Overcoming Narcissist Abuse, by Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach.
Cognitive distortions are a simple way that our minds work that convinces us of a reality that simply is not true, these thoughts are usually used to convince our minds of negative thoughts or emotions, explaining to ourselves that things sound accurate and rational, yet in reality only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves or keep us trapped in negative situations. Narcissists believe that rules do not apply to them, that they can stomp all over peoples lives and boundaries, without a care as to who they hurt, so long as their needs are being met.
The narcissist uses this skillset, why they are negative, self-entitled people who go around destroying others.
So how do they use them? and how does this affect us with narcissistic abuse?
Psychologist have identified at least 50 types of cognitive distortions, here’s 10 examples of how these could affect narcissists thinking, and how that affects our thinking
1. Always being right, as a narcissist is also most likely lacking in cognitive reflection skills, meaning once they’ve made their truth up, they can not look back and reflect, they’ve made their minds up that they are correct and all others are wrong. Narcissistic people continuously try to prove others wrong with various manipulation tactics, to a narcissist who always believes they are right, being wrong is unimaginable for them, they just can not and do not get it, they will go to extreme lengths just to prove they are right. Why there is simply no point explaining yourself or arguing with a narcissist, they simply can not and will not see your point of view.
Being right to them is more important than others feelings, that with their lack of empathy, means for us going against what a narcissists truth is can lead to devastating consequences, sometimes why when they are gaslighting they do it so well, as to them it is their reality and their truth and they shall not be swayed. To most narcissistic people, “they didn’t say that.” And “That never happened.” To them “you are being sensitive.” And “you are the one going crazy.” In their eyes and minds it’s their truth, often why their smear campaigns are also done with such truth-telling lies. Yet because you are open to opinions and ideas, can understand people make mistakes, this gaslighting then makes you question yourself, blame yourself and as you care, forgive them for their wrongdoings, why when you are walking on eggshells doing as they please they can treat you so well. You then start to blame yourself all the more, as reality is showing you how good they can treat you, yet reality is also showing you just how wrong they treat you, yet when you question them over something that you believe them to be wrong about and they believe they are right, they will go to great extremes to prove themselves right and prove you wrong. Causing that cognitive dissonance within your mind over the mismatch of realities and beliefs that you are now living under the narcissist’s spell.
2 Negative filtering. The narcissist will often, take the one negative thing you have done filtering out anything that happened before or anything they did to cause this and focus solely on that one negative thing, when in a disagreement with them they will twist it onto that one single fact and blame-shift then gaslight it all onto you, the whole “if you hadn’t I wouldn’t.” And as they believe they are right that is their truth and no matter how much you try to explain or defend yourself to them, they are not listening to your point of view, they have theirs and this is final.
Negativity breeds negativity and you as an empathetic person with an open mind, that can see others points of view, with the help of their gaslighting take their negative thoughts on as your own, ending up blaming yourself and in a state of confusion.
Their reality is distorted by only the dark facts they want and those beliefs they hold so true to themselves they slowly force onto those around them. When we take everything personally and are around people that are so critical of us, it destroys who we are, so we either have to learn not to take their words and actions personally and know our truths and who we are, except that’s how they want to think or feel, and know we don’t have to feel that way and simply leave them to it, some are extremely dangerous so no contact is the only way to go.
3. Black and white thinking. A narcissist has no grey area, to them it’s either good or bad, there is no room for mistakes or errors in judgment, to them, it is all or nothing. They can only see things as either good or bad, as they themselves must be perfect, they place all blame onto others for situations or problems they might have caused, without cognitive reflection they can not look back to see what might have led up to a bad situation and without empathy they can not see how someone else might be feeling, most have cognitive empathy so they can think how they feel, yet, can simply not put themselves into someone else’s shoes, to feel or care how they are making someone feel.
This is why most will project all their failures and faults onto others, as to them they are entitled and they are superior, any mistakes made, or any achievements missed, they will place that blame onto someone else, being around this on a continued basis leaves us feeling like we are at fault, as all the projection is slowly drip-fed into our minds, also why we are rather too forgiving as we can see the good in them, often with all the blame-shifting when the bad comes out, we are led to believe this to be our fault, it is never your fault.
