The fact is that narcissists cannot put themselves into your shoes and they cannot understand any type of pain you feel because they are not capable of it on an emotional level. But this explanation isn’t quite thorough enough, because it leaves so many of us wondering, “but what about all those times they did seem to be empathetic?”
For example, if your ex is a narcissist, they probably seemed to be fully aware of your feelings when you first started dating. After all, they very clearly knew what you liked. They made sure to give you what you liked, and they did their best to steer clear of what you didn’t like. This is one of those little things that made you feel like you’d finally found your soulmate – at least, at first.
So, I know what you’re thinking. If narcissists are not empathetic, then how could they ever act like they are? Isn’t this how empathy works? To be aware of and to choose your actions based on someone else’s feelings? Well, yes, and no.
Before we get into how narcissists are able to show empathy when it’s convenient for them, it’s important to understand what “real” empathy is, so let me define it for you.
What is Real Empathy?
My shorthand definition is that empathy is the ability to feel and care about how other people feel, and to act from that perspective. To be a little more clear, real empathy is the ability to sense, understand, and feel the emotions of someone else, even if you haven’t had an identical experience. It means being able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. You can feel what they are feeling even if you cannot relate to what they are going through directly because you can sort of imagine how they must feel. You feel compassion for them and you care about their feelings because of this – and then you act accordingly.
What is False Empathy?
False empathy is sadly used as a manipulation tactic by narcissists when they want something from you. Since you value connection and empathy, as most non-narcissists do, the narcissist knows it will help them get what they want from you. So they pretend to care how you feel. See, when it comes to narcissists, they are unable to feel emotional and compassionate empathy. But at the same time, they are well-aware of the fact that other people value empathy and because of that, they might demonstrate false empathy. (Wait, what?) This is why it is so confusing and so difficult to detect a narcissist early in a relationship.
False Empathy: Understanding the Narcissist’s Empathy Deficit
Here’s the thing. When we say “narcissists have no empathy,” we don’t necessarily mean that they’re not capable of figuring out what you’re feeling. What we mean is that narcissists don’t FEEL empathy in the same way as most people do. They have no compassion, no remorse and they don’t feel regret – unless they regret a choice they made because it negatively affected them directly.
To put it more specifically, when someone feels compassion, it means they are sympathetic toward someone’s situation and they feel sort of compelled to help that person fix whatever is wrong or to at least not make anything more difficult for that person. When someone feels remorse, it means that they feel really guilty about something they did that they see as wrong. And when someone feels regret, it means they recognize that they made a choice or took an action that led to a negative consequence, and they wish they hadn’t done it or even that they could go back and change what they did.
So, in other words, the narcissist is capable of understanding exactly what you think or feel on a cognitive level, but not on an emotional one. They can “think about” what someone else is feeling, but it doesn’t affect their emotional state directly, nor does it play a part in how they treat the other person. The exception is when the narcissist thinks someone feels negatively about them. This situation will make them feel angry, offended, and generally upset – and that usually manifests in narcissistic rage and/or narcissistic injury.
The truth is that while narcissists find it easy to learn the motions on how to appear to be empathetic, they are usually just imitating what they’ve seen others doing – and that is when they use false empathy.
Types of Empathy
A lot of people don’t realize that there are different types of empathy as defined by psychologists, including cognitive, emotional, and compassionate empathy. And what is even more perplexing for a lot of us is that it is totally possible to demonstrate one or more of these types of empathy without actually caring on an emotional level what someone is feeling or going through.
As defined by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his 1995 bookEmotional Intelligence, cognitive empathy is “simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking.” He adds that cognitive empathy is also sometimes called “perspective-taking.” In other words, it means being aware on an intellectual level of someone’s emotions and likely thoughts about any given topic or situation.
It’s like understanding that a coworker is sad that their grandma died, but since you didn’t know her, you might not feel personally sad about it. You tell them you’re sorry for their loss and offer to help them keep up on their workload while they attend the out-of-town funeral, but you don’t necessarily go home and cry about it.
Narcissists will use this kind of empathy as a way to manipulate you in the same way that a used car dealer would try to get you to buy an over-priced, underperforming vehicle. The salesperson doesn’t really care about the fact that you’ve got kids or that your budget is stretched. They’re more concerned about moving inventory and getting paid.
