Is it possible to recover from narcissism?
It’s probably not normal to ask a new friend to take the notorious Dark Triad Personality Test on a mobile phone in a dimly lit wine bar with bad Wi-Fi on your third time hanging out. However, this did not deter me and Nina.
We met negotiating a consulting job, and it was obvious that we were destined to be pals before we even finished our appetizers and split the grilled cheese. One of the reasons we insta-bonded was because we’d both overcome harrowing experiences in high-intensity environments with severe maladaptive narcissists. My career was in politics and media; Nina’s was in tech start-ups. A majority of our colleagues and acquaintances were larger-than-life presences barely masking personality disorders. Even as we swapped stories of how we’d withdrawn from these individuals and cultivated healthier relationships, I could still detect some wariness in the way we approached each other. When you become conscious of a pattern of attracting narcissists, charisma and chemistry tend to make you want to run the other way.