it comes to narcissists, despite how hard it may be.
I am emerging from a 34 year relationship with a man with whom I had 3 children. Even though I thought I chose someone who was nothing like my narcissistic father, in the end he was. He left me for a younger woman and is busy re-charming my daughters. I have been to the bottom of a black pit of self blame and back, lost my sense of self and what makes me happy, waded through the trauma that triggered old traumas and I’m still here- not addicted to anything too terrible except the need for love. Someone to know my virtues. Someone who knows who I am and appreciates that. I know that someone is me but she is still in pain.
I’m so sorry Coralie that you had to go through this… You’ve been through so much, but be proud of yourself. The strength you showed is amazing! Do not stop, you will find that love and that person who will accept you fully, as wonderful as you are, I am sure of it!
I referenced this article twice today when speaking with people about the scars I have as a result of these relationships. I grew up in an abusive home, I married an abusive man, I made abusive friends, almost all of whom were severe narcissists. They also had the same control over me, in that I wanted to help them, or they convinced me they could nurture me. Each time when I confronted them I got the same reaction – that I was a bad person, selfish, ungrateful, sinful, emotionally dangerous, etc. My father still has no idea, no matter how many times I tried to confront him, and I have now cut my relationship with him off for my own safety. My ex-husband would get on his knees and beg me to save him, almost with the same breath he used to abuse me, and always convince me that it was my fault and I was a bad woman. The people who tried to help me sort of did so, in getting me out and providing for me for a time, but it always came with a catch. Some right to my body, my life, or my heart. Right after my divorce, I was taken in by a well-respected professor and his family. I quickly began to learn that their home was little else than a cult, built around his every whim, fully believing him practically a prophet of God and with that much authority. The wife told me she was also an INFJ, and I really am not sure that is true based on what I saw, but she believed what the Professor told her, in that the way for her to be free of her own trauma was to bully herself into spiritual submission, and do everything he said. After several months of watching her destroy herself, neglect her child, push their family further into financial ruin and decay, and berate me if I ever even questioned the Professor, not to mention late night yelling where he would tell her God is coming for her because she is such a bad woman, I left. On my way out I was cursed by her so hard that I was truly afraid the earth was going to swallow me up. I was ungrateful, evil, sinful, cruel. I didn’t even understand what was happening, and looking back, I realize that not only was he a horrible narcissist, but that she was his prisoner. The worst part is that these people were not vagabonds on the street, but well-known, respected, published, wealthy, etc. In all cases except for those concerning my ex-husband, no one who knows those people really believes me. Or if they do, they seem to be under a spell of control where they just accept it. Today, as I thought about this article, I was told by another survivor that she had to ask herself if she believed she was worthy to be on this planet, and I realized I still can’t answer that question myself. I am safe, I am cared for, my career is back on track, I have a home, and while I do have constant medical care and the scars of my trauma have taken so much from me, its over now. I feel locked now in a frightening spiral of wanting so much to take care of others, needing so much care myself, and having almost no idea how to communicate these things. I keep being told, by good people, that I have such an open heart, and open mind, and am so kind, funny, smart, visionary, etc…but I can’t see these things in myself. Learning about about my personality type has helped me feel a little more understood, like I am not just crazy for being myself, and figuring out what is me, and what isn’t. I wondered recently why I keep finding myself in the same type of situation with the same type of person, and every single time my deep desire for connection and commitment lands me in trouble, with someone who seemed to be my friend, even my lover (or the maid-of-honor at my second wedding), and who suddenly takes off a mask and becomes verbally abusive, threatening, dishonest, and…just blind. I realize I don’t know how to form healthy relationships with healthy people. I am now always confused. I am not sure I can trust my intuition, or even how to really listen to it. Its like a car with a bad engine that keeps turning on and off. My natural observance is coupled with a learned suspicion and paranoia – sometimes it feels like who I am has been hijacked and re-wired for a darker purpose, or more accurately, to protect me from one. My heart feels almost like its own being, but I am not sure how to listen to it or if I can trust it. So I suppose my question is, once out, how do we heal? How do we learn to sooth the cuts and burns, replenish the skin, reinvigorate the roots, and clarify the vision again? Help of course, and I am in therapy and I do so much, but none of them can speak to my core the way I hope other INFJs can.
I am so sorry you went through all of this Shelly, I really am… I deeply thank you for sharing your story here. We heal gradually, one step at a time. There is no magical formula, but there is hope that someone, somewhere will come and help us heal all those wounds and make our scars the thing of the past. You are still here and that is proof that you are meant for something great. After going through what you gone through I cannot escape the feeling that you will find that person who will make all your memories of the past, into a happiness of the present. I am no professional therapist,, but I admire your strength and courage. One step at a time. Don’t lose hope, no matter what. Some scars never heal, but they are there to tell us one thing: You can do this, even if no one else sees it, you must see it for yourself. Keep moving,m don’t stop, and whatever you do, listen to your heart. You don’t have to learn to listen, just listen. Thank you again for sharing this story.