Yet, on an intellectual level, they can read you well enough to understand your thought process and what you’re looking for in a vehicle. And they can gather that you’re emotionally tied to this decision in some way, whether it’s due to a desire for a safe, dependable vehicle, or a desire for a pretty and stylish vehicle, or one that is super extra fast and powerful.
If they don’t have something in stock that fits your needs perfectly, the ethical thing to do would be to say so and possibly recommend another car lot. But they have the goal of moving their own inventory and making money, so they’ll do what they need to to make something they have work for you.
And while the car they ultimately talk you into buying may or may not be right for you, they will use this understanding of what you want to make it seem like exactly what you need. Sure, maybe it’ll cost way more than you can afford, or maybe it’ll have 300k miles on it – but these things aren’t a concern for the salesperson. They just want to sell you a dang car so they can go out to lunch, or buy that boat they’ve had their eye on, or whatever.
This is a great example of how a narcissist, while they have the ability to see things from your perspective, will always act in a way where they will benefit the most. In other words, they use cognitive empathy to get what they want by understanding what is important to you or what your perspective happens to be.
In fact, Daniel Goleman also notes that this is the kind of empathy used by people who use torture tactics. It allows them to understand what makes a person tick without feeling any sympathy toward them.
So, narcissists can and will use cognitive empathy to get what they want. But it doesn’t mean they can feel anything you feel, you feel me?
A twist on cognitive empathy is “agenda-driven” empathy. See, when the narcissist is getting what they want from you, they will pretend to know that you are making sacrifices for them. And they think by acknowledging that, they can convince you to be more willing to give up what you want for them. For example, let’s say you’re excited about your upcoming friends’ night out. You’re going to see a movie you’ve been DYING to see. At the last minute, the narcissist you work with asks you to fill in for them the same evening, even though they were well aware that you wanted to go. They will say things such as “Oh I know you were looking forward to this but if you do this favor for me I will be forever grateful.” How can you turn that down?
Emotional empathy is the type of empathy most of us think of when we call ourselves empaths. It means that you can sense and in some ways, actually feel what other people around you are feeling, even when they’re a stranger. For example, if you watch someone on television stub their toe or get kicked in the shin, you sort of “feel” it along with them. It’s what makes us cry at movies and what makes us feel sad when someone we love is sad. It’s sort of like the feelings of other people become almost contagious for you. This can be seen in humans as early as two months old, when a baby will smile back at their mother smiling at them, or when the baby will cry when hearing another baby cry. Narcissists do not feel emotional empathy.
However, they might feel a sort of shallow empathy, which is when the narcissist shows a degree of softness for you. This happens most often early in a relationship during the love-bombing phase, and even then, if you look hard enough, you’ll see that they continue to show their true colors elsewhere. And of course, they will show their true colors to you eventually. It’s kind of like a doctor who has an amazing bedside manner but who is a total jerk to his wife and kids. Same deal.
Compassionate empathy is exactly what it sounds like – being aware of and feeling for a person’s situation, and feeling moved to do something to help. It means keeping your head on straight but also caring about the other person’s feelings. It doesn’t necessarily involve being overly emotional, though you might be driven by emotion. It doesn’t necessarily involve being overly analytical or intellectual, though you might use your intellect to help them solve the problem. It simply means you understand what someone is experiencing and you might help them take action to resolve the issue. Narcissists do not generally have compassionate empathy, though they can be good at faking it when it helps them get what they want from you.
Question of the Day: Have you experienced a narcissist who used false empathy? What was that like? And when did you recognize what was happening? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.
Loving a narcissist is hard, and honestly, it hurts. I know from personal experience. See, I’ve dealt with several narcissists in toxic relationships in my life – family members, friends, and even a spouse. One thing I recall vividly from each of those relationships is that I felt a deep, profound love for each of them. I remember in each case the exact moment when it became very clear to me that they did not have the same affection for me, and let me tell you, it was painful.
Can you relate? Do you have a narcissistic spouse, friend, or family member? If you do, and you’re anything like I was, you can’t help but love them. If you’re being honest, your love for them runs deep down to the core of who you are – or at least it used to. They are or were a part of you because of it. You love with your heart and soul, with every part of your being.
Sometimes they confuse you, though, because they can be so mean and so hurtful. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get through to them. They always seem to have some issue with you and even when you think you’ve finally figured out how to make everything okay with them, they never fail to hurt and disappoint you. Sadly, despite your sincerity and your genuine desire to just make them happy, they can’t even seem to muster up politeness for you – much less actual love. You might even start to wonder if you’re the problem.
