When raised by narcissistic parents, we don’t know or understand any different often accepting behaviour as normal that’s far from normal, then excusing others hurtful behaviour towards us as it’s what our parents did, it’s just what some people are like, with enablers often telling us “You know what they’re like.”
It’s not so easy to understand those behaviours or spot those red flags when we don’t know. Our instincts might be telling us something, however when we are unwittingly gaslighted into believing something else, seeing the good in others, believing others think like we do. Their intentions are coming from the right place. We don’t know what those red flags are telling us.
When we know, we can feel foolish, stupid and humiliated, often looking back, thinking if only we’d created that boundary, listened to our instincts.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and when it comes to a narcissistic relationship, it takes time to come to a full understanding of the situation we were once in. If we are still in it, we begin to recognise the danger and have to find a safe route out.
A narcissist has two very different faces, the admiration seeking that they show to the world and those around them with their larger than life arrogance that we often mistake as confidence, and their rivalry seeking face from their envy, which we are constantly fed lies of betrayal and feel bad that others hurt them. Leaving us living two very conflicting realities, with a narcissist as when we are about to unmask their rivalry side, they sell us sob stories of their past, gaslight us into doubting ourselves, blame us for their wrongdoings, project their actions or feelings into us, guilt trip us, and thoroughly confuse us.
The first person we meet is the admiration seeking narcissist, and we live the reality they sell us at this time, every moment we live. It’s our truth. We feel understood by them, valued and cared for, not realising this is their mirroring, future faking, love bombing and idealising the future that will never be.
Their admiration face, be it Covert Or Overt grandiose, fragile, somatic or cerebral, as narcissists want to be admired, they want excessive attention. To feed their own sense of superiority, to feel special, unique and powerful, they throw massive tantrums when these needs are not being met. However, most narcissists can control these tantrums at first. People love to feel loved, create a human connection. Most narcissistic people do not trust in others and doubt they can be loved due to various possible reasons, either a trauma in early childhood, which takes them into the Fight survival mode, those passive-aggressive or aggressive behaviour, lacking in the development of object consistency which is formed in the mind by around the age of 2 or 3 meaning people can care about others even if there is a distant, disagreement or hurt, narcissists are missing this object consistency. They might have never developed the natural attachments systems to others in infancy, where they form a bond with the primary caregiver, they might have never developed true empathy to care for others or have limited understanding to care for others genuinely, or something happened, so they removed empathy from within themselves, or deep down as they know they are all about themselves they believe others are too, as they know how they think they think others think like them, as they destroy others they believe others are out to destroy them, so they need to take people down first.
Many narcissistic people’s biggest fear is abandonment for themselves, why they seek to control and have other people lined up, they lack the empathy to care how it might hurt another if they abandon another. Most have insecurities and lack self-worth, yet they are not brave enough to bring these insecurities and vulnerabilities up and heal these wounds within themselves, as that true inner self is so painful, their ego and arrogance will not allow it, why they long for admiration from those around them to prove to themselves they are special, those who are admired will be more grandiose, overt as the world around them seemingly agrees with their false reality, those not so successful the fragile narcissist, are more vulnerable, and woe is me as they live the most significant reality gap between what they think and the world is against them. Narcissistic people most likely do actually want to feel loved. They just crave their ideal, with no room for errors, with their envy, they are always seeking more, and they definitely want and need admiration, why in the Beginning they come on so strong. Yet, as they don’t know who they indeed are within themselves, they mirror others, they will choose people out of desperation to be with someone, not willing to get to know the individual to see if their beliefs match, they see a quality within that person that they admire or they are envious of. They mirror those ideas, beliefs, values, life goals to suck people into their games, to feel special.
In The Idealisation Stage.
A narcissist will love bomb, which is cruel and is an attempt to influence you into believing something that isn’t true. Sometimes this is calculated manipulation when someone tricks you into believing they are something that they are not. You get lavished with, gifts, attention, time, effort, emotions, flattery and grand gestures. They like all your likes and dislike all your dislikes, want the same future as you, create those false dreams of the future. Which as we’ve no evidence to the contrary, we believe and trust within them. We open up to them, and they learn all about us, our vulnerabilities, our deepest insecurities, to your biggest dreams. They, in essence, turn their personality into us, which isn’t their true selves. That act is hard to keep. They match us like for like, leading us to believe we’ve met the one, our soul mate, and all our dreams are coming true. We live this reality, and with the intermittent reinforcements of the idealisation when things go wrong, it gives us false hope that we can make it work.
With a narcissist, this is all manipulation, to feed us a reality that they can never fully deliver, as it’s not them it’s not their passion, they don’t honestly care enough about those dreams, or us to create them into reality, it’s easy to spot when we know what to look for, not so easy when we don’t have the awareness or understanding believing and trusting that others all have good intentions, think like us. Love bombing is used to create feelings of obligation and hope within us, keeping us locked in a toxic environment that we don’t even know we are in.