Thank you so much!!! I really needed this article now. I was actually almost going to write in the forum the other day for help with a narcissist. I’m not completely sure but I think I have someone in my life who’s a narcissist and I’m obviously an empath/INFJ. The ramifications from this relationship, which at its onset seemed so benign and innocent, have caused a lot of emotional torture and trauma for me. I almost feel as though these thoughts sometimes consume me and I literally cannot focus on anything else or do anything well when I try. When the relationship is good, it puts me in a good mood and if it’s bad, I’m virtually paralyzed. The poles and extremes are really scary to me and I wouldn’t ever willingly let myself get like this, but yet here I am. And I feel so weak and foolish for letting this happen. I would just leave if I can…any person would who’s clearly being mistreated beyond measure and hurt and disposed and exposed and used. So why can’t I??? I usually pride myself with independence and not caring about what people think of me, but in this relationship I feel like my identity is out the window. Around this person, I get nervous, I feel myself being awkward but I can’t help it, I barely smile (which I do at most people), I apologize too much for literally nothing, and it’s just bizarre. Despite all of these evidently horrible effects, something about he relationship is addictive or keeps me coming back. We started as friends then he suggested we take it farther, meaning we kiss but stay friends and no one knows. It’s been over a year since we had romantic relations (we only kissed) and then afterwards, he was so cruel to me so I had a break and wanted to cut him off and then he gave me a really convincing apology and then we were just friends again. I gave myself excuses for why the friendship was one-sided (after the apology)–I would do so much for him and tell myself that he really appreciated he just couldn’t express because he’s still immature/he can’t tell his feelings but deep down he cares, etc. We weren’t having romantic relations since the first time and hadn’t discussed it, till recently he brought it up and I realized the person he is–I don’t know what he wants for me or why he enjoys watching me squirm so much. He can get a lot of girls, and I don’t put out (definitely not without strings attached…I’m a relationship/commitment kind of girl and he knows it). Why is he seeking me out for this then? Is it a power thing? Does he want to corrupt the “innocent virgin”? I know I need to get out of it and so I said no to romantic relations, let’s just be friends, and then I said I didn’t like our friendship dynamic so maybe we shouldn’t be friends but he said it’ll change so we’re friends again. And if anything has changed since his saying that, I feel it’s worse. I know OBVIOUSLY any logical person would cut the cord…but why can’t I? Am I addicted to even the slightest bit of attention form him? I’m not one to crave/seek attention but is that the case in this relationship? I know these are questions I should be asking myself but I need the help of you guys and professionals and fellow INFJs. One of the hardest things about being INFJ for me (especially with this unique narcissist-INFJ relationship/caveat) is that others can’t really understand. The bottom line is I need to leave him but there is an emotional connection/component and fear of loss here…loss of what? A “special relationship”? Hardly…if anything ,it ‘s abusive…so why can’t i leave? If I told a close friend it’d be black and white–he sucks, leave him, he doesn’t deserve you, etc…which is all true. I feel like the esoteric/INFJ-only part comes in the why-did-I-like-him-in-the-first-place / why-did-I-let-this-happen question. Because that question is very real and as caring as we are, we’re selective with the people we love. We want to help everyone but we usually spend time on the people we think are worth it /have potential. Marko you are amazing so you might answer this and I really hope someone cares enough to read/see this. I am so grateful for you all! I’m grateful for the people in my life whom I love but I need you guys to help me because I’m always there for others (classic INFJ) and as much as they say they’re there for me (which some mean it), they sometimes can’t help me because I know my mind is too complex and I protect them because I don’t want them in my mind…it can be a scary place. I’m sorry to expose you all to this and this darkness but I need the help I can get. Being and INFJ is amazing but it’s so exhausting and as you can see my emotions are thoroughly wring out from it. Thank you and i wish all of you all the happiness and love the world can offer!
Hi, namasteinfj! You are most welcome, and I am glad you found this article at the right time. Put your feelings into a different perspective. One option is that you stay in this enchanted circle of having that person in your life but at the cost of your own happiness and well being (which is something I also did , and it brought me much inner pain), or that you safely change something and face that period of adaptation, but that you restore yourself and who you are through time. I will not directly tell you what to do, because this is a decision you must make for yourself. Just put everything into a perspective of what would make you feel your own true self, your own amazing value, and what would make you feel not just happy, but also fulfilled as an INFJ.
Look up and study trauma bond. This will explain why you are addicted to him. It took me 8 months to release the bond and two years to totally understand what happened to me. Best of luck on your journey.
namasteinfj, I am a guy who has been thru this situation, and I cant even express how much time and effort I have wasted on people who just dont appreciate things the way we need them to! I think we are just too complex for most people to fully understand how we really do put 110% into EVERYTHING, and how badly it hurts us when they just dont realize where we are really coming from! And when we CLEARLY illustrate how we are, we suddenly become their target, or we just go misunderstood. I am SO careful with my words, and really try to not offend others, but when the frustration kicks in or the other person gets pissed or impatient, is when the fur flies! When all we need is others to be PATIENT with us so we can get it right! I always end up feeling pressured and need to hurry because everyone else is so pressed for time, and cant say the right things when I need to. Which ends up with more misunderstanding! I look for love in all the wrong places, or it finds me, and its not the right person at all! And those people try to FORCE me to like them, and I cant just tell them theyre the opposite of what I need, if I do they get pissed off, and degrade me! Its impossible, and I DO have boundaries, but they get mowed over all the time! Im sorry you are having a tough time, and am praying for you! I would do anything and everything to have a partner who could REALLY understand me, but I seem to attract the bloodthirstiest of the soul suckers ever! Like you say, its exhausting, and really makes it difficult to live life to its potential. And that is sad and makes my heart hurt, especially for other infj’s who are also where we are…. There should be an infj site where we can find the right kind of love for singles? I dont know! But I wish you the best regardless. I keep hoping someone will appreciate us and help us find our true purpose. Just discovering what I am has helped me astoundingly, and my life makes much more sense. I am a proud representative and will do my best for each and every one of you. Love and light to you all! And Marko, I would love to be a part of this group if you will accept me? I read a lot of these posts and I can offer my insights and experiences when applicable, and will be nothing but helpful I promise! Much love people…!
thank you so much, kowing im not the only one brings great comfort.