I’m here to tell you that not only are you NOT the problem but that the narcissist in your life unquestionably IS. The painful truth is that a narcissist just can’t love you back because they are not capable of actual love. In fact, while they might understand the concepts of love and empathy on some level, the truth is that they can’t feel these things because in so many cases, their emotional development stopped during toddlerhood. At best, you’re looking at an emotional preteen.
In any case, this lends to their extremely egocentric nature and their lack of concern for the feelings you and others have. Without intense healing and therapy to address their “core wound,” narcissists will never be able to grasp the concepts of unconditional love and empathy for others. Unfortunately, I have never heard of a narcissist who has successfully changed – nor has anyone else I’ve interviewed or worked with in the past.
The bottom line here is that when you love a narcissist, you love someone who is not capable of loving you back, and it hurts. It hurts down to your soul, causing a deep ache that is nearly indescribable. Loving a narcissist hurts in a way that most people will never truly understand. And that’s part of the reason that when you try to discuss your relationship with people who haven’t been there, they never seem to quite get what you’re talking about. They’ll either minimize your concerns or even try to help by offering “standard relationship advice” – which can be quite unhealthy for someone who is dealing with a narcissist in many cases. For example, if you’re feeling unheard in a healthier relationship, the standard advice might be to sit down and have a conversation about it, or even to go to counseling together and work it out. But if you do these things with a narcissist, they will use the opportunity to manipulate you (and the counselor, given the opportunity), and this can just reinjure you and make you feel even more miserable.
When you’re dealing with a narcissist, chances are that you’ve put up with your fair share of verbal and emotional abuse and manipulation from them, to say the very least.
Maybe you have a narcissistic parent who favored your sibling and taught them how to torment you as well. They were in it all together. Perhaps you have an aunt, uncle, or cousin who is a narcissist. Or you’re married to a narcissist, or in some other way involved. But in any case, whoever the narcissist in your life happens to be, you probably already know by now that you absolutely cannot trust them. A narcissist will never have your best interest at heart, even if they’re your parent or spouse – and that’s because they are completely and only focused on their own needs being met at any given moment. Your needs don’t even come second – they literally do not concern themselves with what you want or need at all.
Now that you understand all of that, I’m going to share with you 10 reasons it hurts to love a narcissist.
1. Repeated Episodes of Abuse and Manipulation
Narcissists are creatures of habit and they are quite predictable. Sometimes, you might even wonder if they have a narcissist playbook because they all seem to have nearly identical patterns. If you’re dealing with a romantic partner who is a narcissist you might have initially thought they were your soulmate. After all, it seemed that they liked everything you liked, wanted the same things as you and that they totally just “got” you. If it was a friend or family member, you may have initially assumed they had your best interests at heart or at least that they loved and cared about you unconditionally. But as time went on, and life happened, you saw that was far from the case as you began to see their true narcissistic colors. Narcissists treat you terribly and will condemn you in a heartbeat if it serves them to do so. Even looking at them the wrong way seems to provoke them into a narcissistic rage. As one of their primary sources of narcissistic supply, you also become an emotional garbage dump for them. They will take out their anger and frustration on you, whether or not it’s related to you, and they’ll do it over and over again. But you don’t walk away because you love them. It hurts to love someone who is abusive to you and who is cruel to you in every way.
2. Narcissists Kill Your Dreams
Despite the narcissist’s best efforts, something in you secretly (or otherwise) has desires and things you want to make happen in your life. I other words, you have dreams and wishes like everyone else. Let’s say you want to move to a tropical island after retiring. You plan and scrimp and save to make it happen, but the narcissist will not hesitate to laugh at it and to tell you to stop living in a fantasy world. Even though they don’t support your dreams and just do the opposite, something in you believes them – maybe you are just being immature and imagining things that are impossible, you think to yourself. Ultimately, the narcissist’s negativity is often enough to destroy any hope you have for the future, and that hurts like hell.
