6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 3

This Post is a continuation of Part 1 and Part 2

IMG_16104. Living a Fantasy

Narcissists lie. I know, I shouldn’t just blurt it out like that, but it is true. One of the things that they use this skill for is to inflate themselves, what they’ve done and what they are likely to do in the future. This imaginary world they create can be confusing because it is easy to think that they believe it…and they may.

If you live with this for a long time you might find that you have become accustomed to

looking down on others as inferior.

No one is as gifted, talented and deserving as you and your family. You may also have an inflated sense of your entitlement. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You may believe that you are the most successful, beautiful or intelligent.

Some of this may or may not be true, but you have been subjected to this fantasy creation for so long that it is even more difficult than average to be objective.

It is easy to get pulled into the illusion that is created with the web of lies. It can be very comforting to think that you

know more than anyone else

and that you are the only one that is “right”. This extreme form of having an opinion and arguing it at all costs is simply a reflection of insecurity, not better information, greater intelligence or an ability to understand.

Everyone forms their own opinions based on the information they have at hand and their own experience. Standing firm that any opinion is the “right” one and all other opinions are “wrong” feels strong but actually lacks wisdom. It is very seductive to be with someone who is very confident about how right they are until you realize how foolish they actually look to others around them. It is not possible to know anything for sure. All you know is what your opinion is.

You may also have an inflated sense of entitlement and feel as though only the very best is good enough for you.

You may be insulted if you are not treated preferentially.

This, of course, stems from the fact that you were living in the narcissist’s fantasy for a while and came to believe that some of the lies or exaggerations were true.

The opposite response to this situation is that you might

worry that people won’t believe you or take you seriously.

You secretly fear that you are not as successful, intelligent, accomplished, insert descriptor, as the narcissist you’ve been living with and therefore people will not think you are valuable.

5. An Inability to Trust

The lies have another impact on your perception of the world around you. You may have developed an inability to trust. If you happened to be the receptacle of the narcissist; a term I use as the person that gets blamed for things, baited and undercut, or the “scapegoat” in a family of narcissists, you may also fear people are out to get you. Someone HAS been out to get you, but behaving like this is still happening can have a negative on your relationships.

If you interpret every mistake as a slight and proof that

 people are out to get you,

you are still in pain from being undermined in your relationship. Most people are not out to get you. Mistakes happen. They are normal and human.  This behaviour is not ridiculous when you have been living with someone that is out to get you and to make you feel inadequate, small and ‘less than’. But it does look bad when you interpret accidents as attacks.

The extensive lying leaves you less likely to be able to trust.

The inability to trust may superficially sound like a good thing. You may tell yourself destructive things like, “if I hadn’t been so gullible, I would not have believed everything”.  Deciding not to trust can feel like the perfect way to protect yourself, but ironically, it makes you more likely to end up with another narcissist in your life.

In order to form a genuine relationship with a new friend or lover, you need to be able to trust them. At the beginning of a relationship there is always an exchange of information, favours and gestures. If you immediately distrust people, this exchange does not occur, unless the person is persistent and floods you with attention, support and compliments — which is what narcissists do.

By not trusting you are effectively eliminating the potential friends and lovers that you actually want in your life and giving the narcissists the advantage.

I have another post dedicated to how to discourage a narcissist from dating you. If you are worried about choosing another one, it might be worth a read.

6. Depression, Anxiety, Nervousness

Finally, you probably experienced emotional hardship at the hands of your narcissist. This could leave you

depressed, “emotionally raw”, anxious, nervous, sad, angry…..

There are as many possible emotional responses as there are people. Be honest with how you are feeling. Honour your experience. Try to observe how it is affecting your behaviour.

You may have turned to addiction.

This could be legal or illegal drugs, eating, working, shopping, sex, gambling etc. These are all a way of not confronting how you feel. They keep you numb or preoccupied so that you don’t feel all of the emotions that are waiting to come out.

Know there is a hole in your heart and a tear in your self-confidence that need mending. The work required takes a lot of time and support and it is a painful process, but it is worth it. Becoming aware of how this experience may have changed how you act is a good step forward and away from that part of your life. Good luck.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51j5nO-sxRL._SL110_Eckhart Tolle explains what “living in the moment” actually means in this book. He helps us take a broader look at our lives and our place in the world.

