Spirituality of Nutrition

So…You’re in a Relationship With a Narcissist

Can You Relate?

Do you have a friend, partner, significant other, or family member who is constantly criticizing, belittling, or gaslighting you?

Maybe you’re not quite sure what feels like, but you do know that your relationship with that person just isn’t right.

In previous episodes, Cynthia has shared about how she navigates her relationship with her narcissistic mother.

She’s learned a lot about what Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is and how to recognize some of the red flags.

On this episode, Cynthia breaks down what the NPD spectrum is and the nine main characteristics of narcissists, so that you can better understand if this is what you are dealing with in your own life.

Identifying This Disorder

While people with NPD fall onto a spectrum, there are some cues that might signify this disorder.

If you’re struggling with someone in your life that you think might be on the NPD spectrum, Cynthia has some tried and true tips to help you distance yourself from that person.

She explains how you can work on responding instead of reacting, focusing on yourself, and setting boundaries.

Unfortunately, NPD doesn’t have a cure, but there are tools to help you heal and detach from those relationships.

An inspirational quote from episode 28

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What to do in This Situation

Cynthia has first-hand experience dealing with NPD in her own life, which is why this episode hits so close to home for her.

Today, she not only breaks down what it means to be a narcissist, but also how you can heal yourself after being close to a person who suffers with NPD.

Listen to Discover...
  • The criteria used to diagnose people with NPD 
  • Why arguing with a narcissist can feel impossible 
  • Recognizing when someone is gaslighting you 
  • Steps to get out of a relationship with someone with NPD
  • Helpful processes to heal from your relationship with a narcissist

Episode Resources:

Listen to The Transformational Nutrition Podcast on Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher

Ready to take the next steps toward becoming a Nutrition Coach?  Download our detailed Course Catalog

Want to hear more from the ITN student featured in this episode? Connect with Darcel!


Read the transcript for this episode:

[00:00:00] Cynthia Garcia: Fighting or arguing, or even having a discussion with someone with N P D feels impossible. The reason why is because there’s no debating or compromising with them, they are always right.

Welcome back to the Transformational Nutrition Podcast, the podcast that is redefining nutrition as anything that feeds you physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m your host. Cynthia Garcia, the founder and CEO of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. And in today’s episode, we are talking about how you can know if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist and what to do about it.

I know this one is a juicy one. So settle in and get ready to take some notes. So I’ll start this out with a personal story, because I can absolutely relate to what this is like to be in a relationship with a narcissist and to have to figure out how to navigate that as you may or may not know. I have had a tough relationship with my mother since.

As long as I can remember. I know I’m not alone. I know this is a common thread. I’ve talked to many people over the years about it, both as a coach. And just as an expert in this area, who’s always researching, diving, deeper into areas of mental health, our past history. And of course, what feeds us and how we heal from those issues in our past.

The thing that I realized as I got older, was that the big issue in our relationship was her narcissistic personality. Now, listen, I’m not judging anyone. I know after looking at my mother’s history and what she had been through her own trauma as a child. I realized that she was doing the best she could with what she had.

If she knew better, she would do better, but she just didn’t, she didn’t have the teachers, she didn’t need the help. She didn’t have the things that she needed in order to truly heal and transform. But when I discovered narcissistic personality disorder, it was super helpful in understanding her better.

And then also letting go of the shame that I had carried around because of the lack of a relationship that the two of us. Have now narcissism is properly viewed on a spectrum. So the narcissistic personality inventory or NPI was developed by Robert Raskin and Calvin S hall back in 1979. And it is the most commonly used scale.

If you will, to measure this trait, the scores range from zero to 40, with the average tending to fall in the low to mid. Teens. Now you should know that narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. It is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships.

And a lack of empathy for others. Now you might have been thinking that as I read out that definition that, you know, some people like that, maybe you’re in a relationship with people like that. So let’s dive deeper and talk about some of the warning signs and the impact that this can have on your life.

So here at ITN, we prioritize spiritual nutrition. We define spiritual nutrition as relationships and connection. It could be the relationship with yourself, the relationship with other people, the relationship with the environment, the planet, the world around us, and the relationship with something higher.

