Being normal folk, you, my friends, no doubt look to other people for something called validation. Validation is when other people support or value something that you do, or think or feel, and in this way they provide a reality check of sorts. We’re social creatures, we humans, very much like the apes (some of us more like them than others), and it’s healthy and nurturing that we do this. It keeps us grounded and connected.
Accordingly, you, my friends, have no doubt looked to other people to see what they think of the narcissist. This also is good, because when the assclown starts ramping up the confusion, manipulation and lies, healthy people get a “what the hell?” look on their face and look for a reality check. You do this by checking to see if other people think he’s a fabulous guy, or if this is normal exciting relationship stuff and you just don’t get it, or else if they roll their eyes at his crap and inch away from him at parties. Validation isn’t and shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of a person’s confidence in their opinions and decisions, but it’s a big part of how we deal with things that are stressing us out.
Which can be a problem when it comes to being with narcissists. A big problem. Narcissists have been honing their bullsh*tting craft for years, maybe decades, and sometimes they’re really good at it. They’re good at conning other people into believing the narcissist is something he isn’t, whether it’s “honest”, or “deep”, or successful or hard-working or loving. They’re not nearly as good at pretending these things as they think they are, but they can fool some pretty smart, savvy people who are good at critical thinking, especially if those people aren’t paying particularly close attention. And so, when you look to others for what they think of the narcissist and his behavior, you may — or may not — get a good reality check. Some people you trust might think he’s an OK guy, just a little “insecure” or “needy” or “moody”. Some might buy into his self-aggrandizement and think you should keep him at all costs, he’s the catch of the year. Some might say all relationships are flawed, and you either work with it, or cut bait and move on. Some misguided best friends, parents, therapists, objective third parties, and celebrities say this kind of stuff. But that doesn’t make it true.
Now, pay attention here: These people are not saying these things because they’re true. They’re saying them because, well, God knows why, whether it’s because they don’t see it, or don’t care, or want to give out advice even if it’s bad. But they are NOT saying these things because they’re true.
Some people will tell you the narcissist is bad news and you should get away and stay away. These people care about you, they’re right, and you should listen. It’s good validation.
If you’re with someone who lies, is shallow, is fake and showy and manipulative and sometimes, if you’re honest you’ll admit it, sometimes just plain creeps you out, go ahead and seek out validation, because that kind of support feels good when life feels wobbly. But if some other people are telling you it’s all OK, he’s OK, and what’s going on isn’t a big deal and you should hang in there, take that as validation that they are fooled too, just like you were, that many people are fooled. But you — unlike those other people — see the deeper layers of dysfunction and destruction, and are smart and resourceful and self-loving enough to get far, far away.
A tip: If you run into these “I’m OK, he’s OK, suck it up” people later on and they ask about the narcissist, just tell them you had to unload him because you found out he was cheating. Everybody gets that. And since he’s a narcissist, even if you never really caught him at it, it probably isn’t even a fib. Narcissists can be kind of skanky that way.