5 Signs That You Might Be in an SL Relationship with a Narcissist

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Right this very second there are thousands of people in ‘SL Relationships’ across our virtual world which all have different dynamics, boundaries and levels of intimacy. This post is not about the rights and wrongs of an SL relationship but to help the few people out there that probably already have concerns about the ‘state’ of their relationship and their own mental health within that relationship and to hopefully reassure them that it’s not just them. There is a line between someone, male or female, that is a little demanding, or a little needy, or a little anything…and someone who is a narcissist.

I’d also like to make very clear from the start that is not about D/s (Dominant/submissive) relationships. In my opinion, and in my experience, D/s relationships are about support, protection and communication and those are things that a narcissist is definitely not interested in although they will tell you they are. In D/s relationships power is given and limits are agreed. In a narcisstic relationship power is taken by manipulation and emotional blackmail. They are very different things in my view. Unfortunately many narcissists will gravitate toward D/s as a ‘cover’ for their behaviour in the hope that a submissive won’t see through their act.

I need to make clear also that everything I write here is based on experience and research I’ve carried out. I am no expert other than having fallen for all of the above and experiencing most of what follows in this post.

The Attention Changes

When you first met them the attention was non-stop but not overly creepy. They flattered you, praised you, told you that you were amazing and quickly told you that they couldn’t imagine their life without you in it. Gradually that praise turns to ‘suggestions’ on how you could do better, look better, act better and eventually becomes full on criticism. You walk on egg-shells as you constantly crave the ‘nice’ attention of the early days but live in fear that whatever you do, say, wear etc will be greeted with this new, sometimes painfully hurtful, criticism. You’ve changed, and you know it….you’ve gone from confident and outgoing to feeling low and lacking self-esteem.

Everybody Loves Raymond

You feel like you can’t express how the relationship is making you feel because everyone adores this person. They put on a great act and have cultivated friendships with people that they can control in a similar way. Any friendships of yours where they feel they aren’t in control, or your friends see through their act, they have encouraged you to distance yourself from. They have caused friction with you and your friends to isolate you. You feel trapped but you’re in love and if you work hard enough you’ll get the person back you originally fell in love with right? Wrong….the person you fell in love with never existed. Admitting the person you love is lying to you over and  over again is the hardest thing to do now that you rely so much on them. You can’t believe, even with the evidence, that they lie to you because you also believe that they love you.

Reading by Gaslight

Gaslighting is a term a friend introduced me too on about the third or fourth major crack in my relationship. I had never heard of it before and I’ve since been told that my ex even admitted to a friend that he did do many of the things described in an article about gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of abuse, named after a play/film where the abuser deliberately takes actions to confuse, intimidate and cause distress. Gaslighting is not accidental…it’s deliberate and calculated. If you find evidence of it and confront your narcissist they will argue, twist your words and attack you as a form of defense. They will say or do anything they have to in order to avoid admitting their wrongdoing even when you have the strongest evidence and facts on your side.  They are so good at lying that you start to believe that it’s not even humanly possible for someone to lie this much and therefore some, or most, of it must be true?

Anyone for Doubles?

Standards that is. The expectations for how you communicate with other people, male or female, long time friends or not is extremely high. If you are in touch or communication with any of your ex’s and refuse to stop being friends they will discourage by punishment any discussion about them or with them. By punishment I mean either the starting of an argument, some personal dig about you or the silent treatment. You will know you have made them angry. Friendly banter or chats in local with friends may also be a trigger for some kind of slapdown. They on the other hand will be cultivating friendships with as many friends of the attracting sex as they want. They may even tell you that they think their friends have a ‘thing for them’ to encourage a dislike. They are probably also telling them that you are jealous of them and don’t like them. Their popularity and image appears to be much more important to them than your feelings…because to them it is. This is how they maintain their power and control over your emotions. They are also probably complaining about you and your “insecurities” to these other people at every given opportunity ensuring that others see you as weak and needy. They will openly flirt with others while you aren’t even allowed to talk to anyone  else for fear of reprisal and when you suggest that to them you will be admonished, chastised and told you’re imagining it.

