Imagine being on a date and the gorgeous-looking guy or girl starts by telling you about themselves….
“I have no empathy, I think of myself as pretty much equal to God. I’m very entitled because I’m extremely special, I enjoy manipulating people. I have zero faults in me, I lie a lot, I expect special treatment all the time, oh, and I crave admiration, attention and expect you to give me that at all time. I love nothing more than to talk about how great I am and of course, I can’t live without compliments. I love to criticize people so you can absolutely expect me to do that to you too. I’m an expert at making you doubt your own emotions, thoughts, and opinions and I know exactly how to make you feel like you’re going crazy. I can have excessive mood swings so of course, you must adjust to that. You already know this, I’m always right about everything so you know where to turn when you need advice. If you ever try to break up with me, I will throw a complete tantrum, make you feel guilty as hell, and threaten you so that you stay by my side always no matter what. I get bored easily so in case you get boring and you’re of no use to me I will leave you without warning because I don’t care about you or your feelings. You always have to apologize to me because like I told you I’m always right about everything which means you are always wrong. If you don’t apologize I will give you the silent treatment, get violent with you, shame you, guilt you, and basically make you feel like absolute shit inside until you apologize. I love doing that by the way, it’s so much fun!”
Still want to go out with this person? No?
Well then, you should start thinking about what you are doing in a Relationship with a narcissist because this is how they are.
If you can relate to anything this person just said about themselves, keep reading. This article focuses on narcissism. So that you can know what you need to look out for. Let’s start with 6 traits that can be found in a Narcissistic person.
1. Lack of empathy
Empathy is all about having the willingness to understand another person’s emotional experience. For example, if your friend is feeling really sad or upset over something, showing empathy to your friend can look like offering him/her soothing words such as “I see you’re upset, do you want to talk about it?” or “It’s going to be alright, I’m here for you”. Basically, you try to help them, because you want to and because you care.
If you are living with a person who lacks empathy, it can cause you a lot of harm. Because lack of empathy is a form of emotional abuse. Not being able to show empathy is abusive. Because that means you have to live with a person who doesn’t know how to care for you, show you compassion or Love. Without love in marriage, friendship, or parent-child relationships, what is the point of being in such a relationship at all? If you are not feeling loved, you are already feeling miserable because of that.
Lack of empathy in narcissism means they don’t care about you. That is dangerous. Because the narcissistic person does not care if they hurt you. The only time a narcissist will use empathy and act caring towards you is if they need something from you. It’s only an act, a tool of manipulation in order to get something from you. They do not know how to show empathy in a loving, healthy, and natural way. They only know how to use it to manipulate you, trap you into a relationship, control you and make themselves look good. Can you change them? Can you make him/her feel healthy empathy? Unfortunately no, you cannot. It’s also not your responsibility to change anyone. This lack of empathy is part of how narcissists are and they don’t think they have any faults, so there is nothing to change according to them. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to change a narcissist.
One client of mine (let’s call her Cindy) has a parent who is a narcissist. Cindy’s father is a clearcut narcissist and has emotionally and physically abused Cindy since she was a kid. When confronted with this, Cindy’s father responded that he has never ever abused her in any way. He also said that he most definitely is not a narcissist and that Cindy must have been brainwashed by her therapist. He also added that he is the best father anyone could ever have and that everything he has done has been for her own good. He thinks Cindy is being very ungrateful.
This type of talk and thinking is another hallmark of a narcissist. Cindy who was at the time becoming aware of the traits of narcissism understood that this was wrong. She also remembered many times when her dad had bragged about what an incredible father he is and how perfect his parenting style is. This is something Cindy today feels disgusted by. She cannot believe how he actually thinks he was anything even close to a good parent.
He also had specific rules on how to physically abuse (he calls it discipline) his children and in what way to abuse them so that they don’t get seriously hurt but just enough to make them terrified and always comply with his demands. He found absolutely nothing wrong with his methods, in fact, he thinks he is a genius and would love to share these methods with other parents.
He constantly compares himself with other parents because he thinks he is superior to them all in every way possible. He feels that he is the best, better than everyone. No one can measure up to him, he might as well be equal to God himself. In other words, a lot of boasting, clearly overestimating his own abilities, thinking he is somehow very special when in fact he is just abusive, toxic, obnoxious, self-centered, and dangerous. Especially to his own family as we have seen in Cindy’s case.