Great article Marko. I am INFJ, felt like I was drowning, wanted to drown myself for “allowing” this to happen; today, I am floating on lifesaver. There are good days, bad days and sometimes moments in between that shift from weak to strong. An ocean of emotions that’s for sure. Keeping informed about the subject of narcs has been the strongest tool for me. Implementing no-contact is the most important, but not easy and can take a few tries. To other INFJ’s: Don’t give up on yourselves INFJ. Don’t look in the mirror and think you have turned dark or ugly. Forget the self guilt for things you were made to do or accept that were out of character for you. None of that is true, your mind was tricked, it may have happened, but you never bought in, you were a robot, programmed by the narc. We INFJ’s are special and have the power within us to do this, to get away from those who sought us specifically for our empathetic nature. They do not deserve us, and we do not deserve them. Sometimes, I wonder why we can’t use the “door slam” method on these narcs but we can on others so easily. The answer is simple. Others do not “work on us” they haven’t spent the time figuring out how to manipulate us, program us so deeply, while with a narc, this is the narcs job, to figure out, watch, observe, even research us in some cases, then they make their move by falsely connecting. Others get door slammed easily because they haven’t gotten in to our mind so deeply in a way that they can navigate and even stage an anticipated reaction like a narc does. I wish it was easier to door slam a narc but they will battle a door slam, smearing your name until you respond. Today is a good day (thankfully) so I am encouraging anyone who is new to learning about this narc thing to continue. Learn how they use music to seduce you, learn why they build you up, promising the world and just give you opposite, learn how they use the “soul mate” approach to capture your heart, learn how they dump you in the dirt when you need them most, learn how they will kill a favorite pet just because you love the pet a lot, learn how they can mock your emotions to make you feel there is a connection like a god sent soul mate, and learn why INJF’s are easy targets, like the fact that we spend many years feeling misunderstood and not very connected….a narc will fill that every feeling, from pretending they had similar experiences in life, to pretending to love animals, and sharing same spiritual beliefs but it is only because they have studied their prey, and INFJ’s feel like they have found the ONE person they’ve been hoping for. Learn about it, and take action to save yourself before the narc murders your spirit. We got this INFJ’s, we have the strengths and the smarts to, BUT you have to educate yourself on this topic. Narcs are crazy and some are dangerous, so learn how to leave in a safe manner….learn about confronting a narc, just go learn it all. Again, thank you Marko for this article, it is written in a way that makes a lot of sense. Hugs to everyone who is battling a narc.
Thank you so much Meli for sharing your incredible insight and story on this, and for your kind words. 🙂 You are most welcome!
This was very helpful, thank you. I’ve been out of my toxic relationship with a narcissist for quite some time but I still feel guilty. I still ask myself questions like “What did I do wrong to draw this person to me?” I still sometimes blame myself for not figuring out what he was sooner or getting out sooner or being too weak or too . . . something or other. It’s good to be reminded it’s not your fault.
You are most welcome, Daria. I’m glad to hear you found the article helpful. 🙂 I can fully relate with how you feel and how you felt, but like you also said and I completely agree, it’s not your fault and you haven’t done anything wrong.
thank you for sharing this, how I wish I knew this earlier. I have had many narcissict (friendships) in my life, I always felt guilt that I didn’t want to be around them or cringed when they called, but would always (or still do) answer them and try so hard to be nice, when I really wanted to run and/or ignore them. One inparticular turned very ugly. when I didn’t keep an appointment once after 7 years, this person vowed to destroy me and has perceded to lie and falsely accuse me of horrible things, trying to destroy my reputation, character, and even my vocation. this person has harrassed me for 5 years even though I have completely ignored their attempts to contact me with very foul and damaging emails, texts, etc. I have blocked them from everything possible and had to delete accounts ect. to stop their harassment. it has been very stressful. I use to feel guilty thinking I did something wrong, but have done nothing to merit their behavor or accusations. I can’t understand a narcissist, but as hard as it is I can only pray that I will see the warning signs before I ever let another one into my inner circle. It’s probably needless to say it has caused me to have severe trust issues and I have become even more introverted and of course I beat myself up for that 😉 always trying to be somewhat social when I really don’t want to… but I am working on it.
You are most welcome! I’m really sorry you had to go through all of this. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been… It’s good that you are careful and cautious, and remember, be who you are and don’t force yourself to do something that will make you feel bad (when sometimes you don’t want to be social).
What if I am the narcissist in the relationship? I’m an INFJ, but I’ve had periods of my life when I was the selfish one in the relationship. How do I know if it’s my spouse who is more narcissistic or me?
Hi nicholesap! You need to follow the signs, especially those early signs if you are being with an narcissists, or if you at any case show one. Lack of encouragement, support, selfishness,downgrade of ones abilities and public humiliation scenes are usually the early signs where you can notice are you in this kind of an relationship. Analyze your actions and compare them how you feel and do they positively or negatively affect your spouse. Put yourself in a different perspective. This will give you an insight of whether something has to be changed.
Nice article here for us INFJ’s and the seemingly inevitable encounter/relationship(s) with narcissists. It’s a bit ironic to me that I think I may be the only guy here who fell in deep with a covert narcissist woman in 2013. I split the scene two years later but, the wounds and mental twists have just recently abated. I feel whole, strong, and even somehow better off for the experience, not that I recommend it or would ever go through a situation like this again.
If there’s one thing I could say is that as INFJs, we do have the uncanny ability to get the gut instinct and see the red flags when one of these sad creatures crosses our path. I know I did and ignored the warning signs – never again – if it doesn’t feel right then it isn’t.
In the end, all I can say is she’s a great actress that’s for sure. Where I once was so full of self-loathing, doubt, and guilt I now have relief, self-confidence, and deeper compassion for others.
Thanks for taking the time to write this and touch those that you have.
Thank you so much, Dale! I am glad to hear that after everything you’ve been through, and I believe that it wasn’t easy, you are confident and deeply compassionate towards others. 🙂 You are most welcome!
Thank you for this article. I am recovering from a 23 year relationship with a narcissist. She was a close friend and trusted employee. We often talked about how we were like brother and sister. Then suddenly she resigned and left. Looking back, I can now see the deterioration of the relationship over time. And I can see the damage, financial and emotional, she caused. I didn’t recognize it earlier, somehow she got close. I went through a lot of self-blame and self-doubt for letting it happen and then not doing anything to end it. During my recovery, I learned all I could about narcissism and found out I was an INFJ. Although this has been a painful process over the past two years, it has also been a time of tremendous personal growth for me. And I’m 58 years old, so it is never too late. As far as recognizing a narcissist before they get close to you, the best I can say is learn everything you can about them, then trust your intuition. I recently put some distance between me and another friend who I now recognize as a narcissist. This caused a lot of doubt and guilt as well, but you have to trust your instincts. Good luck everybody, be happy.
You are most welcome Jeff. I couldn’t agree more with you, we have to trust our intuition and instincts, especially when facing an narcissist. Thank you for sharing this, I am humbled to read it. I believe it wasn’t easy for you and I’m sorry you went through all of this, but you have my support.
How did you *get out of it?
