Am I Really Dealing With A Narcissist?

Signs of a narcissist.

So many hit a moment within their lives. The lightbulb moment when we’ve been walking around in a trance often knowing something isn’t quite right, yet too busy questioning ourselves or making excuses for other people’s negative behaviours, trying to help those that are damaging to our mental, physical and emotional health, without even realising it. Then something clicks, and we realise that their treatment, behaviour and actions towards us are not right. That lightbulb moment it can be one insignificant thing or one major after so many. We start connecting the dots. Then we might stumble across the word narcissist. Not knowing enough, yet knowing some, we might question am I the narcissist? First, if you ask this, the answer is usually no, then remember whatever you did was either to protect yourself from harm or to help them, it was with good intentions, you can see others’ perspectives, you feel guilt and remorse, you have empathy and can put yourself in another’s shoes all qualities narcissists are missing.

If the narcissist in your life is a friend, co-worker, boss, relative or partner, you might discover one of your parents or both are, so you’ve walked around attracting them, believing and accepting their behaviour as normal, that you should have never accepted.

It’s confusing on so many levels. Long term narcissistic abuse actually causes brain damage. It shrinks our hippocampus in our brains which houses our memories, making it hard overtime to remember the simple things. It grows our amygdala which houses our emotions. When surrounded by negative people, those negative emotions grow horrifically.

Working on learning new things helps our hippocampus go back to normal and working on handling our emotional health. While staying away from negative people helps our amygdala go back to normal, looking for the positives and things to be grateful for.

Gaslighting is psychological manipulation to distort another person’s reality. It is a hideous form of mental torture, making the target find it increasingly difficult to know their own realities and truths.

Writing it all out to gather your thoughts and reclaim your reality helps, also talking to those who have lived it and understand you, so you know you’re not alone, and your feelings are normal and rational.

Silent treatments, another psychological manipulation, for the narcissist to keep control by causing the target extreme mental-emotional pain, and to look for what they did and to right that with the narcissist to escape the pain.

One day when you’re at peace within yourself, learning who you are, creating dreams for the future, knowing why you want something and what the outcomes are, those silent treatments will be long forgotten. You’ll find inner peace in no contact, or if you have to deal with them, you’ll understand the importance of no reactions and not letting their negative, toxic behaviours impact who you are or how you feel, you’ll learn self-discipline and self-control, you’ll observe and no longer absorb, you might not feel this in the beginning, yet please believe it, others have before you and you can too.

Provoking, a narcissist will look for an argument in any given situation if it suits them, they will go all out to destroy special occasions. They will gaslight and blame shift. They will deny things they said, blame you for something you might not have even done, whatever they can to escape responsibility and accountability and turn it all into you. With their twisted words, we believe them. Things also like “it wasn’t that bad.” “That never happened.” And if you didn’t, I wouldn’t.”

This can cause reactive abuse, which they will play down their behaviour and exaggerate ours. With our hippocampus shrinking, our memories slowly fade, and with the gaslighting, we start to truly blame ourselves and make excuses for their behaviour towards us. With our emotions on overload with think, it’s down to how we are feeling and blame ourselves.

This gets us walking on eggshells for fear of reactions and fear of pain, yet it’s still not enough to stop them and their toxic negative behaviour. They still come at us.

All this then causes cognitive dissonance within our minds, where our beliefs are constantly contradicted with our realities, often living the realities getting sold a convincing false narrative by the narcissist of their reality, as our boundaries get slowly broken down from the massive tantrums they play, from those silent treatments to sulking, triangulation, proving, blame-shifting. We lose our values, our beliefs and our realities. They slowly sink us, with their toxic words and behaviour leaving our thoughts and judgment clouded.

Writing out the reality and facts of what truly happened as you set your mind straight again, knowing that no one deserves to be treated the way they treated you, accepting responsibility for your own behaviour, learning that’s not who you truly are, who you want to be, passing the responsibility of their actions towards you back to them, back to the rightful owner, learning from experience, growing from experience, taking those lessons with you, healing the inner you and letting the past go. Learning to speak up again for who you are to the right people, connect with loving, genuine and caring people just like you when you learn and know who you are, your values, your beliefs, behaviours you will no longer accept and your boundaries, the right people will enter your life. You’ll learn to trust those instincts and not the poisonous words of others.