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis post is continued from Part 1.

2. Refusing to Ask for Help

Since a narcissist never wants to be inconvenienced by you or your needs, any time you ask for help you will be turned down, unless they are about to ask you for a favour or are trying to get back on your good side. So, instead of saying, “no”, they attack and make it because “you are too needy”, “you can’t do anything yourself”, “you are too demanding”, “you aren’t smart enough to figure it out on your own” or whatever attack they prefer. In other words, they use your personal vulnerabilities as a way of manipulating you into not asking for help.

Love and attention are given in exchange for other things in a relationship with a narcissist. “If you don’t make dinner, I won’t even speak to you or acknowledge your presence”. This may not be said out loud, but when you’ve experienced the silent treatment for extended periods of time, you learn to behave a certain way. Consciously or unconsciously you find yourself doing everything that you can to make them happy. You become very aware of how you act and how you look.

It is common for a narcissist to accuse you of being selfish when in fact they are usually the more selfish one. This may create an imbalance with

you becoming increasingly selfless. Everyone else is more important than you are.

This is a more socially acceptable way to behave than the bursts of anger discussed above, but in extremes it is abnormal. Also,

it puts you at risk of choosing another narcissist.

If you are selfless already, you are perfect.

In addition to manipulating you into not asking for help, a narcissist may say that they will do something and then not do it. The result of this is that you become increasingly reluctant to ask for help, even when you need it. Why risk the attack when you know they are unlikely to help you? How can you rely on anyone? You may become aggressive towards those individuals that ask for help.

You may see people that ask for help as weak.

The opposite reaction is to

learn how to manipulate people into helping you.

Or you may find another person in your life to do what you need done and

use them the way a narcissist would.

You might become bossy and appear arrogant as a way to control others.

All of these responses would make you look like a narcissist as well, but they are simply maladaptive survival techniques. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You see people who do favours for others as weak.

The best way out of this is to keep a journal and write down each time you help someone or someone helps you. How do you manage to get things done? Make a note of what other people do for you and see if there are one or two that you “control” more than others. Force yourself to ask people for help. This is honest. Everyone needs help. Choose people who are the most likely to help you. Examine whether or not the relationships you have are reciprocal or if they are imbalanced. Observe this dynamic between you, your friends and family. What is your role?

Observe how you feel when you hear about someone else getting a favour. Do you think less of someone who asks for help? Why? It is normal for people to help each other. We live in societies because we need each other. We all need help and we all deserve it.

3. Lack Self-Confidence

Part of the abuse you received while you were with a narcissist is that you were made to feel “less than.” A preferred way to manipulate people is to make them feel like no one else would put up with them. No one would tolerate your (insert your own button here). The result of this is a profound loss of self-confidence.

When something did go wrong or an error was made, it was usually your fault, or blamed on a “scapegoat” in your household. Any conversation during which there was disagreement was used to assign blame and ensure that the narcissist was not at fault. Arguments, or heated discussions were not about resolving issues they were about pointing fingers and “winning”.

Your response to this can take many forms.

You may be aggressive and arrogant as a way to cover your insecurity.

On the other hand, you may simply defer to everyone else’s opinion,

seldom speaking up for yourself.

Either way, a calm confidence in your own opinion is not what you are expressing. If you were not on the defensive (which is caused by the narcissist) you could simply state what you think.

Any feedback would be seen for what it was; just a part of a conversation about a topic with different points of view and opinions. It is difficult to realize people are not going to attack and blame you just because they disagree with you.

Observing yourself adamantly defend yourself, especially when you know you might be wrong,

is a warning sign that this is part of your unconscious behaviour.

You may have also adapted to your situation by

acting more important than others

or

competing and trying to prove your worthiness.

“I am better than you are” or smarter, braver or whatever. You may find yourself exaggerating how wonderful you are. The opposite extreme is to compete for sympathy, “You may not feel well, but I feel awful.” “You had a bad day, you should hear about mine!”

When you feel like you can’t do anything right, it makes you more aware when other people make mistakes. A narcissist will use every error as more support for the hypothesis that you are not good enough. This makes you eager to point out other’s mistakes. This can be seen as

intolerance for other’s mistakes.

