To be able to understand narcissistic behavior, you have to encounter someone who suffers from that disease and you have to see it for yourself, otherwise you wouldn’t believe if someone told you what they are ready to do to get what they want.
They are just convinced they deserve special treatment and that they are the best at everything they do. These characteristics come to surface later in life when the person reaches adulthood, sexual maturity and when they are ready for a relationship.
The problem doesn’t present itself in the beginning because a person suffering from NPD doesn’t have to share anything with anybody. Actually, they do, but only with family and there is a big difference between family and a relationship. When you are in a relationship, you have to be able to compromise, share your deepest secrets and fears with the person you love.
A narcissist can’t do that. A narcissist is incapable of showing any kind of empathy and interest in anyone other than himself.
These people believe they are special in every way and they seek other people who they think are not special in any way, so they can feed their ego and self-esteem which is usually very low under the surface. They can’t stand criticism and they need people to think highly of them. If you do the opposite, then a narcissist will come after you because you insulted and jeopardized something he cherishes the most—himself.
The best thing for you would be to never have to deal with a narcissist, but sadly, most of us don’t have that luck, so we find ourselves struggling at the bottom of the dark pit he put us in.
For the purpose of your well-being, you need to learn how to spot and deal with a narcissist: his tactics, the aftermath of surviving narcissistic abuse and finally ways to ignore a narcissist.
Spotting and dealing with a narcissist
Usually, it’s not that hard to spot a narcissist, but the real problem occurs when you meet a dangerous narcissist, the one in disguise, the one who pretends to be just one of the good guys until you fall helplessly in love, and he lures you into his web, not giving you any space to walk away, left to his mercy, all alone.
It’s always the same story. At the beginning, everything is perfect. You feel so lucky that you finally scored the man of your dreams who loves you and would go to the ends of the earth for you. You even feel a bit guilty that your happiness is so vast. But, that doesn’t last for long. After some time, you see his true face reappearing on the surface. You see that all masks are gone. The honeymoon phase is over and he starts doing things that annoy you. He is trying to manipulate and control you, but you don’t give that much meaning to it because after all, we all make mistakes and no one is that perfect. So you discard all the bad things that are happening. Actually, you’re only kidding yourself.
Soon enough, you find yourself in a narcissistic hell with absolutely no way out.
As I have already said, not all narcissists are the same. Some you can recognize instantly, but some, like the ‘happy narcissist’ you can’t recognize unless you’ve dealt with them earlier. They lead you on because they are so much fun to be around. They are charismatic, have a sense of humor and they are lovable in general. And by the time you realize that all of this is just a pack of lies, they have consumed and captured you. They imprison you in your own body; they brainwash you. They turn you into something you never wished to be.
So, to prevent this from happening to you, carefully read these signs on how to spot a narcissist and how to deal with him.
1. He is the most important person to him
He talks only about himself. This is definitely the best way to spot a narcissist. Just do a little test. When you are out with someone and a guy approaches you, when he starts talking, don’t say much at the beginning. And if he doesn’t seem to mind it and moreover, he talks only about himself, then you have definitely stumbled upon a case of the ‘happy narcissist’, the one that is hard to discover. He will never listen to a word you have to say and if you think he does, don’t be fooled. He is only looking for phrases you say to continue talking about himself.
What to do: It’s a good thing that you’ve seen the narcissist alert while it’s not too late. If you really can’t get out of the conversation, just let him talk as much as he likes, that’s why he does it in the first place (just to hear himself talk) and pretend you’re listening. While you’re at it, try to make an escape plan and the first chance given, run like hell and don’t look back.
2. He is furious when he is hurt
We all get angry, but not insanely angry. That’s what happens to him and he can’t control it. Usually, they get sad only when one of their plans didn’t succeed because as written above, narcissists don’t have any empathy toward others, so they can’t see or comprehend someone else’s pain. He will try to blame you for all his failures and he will somehow succeed.
What to do: The first thing you have to do is never let him get inside your head. Don’t let him make you feel guilty for the things you never did. That’s called gaslighting and he is trying it on you. He is trying to make you believe in things that never happened. He is trying to make you think you are the crazy one, so one day you start trusting him completely because you don’t trust your own judgment anymore. The only thing you can do in this situation is to threaten that you’re going to leave and really do. That will piss him off because no one has the right to walk away from him since he is so important, and you just did. You just have to have the courage to stand up to these people and they won’t be able to hurt you.
3. He never lives by the rules
He is too important for rules. He feels that rules don’t apply to him because he is too good to be held down by something someone else wrote or said. He feels he is a man who lives according to his own rules. Also, he will disrespect the fact that you live by some kind of rules or moral codes, and he will break those rules only to show you he doesn’t care what you think is right.
What to do: Try to see this as soon as possible. If he is disrespecting the way you live and things you feel are important, then he is disrespecting you. Leave him as soon as you can because it will only get worse from that point on.
4. He is trying to control you
He will be there, always looking over your shoulder and manipulating you into doing things you don’t want to do, but he does. He will control your life starting with small things like canceling your meeting last minute, showing up late or meeting where he wants and when he wants. This leaves you with your hands tied and is making him the leader of your relationship. Later on, he will control you by forbidding you to say what you want. He will cut you off in the middle of your conversation because he feels that what he has got to say is more important than what you’ve wanted to say.
