The terms narcissist or narcissism are not very common around these parts. We refer to such people as “arrogant”, “stuck on themselves”, “conceited”, or “all about self.” It’s much deeper than that though. There is a diagnosis for controlling, manipulative, and down right crazy-making people: Narcissistic Personality Disorder!
One thing is for sure, you cannot be upset with a wolf for acting like a wolf. What you can do however, is to educate yourself and learn how you are attracting these vicious people in the first place. Remember, the only person you can change is you, and you can certainly learn to control your emotional responses to narcissism.
Narcissistic qualities are born out of hurt and pain. Therefore, do not be fooled into thinking that the narcissist is healthy and of sound mind. They need healing from something, themselves.
According to Psychology Today, there is a detailed list of behaviors a narcissist displays:
When we think of narcissists, we usually picture someone with an inflated ego — someone bossy and arrogant, who has to be right. To be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the person must exhibit grandiosity (if only in fantasy) and lack of empathy, as exhibited by at least five of the following traits:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievements and talents.
- Dreams of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
- Believes he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions.
- Requires excessive admiration.
- Unreasonably expects special, favorable treatment or compliance with his or her wishes.
- Exploits and takes advantage of others to achieve personal ends.
- Lacks empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
- Envies others or believes they’re envious of him or her.
- Has arrogant behaviors or attitudes.
Do you find that you attract narcissism to your life? Perhaps your parents were narcissists, who had little time for you and made you feel like your emotional needs were invalid. From there, perhaps you felt the need to seek approval from them and others. Maybe, you find yourself in countless relationships feeling used and abused and you can’t break the cycle.
Here are three reasons why this may keep happening to you:
Narcissists are attracted to people with low self-esteem and low self-worth. That unworthiness makes a narcissist feel superior to you, which is one of his/her needs. As long as you express a need to have that person in your life, they may bleed you dry after learning all they can about you. They do things like gaslight you to make you think things are always much worse than they really are. It becomes a codependent relationship until you are finally aware of what’s actually happening, and break free.
You believe that you are never good enough. You may find that you are constantly dreaming of things that would make your narcissist happy. You become obsessed with pleasing them, but there is no pleasing a narcissist. The standards are already high, and the bar is raised exponentially until you lose hope in being enough. You are enough! Do not get so lost in pleasing others that your identity fades in the background. If for no other reason, you are a living, breathing, human being who can love yourself without feeling guilty about it.
People pleasing transcends throughout your work and personal relationships. Because of the approval that you have been denied by the narcissist(s) in your life, you desperately seek approval from others. It may validate you, or provide a scope of how you are positively perceived by others. Everyone likes to be complimented from time to time. If you find yourself at a point of desperation, ask yourself why? What am I missing and how can I provide those things for myself? How can I stop NEEDING others to give me a sense of belonging?
Once a narcissist befriends you based on the fact that you need to be in a relationship, refrain from telling them your life story of any part of it too soon. You are only giving them the ammunition to shoot you with later. Some never reveal any traits until well into the dating process.
Of course, you must ask yourself, Well am I a narcissist? Take this quiz and find out if you display narcissistic characteristics. Only a licensed clinician can diagnose you with NPD.
Personally, I’ve been that people pleaser, and I accept responsibility for allowing narcissists to enter and have influence over my life. I simply say, no more!
You can read all about how narcissism affected my decisions and 10 other amazing stories from other authors in a new compilation by Kimberly Perry Sanderline, called Divorced…Not Devastated!
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Much love… Joan.