Editor’s Note: Lorelle Shea, 24, of Tinton Falls was involved in a volatile relationship filled with narcissistic abuse. She was drawn into his charm and didn’t know what was happening until the roller coaster stopped. She is sharing her story to raise awareness about this “silent love killer.” This story comes one year after model Reeva Steenkamp was killed by her boyfriend.
Imagine meeting someone wonderful for the first time.
They are charming, sweet and talented, and everyone you know loves them. As you spend more time together, this person already seems like a true friend. Soon, you begin to notice tiny holes in their shiny image.
You overlook these unanswered, open-ended questions, giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Before long, their previous affection for you grows dim, and it is replaced by apathy and vague excuses. You begin to realize there are more sides to this person than you ever thought possible.
You are in the presence of a narcissist.
My newest friend was now a stranger, and as it turns out, part of the one-percent of the general population with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a condition of disturbing and chronic self-centeredness for which the modern world of psychology has no cure.
A narcissist’s stealthy quest for your time and attention will often have a bitterly devastating ending. They go from attentive lover to someone who won’t give you the time of day, seemingly overnight and with no explanation. Running hot and cold, they exhaust and deplete their supply, and move on to their next conquest with your heart still firmly attached.
I want to make it clear that narcissistic abuse happens to good people — those of which you wouldn’t think to take advantage. Narcissists wear many masks, and are effortless pathological liars.
The truth is, we are all prey for wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Escaping from narcissistic abuse takes something of a herculean effort. Now, I want to give others those three words I wish I’d known sooner: recognize narcissistic behavior, before it becomes narcissistic abuse.
The damage they leave in their wake can take years from your life, or even your life itself. The incredible South African model Reeva Steenkamp was killed at the hands of her narcissistic lover one year ago this past Valentine’s Day. Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius believed she was an intruder.
Know the signs, and protect yourself.