If you so to. Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be extremely harmful to one spiritual nutrition. It can hurt your own self-esteem it can make you feel extremely sad and anxious, and it can negatively impact the relationships that you have with other people in your life. You should also know that narcissistic personality disorder or N P D is difficult to diagnose and like other mental illnesses.

As I said earlier, it can show itself on a spectrum, but I do wanna go over a few red flags for you to look out for, because, well, I know that you care about this person, especially if you’re in a relationship with them. And I also, that you’re probably feeling confused and hurt as to what is going on and how you navigate it.

This week, we are spotlighting Darel OSA, a recent graduate of our certified transformational nutrition coach program here at ITN to begin, let’s hear a little bit about Daryl’s background and the why behind her decision to become a certified coach.

[00:04:40] Darcel Osei: Well, I was going to do a master’s in dance science because I’ve always kind of, I’ve always been interested in the science side of things as well. I’m currently a sports massage therapist. So when I went to uni, I did kinesiology major alongside dance. So. When I graduated, it was making the decision whether I wanted to be a physiotherapist or whether I wanted to dance.

And obviously I chose dance. So I thought, okay, let’s get back to the science side of things. So I was gonna do my masters, not really knowing what I was going to do with it. It was one of those. I was gonna do my masters because I felt like I should do my masters, cuz that’s the thing that people do. But a friend of mine, who’s also an ITN grad.

Put me onto a podcast called the model health show. The guy who does the podcast is action, an ITN grad as well. And it was, I remember that shift and I remember the first episode I listened to. I was running in the park and it just reminded me how much control we have over our own health and just the little things that we can do to just boost our health and wellbeing.

And then I got to the episode in the podcast where he talked about ITN. And he was encouraging people to kind of go down that route to, you know, be a vessel of, you know, sharing this information as well. And I was like, this is what I have to do. I 100% need to do this. And I, I mean, it didn’t even take a lot of thinking or going back and forth.

It was just like, this is what I have to do.

[00:06:07] Cynthia Garcia: So I gave you a brief description from the Mayo clinic of what narcissistic personality disorder is. Again, just to repeat that it is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

Okay. So there are nine official criteria used to classify people with narcissistic personality disorder or N P D. So they’re included in the definition I gave you, but let me read you these nine criteria. Now, the first one is a grandiose sense of self importance. Number two is a pre a patient with fantasies of unlimited success, power brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

The third thing is a belief that they’re special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high status people or institutions. The fourth thing is a need for excessive admiration. The fifth trait is a sense of entitlement. The sixth trait is interpersonally exploitive behavior.

Number seven is a lack of empathy for others. Number eight is an envy of others or belief that others are envious of them. And the final one, number nine is the demonstration of arrogant behaviors or attitudes. So again, as I go, as I went through that list, You might have been thinking about people who, you know, that display these traits.

I mean, you might have identified some of those with yourself, right. but what does this look like in the real world? Cause you know, sometimes it’s interesting to look at these medical definitions and these medical traits, but how does this actually present itself in real life humans? And I think that’s a great question.

So let’s dive into that now and let’s look at some different scenarios. Here’s one for you. One scenario is that they come on super strong, super strong maybe they texted you constantly. When you first met them, maybe they told you they loved you within the first month. Something that experts refer to as love bombing.

It’s true. Fun term, not so fun being on the receiving end of it though. maybe they tell you just how smart you are or emphasize how compatible you are, even if you’ve just started seeing each other. Now the reason they do this is because they think that they deserve to be with other people who are special.

And the special people are the only ones who can appreciate them fully. They try to force a sense of compatibility and amazement. If you will, to make themselves feel better about being with you. Does that make sense? In other words, they want you to feel special. They want you to seem special. They want you to be special, not because you are, but because that’s the person that they deserve to be with.

So take a cue there. If they come on super strong, you might be dealing with someone that has NPD. All right. Let’s check back in with ourselves to hear her talk about finding her ideal client and what her life has looked like since she graduated from ITN.

[00:09:23] Darcel Osei: I realize that my ideal client is kind of not to sound narcissistic, but me, I want to really serve high achieving women who are trying to achieve success in their life and kind of underline that. With getting their hormone health, I balance as well. And it kind of speaks to, I guess, my own journey going through lockdown, being a mom of a little one, I could tell that just my hormones were all over the place.