3. The Relationship Is Not Reciprocal
You find yourself giving everything you have to the narcissist and they just take, take, and take. They never give back. They almost literally can’t give back. And if you ask a narcissist to do you a favor in any way, they will do it only if there is something for them. So, they will do you a favor, but only under certain conditions that benefit them. They have to get SOMETHING out of it or they most definitely will not do anything for you. And, of course, these conditions are often not ones that you can realistically meet. For instance, if you ask them to watch the child you have to together for an hour so you can go to the salon, then they will only agree to it under one condition. And it’s something much bigger than you’re asking for – so maybe they want to go on a trip with their friends. For a week. That means you will be the single parent to the child while they are having fun for a week. And they probably won’t even call you while they’re gone, unless they call when they KNOW you’re too busy to deal with them. Then, they’ll complain that you never talk to them when they call and say you don’t love them enough…this leads to yet another episode of you bending over backward to prove your love for them, all while managing the house and the kid and the pets alone…meanwhile, they’re sitting on the beach laughing with their friends about how they’ve got you wrapped around their little finger.
4. Your Needs Always Come Last
You are always having to put the narcissist’s needs ahead of yours and whether you intend to do so or not, you have to put your needs on the backburner. In fact, if this narcissist is a family member, you might not even be fully aware that you are ALLOWED to have needs and wants. The narcissist makes it very clear they are superior to you, so much so that they literally will not allow you to take care of yourself at all in some cases since their needs and wants come first, always. It is emotionally, physically, and otherwise exhausting, but often you feel guilty for even wanting to take a shower or to go to the doctor when you’re not feeling well. I recall feeling guilty for wanting or needing anything in my own toxic relationships.
5. Narcissists Are Boundary-Busters
The narcissist does not care if you have boundaries or rules. In fact, they actually feel like you’re not allowed to make choices for your self in many cases. They do not take you or your boundaries seriously at all. They will walk all over you without a second thought, actively and intentionally crossing your boundaries, one by one. Since you love them, you tolerate it – but you don’t recognize that over time, your boundaries are pushed so far back that you have almost none. For example, if you’re married to a narcissist and they suddenly become best friends with someone they are clearly and painfully attracted to (and you can tell this based on the way they act around and about this person), whatever y’all are into, you might have a real (and understandable) problem with this. But instead of understanding that they are crossing an obvious boundary that any married person would have a problem with, the narcissist will tell you to stop being so jealous and insecure, and they’ll say that if you are going to accuse them of cheating on you, they might as well do it – despite the fact that you never accused them of anything but just questioned this so-called friendship. (Of course, they also have double standards, so you won’t be allowed to have a similar best friend.)
6. Smear Campaigns and Secrets Spilled
If you were to go against the narcissist’s wishes, or if you go no contact with them, they won’t hesitate to go out of their way to ruin your reputation, and often your life. They will share private information about you that can be damaging through their social media platforms and they will even contact your boss and tell them reasons why they should fire you. And when it comes to secrets, no matter how much they swear to keep them under wraps, you have to know that you can never confide in a narcissist and expect confidentiality. Even if you did not let them down and they aren’t going to conduct a smear campaign, they will still leak out your secrets. Especially if those secrets are the key to giving them the narcissistic supply they need in some way. They have no integrity. Therefore, you will want to always confide in someone who you are close to, and that you can trust. A narcissist never fits that bill.
7. Narcissists are Pathological Liars
Narcissists are known liars and will never be truthful about anything unless it happens to benefit them in some way. Sometimes they lie just for the sake of lying. If you’re dealing with a narcissist, you might as well always assume that whatever they tell you isn’t true – or at the very least, take everything they say with a grain of salt. Never expect honesty from a narcissistic family member. If you know that they feed you lies all of the time, then you will realize that you cannot trust and believe anything they tell you.
The bottom line here is that no matter what, it hurts to love a narcissist. Remember that even if they promise not to hurt you, they most definitely will. They absolutely do not have your best interest at heart, and they have no idea what that even mean
Narcissists not only cannot love you back, but they leave you battered, drained, and very depressed. The best thing you can do for yourself is to go no contact and break things off with them or to go low contact if you must remain connected due to sharing kids or business together. You’ve got to take care of yourself, my friend, because the narcissist never will. Not in the way that you deserve. What you deserve is to be loved in the same way that you love. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to live in a home where you don’t feel fear and anxiety every time they’re around – and even when you know they’re coming. You deserve to have a life that you love. Please, don’t forget.
If you’re a survivor of narcissistic abuse, you may not realize how important it can be to be able to calm down and clear your head in the heat of the moment. During your toxic relationship, chances are you spent most of your time fending off the narcissist’s emotional abuse. You may not have even had time to deal with your own issues. But the effects of narcissistic abuse are serious and can lead to a variety of trauma-related physical and mental health issues. That’s why intentional healing is so important – and exactly why not taking care of yourself can really negatively impact your health if you’re not careful.