You make sure that everyone is aware when someone makes mistakes, which makes you look petty and vindictive, when in fact you are just insecure and trying to prove that you are no worse than anyone else.

Part 3   Do You Live in a Fantasy or find it Difficult to Trust?

 

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51EayW0fCGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_Byron Katie has mastered a method of helping you see past the lies that you tell yourself and dig down to the truth. This book is very helpful when you are examining who you are.

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 1

IMG_0286

For those of us that have lived with a narcissist, especially if the narcissist was significant to you like a lover or parent, there are behaviours that you might have adopted to deal with your circumstances. These can be destructive behaviors that do not always shine the best light on you. Some people refer to these as narcissistic fleas. You get them from being with a narcissist and you have to remove them when you leave. Take a look at some of the examples below and see if they resonate with you.

You are not likely to have all of the traits, but you may have some.

1. Appearing Emotionally Immature

You have been in an emotionally abusive relationship. Even if you are now out of the relationship and have sworn “no contact”, some of the behaviours you learned to deal with the situation may have become patterns, so they are worth looking for. When you are with someone that has learned to manipulate you through making you feel bad about yourself, you become what I call, “emotionally raw”. Picture a skinned knee. Eventually, it will scab over and heal and the skin below will return to normal, but, right now it is fresh and bleeding. Any touching, even for cleaning, causes an immense amount of pain.

Your wounds are intentionally being kept open by your narcissist. That means that when you are with other people you might

overreact to slights

or

feel the need to defend bad behaviours

instead of taking responsibility for them.

You might also

strike out against people

using offensive or inappropriate remarks as a defense tactic when a normal comment would do. The other people don’t know you’re bleeding and hurt. They only see the extreme behaviour and it is difficult to comprehend why someone would behave that way.

Another thing that a narcissist will do is control, which emotions may or may not be expressed. This is done through criticism, taunting, attacks and the silent treatment. Some behaviours are not allowed and you learn not to express them. If anger was acceptable and sadness was not,

you might appear hostile when you are actually hurt.

If only overly positive emotions were allowed and anger was not, you might appear to be

making fun of someone when you should be taking them seriously.

There are countless combinations emotions that were either allowed or not allowed that would result in what would appear to be an

inappropriate emotional reaction to a situation.

These responses would be incomprehensible to anyone who has not lived with a narcissist so it would make people think that you might not be normal, or worse that you are callous and uncaring.

You may have learned to hide emotions as much as possible. The problem with holding emotions at bay and not expressing them is that you need to let them out at some point. If you don’t express your feelings when something happens, they will build up and when your guard is down or when you get ticked off you will

have an exaggerated emotional response.

Overblown responses may take the form of anger, laughing, crying or any other emotion and they may make you appear immature. Unfortunately, they can be expected from anyone who does not express their emotions especially when they are emotionally raw.

You may also not realize the appropriate way to behave when you see someone in pain or upset. Generally, people comfort each other. In a narcissistic household, someone that is upset may be ridiculed, coddled or ignored. Reflect back on your experience and observe how you react when you see someone in distress.

Are you able to show others that you care how they feel?

The opposite may be true. It is possible that only highly emotionally charged situations got attention. You may find that

you exaggerate how you are feeling.

This might take the form of being overly hurt or insulted. You may be overjoyed at the smallest  event or amazed at something minor. This may have been one of the ways you could be “seen” in your home. Normal reactions may not have generated any interest.

In order to release the emotions you have stored up you need to feel them. Allow yourself to experience your emotions as much as you can. Try to not pass judgement or tell yourself how you are “supposed” to feel or react. Relearning how to allow yourself to feel and express emotions is worth the effort. Try checking in frequently with your body until you understand how the sensations coming from it change. Meditation can help with this. Try naming any emotions you observe. Start with: mad, glad, sad or bad and then see how specific you can get. This will help you begin to learn to understand what your body is communicating.

Continued in Part 2 : Do You Have Difficulty Asking for Help?

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 3

This Post is a continuation of Part 1 and Part 2

IMG_16104. Living a Fantasy

Narcissists lie. I know, I shouldn’t just blurt it out like that, but it is true. One of the things that they use this skill for is to inflate themselves, what they’ve done and what they are likely to do in the future. This imaginary world they create can be confusing because it is easy to think that they believe it…and they may.