I mean, they were really just running away with me. And then I was trying to get through this course to create my own business. So those were the two things I needed. I was like, okay, I need to get my hormones under control so that I can feel a little bit balanced and then be able to kind of create this success in this business that I want.

And I’m gonna be really honest and vulnerable because this might actually be helpful to other graduates as well, as excited as I was to do the course and come out of it and get ready to coach I graduated. And all of a sudden this like, Incredible imposter syndrome in fair of putting myself out there, kind of took hold of me.

And I thought, okay, I need to build my confidence as a coach. How can I do that? But take a little bit of the pressure off of it. So what I did was I put out a post inviting five people to have two free coaching sessions with me. So I thought this way I can. Create some impact in their lives while gaining some coaching experience.

So I’m currently in the process of doing that. And I’m quite, I’m really enjoying that because it’s just such a beautiful feeling at the end of every coaching session to feel like, you know, they’ve had just one really good takeaway or they have something new that, you know, they can look forward to that they, it really thought was possible before.

[00:11:32] Cynthia Garcia: A second scenario is they lack empathy. So a lack of empathy, empathy in general is the ability to feel how another person is feeling. Right. You kind of put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and even if you don’t know the exact situation that they’re dealing with, because you’ve never been through it, you know what it feels like to feel pain or suffering or to struggle.

And you can. Empathize with that person. However, the lack of empathy, meaning you can’t relate at all to how the other person is feeling is one of the hallmark characteristics of a narcissist. You see narcissist lack the skills to help you feel seen to help validate you or help you feel like you’re understood or accept because they don’t grasp the concept of those feelings.

So ask yourself, does the person you’re in a relationship with, and again, it can be any type of relationship. Do they care when you’ve had a bad day at work? What about when you fight with your best friend or have a scuffle with your parents or do they just get bored when you express the things that make you upset or feel less than, or the things that you’re struggling with or hurt from?

Think about that? How do they show up for you? Another real life example might be, if they’re gaslighting you, now let’s talk about what that is because you might be like, Hmm, I don’t know, Cynthia. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. I don’t really understand what that means. So gaslighting is a form of manipulation and emotional abuse, and it is a hallmark of narcissistic people, or rather who have narcissistic personality disorder.

So narcissists may spew just blatant lies. They might falsely accuse others, spin the truth and ultimately distort your reality. Here are some signs of gas lighting, one, you no longer feel like the person you used to be. Two, you feel more anxious and less confident than you used to three. You wonder if it’s just you, are you just being too sensitive?

Is there something wrong with you? Are they right? Like it’s not a big deal. Another one is you feel like everything you do is wrong, or you always think it’s your fault when things go wrong often because the other person is saying, well, it’s your fault, or you did this. Right? So keep that in mind. Also, if you’re apologizing, often you, someone might be gaslighting you, if you feel the need to constantly apologize is, and again, everything is your fault.

That might be a sign. You often question whether or not your response to your partner is appropriate. That might be another thing, or you constantly make excuses for them when in reality, they should just do things different. So think about whether or not you’re being gaslighted. So again, if somebody’s always saying to you, oh, you’re crazy.

Or that that’s not, what’s really on here or that’s just not true. And they make you question your sanity and doubt yourself. That could be gaslighting.

Coaching can be a tremendous pathway to success. We asked ourselves to share some of her biggest moments of success since starting her coaching journey. So let’s tune in and see what she said.

[00:14:42] Darcel Osei: I think something that’s made me really proud and it might, it might seem like a small thing, but I walked away kind of feeling like, oh, this is, this is what you can do for people. I was speaking to someone who is somebody that took me up on those free sessions and, you know, she had been made redundant and she said she just had this feeling that she was useless.

And we just, I kind of talked through and got her to. Tell me what her ID life would look like, and it was completely different to what she’d been doing. And suddenly I felt like at some point she did say that it was impossible because of different areas and different obstacles, which we then talked about and how she could overcome them.

And I felt like towards the end of the session, she was seeing the possibility of that. And she was actually going to take some and steps to move towards that. And that felt really amazing to help her see something that she saw was impossible. So. I feel like that’s one of my big successes so far.

[00:15:48] Cynthia Garcia: The other thing that people who deal with N P D might do in the real world is, or rather not do is apologize. Right. People with NPD typically don’t feel the need to apologize. And if they do typically they’re going through the motions, but they don’t always mean it. They don’t usually mean it. So fighting or arguing, or even having a discussion with someone with N P D feels impossible.