“You’ve Changed”

A narcissist will deliberately provoke emotions in you by using the above tactics and then when you demonstrate the feelings and reactions that they have provoked they become accusatory. “This never used to bother you” “I don’t know why you’re making such a fuss”, “you need to take a step back and think about what you’re saying”. Everything will be your fault, though it’s unlikely they will come out and just that out loud…it’s the way you feel because that’s the way they have made you feel. By now, they know exactly which of your insecurities to press the button on with a well placed word or phrase that will cause you to take on the responsibility for their behaviour as well as your own. You end up apologising to them.

Unfortunately SL is the perfect stalking ground for people with narcissistic tendencies as they are already provided with the mask to hide the true self behind in the form of an avatar and they are masters of disguise. Your real friends, the ones that have tried to warn you and have seen through the facade and spent time worrying about you and how deep you have been pulled into the narcissists web will still be there for you if and when you are ready to remove yourself from the situation. I’d like to tell you it’s easy but it’s not and I’d be lying if I did.

For me, I convinced myself this person was just doing all these things because they loved me so much even though in the back of my head I knew that was ridiculous. Even after we broke up twice and he was in someone else’s pixel bed within 24 hours each time, I still wanted to believe he loved me. Narcissists learn your greatest fears…like rejection…and use those against you skilfully.

These aren’t people that use a little manipulation to get their own way this is systematic, deliberate and extreme and I know it’s happened to others in SL. If you’ve read this and find that most of it describes your SL relationship then I can’t urge you enough to trust your gut instincts. You can come out of it a stronger person. The person that I was with, well, let’s just say there were red flags very early on that I dismissed because the good times were amazing and I wanted more of them. I won’t make that mistake again.

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Credits:

Body – Maitreya Lara

Skin – Lara Hurley Maitreya applier and Christy Catwa Head Applier

Eyes – IKON – Sovereign Eyes

Hair – Truth Hair – Neema

Top – Maitreya – Lisbon

Pants – Bueno – Skinny Jeans

Bag – Le Primitif – Mause Bag

Drink – Reign – Summer Lovin Tumbler

Location – Saint Pete City

 

21 Comments Add yours

  1. This applies just as much to RL as it does to SL. My ex did all of the things you’ve listed here and more. Nothing I did was ever good enough and you live your life walking on eggshells, because you never know what will set them off. I look back now and don’t even recognize the person that I had become. No one deserves to be treated this way.
    I’m glad you managed to get away from such a toxic person. It’s been 5 years since I did, and I am the happiest I have ever been. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kess Crystal says:

      Thank you for the comment Kat. I’m glad things worked out for you in real life too! You’re quite correct of course I’m pretty sure my ex turned to SL after doing the same thing over and over in real as he was extremely touchy around the subject of abuse. He’d often say ‘Are you accusing me of abusing you’ and then I would try to make him feel better instead of standing my ground and pointing out what deep down I knew was emotional and mental abuse.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. While any kind of abuse is terrible, it was extremely frustrating to get other people to see/admit what was going on, because there were no physical scars to point to. Whenever this topic comes up, I always go back to the old story about the frog in boiling water. When you’re in the middle of it, it happens slowly, and you convince yourself it will get better. Thank goodness we were both able to make the leap to safety!!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. 2 friends of mine and myself went through this. He kept each at bay. Never let any of us ever meet one another. He finally got called out. He cheated on what was his current with someone very close to me. I couldn’t not let him get away with it. This opened up a whole can he was not ready for. Needless to say everyone has his number now…and because of his Narcissistic crap…3 ladies have become good friends.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kess Crystal says:

      I too have one of my closest friends now because of this person. She helped me understand what was really happening and has supported me every day since.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mystic Ametza says:

