“That’s when I finally got it. I finally understood. It wasn’t the thought that counted. It was the actual execution that mattered, the showing up for somebody. The intent behind it wasn’t enough. Not for me. Not anymore. It wasn’t enough to know that deep down, he loved me. You had to actually say it to somebody, show them you cared. And he just didn’t. Not enough.” ~ Jenny Han
Relationships are hard sometimes, and this is especially true when they’re toxic. And many of us didn’t grow up with a great example.
So, unless your parents had a great relationship and made a point of teaching you the tricks of the trade, you’ve had to go it alone – and you might not have had the best luck in relationships up until now.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve learned the hard way that just “winging it” isn’t always the most effective way to learn something as important and potentially life-changing as relationship skills.
Toxic people are known to use several techniques for dealing with relationship conflict that can appear to be effective, but are in fact the opposite.
These techniques ultimately serve the purpose of making us feel better in the short-term at the expense of the long-term prospects of the relationship.
If your relationship involves the following behaviors, you might love a toxic person.
Common Toxic Relationship Moves
Using gifts to fix everything. Get caught having an affair? Take your partner on a tropical vacation. Are they mad at you for allowing your mother to move in without a discussion? Let them get that sports car they’ve always wanted. Covering up relationship issues with money and exciting diversions doesn’t last. The same problem comes back, only a little stronger next time.
Relying on hints as an effective form of communication. Sometimes, your partner won’t get the message. Other times, they get the message but resent that you’re dropping hints instead of stating your desires directly and when they’re toxic, they’ll often pretend not to “get it” or blatantly ignore the truth when it’s convenient for them. In a healthy relationship, both partners should take responsibility for their wants and needs and state them clearly. If you feel afraid to do this, you might be dealing with an abusive narcissist.
Threatening the relationship. Only the most insecure people would tolerate this tactic for long. When someone threatens to end the relationship as a way of getting what they want, they destabilize the relationship. It puts the other person on notice that they can’t do anything wrong without the possibility of being abandoned. Using drama to get your way increases the intensity and frequency of drama in the overall relationship. Sure, this behavior might help your partner get what they want in the short-term, but there is a huge price to pay – and it’s you who will be paying it. Don’t tolerate this!
Passive-aggressive behavior. This is another way your partner might be dropping hints in order to manipulate you, only the hint is less clear, and you’re being punished in the process. Rather than telling you what they want or need from you, they choose to punish you and make you guess what’s wrong. It’s unhealthy and it puts your partner in a position of unearned power and entitlement. It pushes you into a place of almost servitude.
Tit for tat. You’re familiar with this one. You screwed up by not attending your partner’s last softball game, so they use this as an excuse to skip out on the barbecue with your family. Whenever someone is using past negative events (or even exaggerating and embellishing on not-so-negative events) as an excuse to behave poorly or to in some way manipulate you, you will resent them. And on the other side of this coin, your partner might be keeping track of their so-called good deeds and refusing to do anything else for you until you’ve somehow evened the score. Clearly, this doesn’t create an environment that fosters genuinely healthy relationship growth.
Failing to take responsibility for their own happiness. Does your partner blame you for their own unhappiness or discontent? Do they blame you for their own negative emotions? If you go out with your friends for a night on the town, does your partner pout and blame you for making them feel bad? This is a good example of codependence. You are not responsible for managing your partner’s emotions. Supporting your partner emotionally is entirely different than being blamed for their feelings.
Script: Are you in a relationship with someone who makes you feel miserable all the time? Do you find yourself hanging on, hoping against hope that this person will change? Have you become isolated and lost touch with a lot of your friends because of this person? Have you found yourself binge-watching YouTube videos about toxic narcissists and wondering if this is what you’re dealing with?
Put your life back on track with No Contact, a way to take back your life.
When the crunch of this person’s tires in the driveway makes your heart drop and sends you into a state of panic. When you find yourself feeling alone, even in a room full of people. When you’re so emotionally exhausted that you go numb. When you find it hard to enjoy even the best parts of your life because of the dark cloud that seems to follow you around.
If you’ve struggled with a toxic person before. If you’ve tried self-help, changing everything about yourself and nothing seems to make this toxic person change. If you’ve started wondering if you are crazy -and have had it confirmed by the narcissist in your life. Now there’s No Contact: The most effective alternative, to most common toxic relationships.