The reason why is because there’s no debating or compromising them, they are always right. So they won’t necessarily see a disagreement as a disagreement. They’ll just see it as you. Teaching or is them teaching you some truth? Right? So in their eyes, it’s not that you’re arguing. It’s just that you don’t know what they know, so you’re just wrong.

And they’re just trying to teach you. That’s how they see it. So again, they won’t ever compromise and they won’t see your side because it’s just not in or makeup. Now another real life scenario, and then we’ll move forward to, what do you do in this situation is they don’t have many or any real friends.

You see most narcissists won’t have long term real friends. So dig deeper into the connections they have. And if you do, you might notice that they only have casual acquaintance or that they trash talk or even just enemies, right. As a result, they might not like it. When you wanna hang out with your friends.

They’ll do things like claim you don’t spend enough time with them. They’ll try to make you feel guilty for being with your friends, or they’ll just berate you for the friends that you have. They might even go as far as to put those friends down as a way to minimize their impact in your life and convince you that you don’t need to be around them.

Right now, if you’re listening to these things and you’re thinking, wow, this actually does sound like someone that I have a relationship with. Then I wait to take some time to keep listening as we go through the next steps that you can take to get out of these relationships. So, again, being in a relationship with someone who’s always criticizing or belittling or gaslighting, or just not committing to you is emotionally exhausting.

And it can have some serious impacts on not just your mental health, but your physical and your spiritual health as well. And as close to you as this person might be. I mean, listen, for me, it was my own mother. It can oftentimes be best to get them out of your life. Now, while you’re in this process of deciding how to best handle this situation, you do want to remind yourself that you deserve better.

You do want to strengthen your relationship with friends who can empathize with you. You do want to build a support network with your family and friends who can remind you what your reality is in case you’re being gaslighted by the other person, you can urge your partner to go to therapy, whoever you’re in a relationship with, you can urge.

That unfortunately, N P D doesn’t have a cure, but therapy can be extremely beneficial. The other thing is you can actually seek out therapy for yourself if needed. Now, unfortunately, no matter how badly you want the relationship to work, you cannot change a person with narcissistic personality disorder.

You can’t make them happy. I loving them enough, or by changing yourself to meet their ongoing ever changing whims. And desires again, there’s no cure for N P D. They will never be in tune with you never empathetic to your experiences. And you’ll likely feel empty after you have an interaction with them.

The best thing that you can do in most cases is to cut ties, offer them no explanation. Don’t offer second chances. You can just leave the situation. And we’ve talked about this. I’ve talked about this in an earlier episode and I’ll link to that episode in the show notes. So you can check out how to get out of a toxic relationship, including one with a narcissist.

There are step by step system that. Can put into place and that you can use, I’ve used it for years. Uh, many of my coaches use it. I’ve used it with numerous clients and I feel like it will help serve you as well. So make sure you check out that other episode for more details on that. All right. Now I know that deciding to become a nutrition coach, feel like a big decision, probably because, well, it is so let’s listen in for the advice that Darce.

Sales shares for anyone who may be on the fence about taking that next step.

[00:20:29] Darcel Osei: I think if you’re on the fence about ITN, the fact that you’re even considering it means that you want to serve and have impact in people’s lives. And I think if you really want to have a huge impact in the lives of others, Then 100% do it because I think it just really equips you in every way to really help just individuals from a very holistic angle, just the mental, the physical, the spiritual.

So if you really want to have powerful impact in the lives of others, 100% enroll with ITN and about the fair of putting yourself out there. I think what I’ve learned is. Again, I mean, a lot of what I learned in the course has helped me so much along the way is that fair is not going anywhere and we can actually use it to our advantage.

And if we just take a moment to figure out what that fair is telling you, then eventually you get to the point where you can just feel the fair and do it anyways. And if you just really think about what’s the worst that could happen. If you put yourself out there, it’s actually not that bad. So you better off doing it.

[00:21:41] Cynthia Garcia: Let’s say you can’t just leave the situation. If for some reason you think I’d love to just get out of this relationship and put this person behind me. But unfortunately, That’s not an option. I get it. Listen, maybe you, maybe they’re related to you. Maybe they’re your mother. Maybe you share a child with that person that you have to communicate with because you’re co-parenting right.