On the plus side, meditation is one really easy way you can help yourself heal faster – and it has a ton of benefits that specifically help survivors of narcissistic abuse. Guided meditation is also helpful for survivors of narcissistic abuse who struggle to concentrate, and it only gets better over time, as you learn new and more developed techniques to make your mind and body go deeper into the meditative state.
And, since I know how tough it can be to find time to meditate during the day, I’ve created a guided sleep meditation just for you. That’s right – you can use it to heal while you sleep!
Heal While You Sleep with This Guided Sleep Meditation for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors
This 4-hour guided meditation was designed specifically for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse. It will help you to embrace your freedom from toxic, negative, dysfunctional relationships with narcissists. You’ll experience relaxation meditation that will help in healing abandonment, healing after a breakup, and healing after a toxic relationship. And, it will help in empowering you to become your higher self as you discover and embrace your true nature. It can also help in healing codependency.
Are you ready to start overcoming the painful effects of narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship? Listen to this guided meditation every night at bedtime for 30 days or as long as you need to do so. You may use it alone or in conjunction with other guided sleep meditations in a playlist on the device of your choice.
You may use it alone or in conjunction with other sleep meditations in a playlist on the device of your choice.
This guided meditation will first help you relax and fall asleep. You’ll experience a soothing, simple but highly effective talk down over calming, rest-inducing music. This section was designed specifically for you as a survivor of trauma and narcissistic abuse to help you relax and release the day’s stress as you begin to fall asleep.
Then, while you sleep peacefully, the healing magic begins to work on your subconscious with softly spoken and subliminal affirmations. This is combined with soft, healing restorative music created to help you maintain a sense of calm and to engage your subconscious during sleep or states of deep relaxation.
Sleep Meditation and Subliminal Healing for Narcissistic Relationship Survivors by Angie Atkinson – A 4-hour guided meditation to help you heal while you sleep after a narcissistic relationship. Features subliminal affirmations and guided meditation for overcoming toxic relationships and learning to love yourself again after narcissistic relationships.
What Are the Benefits of Guided Meditation in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery?
The benefits of guided meditation have been known to humans ever since it was first practiced several millennia ago. This ancient practice offers both mental and physical benefits that can be especially helpful for the kind of damage caused by narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship.
Guided meditation can be used in narcissistic abuse recovery to not only help you to relax from a busy day but also to tune into your own body and mind. It helps in finding comfort, safety, and bliss when you use it on a regular basis.
Guided meditation can help you focus your thoughts and block out any distractions in order to experience the pleasure of silence and stillness.
Sleep Better With Guided Sleep Meditation for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse
Going to sleep can be difficult during narcissistic abuse recovery as you’re prone to racing thoughts that keep you awake all night. Using guided sleep meditations can also help you to keep your thoughts in check while you’re going to sleep. Guided meditation helps you by gently guiding you through the stages of meditation, allowing you to relax and fall asleep peacefully and quickly. And, since meditation helps calm the mind and relax you, it can tremendously and positively affect your healing after narcissistic abuse. Plus, you’ll automatically feel better when you sleep better – it’s a proven fact.
Mental and Physical Benefits of Sleep Meditation for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse
The benefits of properly guided meditation can span from relieving migraine headaches to relaxing cramped muscles to a simple moment of pleasure, satisfaction, and quiet. For survivors of narcissistic abuse, struggling with feeling overstimulated and over-stressed are common. The abuse you suffered over the course of the years in your toxic relationship would have caused you to become trauma bonded with your abuser.
You might feel stressed and hopeless about your current home or work situation, or you might still be dealing with the narcissist in your life in some capacity. A lot of survivors think that a vacation or a break from their daily lives is the way to relieve this stress. but unfortunately, these kinds of retreats only help temporarily. Once you get back to the “daily grind” of it all, you’ll often find that you’re right back where you started.
On the plus side, using guided meditation can help you learn how to manage your daily life and your recovery with ease, patience, and a clear mind.
By using guided meditation to connect your mind, body, and soul in a calm and peaceful manner, not only will you find yourself feeling more capable and centered when you’re dealing with the daily tensions of your workplace or home environment, but by embracing the foundations of guided meditation, the situations that can usually seem impossible to stay calm through (with the narcissist and during healing from narcissistic abuse) can feel much easier and less overwhelming to think through and figure out.