If you think this is an exaggeration, it is not. This is actually how grandiosity works in narcissism. It is in fact horrifying to know that these kinds of people get to raise any children at all. Not only is it illegal to physically or emotionally abuse anyone it should also be a crime to brag about doing so! This behavior is disgusting. Abuse in any form is very harmful to your mental, psychological and physical well-being.
“I shouldn’t have to go through all this bullshit, these rules are for others not for me”. This is how entitlement can look like in a narcissistic person. They believe they are more special than others so they shouldn’t have to wait in line like others or frankly do anything they don’t want to do because in their mind they are too special and precious compared to everyone else.
*Rolling my eyes*….
Narcissists also have very low self-esteem, can be hard to believe at times, and due to this, they need a constant flood of attention and admiration from others. They may become very upset if they are not treated like royalty because in their minds they think they are equal to royalty and should be treated as such. Narcissists feel entitled to special treatment, meaning it’s their right to be treated as special. This could go like “What is wrong with you? You know you are supposed to call me every single day! Don’t you care about me anymore? And why didn’t you answer when I called you this morning?”. Many of my clients suffer from narcissistic parents who act very entitled and expect their children (adult children) to call their dad/mom so they can feel better. In other words, these parents only want their children to call so they can get their own needs fulfilled. They don’t care about their children’s needs.
Behind the evil facade (and fake affectionate facade) narcissists are actually very insecure from within. This is one of the reasons that they crave an excessive amount of validation, attention, compliments, and admiration from as many people as possible. Without this, the narcissistic person can feel very irritated, moody, and angry. Because validation, attention, praise, and admiration are the narcissist’s energy supply. Also, it’s never enough for a narcissist. This is why they often feel “empty” and can go into a full-blown rage, tantrums, and other dysfunctional behaviors.
5. Manipulation and Threats
Taking advantage of you and others is another key trait of narcissism. So if you can recognize the feeling of being “used”, manipulated, tricked, or fooled it’s very important you be aware that this is a common way for them to get what they want. They don’t mind it, because like you just read they lack empathy. Manipulation is incredibly hurtful. If you are the victim of this kind of manipulative behavior, know that it’s ok to feel pissed, sad, exhausted, fed up, and/or anything else you are feeling. Because it can make you feel all of those things and more.
Sometimes you may even feel sad for your parent and even this is their way of manipulating you. When you feel sad for them, they get pity from you and that’s just one type of attention they feed on. If your parent is narcissistic he or she can also use threats as a way to manipulate you. For example “If you don’t talk to me, I will never forgive you” or they will give you the silent treatment until you apologize to them. It doesn’t matter if you were in the right because they always think they are right, just like in our dating scenario example.
6. The Abuse Cycle of the Narcissist – Love bombing, Devaluing and Discarding
This is another very toxic way a narcissistic person gets what they want from you. This particular stage doesn’t always happen in all narcissistic relationships but in many it does. Let’s take an example of dating again. Say you are dating a guy (just for simplicity’s sake I’m using the example of a guy here, it may well be a girl) who is very actively pursuing you. He sends flowers, he calls you every day, he falls in love with you instantly, tells you how much he loves you and how he can’t live without you.
He also wants to spend an excessive amount of time with you, for example staying on the phone for more than 5 hours, refusing to hang up because he just can’t get enough of you. He may ask you to marry him faster than you thought (or frankly were even prepared for), he is obsessive of you but tries hard to make it look as if he is doing it because he loves you so much. It may seem to you as if he really must have fallen in love with you in a way he has never fallen for anyone before, but I’m going to break it to you.
This is not love. This is unhealthy.
If you haven’t already started feeling overwhelmed by all this unhealthy amount of attention it’s going to get worse. He will start getting angry if you don’t answer his messages in a timely manner. Why didn’t you answer me? Where were you? With who? Why? Don’t you realize I need you? Why don’t you make time for me? You should be there for me always because I love you so much, I can’t be a second without you. He may want you to stop spending time with friends and family and stop doing activities that matter to you.
Why does this happen?
Because you are the narcissist’s supply of attention, admiration, pity, and energy that he needs from you. He wants you all to himself because you are his immediate access to his emotional supply and needs. The love bombing (grandiose display of affection) is a tactic to attract you in order to trap you. Once he finally has you trapped in his net he will start sucking out your energy, self-esteem, self-respect, and even your sense of identity. This is the horror cycle of abuse through love bombing, devaluing, and discarding and many times it goes back to love-bombing again.
Devaluing is the second stage of the narcissistic relationship. Now that you are all in he knows he’s got you trapped. He will start to devalue you because the more you feel bad about yourself, the better he will feel about himself. His self-esteem will grow as yours shrinks.