Independent studies have shown that No Contact’s unique properties stimulate you more gently than the typical toxic relationship. Several study participants reporting relief of narcissistic relationship symptoms within as little as two weeks.
You deserve to feel the sunshine, to feel present in the moment, to have energy – to be yourself again. You deserve a toxic relationship alternative when nothing else has worked.
Though users of No Contact experience less side effects than we find with toxic relationships, side effects may still include fear of change, fear of the future, nervousness, temporary confusion, temporary euphoria, and temporary increase in anxiety while you get used to not being a source of narcissistic supply. Studies show that No Contact is the best option for surviving and thriving after a toxic relationship. Using No Contact on a consistent basis has shown a significant increase in success, happiness and personal fulfillment. For those who share children with the toxic person, Low-Contact is a suitable alternative.
Understanding the arguing techniques used by toxic narcissists: 7 arguing tactics narcissists use to confuse conversations
Ever feel like you were losing your mind after having an argument with a toxic narcissist? If you have, you’re not alone! The fact is that narcissists are known for their irrational behavior, including their unwillingness (or inability) to have discussions and resolve arguments in a healthy way. In this video, I’ll share with you 7 arguing techniques narcissists use to confuse conversations (and to confuse YOU in the process). We’ll cover everything from word salad to deflection and projection – and we’ll cover flying monkeys, smear campaigns, triangulation, gaslighting and more.
Have you ever wondered why you keep attracting narcissists? Are you interested in learning how to stop attracting narcissists? Do you find yourself wondering, “Am I a narcissist magnet?”
“Understanding how a narcissist works is the key to living or working with one,” writes Alexander Burgemeester. “If you can understand his or her behavior, you may be able to accept it as you realize their behavior is NOT a result of anything you did or said despite them emphatically blaming you. If you can accept their behavior and not take the abuse and other actions personally, you can then emotionally distance yourself from the narcissist. If you can emotionally distance yourself, you can either cope with the narcissist or garner the strength to leave.”
What qualities attract narcissists? While there is no single “type” that a narcissist typically goes for, technically – there are no parallels to be drawn among the partners of narcissists as far as height, weight, eye color or any other physical or cultural characteristic. While it’s safe to say many partners of narcissists are codependent, there’s no “ideal” or “standard” mate/friend/spouse for a narcissist, but it turns out that there are certain similarities about the relationships.
For example, the narcissist typically begins a new relationship with a “honeymoon” period, during which everything seems perfect, almost too good to be true. We call that the idealization phase.
Living in a relationship with a narcissist is like an emotional roller coaster ride – the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And a narcissist cannot exist without someone to adore them. They need a narcissistic supply who is willing to do what they want when they want. To be available at the narcissist’s whim and to be willing to give up on their own needs to satisfy the narcissist.
In fact, the narcissist’s entire identity really depends on it—it’s called narcissistic supply. Watch this video to learn the 4 types of people that attract narcissists. You might be surprised!
In this video, I’m breaking down 4 types of people who attract narcissists. We’ll talk about what type of people the narcissist is most attracted to and why.
Living with a narcissist is like living in a fairy tale. But not the kind you might have read to your own children. More like dungeons, dragons, evil spirits, smoke and mirrors. Where there is no happily ever after but instead lost friendships, broken families, loss of the ability to trust others, loss of self-esteem and even loss of who you remember yourself to be – and more. It’s all just an illusion that they have craftily presented to you in the beginning and continue to present to others on a regular basis.
This fairytale is a place where you bring home your favorite chocolate treat only to find it missing because the narc has hidden it from you. Why? you might ask. Simply because he doesn’t think you deserve it. “You need to keep your figure in check,” he’ll say.
Or when you’re given expired food to eat. Eight years expired! WTF? Or he’ll insist on cooking dinner and infuse your food with pepper, knowing that your body can’t handle it. He’ll insist, ‘it’s just a little.’ But if you should EVER put something they don’t like in a meal, you better run for the hills. There’s a price to pay.
When you proudly announced that you lost 5 pounds, he’d give a sly smile and pinch the fat around my middle. He wouldn’t congratulate you or tell you you’ve done a great job. But he’ll make sure you know that what you’ve done is not good enough. FYI, I only needed to lose 10 pounds, I wasn’t grossly overweight. But this was another ploy to get me to feel bad about myself and my accomplishments.