If you live with this for a long time you might find that you have become accustomed to

looking down on others as inferior.

No one is as gifted, talented and deserving as you and your family. You may also have an inflated sense of your entitlement. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You may believe that you are the most successful, beautiful or intelligent.

Some of this may or may not be true, but you have been subjected to this fantasy creation for so long that it is even more difficult than average to be objective.

It is easy to get pulled into the illusion that is created with the web of lies. It can be very comforting to think that you

know more than anyone else

and that you are the only one that is “right”. This extreme form of having an opinion and arguing it at all costs is simply a reflection of insecurity, not better information, greater intelligence or an ability to understand.

Everyone forms their own opinions based on the information they have at hand and their own experience. Standing firm that any opinion is the “right” one and all other opinions are “wrong” feels strong but actually lacks wisdom. It is very seductive to be with someone who is very confident about how right they are until you realize how foolish they actually look to others around them. It is not possible to know anything for sure. All you know is what your opinion is.

You may also have an inflated sense of entitlement and feel as though only the very best is good enough for you.

You may be insulted if you are not treated preferentially.

This, of course, stems from the fact that you were living in the narcissist’s fantasy for a while and came to believe that some of the lies or exaggerations were true.

The opposite response to this situation is that you might

worry that people won’t believe you or take you seriously.

You secretly fear that you are not as successful, intelligent, accomplished, insert descriptor, as the narcissist you’ve been living with and therefore people will not think you are valuable.

5. An Inability to Trust

The lies have another impact on your perception of the world around you. You may have developed an inability to trust. If you happened to be the receptacle of the narcissist; a term I use as the person that gets blamed for things, baited and undercut, or the “scapegoat” in a family of narcissists, you may also fear people are out to get you. Someone HAS been out to get you, but behaving like this is still happening can have a negative on your relationships.

If you interpret every mistake as a slight and proof that

 people are out to get you,

you are still in pain from being undermined in your relationship. Most people are not out to get you. Mistakes happen. They are normal and human.  This behaviour is not ridiculous when you have been living with someone that is out to get you and to make you feel inadequate, small and ‘less than’. But it does look bad when you interpret accidents as attacks.

The extensive lying leaves you less likely to be able to trust.

The inability to trust may superficially sound like a good thing. You may tell yourself destructive things like, “if I hadn’t been so gullible, I would not have believed everything”.  Deciding not to trust can feel like the perfect way to protect yourself, but ironically, it makes you more likely to end up with another narcissist in your life.

In order to form a genuine relationship with a new friend or lover, you need to be able to trust them. At the beginning of a relationship there is always an exchange of information, favours and gestures. If you immediately distrust people, this exchange does not occur, unless the person is persistent and floods you with attention, support and compliments — which is what narcissists do.

By not trusting you are effectively eliminating the potential friends and lovers that you actually want in your life and giving the narcissists the advantage.

I have another post dedicated to how to discourage a narcissist from dating you. If you are worried about choosing another one, it might be worth a read.

6. Depression, Anxiety, Nervousness

Finally, you probably experienced emotional hardship at the hands of your narcissist. This could leave you

depressed, “emotionally raw”, anxious, nervous, sad, angry…..

There are as many possible emotional responses as there are people. Be honest with how you are feeling. Honour your experience. Try to observe how it is affecting your behaviour.

You may have turned to addiction.

This could be legal or illegal drugs, eating, working, shopping, sex, gambling etc. These are all a way of not confronting how you feel. They keep you numb or preoccupied so that you don’t feel all of the emotions that are waiting to come out.

Know there is a hole in your heart and a tear in your self-confidence that need mending. The work required takes a lot of time and support and it is a painful process, but it is worth it. Becoming aware of how this experience may have changed how you act is a good step forward and away from that part of your life. Good luck.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51j5nO-sxRL._SL110_Eckhart Tolle explains what “living in the moment” actually means in this book. He helps us take a broader look at our lives and our place in the world.

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis post is continued from Part 1.