With the narcissists triangulation, we often are left isolated with only them to turn to for reality checks. They will lie about what others say to youabout you. They will lie to others about what you’ve said about them, or if you speak out about something the narcissist has said the other party has said about you, if you defend yourself, the narcissist will happily go and tell that person.

Reaching out to those who tried to warn you, finding your courage to just do it, stop overthinking it, what is the worst that could happen? They reject you. They’re not in your life right now. You will be fine without them. If they can not forgive you, or at least try to understand what truly happened, they are not for you. Yet, chances are the best will happen. They cared enough to try and warn you. They will care enough to walk with you. Please forgive yourself for allowing yourself to cut people out. Self-isolation through manipulation is a normal response, let any remorse or guilt go, it eats into your present, talk it out, grieve, forgiveness is for you first, then let it goes, it’ll not serve your future, the negative needs leaving in the past, so you can start finding the inner joy and happiness to create the future of your dreams, whatever those dreams are, they are for you.

We end up trauma bonded from all those highs and lows, the highs releasing dopamine and the lows releasing cortisol, meaning we become addicted on a subconscious level.

Tony Robbins’ six human needs, love and connection, growth, certainty, uncertainty, significance and contribution, all get filled negatively. When we do anything within our lives that fill these six human needs, we become addicted, with narcissist we feel connected when they are treating us right we build a bond with them, we feel love when they are idealising us, growth short term, when they are selling, us false dreams, the certainty we have them, uncertainty as we never know who they will be, significant and contribution when we are doing our best to help them, not knowing we are sinking ourselves.

Reconnect to positive things to break negative addictions. You have to know why you must do it, know why the negative addiction is no longer serving you, and find something that you love doing that’s positive that will serve you, whatever that is for you, reading, writing, dancing, singing, yoga, meditation. Exercise, cooking, cleaning, gardening, find something that you are passionate about, to give you that get up and go and to keep you busy. It’s ok to not know what you want right now. Just keep trying new things that keep you happy until you find the thing for you when you find it, don’t quit, say no to quitting on you, yes life gets tough, yes we all make mistakes, it’s ok just try a new approach until you achieve it, acknowledge any achievements along the way, so your mind and your thoughts start to see them, believe them and gives you the encouragement to keep going.

They threaten, bully and intimidate us into placing that fear in us, and that fear is heightened because of our amygdala growth in our minds. Fear from “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Threats that they’ll take the children or harm the family, destroy your job, tell you “no one will ever love you.” The gaslighting of “you’re insecure.” Whenever you speak out about your instincts, trust in those instincts. They know what they are on about even when your mind does not. The “you’re crazy.” ” you’ll never be nothing, you’ll never have nothing, you’re not good enough and all the rest.”

Most people who threaten don’t always carry out those threats. They act on impulse, do what you need to, to keep yourself safe, protective orders etc., but don’t let that fear stop you. If you’re leaving them, don’t let them know, you don’t know how they will act, focus on getting out safely.

The narcissist slowly takes us down, destroying our thought process so we can no longer think straight, believing how we feel isn’t normal when it actually is normal with what you are living through. It is a living hell. They will sell you a dream to deliver you a nightmare. They take our dignity, self-confidence, hopes and dreams.

Then when they’ve sunk us, they up and leave, often returning to take more from us.

Or if they still are with us, they will play nice for a short time to pull us back in just to unleash the not so nice upon us again.

Narcissists have two faces the admiration face, where they want all the praise and compliments, this is when they play nice and the envy face, when they tantrum and are hurtful in so many ways, as they seek to destroy, both faces are all about them meeting their needs and never about you.