It’s awful but this is how narcissists operate. He will also devalue you if you try to set boundaries with him. The devaluation includes ridiculing you, making you doubt your own memory, shifting the blame on you, forcing you to prove him wrong, namecalling, make you promises he doesn’t intend to keep, lying, and calling you stupid for thinking in a certain way, etc. On top of this, he will always deny that he is devaluing you. Asking a narcissistic person about an explanation or confronting them about anything is only going to harm you even more than you already have been harmed. You must remember that his disorder makes him UNABLE TO understand himself, so how will he possibly explain to you what he is doing? He DOES NOT have the capacity to admit his mistakes so how will he possibly be able to change?
Allowing yourself to be harmed in the name of love isn’t love…
After he has devaluated you, many times the narcissistic person will discard you as part of his manipulation tactics. Meaning he will discard you but is planning to love-bomb you again so that you won’t leave. This might look like him disappearing, many times without warning, leaving you feeling devastated and confused. After days or even months later, he will reappear, out of the blue, love bombing you all over again. Meaning, telling you “I love you so much, I can’t live without you, I need you, I promise I will change”.
In most cases, there is no apology involved and even if there is, it’s never genuine. He doesn’t even know what he is apologizing for. He will also never talk about what happened, his behavior, how you’re feeling, what you are thinking or what you need. The discard phase will only be a test of his power and control over you. He wants to know “can she be tricked into another round of abuse?”. Sadly, many victims of narcissistic abuse, do get dragged into this horrific cycle of abuse again and again. It can keep repeating for decades in certain cases. Until you break free from this person, his abuse, and cut contact completely in order to heal. After that, you can look for a healthy relationship, without any type of abuse.
Discarding can also just be the narcissist leaving you because he isn’t getting what he needs from you anymore so he wants to find a new target to abuse. If you get depressed, too exhausted, broke he might see this as very unattractive and discard you for someone new. It is a cold, abusive, and selfish way of treating you. With no regard to your feelings whatsoever because the narcissist lacks empathy.
Discarding the victim can also be done if you push back, try to set boundaries or you just see through their bullshit, lies, and manipulation tactics. He won’t like that, so he might just discard you if you “act too difficult” for him. He will move on to a target who is vulnerable to his abuse and who doesn’t yet see, understand or know what he is all about.
If you are starting to recognize that you may have a parent, friend or you’re in a relationship where the person has some or all of these narcissistic traits and you want help with this please contact me here www.khanselma.com/contact. I would love to work with you and help you with your unique situation. This is not something you should tackle on your own, because this type of abuse is very traumatizing. It can be very difficult to leave such relationships, understand what to do after you leave, and be vulnerable to falling for the same type of person or even attracting friends who are this way again.
I can help you to heal and understand the reasons you are getting attracted to people who are narcissistic in the first place. Once you heal from your traumas, you can find a healthy committed relationship and build connections with people who are kind, loving, and respectful toward you. It is very much possible if you are willing to put in the work. I have helped many clients who have suffered from narcissistic abuse to heal, recover and build new healthy relationships in their lives.
In case you,
o Are in a narcissistic relationship and want out
o Want to understand more about narcissism
o Want to heal from your trauma that is causing you to end up or stay with a narcissistic person
o Want to heal after leaving a narcissistic relationship and are not sure how to find healthy, loving, and respectful relationships
Do not hesitate to contact me. Or talk to a therapist in your area. Or at least tell someone you are close to about your situation, get into a narcissism support group on Facebook but please do not isolate yourself because that will only make you feel worse.
Be Aware: You cannot diagnose your partner. The point here is that all these behaviors are completely unacceptable and abusive and this is not how love looks like. Whether your partner, parent, or anyone else whom you know has NPD (Narcissistic personality disorder) or not these signs are unhealthy and abusive in any relationship.
I really hope this article was helpful to you in some way. I will be writing more on the subject of narcissistic abuse and abusive relationships in general although it certainly goes hand in hand. I will also be writing about healthy relationships so stay tuned. Subscribe to my newsletters to get updates and some other content that I share through my newsletters.
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Let me know in the comments below what your experience has been like if you have been in a narcissistic relationship. What helped you to feel better? How did you get out? How are you coping if you are in a narcissistic relationship right now?
I look forward to reading your comments and hearing from you in case you decide to work with me. I always answer all my emails within 24 hours.
Take care of yourself,
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