From a young woman in the U.K.: I have been in a relationship past three years with a person I thought was narcissist. I found it really hard to move out after he attacked me physically. I am now feeling the urge to have someone near me (dependency issues- obviously miss him a lot) I know that from the start he was amazing and such a gentleman and throughout the years I was bound with his rules I couldn’t go out or meet friends. He was very manipulative and created drama for no reason. In the last year I’ve also however learned his game and added onto the drama. And I did sometimes enjoy it which hurts me to say out loud.

Now that I left him and I am single again I just want to have healthy relationships around me. I have however taken the test here for narcissistic disorder and my score was well in the narcissist field. I am afraid even for the thought of that. I know I’m lacking self love and I try to meditate daily and sometimes do self love hypnosis. I personally don’t think I’ve had much trauma in childhood… perhaps dependency issues with mom. But I don’t think my parents were narcissistic. Therefore I am really just one confused human. I know I’m not entirely healthy mentally… hence why I felt so dependent on my ex and now I just replaced it with new contacts (friends) etc.

What is the best way to heal? Am I really a narcissist? Can I ever heal from that? Should I search for a therapist? How do I manage to love myself genuinely? How do I manage to not need anyone’s attention? Or just to be by myself not in need to contact anyone at all? What do I do not to hurt others? How to see people other than how can I use them and how can I benefit from them?  Please help. I don’t want to hurt others. I genuinely just want to be human like others, be happy, love, and not be dependent and not use others for benefits.

Please be cautious about accepting an assessment from an online “test”.  Such tests are not meant to be a substitute for careful assessment by a licensed clinician. They are only meant to flag potential issues so you can think about them. Since you were emotionally and physically beaten down by someone you loved, you are vulnerable to taking on far too much blame and shame. People who have been victimized often question themselves, as you do. That probably skewed how you answered the items on the test.

I wish I could give you a simple answer to your questions. I can tell that you genuinely don’t want to hurt anyone and that you just as genuinely want to heal. But the questions you asked are too complicated for a simple answer. You deserve better than some glib response from me.

You are asking thoughtful, complex questions. You deserve equally thoughtful, complex answers. For that reason, I do urge you to see a therapist to get the support you need to heal from an abusive, controlling relationship.  If you could recover on your own, you would have done so already. You need and deserve the help a therapist can provide.

I wish you well,

Dr. Marie