Narcissistic Recovery: Old Self vs New Self (Lessons Learned)

Joining Tinder has, as expected, given me the opportunity to practice post-Narcissistic Abuse lessons learned. I joined yesterday morning and am already seeing a huge difference in my approach towards dating.

I first talked about Old Self vs New Self in the context of fear and an inability to engage with a man I found attractive.

Since then, I’ve started thinking of the concept in a more positive light, which was the case when I recognized that I didn’t appreciate how a man spoke to a server at an event.

Today, as I chat online with a couple different men on Tinder, I’m realizing anew how far I’ve come. Observe:

Screenshot from a Tinder conversation

Him: Good morning!
Him: (coffee cup emoji with a heart in the latte foam)
Me: OMG coffee. Yes please.
Me: Good morning to you too.
Him: Coffee = yella teeth
Him: What are you up to today?

New Self paused and didn’t reply right away. New Self recognized something felt off in this exchange.

Old Self tried to argue with New Self and New Self was keenly aware of the arguments.

Old Self:
It’s just an innocent comment.
Well, coffee CAN stain teeth, it’s hardly like he’s wrong.
You’re taking this way too seriously. Your goal is just to go out on some dates. How is that going to happen if you nitpick like this?
He’s probably just trying to be silly. Maybe he’s really nice?

New Self:
Something in my gut says something isn’t right here.
Why would he offer a coffee cup only to offer negativity if it’s accepted?
This feels strangely manipulative.
I feel like I’m supposed to defend liking coffee now.
It’s almost like… in this initial exchange I’m immediately recognizing qualities of manipulation and potential abuse. 

Alarm bells went off. This harmless exchange was horribly reminiscent of the first stages of grooming.

I immediately recognized that I don’t need this man’s attention.

My gut instinct says I’ve been made uncomfortable by him. I am aware of that and I am not going to talk myself out of feeling that way.

I am not going to try to use logical arguments on myself, to convince myself that I should continue talking to him.

Something feels off. That’s the only reason I need to stop talking to him.

Because, frankly, I don’t give a shit about him. He is a man that I do not know; a man to whom I owe nothing.

I can choose to never engage with him again if I wish. I am not obligated to continue a conversation in any way.

Old Self would have given him a chance. New Self owns that she doesn’t want to.

New Self has learned that when something feels triggering, it is worthwhile to step back and honor those feelings.

My gut instinct is worth paying attention to.

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