2. Refusing to Ask for Help

Since a narcissist never wants to be inconvenienced by you or your needs, any time you ask for help you will be turned down, unless they are about to ask you for a favour or are trying to get back on your good side. So, instead of saying, “no”, they attack and make it because “you are too needy”, “you can’t do anything yourself”, “you are too demanding”, “you aren’t smart enough to figure it out on your own” or whatever attack they prefer. In other words, they use your personal vulnerabilities as a way of manipulating you into not asking for help.

Love and attention are given in exchange for other things in a relationship with a narcissist. “If you don’t make dinner, I won’t even speak to you or acknowledge your presence”. This may not be said out loud, but when you’ve experienced the silent treatment for extended periods of time, you learn to behave a certain way. Consciously or unconsciously you find yourself doing everything that you can to make them happy. You become very aware of how you act and how you look.

It is common for a narcissist to accuse you of being selfish when in fact they are usually the more selfish one. This may create an imbalance with

you becoming increasingly selfless. Everyone else is more important than you are.

This is a more socially acceptable way to behave than the bursts of anger discussed above, but in extremes it is abnormal. Also,

it puts you at risk of choosing another narcissist.

If you are selfless already, you are perfect.

In addition to manipulating you into not asking for help, a narcissist may say that they will do something and then not do it. The result of this is that you become increasingly reluctant to ask for help, even when you need it. Why risk the attack when you know they are unlikely to help you? How can you rely on anyone? You may become aggressive towards those individuals that ask for help.

You may see people that ask for help as weak.

The opposite reaction is to

learn how to manipulate people into helping you.

Or you may find another person in your life to do what you need done and

use them the way a narcissist would.

You might become bossy and appear arrogant as a way to control others.

All of these responses would make you look like a narcissist as well, but they are simply maladaptive survival techniques. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You see people who do favours for others as weak.

The best way out of this is to keep a journal and write down each time you help someone or someone helps you. How do you manage to get things done? Make a note of what other people do for you and see if there are one or two that you “control” more than others. Force yourself to ask people for help. This is honest. Everyone needs help. Choose people who are the most likely to help you. Examine whether or not the relationships you have are reciprocal or if they are imbalanced. Observe this dynamic between you, your friends and family. What is your role?

Observe how you feel when you hear about someone else getting a favour. Do you think less of someone who asks for help? Why? It is normal for people to help each other. We live in societies because we need each other. We all need help and we all deserve it.

3. Lack Self-Confidence

Part of the abuse you received while you were with a narcissist is that you were made to feel “less than.” A preferred way to manipulate people is to make them feel like no one else would put up with them. No one would tolerate your (insert your own button here). The result of this is a profound loss of self-confidence.

When something did go wrong or an error was made, it was usually your fault, or blamed on a “scapegoat” in your household. Any conversation during which there was disagreement was used to assign blame and ensure that the narcissist was not at fault. Arguments, or heated discussions were not about resolving issues they were about pointing fingers and “winning”.

Your response to this can take many forms.

You may be aggressive and arrogant as a way to cover your insecurity.

On the other hand, you may simply defer to everyone else’s opinion,

seldom speaking up for yourself.

Either way, a calm confidence in your own opinion is not what you are expressing. If you were not on the defensive (which is caused by the narcissist) you could simply state what you think.

Any feedback would be seen for what it was; just a part of a conversation about a topic with different points of view and opinions. It is difficult to realize people are not going to attack and blame you just because they disagree with you.

Observing yourself adamantly defend yourself, especially when you know you might be wrong,

is a warning sign that this is part of your unconscious behaviour.

You may have also adapted to your situation by

acting more important than others

or

competing and trying to prove your worthiness.

“I am better than you are” or smarter, braver or whatever. You may find yourself exaggerating how wonderful you are. The opposite extreme is to compete for sympathy, “You may not feel well, but I feel awful.” “You had a bad day, you should hear about mine!”

When you feel like you can’t do anything right, it makes you more aware when other people make mistakes. A narcissist will use every error as more support for the hypothesis that you are not good enough. This makes you eager to point out other’s mistakes. This can be seen as

intolerance for other’s mistakes.

You make sure that everyone is aware when someone makes mistakes, which makes you look petty and vindictive, when in fact you are just insecure and trying to prove that you are no worse than anyone else.

Part 3   Do You Live in a Fantasy or find it Difficult to Trust?