What to do: The only thing you can do, other than leaving him, is completely ignoring everything he has got to say. Do what you think is right and don’t let him control you. Never sign up for his terms because they are always only for his benefit and your damage. He’ll probably go insanely crazy, but by that time, you should already be far away from him.
5. He doesn’t respect your boundaries
He thinks that your boundaries are not important and he will continue to push you more and more until he destroys you completely. He will probably ask you to do something you are not comfortable with and if you decline, he won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I mean, he will tell you it’s okay, but he is already planning a vicious mind game to force you into doing it and walk all over your principals.
What to do: Just stay strong and true to yourself. Never do things that you feel are wrong. Even if your mind has already been tampered with, somewhere deep in your heart and soul, you know what is right and what is wrong. He can’t take that away from you. Take a stand for yourself and fight to the last breath.
Now that you’ve seen how to spot a narcissist and how to deal with him, let’s move on to the next dangerous part of knowing a narcissist, manipulation.
Tactics narcissists use to manipulate you
The best one they know how to use is hoovering. This is a special tactic they use after you decide you’re done putting up with this crap, after you decide you don’t want to be emotionally abused anymore. This is their strongest weapon after you realize how much self-love and self-worth you’ve lost in a relationship with a narcissist in disguise.
Hoovering is a manipulative technique of sucking a person back into an abusive relationship. Usually, it is done over some time with no contact when the abuser uses manipulations to hit the soft spots of his victim and lure them back to the trap.
1. They put wrong interpretations on your thoughts and emotions
Let’s say they have the ability to read your mind and that is an actual thing because by disregarding your thoughts and emotions, he is making you feel like you are the crazy one and that is called ‘mind reading’. They will be assured they can indeed read your mind and every time you’ve got something to say, they will cut you off and jump to a conclusion because they are sure they know what you wanted to say. It never occurs to them they might be wrong because they are never wrong. If you try to take a stand for yourself and confront them about it, they will make the truth look like completely something else.
2. They change the subject
Whenever you want to confront them about something they have done, they will skillfully change the subject into something completely else just to get the attention off them. They will bring out things you did wrong two years ago and they are going to shove them in your face and make themselves look like victims. They will always have these aces up in their sleeves for situations like these. Whenever you do something wrong, they will pretend it doesn’t bother them only to resent you for it when it’s convenient for them.
3. They stalk and want to destroy your reputation
They will put all their efforts into convincing people that you are the toxic one and that you destroyed them. They will slander you and talk behind your back because their ultimate goal is to make you look back so everyone stops talking to you and to make sure when you leave that you don’t have anywhere to go. They will harass the people who love you and hang out with you and they will try to tell them false things about you. Then you will truly know who your real friends are.
4. They will use sarcasm and a patronizing tone with you
And the main purpose of that is to make you feel less worthy and to hurt you. It’s one thing to laugh and laugh together, but it’s completely another when he wants to use that sarcasm to undermine you and make you feel like shit. And if you tell them something about it, then you are no fun and you don’t know how to take a joke. It doesn’t matter that those jokes were designed with the purpose of hurting you. Another one is talking down to you like you are a child from who they need to pick special words and talk in simplified terms so you can understand. This makes you feel stupid and underappreciated and that is exactly what they wanted the whole time. After some time, you’re going to start doubting yourself because you never seem to be right about anything and that will lead to you saying absolutely nothing and that is exactly what they want.
5. They will gaslight you
This tactic is the most popular one among the wide choice of manipulations. They like to use this because it’s simple.
They want to make sure that you never leave by convincing you that you are not fit for living on your own. They want to assure you that you can’t live without them. Also, this takes away your respect and self-love because by making you believe in things that are not real, they are making you doubt your sanity and everything else with it. This reduces your levels of self-respect and self-love and brings you down to his level. In the end, ou start trusting the man who is abusing you because you think you don’t know any better.
6. They will criticize you and give you impossible tasks to fulfill
This is all planned to give you impossible tasks you can never fulfill and therefore, you will feel like crap because nothing you try comes true and works out. Even when you succeed in doing something, they will find something wrong with it and they will criticize you. It’s extremely hard to stay indifferent to someone’s constant criticism which is not constructive but designed only to hurt you. The purpose of this tactic is to make you feel you are not good enough for him and you should be happy that you are with him.
Once you’ve seen the manipulations narcissists use to take advantage of you, and you finally leave, you have to deal with the aftermath which you cannot avoid.
The aftermath of narcissistic abuse
1. You have to regain your self-worth
It has been crushed into a million pieces which are now shattered everywhere and you have to find them , put them back together and survive at the same time. After a narcissist is done with you, you feel lost and alone. You have no dignity left and you are scared—scared for your life, scared something like this will happen again. You mustn’t give up. You have to keep on going because one day you will heal. Your life is not over yet.
