Narcissism 101

Nicole Brewer
5 min readMay 5, 2024

Part 1: Based on Personal Experience and Research

Photo Credit: Kim Sikko Unsplash

Mental Health Education

Often, I wonder why we do not teach the signs and symptoms of mental health issues to our kids in schools. How will they know what they could experience on the inside is not normal?

Why do we not teach both males and females red flags to watch out for when our kids begin to date? Have we formed a safety plan with our dating teens if they were to experience aggressiveness from the other person. Have we discussed things not being afraid to speak up or not having to feel shame or guilt?

We can sit back and hope our kids will never experience things of this nature. The problem is sitting back and hoping does not end the possibility of it happening. Will your child know what to do if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation?

Abusive Relationships

I was in an abusive relationship in my early 20’s. By the the time I was 30 I was diagnosed with PTSD. I remember asking my therapist, “is that not for people who have fought in wars?” Slowly she raised her head to look into my eyes and very gently placed her hand on top of mine and said, “but you have been at war my child, you have fought a battle with someone you should have not had to fight.”

I stared into her kind eyes and slowly begin to cry.

In the Beginning

Never in a million years, did I think I would find myself crawling out of the trenches again. I knew what narcissism was and I know red flags to watch for too well.

Part of the problem is we view narcissism through a negative lens but that keeps us watching for a different set of flags.

Narcissism is associated with an inflated sense of ego, vanity, and self-centeredness.

I did not know there was a type of narcississm where the narc themselves were very kind and loving. Looking back on my experience now, there were still red flags but my kids told me I was overreacting and projecting my past onto him and his family but they were already being love- bombed by both him and his mother.

You can’t teach your kids what you do not know yourself and early in our relationship the act of love-bombing was foreign to me.

I damn sure did not know there was such a thing as a kind narcissist. I thought I had the perfect man. He was kind, gentle, loving, selfless, and he loved me. Even better, my kids loved and respected him and he was very loving to them.

They had this kind of strange comradery. It was them vs. me inside the house. They called me the warden. I could not figure out who their leader was at first because he would not encourage their little house gang or give me a name like the warden.

He was very much the ring leader.

It was funny at first. It was also nice to see them all laughing together. They or we needed that kind of closeness in our lives. I was very grateful he bonded with them like that and vice versa. I was even a little jealous of their bond.

Was it me? Was I incapable of having that kind of closeness with him or them? Was I unloveable? Maybe I was exactly what they said I was-a warden. I didn’t fit in with my own family. I wanted to be apart of their little house gang. I didn’t have what it takes on the inside to have that closeness.

I was unloveable. I was the warden.

My children were happy and I wanted them to finally have a male figure in their lives they looked up to.

I was just overreacting, cast out, and on the outside looking in to the family who used to be mine.

Check out those smiles though! I was happy for them.

You see how that worked? Manipulation at its finest and not one of realized we were being manipulated.

He disempowered me from my children right from the start because he would need them later on down the line. When it was time to actually use them as pawns in his efforts to try and maintain his control over me.

But why?

Sometimes there is no why; there is a who instead.

There was no rhyme or reason; it’s just who they are.

Then There Were Two

Notice, I said they. His mom was love-bombing my children too under the guise of “never having any grandchildren of my own.” She was shopping with them buying them whatever they needed or wanted. When it was just us, we had to be careful with money.

Something in my gut did not sit right with me. I didn’t know what it was but it just did not sit well.

I was being ungrateful. I remember trying to talk to him about how it was all making me feel and think. But he brushed it off told me I should be happy we could be a family and do these things.

One of the kids walked by and the husband nodded his head laughing and said, “warden.” My child laughed saying,”you need some help, __________, “he said, nah I got it.”

Up until this writing, I always thought the look on his face after their exchange was pride like he was proud of himself for their bond.

He was.

But it was his motives that were sinister.

The narcissist who is kind is the most dangerous one.

The Facts

The most classic trait of the kind narcissist is to the outside world he is a well- thought of person. Everyone knew him in the community, he was well respected. The same is true for his parents. He was known for being kind and always going out of his way to help people. You could not ask for a better person.

I could not have asked for a better husband and stepfather to my children.

Who was I going to talk to?

Who was going to believe me?

No one. Absolutely no one.

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Nicole Brewer

Mom. Wife. Creator. Marketer. Leader. | Writing: Content & SMM, Life, Self, Addiction/Recovery, Mental Health. | Open to gigs! www.nicolebrewer.org