 

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51EayW0fCGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_Byron Katie has mastered a method of helping you see past the lies that you tell yourself and dig down to the truth. This book is very helpful when you are examining who you are.

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 3

This Post is a continuation of Part 1 and Part 2

IMG_16104. Living a Fantasy

Narcissists lie. I know, I shouldn’t just blurt it out like that, but it is true. One of the things that they use this skill for is to inflate themselves, what they’ve done and what they are likely to do in the future. This imaginary world they create can be confusing because it is easy to think that they believe it…and they may.

If you live with this for a long time you might find that you have become accustomed to

looking down on others as inferior.

No one is as gifted, talented and deserving as you and your family. You may also have an inflated sense of your entitlement. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You may believe that you are the most successful, beautiful or intelligent.

Some of this may or may not be true, but you have been subjected to this fantasy creation for so long that it is even more difficult than average to be objective.

It is easy to get pulled into the illusion that is created with the web of lies. It can be very comforting to think that you

know more than anyone else

and that you are the only one that is “right”. This extreme form of having an opinion and arguing it at all costs is simply a reflection of insecurity, not better information, greater intelligence or an ability to understand.

Everyone forms their own opinions based on the information they have at hand and their own experience. Standing firm that any opinion is the “right” one and all other opinions are “wrong” feels strong but actually lacks wisdom. It is very seductive to be with someone who is very confident about how right they are until you realize how foolish they actually look to others around them. It is not possible to know anything for sure. All you know is what your opinion is.

You may also have an inflated sense of entitlement and feel as though only the very best is good enough for you.

You may be insulted if you are not treated preferentially.

This, of course, stems from the fact that you were living in the narcissist’s fantasy for a while and came to believe that some of the lies or exaggerations were true.

The opposite response to this situation is that you might

worry that people won’t believe you or take you seriously.

You secretly fear that you are not as successful, intelligent, accomplished, insert descriptor, as the narcissist you’ve been living with and therefore people will not think you are valuable.

5. An Inability to Trust

The lies have another impact on your perception of the world around you. You may have developed an inability to trust. If you happened to be the receptacle of the narcissist; a term I use as the person that gets blamed for things, baited and undercut, or the “scapegoat” in a family of narcissists, you may also fear people are out to get you. Someone HAS been out to get you, but behaving like this is still happening can have a negative on your relationships.

If you interpret every mistake as a slight and proof that

 people are out to get you,

you are still in pain from being undermined in your relationship. Most people are not out to get you. Mistakes happen. They are normal and human.  This behaviour is not ridiculous when you have been living with someone that is out to get you and to make you feel inadequate, small and ‘less than’. But it does look bad when you interpret accidents as attacks.

The extensive lying leaves you less likely to be able to trust.

The inability to trust may superficially sound like a good thing. You may tell yourself destructive things like, “if I hadn’t been so gullible, I would not have believed everything”.  Deciding not to trust can feel like the perfect way to protect yourself, but ironically, it makes you more likely to end up with another narcissist in your life.

In order to form a genuine relationship with a new friend or lover, you need to be able to trust them. At the beginning of a relationship there is always an exchange of information, favours and gestures. If you immediately distrust people, this exchange does not occur, unless the person is persistent and floods you with attention, support and compliments — which is what narcissists do.

By not trusting you are effectively eliminating the potential friends and lovers that you actually want in your life and giving the narcissists the advantage.

I have another post dedicated to how to discourage a narcissist from dating you. If you are worried about choosing another one, it might be worth a read.

6. Depression, Anxiety, Nervousness

Finally, you probably experienced emotional hardship at the hands of your narcissist. This could leave you

depressed, “emotionally raw”, anxious, nervous, sad, angry…..

There are as many possible emotional responses as there are people. Be honest with how you are feeling. Honour your experience. Try to observe how it is affecting your behaviour.

You may have turned to addiction.

This could be legal or illegal drugs, eating, working, shopping, sex, gambling etc. These are all a way of not confronting how you feel. They keep you numb or preoccupied so that you don’t feel all of the emotions that are waiting to come out.