2. You are vulnerable and scared
You trusted him and he took advantage of you. You’ll try to hide the fact that you are scared for your life. You are going to try to hide the fact that everything touches you and makes you cry. You are going to pretend that nothing’s wrong with you, but your eyes and the way you act will tell the truth. Don’t be scared and don’t hide your vulnerability because that is the real you at the moment. Accept it and move on to the next phase and try to win another battle. Then you’ll win the war, too.
3. You will keep your experience a secret
You won’t be in a good mood. You don’t want to smile because your world has crumbled on top of you. And you’ll keep quiet about what has happened to you. Maybe it’s because you’re scared that others will judge you or tell you ‘I told you so’. Or maybe you’re scared it will happen to you again, so you build an emotional wall around yourself and decide to never let your guard down. You’ve decided to never let anyone in your heart again. You’ve decided you’re not going to let anyone love you.
4. Anxiety is all you know
You don’t feel safe in your own body. Memories of him haunt you and this makes it harder or heavier to breathe every time you think of him. You are scared that you are going to run into him and he will lure you in again and brainwash you like he did the first time. You think that you are not going to be normal ever again.
5. You doubt everyone
You think that all people are like him. You are afraid that there is no good left in humans because of him. You’ve lived in horror and this has changed you. Each person you meet you see through eyes which have been gradually shaped from the time he emotionally exploited you and drained you until there was nothing left.
6. You’ll hide your feelings
You will be too scared to show what you really feel because you are scared that someone will come and take advantage of your feelings, and you are not ready for another romance. God knows if you ever will be. But, don’t let your hopes down. Not all men are like that and maybe there will come a day when you’ll meet the someone you were supposed to meet from the start.
7. You’ll apologize all the time
You were used to always taking the blame. You were used to apologizing for the things you did and didn’t do. You did this because you were tired of fights and criticisms. You were tired of his screaming and yelling how incompetent you were, so every time it was so much easier to just apologize and accept it was your fault after all. But, the sad part is, that after some time, you really started believing that it was your fault. Now, you do the same thing—it’s just that now you don’t have to apologize to anyone.
8. You’ll hate yourself.
You can’t look at yourself in the mirror because every time you see yourself, all you see is a woman drained and tired of life. It’s not you. He took away the real you and left this tired woman fed up with life. That’s why you hate yourself—you let him do what he did to you. But, don’t worry, you’ll find the strength you need and that beautiful woman will be back. Just wait and see.
Probably the most important step in this narcissist story is knowing the proper way to ignore a narcissist, not letting him get into your head, denying him any power he might think he has over you.
Ignoring a narcissist is key to your survival because no matter what you do to him that he doesn’t like, he will try to get even with you. Now the catch is that you have to ignore him so his plan fails and you come out as a winner.
Ways to ignore a narcissist.
1. Ignoring as a mean of hurting them
When a narcissist is done with you, you feel like shit. You don’t want to go on living your life because he robbed you of it. Now, if this happened to you in normal circumstances, if someone normal has hurt you, you first reaction is to want revenge. You want to do something bad to that person to make him suffer as you did. But, things don’t go that way with narcissists because trying to play a game with them is impossible. They will turn it around and somehow you’ll end up getting hurt once again.
If you really want to recover and hurt him in the process, the best way to go with is ignoring a narcissist. Not giving them attention and meaning is something that will hurt him the most, but you have to start your healing process while you’re ignoring him. Don’t try to find out if he’s been hurt because you’re acting like he doesn’t exist. Checking out how he’s doing will only give him more importance and he will feel more powerful. Just shut him out completely and focus on yourself. That will destroy him.
2. Don’t give them the energy and satisfaction
They are not like normal people. Normal people reenergize themselves with positive things such as love and friendship, but narcissists fuel themselves with conflicts, argument, and pain. You see, deep down, they are not satisfied with themselves. They have very low opinions of themselves and that’s why they havebuilt these alter egos (false selves) to hide their inner (true) selves.
So, when you give them the satisfaction and involve yourself in their discussions and poisonous thoughts, you’re only feeding their narcissistic souls. But, by ignoring a narcissist, you are denying them food for their negative energy and they are slowly dying from the inside.
3. Ignore your crisis
You think that once you’ve ignored him and broken free that you are done. But, unfortunately, that’s not true and he knows it. He knows that he has you hooked on him. He knows that you need a dose of him because he has become like a drug to you. So, he will wait the appropriate amount of time with no contact and attack you when you fall into a crisis—when you doubt yourself and your ability to go on living without him. This is where many other women go wrong. They get to the crisis and they come back, and he takes them with both arms open, swearing he’ll change.
But after some time, everything becomes the same as it used to be.
Ignore that need you have to go back to him. Ignore his lies and promises that he will change because he never will. It’s just another tactic to lure you back into an abusive relationship. Keep your strength and ignore him in the moments when it’s a matter of life and death for you and you will disarm him so he will never want to come back.
4. The most important thing is to love yourself
This is the biggest blow you can give him. If you stay true to yourself and if you never doubt anything you do, he can’t touch you. If you are strong and you don’t let anyone mess with you, his mind games won’t be able to hurt you one bit.
Narcissists are helpless when their victims retrieve their true senses of self and their self-respect because nothing can touch them now, and the love story between a narcissist and his victim is over once and for all.