Once the narcissist realises that we are human and we have flaws, we make errors in judgment as we have with the narcissist. Even if we questioned ourselves about them in the beginning, we could feel bad for being judgmental. No one can live up to the excessive demands of a narcissists admiration without losing themselves. The narcissist needs to keep their true selves hidden and keep their ego stroked. Once we’ve lost ourselves, the narcissist no longer likes what they see, as they’ve often projected all their negative and unwanted thoughts, feelings, the behaviour they don’t like about themselves into us. They can almost see a glimpse of who they are within us. They don’t want to be aware of this. As they can not sustain their ideal love, they can not grasp the ideas of mutual acceptance or that others have flaws. No one is perfect, Compromise, boundaries, respect, communication. They are very tunnel-visioned and only see it their way. Love feels unsafe to them, so they have to control it.
Their admiration face.
- I am great.
- I am special.
- I am perfect.
- I know how to handle people.
- I am powerful.
- I am better than all the others.
Most don’t go straight out and say these things. Some do. Most, the grandiose put on the charm to draw you in, or the fragile the woe is me so you empathise with them, want to help them, as they are treating you so right, you couldn’t imagine anyone would want to hurt them, if you’ve been hurt in the past you can relate to them, open up to them.
This love bombing phase is our reality at that moment. It might well be an Illusion, and a trap on the narcissists part, as you can not see the act to us. It’s real, and it builds us up to living in such a fantastic high.
As a narcissist believes in their own greatness, they have a charm a magnetic pull to them, and those who don’t fully understand them are charmed and taken in by them. If you don’t know and don’t understand, it’s effortless to fall for the love bombing. As they swoop in and sweep you off your feet, you’re not aware this person is bad for you until you’re in too deep. Then when reality hits of how toxic they are, it’s hard to break free as you’ve lived the time when they treated you so right
When raised by narcissistic parents who withdrew love, attention, affection and support, and you’re conditioned to accept conditional love, love bombing feels like unconditional love with mutual understanding.
The other side to a narcissist is the rival narcissist, the envious narcissist.
A narcissist sees others as rivals to them. Narcissists’ are incredibly jealous and envious people. When someone is getting something they want, or the narcissistic person considers believing someone is doing better than them, they seek to destroy.
When they are not getting their own way, as they feel entitled, they take this as an in-depth criticism. The tantrums begin, they start to devalue those around them, slowly breaking down our boundaries, with the narcissists’ triangulation, their pity plays, guilt trips, projection and blame-shifting, this is usually done slowly over time, with the added Gaslighting, which is psychological manipulation making us lose touch with our own reality, narcissistic people seek to take out those who they feel are not severing them as they should, not admiring them as they should.
They feel shame, and they do not like the feelings of shame for the things they do. They Blame-Shift and Project to escape taking responsibility, often telling that many lies they believe in their own reality.
Narcissists act first, blaming everyone else and expect others to apologise later for the narcissist’s behaviour.
The more they manipulate others into doing exactly what they want, the more we lose a part of who we are, leaving us feeling hurt, confused and often alone as the narcissist will have most likely isolated you, or due to the trauma response freeze, you might begin to feel disconnected from the world and isolate yourself.
Yet when we get something right in the narcissist’s eyes, the narcissist will offer those intermittent plays of the nice side to confuse us even more, or they’ll future fake to distract us from the pain of the present by getting us to focus on the future they’ll eventually gaslight us into believing they never said or it’s all our fault it never happened if we just work harder to please them all will be ok, only it’s never ok.
The narcissist slowly devalues us, through put-downs, either covert. ” are you really going out in that.” To the overt. ” you look awful in that.” Taking you down bit by bit, invalidating who you are criticising, where you go, what you do, how you treat them, how you treat others, what you do wrong, then when they need you again, they lift you back you. Due to the love-bombing, all too often, we care and find ourselves listening to their opinions and not our own.
We eventually end up so lost and confused as to who we are, who they are, often isolated, so we only have them to go to for a reality check, leaving our reality even more confusing.
The narcissist’s envious rivalry face.
- I am better than all the others.
- I want others to fail.
- I need to be the centre of attention.
- Everyone should take care of me.
- I’m entitled.
They also might not straight out hit you. (Some do, and some don’t.) this can leave you even more confused.
Living with the admiration seeking narcissist and the envious narcissist is confusing, living in fear walking on eggshells to avoid causing a narcissistic injury if you don’t do right by them. Living in hope, they’ll not rage and lash out or fall silent.
We are manipulated from the start, in the middle, and the end. Even after we manage to break free, they come at us with further manipulation and games.
It’s painful, confusing and causes so many psychological problems within our own mind.
To heal, recover and move forward, understanding the disorder and what effects it has on you, and learning to understand ourselves, learning who we are. Our beliefs, our human needs, to create our boundaries, so those reds flags are no longer question marks to be excused. They become deal-breakers.
How narcissists distract us from the truth.
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