Or when you’re given a ‘floor dump’ at 8 am on a Saturday morning because ‘nobody should sleep in past 8 am’. The fact that you’ve worked hard all week while you’re trying to heal from autoimmune disease doesn’t matter to the narc. He’ll just grab your ankles from the warm bed and dump you on the floor because that’s what HE thinks you need.
Or when he hits you in the head with a dog’s toy supposedly thrown for the dog to play. Company was there, they saw it happen and said nothing. The narc’s laughing response was “You don’t think I did that on purpose do you?” Well, actually yes, I do believe you did that on purpose! But I wouldn’t start an argument in front of company (and the narc relies on that) and the company won’t ‘get involved’. Once again, I’ve been abused by a man who cannot empathize with me or anyone else and takes great pleasure in conning everyone involved. But he has to look like he’s the good guy. Oh, there never was an apology for that hard toy hitting me in the head. I was supposed to overlook it, forget it ever happened. After all, our guests ignored it.
His driving scared everyone, including me. I was always at risk when I was in the car with him. If I spoke up – even the slightest whimper or gasp – there was hell to pay for ‘distracting him’.
And there are the many times, in front of 20+ friends, he stood up at the table, pointed his finger down at me and said “I was talking” as if I had interrupted his non-stop monologue to others. Not me, I wouldn’t dare. But did the others take notice or, more importantly, stand up for me? Of course not. The narc spoke with such authority that they believed it actually happened. They were all gaslighted. Such was my fairytale life.
On the other hand, when we would go to a restaurant with another couple in our car, he graciously opened the car door for me. They all noticed and commented on what a nice guy he is. Yes, image is everything to a narc. And it absolutely works to con others into believing their narrative of how much they love you and treat you with respect. But you know all too well that he never opens any door for you when you’re alone with him. In fact, he’ll walk ahead of you, open the door to a building and be sure it slams in your face just as you approach. To enhance his image, when I wasn’t around, he even told ‘our’ friends how much he loved me. He told me that occasionally, but his malicious actions spoke to me louder than his words of love. I could no longer trust him.
In 25 years of this fairytale marriage, I never had a birthday or holiday that was enjoyable. He always started an argument with me on any day that I found to be special. He couldn’t handle my happiness or my joy. So I would show up to parties a complete wreck, put on a good front, and he would suddenly be Mr. Charming in front of everyone.
Oh, and the times he would sabotage me. One example, I would have carefully selected and brought flowers or a gift for the hostess when we would go to a friend’s get-together. As soon as the doorbell was rung, he would grab the flowers (or gift that I selected) and present it as if he had done it all on his own. WTF?? No credit was given to me whatsoever. It was always about him and the adoration he could con from others. And these ‘friends’ always admired his thoughtfulness! My narc would never allow me to get a word in edgewise to tell our hosts that I took great care to select the perfect gift/flowers. I was always in the background to his fake persona.
My fairytale life never included a compliment by him. And I was no slouch, either. Yet I was never good enough to get a ‘good job’ or ‘hey, you look great’ from him. He just didn’t have it in him. So I did without compliments, congratulations or any kind of emotional support for 25 years. What took me so long to wake up?? It was the fairytale image he presented to me in the beginning.
His favorite saying was “Show me the bruises.” This tells me that he knew exactly what he was doing on a psychologically abusive level. Apparently he, among the majority of the population, thought abuse always left bruises, scars, broken bones, black eyes, hospitalization, etc. I’m here to tell you that’s not how narcissists operate. They abuse under the radar of ordinary people’s perceptions of what abuse looks like. Narcissistic abusers are cunning. And they always win.
When I finally learned what/who I was dealing with and left him, he decided to turn the tables in his favor. He started love-bombing my family members. He lived with my narc mother when our house was sold and he claimed that he needed a place to live (mind you, his retirement income is well over $100,000 and he could easily have afforded an apartment for a few months). And I can see how he’s now trying to worm his way into her will while removing me from it. He thinks he deserves her money because of what I took (in his mind) from him. He doesn’t remember, or mention, the $100,000 I gave him from my retirement account to get rid of him. He wants me diminished, obliterated from the face of the earth and everyone’s mind all while he looks like the good guy who ‘tried to help’ me. I believe his intent is to make me look like the ‘crazy’ one.
