You’re Never Good Enough

I ran into one of my friends that I had a few classes with on the quad of the university I was attending. “Hey!” I shouted waving hello, extending the jovial feeling that I was experiencing as a result of the beautiful sunny day we were having. “Hi”, she responded, darkly. I instantly realized she was in a down mood, so I thought about asking her what’s up and seeing if there is a way to cheer her up. “Is anything wrong?” I offered. There was. She mentioned what was bothering her; it’s been so long it evades me what it was. Although, I do remember that in my best-trained narcissist magnet fashion I worked extra hard to understand her problem, empathize, and help her.

There was always some sort of issue going on in her life. And I already knew to ask. I also already knew how I can offer my help and support. I captured her attention that way. If I did that, I was able to call her my friend. The more friends I had, the more validated I felt. The more validated I felt, the more I fulfilled my need for approval. The more I was securing other people’s approval, the more I felt as if I could actually, one day, feel good enough.

Years later, after awakening to the idea of what narcissism is, I recognized the patterns of narcissists and my adaptations to them. I thought back to this friend and how needed I felt when I was listening to her problems, but as soon as I was done lifting her up her eyes would always scan the room for other people to find to talk or interact to. I recalled the times when I having a conversation with a narcissistic boss of mine and she promptly got up and left the middle of what I was saying to go talk to someone “better” that had just walked into the room.

I learned these adapted behaviors from growing up with a narcissist father. I acclimated early on to give up completely on myself to serve him in order to one day hope that my love for my father and family would be reciprocated. It never was. And it never was in any following relationship either.

Despite all the work that has been done and all the knowledge that has been accumulated, there are still times when I feel like I am stepping out of my body and playing with that puppet version of myself that I trained myself to be. I still feel my self- confidence pulled and tugged by what impressions others have of me.

I find myself compulsively adapting to the individuals around me, trying to keep them constantly laughing, asking them questions when there is a lull in the conversation, silently apologizing for who I am when I feel that we are not clicking. My fault is to play the role of pleaser, especially to those who exhibit the same signs of my father.

Recently, I met up with a colleague of mine. I really never really vibed with him well and knew that I didn’t consider him a friend. He is not a narcissist but shares similar qualities with narcissists, in particular, on the scale of being agreeable. During and after the night I noticed that my mood dropped and I felt judged. It wasn’t even his behavior, which I had already come to know, that bothered me. It was my own tendency to try to make things better, make excuses for everything, and instead try to be pleasing to cover up how poorly I was feeling…or at least hope that the judgments would stop through kindness. Again, they did not.

All of this, in the name of still trying to vie for that approval from others.

I have to tell myself to stop. Stop trying so hard. It’s not worth it. Things will play out just as they will play out; I am only responsible for myself. People, not just narcissists, will have judgments of you and project what their perspective and knowledge of the world is onto you.  It is not our duty to please all of those around us, especially narcissists. This does not make anyone less empathetic, it makes our identities and healthy relationships stronger. To quote one of my good friends “Narcissist are always miserable because they never feel as if they are being treated as worthy as they think they deserve to be.” And you, as the narcissistic magnet, are only as good as the narcissistic supply that you show them and will always be miserable if you allow them to treat you as unworthy as you believe that you are.

Written by: Anna (Creator of Echo’s Corner)

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11 thoughts on “You’re Never Good Enough

  1. Nancy Phillips says:

    Dear Anna,

    I have recently found your blog and it is a God send. I have just ended a relationship with a Narcissist who would according to one scale I read be a 9. 10 being a psychopath. I am still reeling and getting my head together. He and I were not in a romantic relationship. He was a member of my church who was a shut-in. That was how we hooked up. I had gone to school with him long ago and had at one time dated his brother. He was also a disabled veteran from the Vietnam Conflict. So I had a powerful hook in helping him. As I am sure you know, he took over my whole life with that powerful I am helpless act and nearly drained the life out of me. But I’m free. I took steps to cut off all access to myself by him, because I’m sure if I gave him half a chance we would still be doing he Narcissist/Codependent dance. Thanks so much for this blog.