Hi, Curtis! I used the exact 5 safe ways to leave a relationship with a narcissist you see written here, one by one. It was a process, and I applied what I wrote here, managing to get out of it safely.
”There was nothing you did or said that brought you into a relationship with a narcissist, it just happened.”
Best sentence I’ve ever read in any article on Narcissistic relationships. My ex was a Narcissist. I’ve internally been through hell and back recovering from this. I thought I was gonna end up in a mental ward a few times and I self-harmed. Plus a few times I wanted to die.
Anyhow, I researched a hell of a lot on this over the years, and everywhere I look, I read thing like ”How we allowed it” ”How we should have trusted our gut instinct” and etc. And yet all has the subtle energy of ‘could’ve have done better” about it behind it. Like there was something we could’ve/should’ve done or known to prevent the whole experience. Believing this stuff, drove me even crazier for ages. I felt SOO bad. Like I had never been or was good enough.
But actually, like the comment I quoted here, these things JUST happen. How many people go through this? So many. It’s almost a typical thing that most people have to experience to grow. They are catalyst type relationships. We were not supposed to ‘prevent’ them or ”should’ve” known better. They were MEANT to happen.
First of all, I am really sorry you went through all of this during this difficult period of your life… I believe it was really hard. I deeply thank you for your kind words about the article, and I am glad it resonated with you. It’s true, it wasn’t your fault and you did nothing wrong. There is always a reason behind the events that happen to us, even behind the most hardest ones. I want to repeat this once more, you did nothing wrong, and you are enough, more than enough!
I am currently in the process of legally separating from my husband of 13 years. I don’t think he has a full blown personality disorder but he definitely has narc traits. I find it really challenging to hold my own perspectives when I speak to him. He manipulates my guilt reaction coupled with my compassion because I do believe he is in pain and I hate to hurt others.
Hey. Hey. I met another infj online who had been married to a person with antisocial personality disorder. At the end of their relationship, she admitted that she’d often say things just to get a negative reaction out of him. He described the interaction as similar to the “boiling a frog” metaphor. One small thing happened. He’d brush it aside. Then something a little bigger would happen every time and he’d brush that aside as well. If you haven’t heard of the metaphor, there’s a myth that if you put a frog in comfortably warm water and raise the temperature to deadly heights, it will stay there.
I have noticed this with myself too. I often brush off or ignore remarks I don’t like from people around me, especially friends, and I don’t realize how unacceptable they are until later. I wonder if this might be a result of Fe’s people pleasing, conforming nature. When we’re in a moment, we want others to be happy and to like us. And we’re so focused on that that we don’t make room in our heads for that little twang of discomfort in our hearts.
A lot of INFJ are narcissists… we’re not victicms!! me include 😀
Good day! I agree with this statement to some degree. I often joke that I’m a narcissist because I am slightly self absorbed to some degree.
Jokes aside, most of my experiences on infj forums and pages have not been pleasant at all. Many of the people there are very condescending, elitist, and seem to have the perception that due to Ni, they know all the answers. If you flick through such a forum long enough, you’ll eventually see someone assert that Ni is ‘always right’ along with someone obnoxiously defending their rare empire by going out of their way to out people who do not fit the stereotype as ‘fakes.’ ~ Of course it’s flawed to say Ni is always right because 1. the human brain is terribly flawed 2. in order to form an accurate picture, you must have a few crucial pieces of the puzzle. It is impossible to always have all the pieces
There was also a tendency for people to bully others who fail to fit into their concept of what’s ideal or correct. For example, once a trans woman posted a selfie and people began to call her fake, purposely misgender her, insult her appearance, and insist she was a sensor because she was shallow.
I tend to stay the hell away from public mbti spaces. Tbh I advise everyone else to do the same. You’ll learn more talking with a trusted friend or doing research than turning to a bunch of sadistic, egotistical strangers for support.
I’ve just separated from my husband and father of my two girls. We’ve been together for ten years, but it has been a pretty one-sided relationship full of guilt trips and double standards. There were glimmers of hope, which kept us together. Moments where he showed sincere vulnerability, and I really thought I could love the insecurity out of him. When that Hope began to fade away I was afraid that if I left him he would make my life even more difficult out of vengeance. I know now that he doesn’t have that much conviction. He has always made his job a priority and spent very little time contributing in any other way to our household and raising our girls. Instead of acknowledging his own choices he would make me feel guilty for not having an income and that all the stress was on his shoulders. He had a high income and is a big spender, but I lived modestly and wanted to be home with the girls… they really only had me, I wasn’t about to take that relationship away from them too. He would make me feel guilty about how much I’d spend on groceries and household necessities, meanwhile he would purchase expensive clothes, furniture, even a car without consulting me. It made me feel like he didn’t value my opinion, like I didn’t matter. He evaded intimacy, saying he couldn’t be in the mood when the house was not neat and tidy – not that he would clean, but made me feel like it was my fault. So much manipulation. He did a very good job of making bizarre scenarios seem normal and I’d end up feeling like I was the one on crazy pills. When I’d have a breakdown he’d tell me I was too emotional. We have a cooperative relationship now, though I still don’t get much support from him, I’ve learned not to expect much. The courage to leave came from realizing I didn’t want to be in the same situation in five or ten years, and I didn’t think it was a healthy environment for my girls to witness. I wanted to teach them that you don’t have to put up with emotional abuse. It is hard now when I compare myself to friends with loving relationships or even worse, children who have a loving father, but I try to remember that there are also many that are much worse off.