Start small and dream big to build your confidence back up. Look at how you’re holding yourself. If you slumped over your body will naturally help your mind to feel down, sit straight, walk tall, smile more, find the laughter, dress to impress yourself, look good for yourself and start to feel better within yourself. Anxiety and CPTSD all need working on to create a happier, healthier you.

In the smear campaign, no one throws a bigger tantrum than a narcissist losing control of someone else’s mind. They will go all out to ruin those who dare to walk away from them.

Don’t pay the Smear Campaign any attention, leave them and their flying monkeys to it, let them gossip, keep your head held high, with nothing coming from you it will pass in time, not easy I know, do the hard work, and it gets easier, focus on what you can do for you.

Even when you’ve experienced all this and more, as you go along thinking yes, yes, yes, one lightbulb after another, we still might question, are they a narcissist?

Here’s a list of traits of a narcissistic person; people do have a trait or two; this doesn’t make them a narcissist. They need at least five of the nine criteria to be on the spectrum.

Superior and entitled. They believe they are above all others they believe they deserve special treatment, as they think they’re better than all others.

Exaggerated need for attention and admiration. As they deep down are insecure and vulnerable, they need attention to keep those feelings deeply hidden from themselves and from others. They don’t care for negative attention or positive attention. They just want and need attention. A narcissist can not stand being ignored, often why they will start mass smear campaigns.

Need for control. As they feel entitled and superior to all others, they want full control over anything, everything and everyone. It’s their way or major tantrum way until they get their own way.

Lack of empathy. They do not have the ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes, so long as their needs are being met, they do not feel guilt or remorse, on shame, how do they handle that shame, bypassing the blame and escaping accountability or responsibility.

Lack of responsibilities, they don’t have time for the commitment that’s for you to deal with, to pick up the pieces and fix it all from them, they take no responsibility for their actions as in their eyes you made them do it, so it’s your responsibility and your fault.

Lack of boundaries. They have no respect for the law as they believe they are entitled. They might pretend to depend on who they are around, when in reality, they will find Loopholes in restraining orders, they will use courts to further punish their targets. All to meet a need of their own, they have no regard for other boundaries; all they care for is to get what they want when they want.

Exaggerated achievements and talents. Lies are just natural to them. They lie that much. It becomes their truths. They will exaggerate or even make stuff up to be admired, and most often, they believe the lies they tell.

Monopolising Conversations. To a narcissist, it’s all me, me and more me. They will twist any conversation back onto themselves unless, of course, they are blaming you for something, then it’s all about how ungrateful you are, or what you’ve done wrong.

Envious of others. They want power and control. They are extremely envious and jealous of others, most often putting others down to build themselves up. They believe others are envious of them.

Extremely sensitive to criticism. No one throws a tantrum like a narcissist being criticised. They will rage, silent treatment, provoke, sulk. As they believe they are perfect, even if they were not criticised directly, they take it personally, as they feel above all others they don’t look to change themselves, just destroy those who criticised them. You might get a false apology and a promise of change. This is only ever to meet a need of their own. Once met, they are back to being who they indeed are.

Take advantage of others, giving very little in return. Believing they are entitled and deserve special treatment, they will happily use all others with the many manipulation tactics above to meet their own needs.

Believing they are unique. They believe they are special, and not a lot of people understand or are like them that they are above all others.

The narcissistic personality disorder is on a spectrum, so those on the low end of the scale might have low levels of empathy etc. They don’t all have all the traits. They do have at least five. Those who have them all are more dangerous, so you need to get as far away as you can and go no contact. Others, you can manage your time around them.

No matter who the narcissist was or is in your life, they will always be stuck on a pattern of repeat, destroying their inner selves and those around them. You can learn to walk free from the drama. How to disarm them, or go no contact, you can learn exactly who they are and what they do, you can learn to find your goals and dreams, your happiness, heal from the pain, let go of the guilt and trauma, it is a massive learning curve, sometimes it’s hard, some moments it’s easy when those challenging moments hit, look for what you did in those easy moments and keep going, never give up on you, anything is possible if you keep working on you. Keep learning and keep growing. You can, and you will.

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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


Covert Narcissism.

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