05/27/2015 09:21 am ET Updated May 25, 2016

Divorce Made Me a Narcissist

Divorce made me into a narcissist. How could it not have happened? My divorce forced me to focus on my survival. As a result, I was consumed by me, me, and me... and, one day, I realized I had major narcissistic traits.

My narcissistic traits originated from my energy being poured into only myself. One year ago, I asked for a divorce. And when I uttered those words, I shifted all of my energy into surviving. I had to find a new place to live. I had to succeed at work for financial stability. I had to take care of my health. I had to assert myself in the divorce negotiations. I even wrote a blog. For each of these accomplishments, I received praise from family and friends, which only encouraged me to focus more on my own glory.

I don't hate myself for becoming self-centered. How could I not? If I only had me to save me, then I had to believe that I was Superwoman.

Does everyone develop narcissistic traits during divorce as a survival mechanism? Yes, in my opinion, I believe many of us do, but luckily we do not develop the full narcissistic personality disorder. Instead, we use some of these traits out of necessity.

My first relationship after my divorce was an utter failure: imagine two newly divorced, self-absorbed people dating each other. Both of us were so self-centered that we were blind to our hurricane of damage. At first, I blamed him for being so egotistical. Perhaps he couldn't help causing pain because he was in pain? But then, I realized that I was broken, too. That I, as a damaged person, allowed another damaged person into my new life and we were making a mess of things.

It was also during this reflection that I realized that I needed to stop and open my eyes. I needed to just stop, heal, and focus on the world outside of myself. If a part of the divorce journey is developing narcissistic traits for survival, then could the last phase of divorce recovery include reconnecting and refocusing on others outside of ourselves? Like a re-awakening?

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