I’m so sorry you had to go through this Claire… I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for you… What you did Claire takes courage. You choose to take care of yourself and your children, to show them there is another path, one of understanding and mutual kindness, and that is admirable! Remember, only compare yourself with who you were before, and I can tell you right now, you made an amazing progress! Thank you so much for sharing your story.
i’m an infj too and my personal story of narc abuse (family home resulted in complex ptsd and depersonalization last of which results in mind getting disconnected from the body which in turn leads to not feeling anything apart from constant anxiety and panic attacks (in my case). so i racked my brain over it and realized that i’m missing a very basic human need to feel safe. like at all times, non stop. but how can i feel safe if it’s not safe to feel? why could that be? and then i realized i was not feeling safe FROM MYSELF BECAUSE ALL MY THOUGHTS FEELINGS AND ACTIONS WERE SO DEEPLY ROOTED IN UNCONSCIOUS TOXIC SHAME. still ruminating over this but i’m finally starting to see the light. would love to hear your thoughts if anyone can relate. thanks for reading
I’m sorry you faced these difficult moments with narcissist, A. But I am glad that you are starting to recover and heal. 🙂 Always remember, it wasn’t your fault and it’s your human right to feel and be safe. Never allow anyone to tell you it’s not safe to feel, because deep emotions make us INFJs unique and amazing!
thank you Marco, I love it that you reply to every single post, so kind of you 🙂 just had a bit of an epiphany related to what I said above. After reading a description of infj and realizing I am one I thought ‘I’ve always really HAD only good intentions towards others ( even when I dropped them out of my life without explanation which I didn’t give BECAUSE I didn’t want to hurt them ) so I can think and feel what I want’. And I FELT positive about myself for the first time in my life. Unfortunately because my subconscious was contradicting this thought it was short lived and I could not get back to that state in any way I tried. But now I discovered that what it meant for me is that good intentions mean that I DESERVE to feel safe ( peace i could never EARN no matter what I did, all was always wrong, as every narc victim knows). You know how they say there is no one solution to narc recovery and you can never let anyone tell you ‘this is the way’ because only you know the way in your own heart. Well, as infjs we have that narrowed times 10 which makes it that much harder to get there. But once you do, boy are you unstoppable 🙂 I”m only writing this maybe it will help someone see the light on their own recovery journey. Isn’t funny how maybe this seems to have worked for me exactly because we apply the same rule to others as to ourselves (I always thought I can figure out a solution on my own, if I don’t even best advice won’t do it for me) if we infjs think someone REALLY deserved it we might switch on our dark side and tell them the truth about themselves because we feel they DESERVED it? Thank you again for your reply Marco and would love to hear any of you guys’ thoughts if anyone can relate 🙂
You are most welcome, it’s my pleasure. 🙂 You are absolutely right. For us INFJs, recovering from a narcissistic relationship in any form can be 10 times harder. Like you say, only we know what lies in our heart, and that choice is that much harder because of our caring, giving nature. You said interesting details about the INFJ dark side. I have an never-ending faith in our personality, and even when someone hurts us deeply, in this case, a narcissist, we will not reveal it. This is because our empathy and understanding are just too strong. 🙂
Background info: I’m a soon to be high school graduate here, so pretty young. My mum is pretty oppressive and emotionally abusive and I don’t have much relationship experience but
this article caught my eye because I do tend to gravitate towards the most difficult relationships and it took me a long time to learn to say no. There was an ENTJ I was slightly involved with a couple years back. Academically brilliant guy. idk if he’s a narcissist from a clinical standpoint but he definitely has many symptoms and is disliked by most of our peers. I’m quite sure he liked me first. He seemed to respect me a lot initially but after I revealed my feelings to him, his politeness soured. He pretended to have no interest in me and went out of his way to be downright condescending and mean and manipulative. I saw through it though and when I’d try to confront him about it (or anything for that matter), he’d get unreasonably defensive. If he couldn’t win an argument he’ll accuse you of lying or say “my friends all think you’re wrong.” It did take me a while to get over him (years) but I did with anger as my fuel. I couldn’t relate to what you said about guilt. As a 4w3 in the household I lived in, I also experience repressed self hate (I often catch myself mumbling ‘I hate myself and want to kill myself’) but hardly ever overt guilt like what you’re describing. I think I’m good at deciphering intentions but perhaps I just haven’t met a skilled manipulator. Or perhaps I’m so used to my mum trying to guilt/manipulate me that I’ve become kinda immune to many control tactics.
I also had a friendship with a self absorbed ENFJ. I know they didn’t mean it but because I appeared to be such a good listener, they kinda got attached to me and would come after me to prattle endlessly about the randommest things about themselves without regard for my needs. I just avoided them for a while. We’re on ok terms now.
Currently, romantically, I’m focused on the man I’ve loved since age 12. I’ve never met him irl since he lives abroad but I found him in a chatroom. I’m 18. He’s 22 and has borderline personality disorder. He didn’t know I existed until last summer. We haven’t talked since he flipped out on me 7 months ago. Finding out he had bpd was kind of a revealing moment for me because I had always known he “reminded me of myself” and so learning about his disorder taught me quite a bit about myself. For example, that I have a repressed need for intimacy and am terrified of rejection. I often formed my self perception on ideals I assimilated from society (“I’m a strong independent woman who doesn’t care what anyone thinks!”) so getting to know what I was really like under this self deception was… cool. I’m nervous about this relationship though, if he’ll talk to me again. If we’ll meet. And if we meet, I know it’s going to be unhealthy. But it feels like a bomb is ticking inside me and in order to stop the bomb from ticking, I must give him the love he’s never had. Idk if I’ll want to walk away. And he’ll probably feel bad for putting me through this. And it’s just so, unlikely to turn out well…
I know I type a lot. Apologies if I overwhelmed you. I’m a little like that ‘self absorbed enfj friend’ I had when it comes to textual communication : [
Hi ReRe! Please don’t apologize, you haven’t overwhelmed me, it’s okay. I can say to you is, you need to take care of yourself and determine your priorities. The priority must be your well being. If that person is draining you to your absolute limit,s then you might consider making some changes. But at all times remember, self care is not selfish, it’s a means how we INFJs can protect ourselves. Listen to your intuition and what it tells you, but always know that you deserve to receive that wonderful care and attention that you so selflessly give.
Was so glad to find this forum. Am trying to really learn more and more about my infj personality as I am dealing with a narc co worker that I work very closely with. Things are finally coming to a head as I am finally seeing what this really is and what it has done to me to work with her. I am a teacher and am being supported by my principal but I know it will be tough now that I am finally standing up for myself after four years.
