Have you ever been friends or fallen in love with someone who only really cares about themselves? Have you ever had to carry on a conversation or attempt some socialization with someone who only listens to him or herself? Narcissistic individuals tend to be naturally charismatic, genuinely fun, unfairly good at things, and publicly appear to be compassionate and generous people (1). This makes them seem like ideal friends or romantic partners (1). They can be entirely enjoyable, but when it comes to differences of opinion, communication, and being long term loving friends, their true colors come out (2).
Truth is… they have the ability to cause the worst emotional abuse.
What is a narcissist?
The core issue with narcissism is a listening disorder, so to speak, and an inflated sense of self (2). Think of them as one-way-listeners, only able to hear themselves, so consequently only able to care about them,selves (2). Narcissistic listening dismisses, negates, minimizes, or otherwise completely ignores other people’s concerns, comments, and critiques (1). A common trait is a never-ending response of “But…”in order to negate whatever was said before; deleting the other person’s viewpoints and opinions in order to replace the ideas with their own (2).
A narcissist tends to make things all about themselves—they are smarter, they know best, they are more interesting, their opinion is the only one that matters. Conversations revolve around them, are lead by them, and always come back to them if ever pulled astray (1). They see themselves as above others, above rules, and above the law if they so choose. And in their own opinion, they never do anything wrong (2).
How does that affect me?
People with a narcissistic attitude tend to lack a sense of empathy, making them entirely self-centered, selfish, and—if they can master it—manipulative (3). If you aren’t careful, you may find that yourself as one of their pawns being used to accomplish their goals and desires. The following are 7 things narcissists do to trick you into obedience:
- They hide their true nature. Much like chameleons change their colors to suit their surroundings, narcissists change their emotions, attitude, and demeanor to get what they want (3). Like crying when they aren’t sad or laughing when they aren’t truly amused, they use emotion to create masks.
- They make you compete for their attention. Narcissists understand emotions well, and they understand how to play with yours. They know how to gain support from other people to undermine you and any of your complaints, manipulating you by putting your worth in question.
- They will blame you. Narcissists firmly believe they are never wrong, so if you come up with a problem, then you are to blame for it. They won’t accept responsibility for their bad mood, rude words, or unacceptable behavior (3). All of that is your fault.
- They will make you feel ashamed. They’ll use what you’ve trustingly shared with them against you. Either publicly or privately, they will make you ashamed of yourself (4). Any weakness, secret, or regret you have shared, they will spread (4).
- They will gaslight you. They will make you question yourself and what you believe you know. They will cause you to doubt yourself, and to doubt that you’re being abused by them at all (3).
- They will go through phases of idealizing, devaluing, and then discarding you. At first, they will get your full attention and gain your love by showering you with attention, flattery, and admiration. Next, they will compare you to others, degrade you, and meet you with “hot and cold” mood swings (3). Lastly, they will leave you—but only once their satisfactorily bored of the damage they’re doing to you.
- After you, they will go on and do the same things to someone else. Rather than changing and bettering their ways, they’ll simply find another victim to abuse. This is what they enjoy.
Most narcissists are completely incoherent of how damaging their behavior truly is. Their end goal is simply to get what they want. It is important to recognize signs of narcissism so you can stand up to it and make sure you also are caring for your own needs. Sometimes it is necessary to cut people off in order to maintain your own inner peace. Don’t allow anyone to advantage of you, especially a narcissist. You’ll only end up regretting it.
- The Huffington Post (2017). 18 ways to spot a narcissist. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com
- Psychology Today (2018). Are you a narcissist? 6 sure signs of narcissism. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com
- Curious Mind Magazine (2018). 7 tricks narcissists do to manipulate and take advantage of you. Retrieved from https://curiousmindmagazine.com
- I Heart Intelligence (2018). 7 of the most harmful narcissistic manipulation tactics. Retrieved from http://iheartintelligence.com