4. Jumping to conclusions. A narcissist might even say “I’m a great judge of character.” They believe they know exactly what others are thinking or feeling, and they are not interested in finding out otherwise, also why they Gaslight with. “You’re too sensitive.” As they believe you are too sensitive and as they’ve made their minds up, they are unable and unwilling to listen to your explanation, as they are only interested in their own.
So where your instincts might be trying to tell you something, so instead of jumping to a conclusion, you go and discuss it with them, you’re instincts are most likely correct, however, they will not validate your feelings as real as they’re made their minds up that in fact, you are “insecure.” When you are not, yet as you’ve not made a conclusion you are most often left questioning yourself as to whether you are indeed insecure? If you are pushing them away? When in fact a good person would listen to you and work it out, always trust your instincts even when you are unsure as to what they are telling you as most often they are right.
5. Catastrophising. The narcissist does this by minimising or denying their negative or bad behaviour and magnifying anything that does well to get you to focus on their good side. They minimise anything you do good and they magnify anything you do that they perceive as wrong, and once they’ve made their minds up, that is their truth and nothing you can say will shift this.
This is usually what happens to us once we’ve been around narcissistic, toxic of negative people for a long time, as they drip-feed our minds, and our subconscious sucks it all in, we are then on constant watch from their next negative mood swing, for the next smear campaign, for the next game they will play to bring is down to their level, we can both magnify their good behaviour, with the help of their toxic words and we can minimize their bad behaviour, often as we’ve been led to believe it was our fault, leaving us on edge and walking on eggshells around them to meet all their need so we don’t set them off, leaving us with anxiety as we are so concerned about how they will act and become less and less concerned about what we can do to save ourselves, as we want to help other we slowly destroy ourselves, when in reality we did not cause it, we can not change it, and we can not control it, they are who they are and no matter what action we take they have a disorder and that is who they are, which in reality means no matter what we do or do not do for them, they are a ticking time bomb that will go off as and when they please, if they feel wronged, if they feel criticism, their is absolutely nothing we can do to change this for them, it’s who they are, it’s how they want to think, it’s how they want to behave, nothing you say or do will change this, the best course of action is to leave them to it, especially those on the lower end of the spectrum, leave them to be who they want to be, and you be who you want to be, those on the higher that are dangerous, no Contact.
6. Control. As you most likely already know a narcissist is all about control, they want and need to be in control, they feel entitled to be in control of those around them and all life events, when they are not getting what they want, they will blame others, life is against them and if it wasn’t for someone else they would be achieving the success they believe they deserve.
If we feel controlled by outside events, especially when mass smear campaigns hit, we see ourselves as helpless, the victim and the “why is this happening to me.” Or “why are they doing this.” Once we take back control of our lives, those outside situations no longer impact us. Then internal control, we take on the responsibility of the happiness of those around us, we are responsible for how we feel only, and others are responsible for how they feel. As they Gaslight, intimidate and invalidate us, we slowly lose control of our minds and our lives, not knowing what truly happening to us, and trying our best to please others, not understanding that as nice as it is to help others, it’s all about helping those who a willing and able to help us, walk away from those who are not, also that it’s ok to be selfish and put our own needs first, with good intentions no wrong way, or right way to live your life only your way. The oxygen mask on the plane, yes seems selfish putting it on yourself first. If you put it on the wrong person first, they will then leave you to it, put it on the right person first, your oxygen levels might run too low, put it on yourself first and you will be able to run at your best to help others, even those who don’t deserve or appreciate help, boundaries are a must, knowing when to say yes, and when to say no, if saying yes to someone else is them saying no to you, it needs to be a no to that other person, compromise yes, if it’s all their way, you have every right to turn around and go your way.
7. The blame games. Those on the disorder blame all others for anything that is wrong with their own lives, meaning they are unable or unaware of what actions they’ve taken towards the mistakes they have made, so they can not make changes as to who they are as they simply do not see themselves as the problem.
With all the manipulative blame-shifting tactics, we go the other way and start to blame ourselves for everything, when in reality not everything is our responsibility or our fault, with their triangulation and silent treatment, we start to look at ourselves to see what we’ve done wrong and how we could be better. This is good news, as this means you have the ability to reflect, to look at past mistakes, learn from them, grow from them, and changes them, the biggest lessons here, is to learn who we are, to learn the behaviour we will and will not accept from those around us, learn our own worth, learning to let go of those who only seek to steal our joy, and no longer looking to always blame ourselves, taking the responsibility for what mistakes we have made, and passing those we did not back to the rightful owner. Self-awareness is vital.