I’m glad you found us, Winniecat! Hope the site and the forum will help you in what you are going through. Good to hear that things are improving! 🙂
I too am glad I came across this forum. Learning more about being INFJ personality and how damn narcissists are drawn to me. Twice now I’ve been caught up in toxic friendships with narcissists without realising until its too late. the first I no longer have any interaction with. I employed the Door Slam (only recently found out about that and what it is but its what happened) there are days I would like to call them up to check in on them but I know not to ever initiate contact as it would just start all over again. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson after that but no, here I am in yet another toxic situation. In my current situation, I not only work alongside this person, I share a house with them! Like the old saying goes ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ because it did I needed a place to live closer to work, I had no idea I was going to be sharing a house with yet another narcissist. If situations were different I would break lease and move out tomorrow but its only a couple more months left to go on the lease and I’m planning my next move, I’ve got this far and not that far to go now. I can’t wait to get my own place again!
Glad you found the forum, Kismet! I believe that it’s not been easy for you being in the current, toxic situation, but am glad to hear that you will have your own place again. 🙂
Unfortunately, I married someone with a psychopathic personality. Not only that, but he’s my polar opposite personality type – ESTP. He’s not a narcissist or sociopath, but hits all the markers for psychopath. I didn’t know until last year the full impact of what that meant, but I finally learned about gaslighting, and all the other manipulative methods he and people like him use on empaths like me. The hardest part is I’ve been a SAHM since we married, and we have many children together (and one child – well, he’s 18 now, but high-functioning ASD so in some ways still childlike – from a relationship before I met him). I have no support; we’ve been through counseling several times, I’ve gone through my own journey of discovery but the practical side of it is, I have no way to leave him. I want to break free, but without the means to support myself and my kids, I’m stuck. Family isn’t an option (my own family is still toxic, his is on the other side of the country and only his dad has any clue as to the life we’ve lived behind the scenes) and we live in a small town hours from any real “city”. On the outside we have a beautiful life… house, dogs and cats, sweet kids involved in sports and church activities, husband who works hard at his job… and on the inside it’s torture. I feel like I have nowhere left to turn. 🙁
I am so sorry you are going through this, FlyAway… I really hope the situation will somehow improve for the better… Feel free to join the INFJ forum if you so choose. You will be understood and accepted there. No one will judge you and all the INFJs will accept you, just the way you are.
It’s been some time, but I (INFJ) am in very similar situation, and since that can`t be changed, only way is to changa ourselfs.
Solution is mindfulnes, breathing meditation, in general Eckart Tolle etc.
I would like a word wity You, so contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
I think narcissist want someone whose emotions can be toyed for their ego bolsting and feeding of false image as narcissist are emotional vampires. INFJ are empathetic and sensitive enough to appear as vulnerable and weak to narcissist. They prey on INFJ who are open minded and so narcissist can read them very well later abusing them emotionally and pshycologically. As INFJ i feel emotions in depth ( only if hooked up) and can never be thick skinned to ignore the red flags. Yes it was my fault because I got dragged into whirlwind of my own emotions despite of his degrading behaviour after the facade of nice, charismatic person was over. Why I was looking for any affirmation of my feelings or my self worth from the one for whom I was nothing. So I am only responsible for my cpstd, anxiety and depression. As far as going no contact is concerned, intermittent reinforcement in abusive relationship destroyed the brain chemistry to the level that I got addicted to him and so breaking off took time and strength. But before I went completely no contact, I must say that reacting to narcissist provocation (lunatic provocation which he does by instigating or hoovering or whichever mode) gave him pleasure. For narcissist others pain is their pleasure. The part which I consider is not my fault is the narcissist wearing the facade of good person in initial stage of relationship. It was his dishonesty and scheming to get me hooked up.
I fully agree with you, Anu. It wasn’t your fault. Narcissists are drawn to our type of personality, but trust me when I say, you did nothing wrong to attract him/her.
I’m seventeen years old and a recent graduate from high school. Still recovering from the anxiety of such a momentous day! My counselor asked me to do our opening commencement speech and I was happy to share my story with my peers and their families.
I never would’ve imagined being able to rise to such an occasion. Dealing with the unpredictability of mental illness often left me feeling jaded and dispirited. Yesterday, I felt confident, happy and loved.
The only dread I had was leaving behind some of the friends I’d made at school. Our whole student body was limited to one hallway, so I thrived in such a small setting. It was easy to make connections. One of which was this boy that I was close with.
Our entire friendship was based on if we could make each other laugh- and we did. Of course, it wasn’t long before the crush started to develop.
I was very emotionally attached and fond of his company, but I often lied to my therapist about what kind of person he was. I just wanted it to make sense.
Embarrassed, I made him out to be thoughtful and generous, when he was actually the complete opposite. He often put me down and criticized me for being nice to other people. He was also jealous of my accomplishments and even called me names.
For some reason, I was totally blind to this. I continued to be drawn to him. It wasn’t until after graduation that I realized what was going on. I forced traits on him that he didn’t possess. To make myself happy, I just pretended that he did.
Our addictive banter never made up for his lack of kindness.
He was not a good friend. There were no words exchanged before or after the ceremony. Not even a goodbye.
After reading your article, I considered whether or not he might be a narcissist. Do you think so? I’m still in need of some closure/INFJ advice, if you will.
Thanks so much!
Hi Jessica! I am honored that my article shed some light on what you faced. I am really sorry you had to go through this… Few people really understand how it feels being an INFJ and in a relationship with a narcissist. Yes, I believe that he was a narcissist. The traits you described about him fit the description. After this important life event you had (graduation), remember these words: Follow your heart and never allow anyone to tell you that you can’t do something. You are enough, you are worthy, you are important. Nurture your INFJ personality, let it leads you to where you want to be. remember, you are enough. I deeply thank you fort sharing this story, and I hope what I said will help.
I really appreciate the encouragement. Thanks for responding so promptly. Also, is there any way I can add a picture to my profile?
You are most welcome, Jessica. 🙂 Yes, go to the site called Gravatar insert your wordpress login details, and besides it you, will see a space where you can insert your picture. Gravatar will then connect that picture with your profile on wordpress.