Know there is a hole in your heart and a tear in your self-confidence that need mending. The work required takes a lot of time and support and it is a painful process, but it is worth it. Becoming aware of how this experience may have changed how you act is a good step forward and away from that part of your life. Good luck.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51j5nO-sxRL._SL110_Eckhart Tolle explains what “living in the moment” actually means in this book. He helps us take a broader look at our lives and our place in the world.

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis post is continued from Part 1.

2. Refusing to Ask for Help

Since a narcissist never wants to be inconvenienced by you or your needs, any time you ask for help you will be turned down, unless they are about to ask you for a favour or are trying to get back on your good side. So, instead of saying, “no”, they attack and make it because “you are too needy”, “you can’t do anything yourself”, “you are too demanding”, “you aren’t smart enough to figure it out on your own” or whatever attack they prefer. In other words, they use your personal vulnerabilities as a way of manipulating you into not asking for help.

Love and attention are given in exchange for other things in a relationship with a narcissist. “If you don’t make dinner, I won’t even speak to you or acknowledge your presence”. This may not be said out loud, but when you’ve experienced the silent treatment for extended periods of time, you learn to behave a certain way. Consciously or unconsciously you find yourself doing everything that you can to make them happy. You become very aware of how you act and how you look.

It is common for a narcissist to accuse you of being selfish when in fact they are usually the more selfish one. This may create an imbalance with

you becoming increasingly selfless. Everyone else is more important than you are.

This is a more socially acceptable way to behave than the bursts of anger discussed above, but in extremes it is abnormal. Also,

it puts you at risk of choosing another narcissist.

If you are selfless already, you are perfect.

In addition to manipulating you into not asking for help, a narcissist may say that they will do something and then not do it. The result of this is that you become increasingly reluctant to ask for help, even when you need it. Why risk the attack when you know they are unlikely to help you? How can you rely on anyone? You may become aggressive towards those individuals that ask for help.

You may see people that ask for help as weak.

The opposite reaction is to

learn how to manipulate people into helping you.

Or you may find another person in your life to do what you need done and

use them the way a narcissist would.

You might become bossy and appear arrogant as a way to control others.

All of these responses would make you look like a narcissist as well, but they are simply maladaptive survival techniques. Some people refer to this as one of the narcissistic fleas. You get this behaviour from being with a narcissist and you have to remove it when you leave.

You see people who do favours for others as weak.

The best way out of this is to keep a journal and write down each time you help someone or someone helps you. How do you manage to get things done? Make a note of what other people do for you and see if there are one or two that you “control” more than others. Force yourself to ask people for help. This is honest. Everyone needs help. Choose people who are the most likely to help you. Examine whether or not the relationships you have are reciprocal or if they are imbalanced. Observe this dynamic between you, your friends and family. What is your role?

Observe how you feel when you hear about someone else getting a favour. Do you think less of someone who asks for help? Why? It is normal for people to help each other. We live in societies because we need each other. We all need help and we all deserve it.

3. Lack Self-Confidence

Part of the abuse you received while you were with a narcissist is that you were made to feel “less than.” A preferred way to manipulate people is to make them feel like no one else would put up with them. No one would tolerate your (insert your own button here). The result of this is a profound loss of self-confidence.

When something did go wrong or an error was made, it was usually your fault, or blamed on a “scapegoat” in your household. Any conversation during which there was disagreement was used to assign blame and ensure that the narcissist was not at fault. Arguments, or heated discussions were not about resolving issues they were about pointing fingers and “winning”.

Your response to this can take many forms.

You may be aggressive and arrogant as a way to cover your insecurity.

On the other hand, you may simply defer to everyone else’s opinion,

seldom speaking up for yourself.

Either way, a calm confidence in your own opinion is not what you are expressing. If you were not on the defensive (which is caused by the narcissist) you could simply state what you think.

Any feedback would be seen for what it was; just a part of a conversation about a topic with different points of view and opinions. It is difficult to realize people are not going to attack and blame you just because they disagree with you.

Observing yourself adamantly defend yourself, especially when you know you might be wrong,

is a warning sign that this is part of your unconscious behaviour.

You may have also adapted to your situation by

acting more important than others

or

competing and trying to prove your worthiness.

“I am better than you are” or smarter, braver or whatever. You may find yourself exaggerating how wonderful you are. The opposite extreme is to compete for sympathy, “You may not feel well, but I feel awful.” “You had a bad day, you should hear about mine!”