    Nancy

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  2. Sara says:

    Daughter of a narcissistic father here. Every word you have written resonates so powerfully with me that I have had to stop and ask myself if perhaps I started a blog in my sleep. But seriously, very glad to have stumbled upon this. -Sara

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  3. Steph says:

    I too have just found your blog and have never heard the term ‘narcissist magnet’ before, but it is so true. I have an upcoming meeting with my narcissistic mother after years of no contact, and all the old feelings of trying to be good enough are overwhelming me – below which lies fear! I was doing so well with no contact, but the offer to meet for lunch was too great a pull for the ‘magnet’ which still thinks if I can be good enough all will be well. Thanks for blog, and any tips would be much appreciated .

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    • EchosCorner says:

      Wow. After going through no contact, I’m sure you gained a really great perspective on your relationship as well as learned a lot about yourself. Take that with you. Remember, a stumble is better than a fall, and if things go south, its your right to a decision to go no contact again if you choose to do so.

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      • Brandi says:

        Ce n’est plus 7 mais 11 cas déclarés au lycée Delacroix !!Tous contaminés à partir d’une seule peresnno.Merci aux autorités (in) compétentes de si bien protéger élèves et personnel de cette grave maladie !

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  4. Al Ford says:

    I have been reading your articles and as a fellow codependent previously married to a narcissist, I fully understand the relationship concerns. I was married and had 3 beautiful boys with my ex wife. Such a narcissist, that when she left, her Mother told me that the Boys needed to live with me. She told everyone around us that I sexually, physically and mentally abused her… and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Right after the divorce was final and her first weekend with them was over, she decided to tell the 3 boys – ages 5, 11 and 12 at the time, that she was moving to Singapore (moved to be with her boss/Sr VP and now husband, that she previously worked with as his assistant) and dropped them back off at my home – no warning to me – and left the next day for me to handle their fragile and shaken state of mind. When she returned 2.5 years later, they started and have been searching for her approval of themselves ever since… and to make matters worse, she successfully characterized me as the problem for everything. My boys are now 21, 20 and 14. Each of them torn between us as parents and struggling with their own identity.

    This world readily acknowledges the women that have to put up with men who leave and their narcissistic tendencies… but at least the children see that on television and in the movies and don’t feel quite so alone in this world. What my boys do not see on TV or the movies is that women, even though it is more rare, are just as capable. The world tells them that your Mom loves you more than anyone else… and it’s this double standard that has made my life even more difficult.

    As the author is very introspective, I am as well. I have full confidence in myself and believe in what I do. I do not fight this world and its perceptions, but the prison I live in is the day my boys realize what happened to them. I can only hope they find similar blogs that can help them recognize what they have been through and bring them to peace and understanding, hoping only that they can see themselves as I see them… beautiful, strong and courageous for the journey they had to go on… and hopefully to appreciate what they accomplished despite the obstacles presented.

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    • EchosCorner says:

      My mother was so abused by by narcissistic father that her sense of worthiness and esteem was completely destroyed by the time she passed. It was years later that I found out (through a therapist) that my father was a narcissist. Because my mother was so full of shame that my father projected onto her for some reason she never spoke poorly of my father to me. And I always wish she had. I wish I had heard from her that he was terrible as I saw him to be. I wish I would have know so she would have know I felt the same way. I wish I would have know so maybe I could have started my search and asked for help much earlier.

      Everybody’s path is different. I hope the best for you and your sons. At least, you know the truth.

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  5. Vanessa says:

    I am not new to recovery from my codependency, but I am new to the awareness of the “narcissist”. It would be like hearing the mythology of Echo without Narcissist. There is a direct correlation, a dynamic that feeds off each other. I always thought my parents where “selfish”, but now I know them to be Narcissists. And it does change everything. And now I see all my past relationships definitely carry that dynamic. Awareness>Acceptance>Action. I sit here today, stopping myself from my life long pattern of rescuing, care taking, the other. It was extremely uncomfortable this morning, less uncomfortable this afternoon, and so much better now after reading your blog and fellow comments. I am determined to my recovery, if I don’t stop my patterns now, then when?? After the ending of my last relationship I wrote my arbitrary. Describing how I lay there dead, all used up and wasted away from trying to please others, (that rarely reciprocated), so that I felt loved. It does not work that way. I am 43, I hopefully have another 43 years left, God willing, I have to do it different. Love to my fellow survivors and fighters.

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    • EchosCorner says:

      Very powerful Vanessa. Reading comments such as yours helps not only myself, but others in this journey as well. Good fro you for inviting that awareness and building the courage to take action, as we all know, it is not easy. Sending you strength and peace to continue on your path with courage and that you may give and be given to in return. We deserve no less, not anymore now that we know better. Best of luck to you!

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