Thank you so much for this article! It’s nice to know there’s nothing wrong with me. My aunt (I stay with her) always makes me feel guilty when I’m quiet….she despises quiet people because she doesn’t know what they’re thinking so she doesn’t trust them. And then I feel like a bad person for disliking her sometimes cos she says all her ‘corrections’ are for my own good. And she calls me stupid a lot, which I hate. But there’s nothing wrong with me. She’s the one with the problem
You are most welcome, Desha! Please know that there is nothing wrong with you, there never was, and I am really sorry you are facing this situation… I hope your aunt will understand and see that you are wonderful, just the way you are.
Took me awhile to recognize I was dealing with narcissist personalities around me, and in past relationships.
My most significant past relationship, while only lasting 6 months, was all consuming, and by the end it had fully destroyed my self esteem. (Took a long time to recover). I initially felt over the moon at his attention, and what I thought were expressions of love, was him only using me physically, while he kept me at an emotional distance. I yearned for that deeper connection, but it was becoming more clear he was only trying to hide me away and use me. At the time, I kept wondering what I was doing wrong? I was trying to balance being loving and devoted, and win his connectedness, while trying to be careful not to come across as too clingy. In the end he finally broke it off, and for a long time I was devastated. Shortly after the break up, the next day I’d oddly confided in him, that I’d been molested in my youth by my older brother over the course of a few years. His reaction is what appalls me most to this day; he brushed it off saying it’s pretty common, like it was no big deal. I understand he was already in the mindset of being done with me, but it was clear he did not value me at all.
The other narcissist in my life, is my dad. Over the years, I was always very dedicated to trying to uplift my dad’s spirits, defend his immature/ rude behavior over the years to my siblings, clean up after his excessively slovenly habits (out of trying to help my mom feel less stressed), and was attentive to his accomplishments, and always ready with a compliment when he fished for it. I recognized that beneath my dad’s extraverted, fun, boisterous outward demeanor, inside he carried a deep depression and self-loathing. As a kid I sympathized, and took on the full brunt of trying to make things better for everyone in our household.
Growing up and into adulthood, my dad has only ever complimented me on my looks, or ability to attract men into my life for the purpose of procreation to extend our family. He has never complimented me on my achievements or personality traits. Even after years of pursuing an art career I’m passionate about, he has only criticisms for my work, or always compares my siblings works as superior to mine. Any time I wanted to learn a new skill, he’d take over as a means of showing off, or sometimes mock how I was lacking. And if I ever crossed him and was not the obedient daughter, he would quickly become domineering, loud/booming, angry, vindictive, and would dish out over-the-top punishments not suited to the “offense” at hand. I once overheard him tell a friend, that he preferred his children to fear him, as a means of control and discipline.
At the same time, there have been those rare occasions where my dad has actually apologized for his asshole ways, (something rarely seen within the narcissist). And a time or two he has sincerely hugged and told me he loves me. I recognize my dad was emotionally abused as a kid by his own dad who was also a narcissist, so I think some part of him (at times) recognizes when he is perpetuating the same unsavory behavior onto us. He has thankfully mellowed out a great deal these days, but I still have to keep on guard from time to time. Despite all of it a part of me still loves and cares about him, and despite all I’ve listed, he has also done kind and helpful things for me from time to time over the years, gotten me to laugh, or once or twice has had a couple heartfelt, genuine talks with me, while a stark opposite time he’s called me a bitch to my face, or refused to apologize. Soo.. what I’ve learned is I can’t be too emotionally vulnerable with him, in order to safeguard myself. He’s far from perfect, but I do appreciate the times where he does try to improve. Still where possible, its safer to keep a little distance.
Through therapy I’ve learned how to establish boundaries. I’ve learned how to stand up for myself, find my voice, and to value and identify my true sense of self. I no longer clean up after anyone else’s messes or try to fix them, or listen to un-constructive criticisms. And I prioritize my own needs first.
I have not felt ready to accept a man into my life just yet, but know I’d like to one day. I have a hard time trusting men in general, so it takes me a long while to allow closeness. But these days, I can spot narcissists much more easily, and I feel stronger and more capable with how to avoid others taking advantage of my kind qualities.
Despite everything bad that has ever happened to you regarding narcissists Linda, I am glad that you now have boundaries established, and that you put yourself at first place, along with listening to that inner INFJ voice.
Thank you, and thanks for your insightful article. Helps reading up on this kinda stuff from time to time. I truly feel like I’m doing much better these days, but thought I’d share my experiences so others know what to watch out for, and know that it can get better as they look after themselves. We INFJs can still be kind and loving people, but just be careful not to get trampled by those who’d seek to take advantage. Best of wishes.
You are most welcome Linda, thank you for your kind words and insightful thoughts. 🙂
Great post. I’m just learning about my INFJ-ness and I wish I had known all this years ago!
Thanks RachelT! Don’t worry, it’s never too late, and I’m glad you found out you are an INFJ. 🙂
This article has been so helpful to me! I am beginning to divorce my husband of two years after realizing he has been dishonest throughout our relationship. When I ask myself why I allowed this, I realize guilt is behind it. I stayed because he constantly implied that I didn’t appreciate or love him enough even though he loved me with all his heart. I was thoroughly convinced that my inability to completely give myself over to him in love was because I was selfish. Now I know I was protecting my heart from someone who would only destroy it. This is not my first toxic relationship with a narcissist. In fact, it’s a clear pattern. After reading this, I now know to feel deserving of love from a good man even when I feel undeserving (and this has certainly kept me from pursuing men I respected and admired in the past). Thank you so much for this valuable information!
I’m glad you found this article helpful, Brie! I’m sorry you are going through this… But know that you deserve to be appreciated and cherished, and that you are important. 🙂
I had something with a girl a one point. She isn’t a narcissist, far from it. However, we both have our own issues. And it seemed like I couldn’t make her happy and it was all I wanted to do. She didn’t want a relationship because she lived in another country, but she initiated the flirting. I ended up trying everything to make her a happier person because I could see how broken she was, but I couldn’t do it. And I don’t think she needs me either because I never could do anything. But what I did realise from this article is my need to try to change the person I’m with, to “fix” them, because that’s in my nature, which isn’t something I really noticed. I may not relate to this story completely (since I’m young and inexperienced), but it has made me aware so thank you. I’ll be more on my guard if I enter a relationship and they seem to be narcissistic. When I can’t make the other person happy, I feel like I’m not doing my job. If I can’t help them I feel it’s my fault because I’m not doing enough, but it has obviously nothing to do with me and it’s not my responsibility.