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Making a narcissist angry is a skill that doesn’t require much practice, but figuring out how to avoid their ridiculously overblown reaction to anything you say, think, or feel? Well, that takes some real strategy. There are plenty of documented reasons for this, but it all begins with the fact that narcissists tend to have inflated, but outrageously fragile, egos.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a toxic narcissist, then you already know that there are plenty of things you can say to anger a narcissist. You can even just look at them the wrong way and tick them off pretty good, right? And my guess is that you already know how easily narcissists can fly off the handle.
And, if you’re anything like I was before I healed, you’d like to avoid this as often as you can. After all, when a narcissist is enraged, they will fling insults at you, digging deep and actively poking at the things that hurt you the most. They want you to feel bad about yourself in that moment, and on some level, they are projecting their own emotions on to you. Let me explain.
The concept of narcissistic rage plays a big part here. See, narcissistic rage is what we see when a narcissist knows they’re wrong but won’t admit it, or when they don’t get what they want, or when people don’t treat them differently or more special than others. It can also happen when a narcissist’s sense of entitlement is threatened – and basically, anytime things don’t go their way. They get inconsolably angry in an attempt to bully or coerce you into giving them what they want. And, when this doesn’t work well enough, they’ll often switch to a similar tactic where they slip into victim mode. We’ll talk more about that part later.
You might also be aware that your average narcissist is far from rational, especially when they feel insulted, belittled, minimized or in any way attacked. This can feel pretty ironic, given that they actively insult, belittle, minimize and attack the people closest to them.
In any case, though, if you’re dealing with a narcissist, you probably want to avoid saying the things that are guaranteed to upset them, at least if you want to avoid the drama and upset that goes along with making a narcissist angry.
7 Things You Can Say To Trigger a Narcissist’s Anger
1. “I am so impressed with that skill someone other than you has that you also have…”
Complimenting someone else on a skill or talent that the narcissist is going to go over like a lead balloon, especially when you do so without also acknowledging the narcissist’s own talent. And heaven forbid you should do so without somehow implying that the other person’s skill is in any way superior to the narcissist’s (or that it isn’t actually inferior if we’re being honest). Narcissists are insanely jealous by nature because of the fact that they are so insecure. So, if you were to ever compliment someone else for having such talent in something that the narcissist also has, that not only makes them angry but also makes them feel as though you have personally and directly insulted them. No kidding. Even if what you say is benign and you are not comparing them to the person you are talking about in any way. Narcissists have to believe they are the best and the very best at what they do, even if there is obvious and documented evidence to the contrary.
2. “The food at the restaurant you chose just isn’t for me…can we try something else next time?”
You can never tell a narcissist you don’t like or want something THEY like or want. I remember this exact situation with my ex. He would literally get offended when I would not enjoy the same food or movies or whatever that he did. I’d always think to myself,
“Geez, it’s not like you MADE the food or the movie or whatever.” But like all narcissists, he took everything personally. And that’s the thing. Narcissists need you to agree with everything they say, think and feel, and if you don’t, you’re wrong and also doing something they see as offensive. The narcissist expects you to follow their path no matter what – or at least the path they’ve laid out for you. If you say you don’t want to do something they want you to do, or you don’t like something that they like – that will definitely make them mad. Why? Because narcissists need to be in control, which means they expect you to want and like the same things that they do. Otherwise, you can expect a bunch of illogical and overblown narcissistic rage.
3. “I need to go to the doctor or the salon, or I need to take my medicine, or I need to do anything at all that involves self-care.”
Narcissists do not see you as an actual person. Rather, you’re an extension of them, as far as they’re concerned. That’s why, if you express to a narcissist that you are in dire need of self-care, and it goes against their plans and wishes, you can expect the narcissistic rage to show its ugly face. If they haven’t decided that you need whatever form of self-care you’re talking about, they’ll see it as selfish and unnecessary. The only time they might NOT behave this way, in this case, is if showing some kind of humanity might benefit them – as in they have something else to do during that time or they are going to get some benefit out of being nice to you at this moment. It’s never about YOU, but always about them – and since they have no empathy whatsoever, they don’t care if you need a break or time to yourself. All they care about is that they are not going to have the narcissistic supply they need if you were to take care of yourself at a given time. How dare you have needs when they need you, right?