There are situations where you can’t just cut ties with someone. If you’re in that situation. Here are some things that you can do. I’ll give you three things. The first one is respond instead of react. Listen, it’s so tempting to react to the narcissist manipulative tactics, with shock, disbelief, anger, and even pain because you feel those things right.

But when you react that way, those reacts feed them. So instead of that, stick to the facts, keep it very black and white do not bring in emotions that will help you to avoid any emotional confrontations and to play into what the other person is looking to get out of you. They don’t get any satisfaction.

If you stick to the facts, keep it black and white and remove emotions. So do that respond instead of react. Number two is to focus on yourself. You see narcissists thrive on attention, but no matter how much you give them, it will never be enough. However, you can break the pattern by focusing on your needs, your goals and your desires instead, instead of trying to constantly make them happy.

Because again, spoiler alert. You won’t, you can’t, it’s just not possible. You can feed yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. It truly is the best form of self care. And if you need ways to do that, listen to more episodes of our podcast, visit our website over@transformationornutrition.com and check out our blog.

We give you lots of different ways to care for self in just minutes, a day, that get you the results that you’re looking for. All right. The third thing that you can do, if you just absolutely cannot get out of a relationship with someone who is a narcissist, because again, you have close ties, perhaps you share a child or something similar.

The third thing you can do is to set and maintain firm boundaries. You see people with NP D are habitual boundary crossers. That’s what they do. They have no problem breaking and bending rules because in their minds rules don’t apply to them. So make sure that you set boundaries and maintain them. Don’t compromise them and don’t send mixed messages by compromising sometimes because if you give an inch, they will take a mile.

So set boundaries and maintain them.

Okay. Let’s check in with Darel one last time to get her take on what nutrition coaches can provide for people and why coaching is so important, especially in this day and age that we live in.

[00:24:47] Darcel Osei: What I would say is I truly believe that what we do as coaches is really important. And I mean, now more than ever, it’s so critical because people are. You know, afraid and people are anxious and, you know, people are trying to get on with their lives and not really sure where to start. People are trying to create things for themselves.

People are trying to create good health for themselves and they don’t know where to start. And I think what we do is so critical because we can just, you know, offer people in for information and how to educate them on all of this incredible new research and even just get them. To see things from a different perspective and see the possibilities from themselves and actually reach those possibilities and beyond.

So I think that what we do is really critical and really important. And that’s the other thing, you know, every time I start to feel the fair, I remember what I actually have to offer and how helpful that could be to someone. So I’m gonna let that be my driving force and not the fair.

[00:26:08] Cynthia Garcia: All right. So those are three ways that you can manage a relationship that you have to be in with someone who has. N P D and then again, I offer lots of ways to get out step by step of toxic relationships in an earlier podcast episodes that I’ll link to in the show notes. I know from firsthand experience how difficult it can be to surround yourself with someone who is suffering from N P D listen, I’m rooting for you, I’m in your corner.

And I know that you’re strong enough to RA free from this situation. Lastly, I know that you deserve better. You just do, you are special. You have meaning you have purpose and you deserves people around you who support you in all areas of your life. All right. So if you’re interested in becoming a transformational nutrition coach, where we dive all into mental nutrition and ways, you can explore that as well as spiritual nutrition with your clients now is a really great time because at ITN we’ve just launched a brand new limited time success series, a free master classes that are only available to our new.

Students, we have seen all two firsthand how this pandemic, how the world that we live in today is affecting people. And we know that people are so hungry for change. We know that people want to feed themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, and we wanna make sure that our coaches are set up for say access, that they can make a great living while making a great.

Impact. So all of these new master classes that we’re offering for a limited time are geared to help you do just that get success in a short amount of time. So you can keep doing the work that you love and the work that truly changes the world. Now you can get all of the details over at our website, uh, at transformation, nutrition.com/in raw all.

Thank you so much for joining me today. If you enjoyed the show, please share it. And of course, rate and review so that we can keep spreading the word. Two more and more people. I so appreciate you being here today. Don’t forget that you can see all of the show notes and other resources for this episode over@transformationalnutrition.com slash episode 0 2 8.

Thank you again for being here and I’ll see you next week for a brand new episode.

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