I’m glad to hear this article helped you Hannah! You said great things here! Like you said, it’s not your job to fix anyone, and you are not responsible for someone else happiness, remember that. All you can do is fully accept that person, and hope that she will return you that care that you most certainly deserve. 🙂
I am married to a wonderful man, who is not narcissistic at all. However, I seem to attract friends who are. One in particular was so devastating, and it took me a long time to see that the problem was not me. It seemed no matter what I did it was not good enough for her. If she called and I could not stop what I was doing to give her my undivided attention she accused me of not caring, being self-absorbed, and inattentive to her needs. I soon discovered I was the ONLY friend she had. I began to realize that she was very “unwell” and as I always research things I came to discover what narcissism looks like. Breaking free was good but I must admit it was not easy…and I felt guilty despite knowing I needed to do it. She still tries contacting me about once a year. I am able to speak briefly with her without being sucked in. The last time she tried the guilt thing…but I just laughed softly to myself and let it go.
I’m sorry you had to go through this Deborah… I believe you that it wasn’t easy to break off from that friendship. But you are doing a good job at protecting yourself. 🙂
I am currently in a friendship with a narcissist. She always takes advantage of me but I always let her for some reason. All of my other friends dislike her and i sort of do too, but I always feel sorry for her and know that if i stop being friends with her, she won’t have any other friends. I know that it isn’t my fault that she is the way she is but I feel that i shouldn’t ignore her and i also feel like i have to do something about it, so i stay her friend. But recently, she has made a new friend with another girl and i think that now i can end my friendship with her because she won’t be alone if i do. But i still kind of want to stay her friend because i know that her knew friend will soon leave her too. Even though it will be her fault i don’t want to see her suffer. What should i do?
I understand that you don’t want to end this friendship, but remember that you need to take care of yourself too, Illuna. Your feelings matter, and you also need validation without being used, and if she is taking advantage of you, then you have to consider making some changes that won’t be pleasant, but are perhaps necessary.
Thank you for this article. Maybe unlike most, I was aware pretty early on the kind of relationship I was getting into, but I was on a self-destructive streak and didn’t care.
Thankfully, I have cast off all my narcissist relationships and moved on. But it’s like an addiction – there’s always a weakness you have to keep an eye on and protect.
Still, I appreciate how this breaks down the facts and reality. It’s confirmation of what I thought about them, my self and the situation. It’s comforting.
You are most welcome Natasha. 🙂 I’m glad you’re not in these kind of narcissistic relationships any longer, but it’s never easy to escape from them like you said.
I’m an INFJ female who was recently interested in a male, INFJ narcissist. We had a lot in common; but his narcissism was overwhelming. Ultimately, he started seeing a weak-minded, drama-filled, married female, who treats him like he’s a god..feeds into his narcissism, which I never really did. It was painful to lose someone who was in my life for 2 years; but I know I don’t need someone who breaks up marriages and thinks he’s God’s gift to the world.
I’m really sorry you had to go through this ordeal Jennifer, but you were right to withdraw from it.
I think one of the biggest factors is that a lot of narcissists have some sad sob story to try to justify their crappy behavior, and being an INFJ, they take advantage of the fact that you care about them. I’ve spend the last few years being consistently taken advantage of by narcissistic jerks who used sob stories to justify treating me like trash, but that caring INFJ nature prevented me from really standing up for myself.
I’m sorry you had to go through that Noah… it can be difficult sometimes because we care so much for others, even when they are toxic to us.
Hi I am Ashley. I am 16 and have been with people with narcissistic personality disorder since I was a real young. My father had a huge impact on my self esteem and my ability to function on my own and make my own decisions. I am healing and growing and learning more and more about how it affected me and how I can grow from it.
I was just in a relationship with a narcissist person and it actually helped me to realize some of my strengths and that I am a smart person.
I ended the relationship in a non merciful way and was very honest. I had been super in love with this person and it got real one sided and I recognized the narcissistic traits real soon. I just want to say to all you people who have been abused by narcissists…
First of all, be patient with yourself. There is a lot of shame and guilt that you feel when you’re in these toxic relationships. That’s the first sign that it’s a narc and you need to break contact. Dealing with these people feels very firmiliar… I believe that is WHY we go into these relationships (because it’s what we are used to..)! But I just wanted to say that you are way smarter than you probably think..
A narcissistic person will target everything about you that threatens their own importance. That is why so many of us revert to feeling like we are soooo unsure of ourselves… but really we are.
If you are honest with your gut feelings (no matter how much the narc tries to guilt you or confuse you) you can tell that a realtionship is toxic. YOU ARE SMART. GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT. You know when it’s not right. Go with your gut.
Also I mentioned guilt and shame. I found an anonymous quote about shame “shame (I am shit!), guilt (I do shit!).” And that is what you may be believing of yourself. The feelings of shame (feeling shitty) and guilt (feeling like you always mess up or aren’t enough!!) are strong feelings. But that doesn’t mean you can’t conquer them once you realize this important fact about yourself and the narcissistic.
You are smart. You are beautiful. You are so unique and wonderful in your own special way. You are very talented and extremely passionate about what you love. You should never let a human being void of all of those wonderful things MAKE you feel GUILTY for that. You are so much more worthy. And you are WAY too smart to allow a predator to victimize and manipulate you so easily.
Give yourself the credit you deserve. ❤️
Thank you so much for sharing this, Ashley! 🙂
I have had the similar story. Its been almost 3 months she had fiercely broke up with me by even including my family into this. But I still miss her and I still lover her and hope that she will come back and apologize. But in our relationship of almost one year, she was never be the one who came and apologized after any fight. And I still knows that she will never come back but I have become so weak.
How can I get over from this?
Hello, Marko. I want to join your INFJ Forum. The link is not working.
Hi Tyler, The forum is now closed. I will remove the link.
I have always been an ENFJ. After dealing with narcissist and awakening to my contribution, I scored as an ISFJ for the first time! Not the same person as in my youth.