8. Change. A narcissist does not see why they need to change, they have a disorder it’s who they are, most often they can not see their own faults, they can only pass them onto others and therefore see all their own problems as to being caused by those around them, believing others need to change to suit them, again the gaslighting Of “If you hadn’t I wouldn’t.” And most genuinely believe that if you hadn’t they wouldn’t, however most often, you haven’t actually done anything wrong, they will find something, anything you did, then they will magnify this, to put the blame at your door, they will provoke you, to get a reaction out of you, just so they can blame it all on you.
With us, as we are slowly manipulated into their negative ways of thinking, it infects our mind, yet with their gaslighting, projection, blame-shifting, arguments, silent treatments and the rest, we are led to believe it’s us that need to change, our minds are led to believe this is true, as they often offer intermittent times where they play nice, and magnify something we did to deserve them being nice to us, so we are left changing who we are time and time again to attract their nice side and walking on eggshells to avoid their nasty side. In truth, they have a disorder it’s who they are, you did nothing to cause it, there’s nothing you can do to change it, and there’s nothing you can do to control it, you can, however, learn who they are, what and why they do what they do, and learn how to handle them, why you don’t need to defend yourself to them, why you don’t need to change for them, no one deserves this treatment, you did nothing wrong, trying to help others is good, just help those who are willing to be helped and leave those who only want to bring you down.
9. Personalisation. With someone on the narcissistic personality disorder spectrum, they feel entitled, so to them it’s all about them, in one way they have got something right here, as we should all make sure that we are good within ourselves, there is a difference between a narcissists all about me and self-care, they are in it to win it at all costs, they are most often not interested in what happens to those around them, so long as all their needs are being met, if they believe being nice to someone will meet their needs, they will be nice, if they think being nasty will meet their needs they will be nasty, in reality it’s about giving to ourselves, then giving to others, if you have £10.00 and you need to buy your children food, yet your friends are really struggling, you don’t give them the £10.00 whilst you and your children go hungry, people need to look after themselves, yet if you have more money coming in the next day, so you can split it, if you have enough with £5 give them £5. Or if you have plenty and you’re good you might invite them for dinner, give them food, give them cash, until they are on their feet again, and they should them help you out in times of need, if they leave you to struggle in times of need when they could help, they are not the people for you, A narcissist is all about self, so you could be struggling financially, yet they will take your money and happily spend it, some will even have their own as well as take yours, when you ask for it back, they will dent all knowledge, blame you, pity play or cause an argument.
They believe whatever others do or say is a direct reaction to them, they take everything personally, if someone achieves its down to them, if someone speaks you, they have criticised them, if they are late, they will blame any external source and never themselves, as to them personally it was someone else’s fault.
As they are so fast to shift the blame, those around them are often left blaming themselves for everything that’s wrong that they didn’t even cause.
10. Should. A narcissist might think that they should change, yet this is only in a moment when they are not getting something they want, why we get the false promise of ”I’ll go to counselling.” or the bring you gifts, it’s only temporary to meet a need of their own, they feel shame, so they quickly shift this shame out by changing their mind for black to white, once they have what they want they change there should, to you should. Then their own mindset becomes they shouldn’t have to and you should, as it’s never a must, it’s only ever temporary change when they do play nice. When they start directing these should statement towards others, they will then feel anger and resentment towards that other person, which is when their rage often appears, the smear campaigns and all the other destructive hurtful things they do to themselves and to others.
When we think they should behave in a certain way towards us or our children, or when we believe we should try harder to help them see, we should be able to support them, we should be able to explain and defend ourselves to them, we should be able to make it work, and with those not on the disorder we can, working with those on the disorder we can not, as their, feelings, thoughts, opinions, their minds have been made up and anything you say or do will not change this. It only ever works if they believe something to be their idea and this is hard to achieve on a continuous basis, some are dangerous so you have to leave them be, others you can teach them behaviour you will and not accept, by knowing who you are, being nice when they are to you, and leaving them be, giving them no attention when they are treating you badly, again this varies on the severity of the narcissist. When we are full of what we should be able to do, and it doesn’t happen, it leaves us feeling disappointed, let down, hurt, anger and resentment, we have to keep our own standards as high as we want them to be, and our expectations of them extremely low so we don’t feel offended.
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Some examples of how narcissistic people manipulate you.