4. “So, my friends and I are going to hang out … or my friends are going to come over…”
The narcissist does not want you to see your friends, and if you attempt to do so, you can fully expect that they’ll drop some rage on you. Why should this be the case? Well, it all goes back to the narcissist needing to be in control of you. That, and the fact that if you are seeing your friends, two things might happen – one, you might actually have some emotional support that could result in your getting stronger and therefore more able to see that they’re actively psychologically manipulating and abusing you – and two, you might not be there if they happen to want or need something fro you. And if you have the nerve to tell the narcissist that you want to see your friends or family without them? They expect you to be there for them, and only them as you are not allowed to have time in your schedule, space in your life, or energy for anyone else.
5. “It’s not all about you, you know.”
Because of course it always IS all about the narcissist, right? It’s almost funny when you think about how self-centered a narcissist can be. But when we are talking about the toxic type of narcissist who is prone to psychological abuse, it’s less funny and more alarming. Telling a narcissist that it’s not all about them is just like saying to them that they absolutely do not matter. For example, let’s say it’s your wedding day. Your best man or maid of honor is your best friend, and your narcissistic mother has a problem with this person for some reason (probably because they take away from the narcissistic supply you give your mother if we’re being honest, but anyhoo…). For weeks, your mother has complained that you won’t remove this person from your wedding party. She doesn’t even think they should be invited to your wedding. After all, why would you do that to HER? Doesn’t she matter? She guilt trips you and says things like, “Oye, you’re killing your mother!” Normally, you’d totally cave, just to shut her up. But gosh darn it, you think, this is my WEDDING day, and I want my best friend with me! And now, on the big day, your mother texts you that she’s not going to make it to your wedding since you obviously think your friend is more important than she is. Oh, and since your BFF is so important, she adds, you can have them pay for the part of the wedding your mother promised to pay for.
6. “Wow, you’re really playing the victim here…”
Ever try to call out a narcissist on the victim act? If you have, then you know exactly what to expect: they will absolutely act as though you’ve just pooped in their cheerios. In other words, they’ll ramp up the narcissistic injury factor. See, when a narcissist gets upset, hurt, or offended about being treated like a normal person, or when they don’t get special treatment or favors, or literally anytime they don’t get what they want – they default to the victim mode. Often, this tactic is used in combination with narcissistic rage to get what they want from you. In the case of calling them out and pointing out this tactic, you can expect them to make you feel so bad about yourself that you’ll be begging them to accept your apology – and while you’d be considered the victim of psychological abuse in this situation by any logical person who knew the whole story the narcissist will use this as a way to tell everyone how much you have hurt THEM – and the worst part is that you might even believe them if they’ve gotten good enough at reading you and pushing your buttons by this point in the relationship.
7. “Have you considered changing this about yourself?” or “Could you maybe try it this way instead?”
Basically, anytime you have the nerve to criticize a narcissist, you’re playing with fire. As you know, narcissists are incredibly insecure and because of his, they cannot and will not accept criticism in any way at all – not even constructive criticism. Even if you were gentle about it. EVEN IF THEY ASK YOU FOR IT! For example, if they’ve written a speech for work and ask you to listen to it before they present it. “Give me your honest thoughts,” they’ll say. “I promise, I won’t get mad. I just want you to tell me the truth!” But if you say anything other than, “OMG, that was so perfect! You should change nothing!” You’re in trouble. The way the narcissist sees it, you are still knocking them down. And if the speech doesn’t get them plenty of kudos at work the next day, watch out! Then they will blame you for NOT sharing whatever it was that they feel they didn’t do right. It’s sort of a double-bind situation if you think about it. Another example: Let’s say you don’t like the soup they made. They’ll expectantly watch you take the first bite and say, “So, what do you think?” If you tell them that the soup is a bit bland and needs more seasoning, you might as well have spit it back in their face – they’re going to be offended and react accordingly. They’ll either tell you that your taste buds are broken, or that you’re just plain stupid (or something of that nature) – or they’ll see it as an attack on their very soul. So what does this mean? Sadly, it means you have to lie to a narcissist sometimes in order to avoid rage.
To say a narcissist is crazy-making is to say the very, very least. What it all comes down to is that saying these kinds of things that you say to a narcissist will absolutely trigger their insecurities – which is exactly why they get angry so easily. And since they have the emotional capacity of a toddler, you can expect them to react in kind. Ultimately, what it means is that you must always censor yourself with a narcissist if you want to avoid their anger. You cannot express your needs, wants, and opinions without facing the consequences – so consider this the next time you have to deal with one of these toxic people.