A narcissist is not simply a selfish individual; they are, in fact, a thief. This may sound like a dramatic statement, but it holds true when examining the behaviours and actions of narcissists. Narcissists are experts in manipulation and deception, and they will stop at nothing to take everything you have – both material possessions and intangible qualities such as self-confidence, self-esteem, credibility, and trust. Their sense of entitlement knows no bounds, and they firmly believe that everything belongs to them, while nothing truly belongs to you.
One of the first things a narcissist steals from you is your critical thinking skills. Prior to their influence, you may have possessed a strong intuition and instinct. However, during the idealisation stage, when they are putting on a facade of kindness and charm, they work to attack your critical thinking abilities. Through manipulation, constant lying, and gaslighting, they slowly erode your ability to think clearly and objectively. They want to prevent you from figuring out their true motives and agenda, leaving you confused and vulnerable. Eventually, it becomes easier to simply agree with them and do whatever they want, as you lose touch with reality and become incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction.
Next, a narcissist steals your self-confidence. At first, you may have had a solid understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. You knew your abilities and were aware of areas in which you needed improvement. However, a narcissist’s arrogance is a mere cover for their lack of genuine confidence. In reality, they believe they are superior to others and are entitled to anything they desire. Through manipulative tactics, they drain your self-confidence so that you constantly seek their approval and permission. You start doubting your decisions, fearing their reactions, and running every choice by them in order to avoid arguments or consequences. Slowly but surely, the narcissist dismantles your sense of self, leaving you a mere shadow of who you once were.
Your self-esteem is also a target for a narcissist. They are envious of your self-esteem and will go to great lengths to acquire it for themselves. During the idealisation phase, you had a clear sense of who you were, your likes and dislikes, and your achievements. However, the narcissist can only derive self-esteem from the admiration of others, which is why they go to great lengths to fully understand you. They will remind you of your failures, put you down, and skillfully manipulate situations to destroy your self-esteem. They want to leave you feeling empty and dependent on them for validation.
Furthermore, a narcissist steals your credibility. Prior to their influence, you lived by the values of honesty, trust, loyalty, respect, and morals. You knew yourself well enough to distinguish truth from falsehood. However, the narcissist slowly chips away at these values, making you question events and accept things you should never have accepted. They may engage in smear campaigns against you, manipulating others into doubting your credibility. This erosion of trust and credibility not only affects your relationships with others, but it also leaves you questioning your own reality.
The theft extends to your support network as well. A narcissist will attempt to isolate you by employing tactics such as triangulation, divide and conquer strategies, or even physically moving you away from friends and family. They want to sever your connections to others, leaving you vulnerable and dependent solely on them. They may go as far as turning your own children against you, further isolating you from any potential allies.
Finally, a narcissist steals your trust. They may not care whether you trust them or not, as they have already taken everything else from you. However, they will use your lack of trust to their advantage. They may cheat on you or engage in other forms of betrayal, completely shattering any remnants of trust you may have had. When confronted, they will twist the situation to make it seem like it was your fault, reinforcing their distorted view of themselves as blameless.
Should you manage to break free from the clutches of a narcissist, they hope that you are so lost, broken, and trauma-bonded that you believe you need them to be “fixed.” This psychological hold they have over you is strong, and they will prey on your vulnerabilities to draw you back in. They want to keep you trapped in a never-ending cycle of abuse and manipulation.
A narcissist is not simply a selfish individual; they are the ultimate thief. They steal everything from you, from your material possessions to your intangible qualities. Their selfishness and entitlement knows no bounds, and they will stop at nothing to take what they believe is rightfully theirs. By manipulating, deceiving, and eroding your sense of self, a narcissist leaves you feeling empty, broken, and dependent on them. It is crucial to recognise the destructive nature of narcissists and protect ourselves from their grip.
Recovering from a relationship with a narcissist can be a difficult and painful journey, but it is possible to regain control of your life and rebuild your sense of self. Here are 10 steps to help you on your path to recovery:
- Acknowledge the abuse: Recognise that you were a victim of emotional, psychological, and sometimes even physical abuse. Accept that the narcissist was responsible for their actions, and it was not your fault.
- Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can provide you with unconditional support and understanding. Surround yourself with people who validate your experiences and help you rebuild your self-esteem.
- Educate yourself: Learn about narcissism and its dynamics to gain a deeper understanding of what you went through. This knowledge will empower you and help you avoid falling into similar patterns in the future.
- Rebuild your self-confidence: Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Focus on your talents, strengths, and passions. Practice self-care and self-compassion to rebuild your sense of self-worth.
- Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect yourself from further harm. Learn to say no and enforce healthy boundaries in relationships. Surround yourself with people who respect your boundaries.
- Reconnect with yourself: Take the time to reconnect with your own wants, needs, and desires. Rediscover who you are outside of the narcissistic relationship. Practice self-reflection and engage in activities that help you reconnect with your authentic self.
- Seek therapy: Consider seeking professional help from a therapist experienced in dealing with narcissistic abuse. Therapy can provide you with invaluable support, guidance, and tools to heal from the trauma and rebuild your life. (Sponsored.). https://betterhelp.com/elizabethshaw
- Practice self-care: Prioritise your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Take care of yourself and focus on rebuilding your health and happiness.
- Distance yourself from the narcissist: Cut off all contact with the narcissist. This may involve changing phone numbers, blocking them on social media, or even relocating if necessary. Maintaining distance is crucial to protecting yourself from further manipulation and harm.
- Embrace forgiveness and let go: Forgive yourself for putting up with things you didn’t understand. Let go of anger and resentment, focus on your healing, and embrace a future without the narcissist.
Recovering from a narcissistic relationship is a process that takes time and patience. Remember to be gentle with yourself and celebrate even the smallest steps you take towards reclaiming your life. You deserve to be free from the grip of the narcissist and to live a fulfilling and authentic life.
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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.