Love A Narcissist? How’s That Going For You?

If you’re unhappy and frustrated with someone who is selfish, cold, and uncooperative you may have set your affections on a narcissist. In spite of your efforts to please that person, you will likely feel put down, ignored and devalued. Whether it’s a family member, friend, co-worker or lover, the experience is discouraging and usually results in a loss of confidence and self.

A relationship with a narcissist revolves around them, and woe to you if you fail to meets their needs or expectations. You will hear about it, and if you try to complain or push back you will likely trigger their rage because they have a low tolerance for frustration and are highly sensitive to any perceived criticism. They feel entitled to what they want, and lack empathy for what you need, want or are experiencing. Narcissists kind of view others as feeder fish that are there to feed their need for admiration and control.

We commonly use the term narcissism to describe someone who is selfish or seeks attention. We all have narcissistic tendencies and a degree of healthy narcissism can give strength to our sense of self. On the other hand, narcissism is more pervasive and involves the following kinds of behavior:

  • Verbal abuse: through blaming, shaming, belittling, criticizing, bullying, accusing, demanding, threatening, sarcasm, raging, opposing, undermining, interrupting, blocking, and name-calling.

  • Manipulation: pressuring you to do something that accomplishes their goals without considering yours; using or taking advantage of you for personal ends without regard for your feelings or needs.

  • Emotional blackmail: threats, warnings, intimidation, or punishment that causes you to doubt yourself, as well as feel fear, obligation, and or guilt if you don’t comply with their wishes.

  • Competition: striving to win and be one-up on you even if they have to cheat, interfere with or sabotage your endeavors or relationships.

  • Lying: deceiving you in any way they think is necessary to achieve their own ends or avoid taking responsibility for their behavior.

  • Passive aggression: withholding communication, friendship, affection, help or support as a way of punishing or manipulating you.

  • Boundary violation: ignoring your personal requests or limits, including looking through your things, phone, mail; denying your physical privacy or even stalking or following you.

  • Slander: spreading malicious gossip or lies about you to other people.

  • Isolation: keeping you from friends and/or family so you will only be available to them.

Have you experienced any of this? Then you’ve probably felt abused. But the narcissist will deny it and think the problem is with you. Whether they ignore your feelings or get aggressive, narcissists won’t take responsibility for their behavior, but will blame you for whatever you are experiencing.

So what can you do, or maybe better, what are you willing to do? Many people in this situation don’t think they can do anything and are afraid to try. If that’s true of you then get help with this or you will prolong the misery. Meanwhile, here are a few of the important things to help you get started.

First, you need to restore your sense of self. This could be a major part of your work and involves believing in, trusting and respecting yourself. Second, learn to communicate honestly and in a timely manner. Don’t let things go unexpressed or you’ll likely become angry, mostly with yourself. Finally know and set your personal boundaries – what you do and don’t approved of, what you like and don’t like, what you will and won’t allow, what your preferences are, etc.

I wish you well.