    WOW.. I am speechless. I read this whole article. I related to every aspect. Maybe it is meant for further research, but I was actually MARRIED in RL to one. Which in turn I think made me more vulnerable to fall for the same thing in SL. So if you are trying to find an out of a RL situation, be careful. You may be attracting/ or attracted to the same thing you are trying to run from in RL.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I went though a SL relationship with a narcissist like this about a year ago. He preyed on me when he knew I was emotionally vulnerable, then manipulated me and many others to support his new sim. He got me to lend him money I couldn’t afford, by threatening to leave SL if he couldn’t pay for his sim. He played me and others who were helping to run it against each other, never had staff meetings where we could discuss problems, goals and strategies, and pretended to be helping people while planning to use to for his own ends. Luckily for me, I realized what he was doing shortly after I’d given him the money and I was smart enough to pretend like I was still on his side until he gave me part of it back. When he didn’t give back the rest, I was able to threaten his reputation with the rest of his group until he gave that back too. I made friends with the people he tried to put at odds with me, took away my support of his sim, then watched it fall apart with most of his former supporters now gone. – He saw that I was vulnerable, and was foolish enough to think that meant I was also powerless. I knew I wasn’t, and fought back.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I could not have read this at a better time. With the help of some very supportive and persistent friends, I managed to break from my SL ex’s claws (after being in them for two years) and finally able to stand on my feet again. For several months, I have been attempting to heal from the abusive comments and “gas-lighting” and it hasn’t been easy. I severed every possible path of contact with him to keep him away.

    Yesterday, he reared his ugly head again and contacted me through a “friend” by having them ask me questions about how my life is going and then suddenly, she shifted to attempting to trigger me with comments that sounded like they were directly from him.

    If I didn’t know better, I would have thought she was his alt, however, I’m certain that she isn’t. This makes it worse, because he managed to actually convince someone to do that to me in an attempt to put me in a state of distress. That is scary.

    Today, I heard that he has been IMing people with allegations that I engaged in Age Play with him and though someone reported him, likely nothing will be done.

    If any of you are reading this article and you even THINK that it sounds similar to what you’re going through, find yourself a supportive friend that has enough patience to listen when you need to cry and rant, then GET YOURSELF OUT. I promise you, once you do, you WILL find happiness. That “nice” person that they once were, will never appear again. Don’t wait for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kess Crystal says:

      Logan, I am so happy that you managed to get out of your situation. As we both know they are brilliant at putting on the act for other people and convincing them to ‘help’ and be complicit in their mind games without them even realising it sometimes. It’s great to hear that you were recovered enough to resist his attempts to contact too. Mine contacted me a few weeks ago too and I did engage in a brief conversation which I felt pretty horrid about but I was at least able to see him for what he is during that convo and walk away again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jewel Heart says:

    This is awful and I think all of us have been the victim, both men and women of the worst side of SL relationships, the serial cheaters and alters and yes, one very controlling one whose clutches I escaped very early on. I cannot say any I have been with were as bad as yours but bad enough. Pleased to say I have finally found someone worth every second of my time.
    I hope you heal emotionally and mentally and go on to find someone who truly appreciates you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Life lesson says:

    I often wonder if we try to match certain traits as those listed above to find some kind of logical answer to what happened in situations that leave us baffled. I can definitely say that I experienced those myself although not to the point of the individual being critical about my appearance in world. Definitely saw red flags that I refused to acknowledge from the get go as well. It was my first SL relationship. The person kept dangling the carrot of opening up completely and did at times but seeing how things ended up, I wonder if that was simply just manipulation to make me feel sympathy for them and keep me roped in.

    I know I used to get jealous because they were a flirt, would talk all moany with her friends or new people she met if she ever went on voice. There was a weirdness to it because they had several years experience in world and still maintained contact with Exes with whom she would speak badly of and I simply found that strange and frankly annoying. I always heard about ex so and so and I would end up wondering “how many exes DO you have?”

    Anyways the lies this individual has been living the past year or so with me and her friends (she tried to ensure that my contact with her friends was always limited. I never understood it until recently) have been exposed. It’s kind of a bad experience knowing that all during that time that I was told or made to think my suspicions were out of line.

    It’s almost like every single good thing I remember about her has been replaced with this image of some weak person who has this Rolodex of exes and friends of the opposite sex she calls in when bored. Apparently she had one friend of the same sex. All others were male.