His charm has also influenced my adult child. My only child. My abuser is her fairytale step-father and she only lived with him/us during the first year of our marriage – the love-bombing phase! She didn’t believe a word of the abuse I described to her when I left him. I might add that he treated her much better than he did his own 4 children who are now either low or no-contact with him. And trust me when I tell you they have serious psychological issues of their own now as adults. But that’s their fairytale life with a narcissist.
My daughter saw the physical effects of the abuse on me at the end of my relationship with him. Extreme weight loss (I dropped to 92 pounds), hair loss, isolation, night terrors. During an overnight visit to her house, one morning she and her husband were downstairs when they heard my screams from the upstairs bedroom from yet another nightmare. They came into my bedroom to see if I was OK and woke me up. And still, she doesn’t believe! Since I left the narcissist and shared my abuse story with her:
She blamed me, saying I needed better boundaries. (Anyone living with a narc knows they erode your boundaries in every way, doesn’t matter how strong you are. In fact, days before I left him he told me that I didn’t need boundaries with him!)
She minimized the abuse, saying I was just living with him 24/7 (we had been retired 15 years) and he was ‘getting on my nerves’. She added that IF he was a narc, he wasn’t on the high end of the spectrum. I guess it hasn’t occurred to her that since I lived with him, I knew him waaay better than she did.
Then she set her own boundaries with me by telling me not to talk about him (but she allowed him to talk to her about me)
She won’t learn about Narcissists or Narcissistic abuse, or the effects of abuse on the target. In effect, she doesn’t support me. She supports my abuser.
She asks the narc to keep her secrets from me and she keeps his secrets from me. No support from her!
Needless to say, there’s so much more to this story and I’ve only scratched the surface. I could go on and on. But I hope you get the idea. The fairy tale that you think you’re entering into with a narcissist will turn into your worst nightmare. You will lose friends (who all have been charmed into thinking that he’s the nicest guy they’ve ever met!), family members (who are either oblivious to reality or disordered themselves), your self-worth, self-respect, sense of who you are, ability to trust others – the list goes on, reaching too many tentacles to name here. If you suspect you’re with a narcissist, please love yourself enough to get out. Deep down you know you don’t deserve to be treated in this manner. You deserve so much better than what they give you. And really, have they given you anything? Or have they just taken all of your goodness from you?
I was 62 years old when I left the narc. I hadn’t worked in 15 years and by all outside appearances was living a good life. Until I realized I couldn’t live that lie anymore. When I left I was scared in every regard – where would I live? How could I afford to live? Could I even get a job at my age? I had almost no friends left as a safety net or support. My only child couldn’t even believe my story. I had agoraphobia and couldn’t trust anyone. But I’m surviving (in blessed peace!) and discovering that I am still the capable woman I was before I married the narcissist. Very soon I will be thriving! And that is my hope for you.
The trauma accumulated from this daily, subtle abuse is cumulative and destructive on a soul level. To facilitate healing I’m currently doing inner child work, meditations several times a day, journaling journaling journaling, therapy, watching YouTube videos like Angie’s and reading books on narcissistic abuse and others on recovery. And as Angie recommends, I state at least 10 things I’m grateful for twice a day. And when I hit a low point during the day I rattle off as many things I can think of that I’m grateful for. Gratitude is HUGE for raising your vibration.
These have all been extremely helpful, especially in the fragile, raw beginning of freedom from narcissistic abuse (I’ve been separated 16 months now). A major discovery for me was realizing that I am here on this planet as a soul on a learning journey of lessons and growth, which means my recovery has taken a spiritual turn. This turn has helped me realize that I am on my own soul’s path as are my loved ones who cannot see my truth. Right now our paths are not the same but they might cross and join again in the future if that is what is meant for my lessons and growth as a soul. In other words, I’m following my soul’s journey with help from my spirit guides. And trusting the Universe to fulfill my desires.
You are stronger than you know. You can recover. And thanks to Angie and others knowledgeable about narcissism and narcissistic abuse, you have support systems online to help you through your darkest hours. You can get your life back.