When you feel like you can’t do anything right, it makes you more aware when other people make mistakes. A narcissist will use every error as more support for the hypothesis that you are not good enough. This makes you eager to point out other’s mistakes. This can be seen as

intolerance for other’s mistakes.

You make sure that everyone is aware when someone makes mistakes, which makes you look petty and vindictive, when in fact you are just insecure and trying to prove that you are no worse than anyone else.

Part 3   Do You Live in a Fantasy or find it Difficult to Trust?

 

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

51EayW0fCGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_Byron Katie has mastered a method of helping you see past the lies that you tell yourself and dig down to the truth. This book is very helpful when you are examining who you are.

6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist– Part 1

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For those of us that have lived with a narcissist, especially if the narcissist was significant to you like a lover or parent, there are behaviours that you might have adopted to deal with your circumstances. These can be destructive behaviors that do not always shine the best light on you. Some people refer to these as narcissistic fleas. You get them from being with a narcissist and you have to remove them when you leave. Take a look at some of the examples below and see if they resonate with you.

You are not likely to have all of the traits, but you may have some.

1. Appearing Emotionally Immature

You have been in an emotionally abusive relationship. Even if you are now out of the relationship and have sworn “no contact”, some of the behaviours you learned to deal with the situation may have become patterns, so they are worth looking for. When you are with someone that has learned to manipulate you through making you feel bad about yourself, you become what I call, “emotionally raw”. Picture a skinned knee. Eventually, it will scab over and heal and the skin below will return to normal, but, right now it is fresh and bleeding. Any touching, even for cleaning, causes an immense amount of pain.

Your wounds are intentionally being kept open by your narcissist. That means that when you are with other people you might

overreact to slights

or

feel the need to defend bad behaviours

instead of taking responsibility for them.

You might also

strike out against people

using offensive or inappropriate remarks as a defense tactic when a normal comment would do. The other people don’t know you’re bleeding and hurt. They only see the extreme behaviour and it is difficult to comprehend why someone would behave that way.

Another thing that a narcissist will do is control, which emotions may or may not be expressed. This is done through criticism, taunting, attacks and the silent treatment. Some behaviours are not allowed and you learn not to express them. If anger was acceptable and sadness was not,

you might appear hostile when you are actually hurt.

If only overly positive emotions were allowed and anger was not, you might appear to be

making fun of someone when you should be taking them seriously.

There are countless combinations emotions that were either allowed or not allowed that would result in what would appear to be an

inappropriate emotional reaction to a situation.

These responses would be incomprehensible to anyone who has not lived with a narcissist so it would make people think that you might not be normal, or worse that you are callous and uncaring.

You may have learned to hide emotions as much as possible. The problem with holding emotions at bay and not expressing them is that you need to let them out at some point. If you don’t express your feelings when something happens, they will build up and when your guard is down or when you get ticked off you will

have an exaggerated emotional response.

Overblown responses may take the form of anger, laughing, crying or any other emotion and they may make you appear immature. Unfortunately, they can be expected from anyone who does not express their emotions especially when they are emotionally raw.

You may also not realize the appropriate way to behave when you see someone in pain or upset. Generally, people comfort each other. In a narcissistic household, someone that is upset may be ridiculed, coddled or ignored. Reflect back on your experience and observe how you react when you see someone in distress.

Are you able to show others that you care how they feel?

The opposite may be true. It is possible that only highly emotionally charged situations got attention. You may find that

you exaggerate how you are feeling.

This might take the form of being overly hurt or insulted. You may be overjoyed at the smallest  event or amazed at something minor. This may have been one of the ways you could be “seen” in your home. Normal reactions may not have generated any interest.

In order to release the emotions you have stored up you need to feel them. Allow yourself to experience your emotions as much as you can. Try to not pass judgement or tell yourself how you are “supposed” to feel or react. Relearning how to allow yourself to feel and express emotions is worth the effort. Try checking in frequently with your body until you understand how the sensations coming from it change. Meditation can help with this. Try naming any emotions you observe. Start with: mad, glad, sad or bad and then see how specific you can get. This will help you begin to learn to understand what your body is communicating.

Continued in Part 2 : Do You Have Difficulty Asking for Help?

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available