    SL is definitely an N’s playground. Problem is….there are a ton of codependent people there as well and provides a great hunting ground. We have to stop calling ourselves victims however. We all see the red flags and CHOOSE to ignore them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kess Crystal says:

      I’m sorry that you went through that. You are quite right that it’s a Narcissists Playground and as your first SL relationship it must have left an extremely bad taste. I’m not sure I can completely agree with the last statement though. We choose to ignore them because the very early ones are simply small in comparison to all the good things we’re experiencing and they, of course, are masters of apology and making you believe you’re mistaken by the time it’s too late. I hope you’re still enjoying SL…I’m nearly 18 months on from my experience now and I still have bad days and dips in confidence but overall the whole situation taught me lots of positives about myself.

      Like

      1. Life lessons says:

        Thanks for your encouragement. I’m pretty hard on myself so that’s why I said what I did about choosing not to see the signs.

        My experience was a little unique in which communications started to break down and then I was told she needed space and time apart because her feelings were “too instense”. She told her friends it was a breakup meanwhile making me believe it was a break. Silly me, I waited for months going through confusion and mixed messages from her. When questioned what was really going on I was told the people who were suddenly appearing in her profile and Flickr were just friends and made to think I was getting paranoid and pushy. Messages of “I miss you and love you”from her still ensued but started fading weeks before I found out the truth of what was really happening.

        When I simply stated what I had heard about what was occurring I was accused of believing everyone else and that I was “no better” than the people supposedly spreading rumours. You can’t refute screenshots though right? Anyways, she did a disappearing act and haven’t heard from her since.

        Lesson learned.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kess Crystal says:

        The biggest hurdle is learning to trust your gut again. You sound like your pretty level headed, as was I, and you’re able to be pragmatic about the situation in hindsight. That in no way belittles the feelings and emotions that one goes through at the time. One of the things I found most difficult is explaining the effect the situation had on me because honestly you couldn’t make up the depths of the lies I fell for and I consider myself, and I think most that know me consider me too, to be a smart lady with her head on her shoulders. I felt very ashamed and embarrassed for myself afterward when I found out the complete truth even more than I felt anger. I was humiliated and I blamed myself for causing it for a long time.

        Like

      3. Life lessons says:

        I feel the exact same way. The feelings for this individual are gone and all that remains is this very negative feeling when remembering her unbelieving of how someone can lie so outright like that. The respect you once had for the person is replaced by this almost creepy feeling of “who are you really?”. I’m quite rooted in RL where eye contact and body language are part of the whole communications toolset. Not being able to utilize those tools and look them in the eye, confront them on a human level, end it and say goodbye instead of them vanishing into thin air is a drawback of SL for sure.

        I’ve been lucky enough to have met someone quite empathetic, patient and caring after the fact. There are good people out there.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Kess Crystal says:

    Reblogged this on the glamour sauce and commented:

    It’s a year today since I wrote this post and at the time it was one of the most difficult and personally challenging posts to write. It forced me to face how much I had changed in the 18 months beforehand and how much I had let one person affect my confidence, my happiness and wear me down to shell of the person I was before he entered my life.

    I wish I could say he never enters my mind anymore. I wish I could say that the experience wasn’t still affecting me and how I interact with people.

    Overall though, facing up to the flaws that allowed him to prey on me has made me a stronger and better person. I have spent so much time peeling back the layers of my own psyche over the last 18 months that I understand myself better than I have ever done in my life and that’s had a positive impact in both real and second life.

    The experience brought me the friendship of one of the most special people in my life, Sady and my close knit group of friends that I talked about in my previous blog post today.

    Someone who has become very important to me recently said “promise me you’ll never let anyone change you” and I can make that promise now. I feel like I’m me again and I’ve learned to like myself again. I am a good person, I will continue to open my heart to friends and I won’t ever be isolated again.

    Like

    1. Life lessons says:

      Here here!!!! I’m very happy you’ve reached that point in the healing process.

      Liked by 1 person

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