At every word, you flinch.
“Did I really say that or am I going crazy?”
At every disagreement, you feel the heaviness of guilt and shame overcoming you.
You need to figure out why.
Why does he keep cheating on me?
Why do I have to do things to upset her so much?
Why am I not good enough?
Why does my voice not matter?
Narcissism is commonly seen as someone who is charming, ego-obsessed, and outgoing. If this is your mental picture of narcissism, then you are partially correct.
Narcissists draw you in. At first, you will feel like you are the center of their universe. Nothing is better for them than you. Everything you do is amazing and why you didn’t cross path sooner, they can’t understand why. Being with them feels like a drug, a natural high that only happens when they shower you with their love and adoration.
Their charm draws you in like a moth to a flame. You can’t understand how someone so charming and thoughtful could ever do you any harm.
Maybe it comes on suddenly or maybe it comes on like a slow burn but eventually, their facade begins to crumble. They begin to notice your flaws. You begin to bore them.
Your imperfections disrupt their image of perfection that they are trying to convey and that is a problem for them. Maybe they begin to really listen to the great things they say about you and twist that to turn you into a threat. Their words become hateful and biting and you are left wondering what you did to stop the constant admiration of days past.
Sometimes they will disappear, and they may be doing you a favor by doing so. Oftentimes, they remain but only to break you down and crush your spirit.
The narcissist wants you to be weak. They want you to question yourself and your talents because only they are allowed to be talented.
How Do You Know If Someone Is A True Narcissist or Just Full of Themselves?
- Have a sense of entitlement
- Be preoccupied with success, fame, or fortune
- Have the opinion that they are better than other people
- Be jealous of others or assume that others are constantly jealous of them
- Be manipulative-either in conversations or in behavior
- Show disregard for the feelings of others
When confronted with any maladaptive traits or behaviors they may be showing, many narcissists will become extremely agitated or enraged. Commonly referred to as “narcissistic rage“, it is the extreme anger and volatility shown by someone when their ideas or negative traits are exposed.
A narcissist lacks the ability to show concern or care for other people, they are just truly wired to consider themselves first and superior.
Ultimately, underneath the show of grandiose or outrageous behavior is someone who inherently struggles with self-image and self-worth problems. The narcissism is only a function developed to mask these feelings and a skill that they have somehow contorted as a coping mechanism.
There’s nothing abnormal about ambition and we all have feelings of jealousy and even superiority sometimes but when you notice that these feelings in a relationship begin to affect you negatively and perpetually, you may be dealing with a narcissist.
If you notice that you are told that you said or did something you never did or vice versa, this is called ‘gaslighting’ and it is a form of emotional abuse. Narcissists will often use this to invalidate the other person to make them question themselves, which causes them to back down.
Gaslighting will often leave you feeling confused, unsure of yourself, and a little crazy because you don’t know what is reality and what isn’t.
Depending on the level of exposure you had with someone who was a narcissist, you may be dealing with some emotional trauma. Post-Narcissistic Stress Disorder is not a true psychological disorder but it does carry symptoms similar to PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, that you may experience from the emotional scars left behind.
After your relationship has ended you may still:
- Have feelings of inadequacy
- Have trouble trusting your own judgment
- Have a sudden rush of emotion after being exposed to something that reminds you of the narcissist
- Have low self-esteem
- Develop symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Have struggles forming new and trusting relationships
You sometimes won’t realize how much your life has been impacted until the toxicity has been removed from your life. Just remember that there is hope and you can move forward, no matter what burden has been placed on you.
Download my FREE PRINTABLE info sheet on boundaries! There’s no information needed from you and you’ll always have something handy to remind you what boundaries are healthy and what aren’t when dealing with a narcissist!