Skip the Masterclass on Other People’s Issues [Return to You]

Women are perpetually distracted from what is truly important by the many social media, videos, posts, books, articles, etc., focused on the problems and issues of other people.

In my news feed yesterday morning I found (yet) another article* about how to tell if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist. As might be expected, each of the warning signs was about the narcissist — as if he/she needs more of our attention?!

Can you already see the insanity?

As a thought experiment, I decided to take the four signs that you’re dating a narcissist mentioned in the article, and instead of focusing on the narcissist, I focused on you — the only person in your life who has the power to change, heal, grow, and transform yourself.

The first sign was:

The relationship is not about you, it’s all about them.

Notice your thoughts and how you feel when you think, “this relationship is all about them.” I feel angry, resentful, and hurt. I also notice I feel stuck, because what I want is for the relationship to feel more balanced. How can I experience balance in the relationship if it requires the other person to change — something I have no power over?

Here’s how to switch the focus, and return to you:

When you notice that you’re in a relationship where there’s no “you” in it because the space is filled with the other person, consider this experience as an invitation to go inside and discover what the situation means for you, and what action — if any — you may want to take.

The second sign mentioned in the article that you’re dating a narcissist was:

They continuously put you down and gaslight you.

Feels like a dead-end, right? If you want to return the focus to you — the only real source of truth and change — when you notice that your partner regularly puts you down or gaslights you, how do you feel? Based on your emotions, how would you like to respond?

The third sign:

You feel uneasy in their presence.

Okay, then what happens next? When you notice you feel uneasy in another person’s presence, what is the most loving thing you can do for yourself in that moment?

And finally, the last sign that you’re dating a narcissist was:

They have no empathy or emotional awareness.

I don’t know about you, but when I think this thought, I feel complete despair and hopelessness. How can I make someone more empathic or have more emotional awareness? I can’t.

So, rather than focusing all of your effort and energy on another person’s lack of empathy and emotional awareness, here’s how to return the focus to you:

When you’re in the presence of a person who apparently isn’t capable of empathy and has little/no emotional awareness, how does that feel? Based on your emotions, what would you like to do, or what needs to happen for you, as a result of the emotions that come up for you?

See the difference? When I’m focused on your behavior, your perceived deficiencies, and the ways in which you’re treating me that I don’t like, I’m powerless. When I focus on how I feel in your presence, what I’m thinking, and what I have power over, everything changes.

Focusing on another person’s narcissism, their addiction, their mental health issues, or any other perceived problem in them is pure distraction, and keeps you separated from yourself.

When you get clear about that, you get to focus on what truly matters — your reality, your truth, and the actions you have the power to take.

How have you allowed another person’s issues to distract you from yourself?

*Dr. Mariette Jansen, “I Know Narcissists. Here are Four Signs You’re Dating One,” Newsweek, 6 September 2020.

© Victoria Priya, LCSW [formerly Vicki Tidwell Palmer] (2020)

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I want to support you to Return to the authentic truth of who you are, Reclaim what is yours, and Receive everything that is meant for you. So that you can Regenerate your life, your relationships, community, and the world.


  1. Beverly on March 13, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Thank you for this idea of turning the attention back on to our selves. I dated a narcissist and it was a sh**t show. It was the worst experience and most damaging relationship I’d ever been in. It WAS ALL about him, his needs and his feelings. He’d put me down and try to make me feel just as badly about myself as he felt about himself. An attempt to even some kind of twisted score inside his mind that I didn’t even know existed, at least not until much later. He was constantly projecting his insecurities onto me and because I’m a very sensitive person it threw me way off balance. I felt insanely angry, hurt, resentful and stuck. No amount of conversation changed anything. I later felt despair, hopelessness and heartbreak. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get this individual out of my life and when I finally succeeded I spent more time educating myself on narcissism as an attempt to understand and heal from my experience. It was a huge distraction from my life.
    This idea of turning the attention back on to ourselves, what we are going through and how we are feeling is brilliant!! Let’s focus on the warning signs, the thoughts and feelings that keep coming up in us rather than their actions and behaviors. Learning appropriate and healthy boundaries to protect ourselves from outside forces that have the potential to derail us from our own lives is critical as well.

    • Vicki on March 13, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Hi Beverly, yes!! I love “Let’s focus on the warning signs, the thoughts and feelings that keep coming up in us rather than their actions and behaviors.” That is exactly where the focus needs to be.💙

  2. Teresa on August 10, 2021 at 7:10 am

    Hi Vicky,
    Thanks again for this helpful post. Can you give advice to mothers with children involved with narcissists? My son has been dating a narcissist for 4 years. It has been really hard to watch my confident, yet sensitive son be so manipulated. I understand from listening to your podcasts that I have to let him sort it out. It’s very painful for me because my sister was in a similar relationship that took her 28 years to finally get out of. He is an adult(22) but does not see what the rest of us do. We are all tiptoeing around the issue. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I have to release him and consider the boundaries I need to make to protect myself and my daughter from the damage. But,I love my son and feel like it’s a mother’s job to protect him. Thank you for all you podcasts.

    • Vicki on August 10, 2021 at 3:58 pm

      Hi Teresa, this is a challenging situation! I recommend listening to this podcast for my extended thoughts about this very topic.

      • Teresa on August 11, 2021 at 8:16 am

        Thank you so much. That is on point!

  3. Donna on August 10, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Wow. Reading this, I see I have come far. I spent my childhood in a narcissistic family. I never knew a world existed where people had permission to do as you recommend: to have separate feelings—about most things, maybe especially about the narcissists and their behavior. Instead I obediently orbited around them and gave up anything of my own. As an adult, once I came to know I was allowed my own feelings, those feelings were mostly anger and rage. Sadly, this access to feelings did not give me the empowerment to act on them and I turned it all, along with my focus, on “them”, the narcissists. What followed were many hate filled years down a rabbit hole collecting more and more information about narcissism and the damage it does. I felt so victimized, and yes, as a child I was…but I could not see that all of that information gathering kept me focused right where the narcissist likes it: on them. It also kept me in boundaryless relationships with them and others. And it kept me stuck in the pain of the past. I wasn’t moving forward. I was, yes, distracting myself. From myself. Breaking free meant turning my eyes toward me and keeping them there. Breaking free meant learning to know, value and trust my own feelings, my own reality. Breaking free meant having the courage to act on my feelings, and protect my reality through the setting of boundaries. Yes boundaries with the narcissists. But also with myself…enough! Not one more article, not one more video…not one more minute of my precious life focused where the answers are not: outside of myself and railing against all I don’t want in my life. Thank you,Vicki. I wish I had been able hear this advice years ago. I hope this finds others willing to let go and go against this trend our culture seems to be so deeply inside right now.

    • Vicki on August 10, 2021 at 3:59 pm

      You’re welcome Donna, so much wisdom in your words.💙

  4. Joanne on June 4, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    This article was so close to home.Caring for family and really had no idea how it can effect us until in middle.Take lots of time to get over .Restraining order in place and changes made.So sad but pray they get help.Realize have to take care of ones self.This article hopefully will make more people aware of what it is about.Joanne

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