35 Things Narcissists Say When Gaslighting You (And What They Really Mean)

35 Things Narcissists Say When Gaslighting You (And What They Really Mean)

Narcissists have a way of communicating that can be very deceptive. If you’re looking for advice on how to decode the language of narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, and other toxic people, you’re not alone. Despite what many people believe, there are far more people who might qualify as malignant narcissists than you might expect.

And, as you may be aware, malignant narcissists, people with narcissistic traits, and those who are (or would be) diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are well-known to have major issues with communication, especially when it comes to the people who are closest to them. One of the simplest ways you can identify a narcissist in your life, or figure out whether your relationship is toxic, is by learning how to spot the signs of malignant narcissism in the people around you.

One of the most common manipulation tactics narcissists use is called gaslighting, a pervasive and highly-effective tactic meant to manipulate you into questioning your own sanity and even your perception of the world around you. Today, we’re covering common phrases used by narcissistic abusers in gaslighting (and what they actually mean when used).

Why are narcissists all so similar? 

So often, people wonder if there’s some kind of narcissist playbook. Why? Because narcissists are all so similar, across the board. This makes it easy to predict what they’ll do next, if you educate yourself on their specific traits and disorder. In fact, whether the narcissist in your life is a spouse, partner, parent or another relative, friend, or even a coworker, there are certain kinds of phrasing they’ll use, and in many cases, they will use nearly identical word-for-word statements. Surprisingly, this is true regardless of a person’s race, culture, religion, nationality, and financial status. Malignant narcissism does not discriminate – it can affect anyone in any circumstance, from the jobless drug addict to the wealthiest person on the planet and everyone in between.

Translating from ‘Narcissist’ to English

Narcissists have a way of not really meaning what they say, and of not saying what they really mean, don’t they? It can feel like they’re speaking a totally different language sometimes. That’s why I’ve put together a series of videos that offer a variety of narcissist-to-English translations to help you identify and understand the toxic people in your life. Here’s the latest video in that series.

Things Narcissists Say in Gaslighting (And What They REALLY Mean)

“You’re angry? I don’t need to deal with this nonsense right now. I will leave you alone until YOU get back to your senses and come back to me later.”

  • Translation: I know I’m the reason you’re angry about MY antics. I don’t care, I will never care, and don’t expect me to apologize for MY behavior because I am blameless and perfect, and you need me anyway….”

“I’m sick of you accusing me of cheating. It’s getting old!”

  • Translation: I don’t get why you won’t just get over it. Clearly, I’m cheating. We both know this. But I am over actually hearing about it, and I’m tired of having to pretend I’m not doing it. Additionally, I will never take responsibility for it and I’ll go ahead and expect you to tolerate whatever I throw your way. And if you don’t, I’m totally going to act like the victim in this whole deal.”

“I WANT TO BE ALONE!”

  • Translation: “I want to spend time with someone else and you’re in my way!”

“I’ve done nothing wrong.”

  • Translation: “I’ve done ALL the things you pointed out, and probably a whole bunch more you don’t know about. But I think anything I do is okay because I’m the one who did it, and I don’t do things that are wrong. Also? Why do you keep calling me out on things I actually did? I don’t like that!”

“You have an anger problem!”

  • Translation: “I’m going to provoke and poke at you until you can’t take it anymore, when you finally blow up at me for continuously disregarding your boundaries, I’ll just say you’re an angry crazy person so I can play the victim instead of accepting any actual responsibility for my behavior.”

“I thought you were the last person I was going to be with.”

  • Translation: “I totally underestimated you and thought I could be with you while also doing whatever I want with whomever I want while you patiently wait for me (and on me) and keep my house in order.”

“You are too sensitive! You need to have thicker skin.” Or “Can’t you take a joke?”

  • Translation: “I don’t understand why you don’t just accept my cruel and unfair criticism as fact. What is wrong with you?”

“You’re going to have to work so hard to get my attention again.”

  • Translation: “You’ve caused narcissistic injury by somehow exposing one of my many flaws, and you’re going to pay for it by begging for my oh-so-precious attention while I blatantly ignore you and treat you like dirt on the bottom of my shoe. And while you’re at it, I’m going to make you feel like you’re the one who needs to apologize even though I’m the one who did something wrong.”

“You’re crazy.” or “It’s all in your head.” or “You need help.” or “You’re delusional”

  • Translation: “What you said is absolutely right. You totally hit the nail right on the head…but I don’t know how you figured me out and I dont want to admit that you’re right, so I’m going to make sure you feel crazy and look crazy. This way you’ll be more focused on what’s not really wrong with you instead of what’s actually wrong with ME.”

“You are always saying the same thing.”

  • Translation: “Why do you keep telling the truth over and over again? I hate when you call me out like that.”

“Everything is all about you!” or “You’re so selfish.”

  • Translation: “How DARE you try to make ANYTHING about you? Don’t you know it’s all about…ME?”

“I can’t have just a little time alone, so I have to be telling you every 5 minutes I love you?”

  • Translation: “You’ve somehow interrupted something I was doing or hiding from you, and now you’re asking me for validation? What am I, an actual human? You’d think you would know by now that I’m the only one who matters in this relationship!”

“Everyone says…” or “Everyone agrees that you’re…”

  • Translation: “I’m pretending that some imaginary group of people are silently agreeing with me about everything I say about you, because not only do I hope you’ll feel humiliated to think all of these so-called people are talking about you, but it’ll help me prove my point. Plus, as an added bonus, telling you that everyone thinks bad things about you will further isolate you and that means I’ll be in more control.”

“You’re a nice guy.” or “You’re such a sweetheart.”

  • Translation: “Because of your sweet, empathic nature, I can get you to do anything I want you to do by manipulating your emotions.”

“OMG! You’re so boring! Can we please talk about something interesting?”

  • Translation: “How dare you talk about anything YOU care about that isn’t me? You’re not saying enough things about me. I don’t like talking about things that aren’t all about me, or at least me-focused. Did I mention that I’d like to talk about things related to me?”

“I don’t think your glasses are working properly.”

  • Translation: “You saw what I was doing, and you understood it correctly, but since I will not be accepting any responsibility for it at all, I’ll just gaslight you real quick so you’ll doubt yourself and your own perception of the world by claiming that something is wrong with your glasses.”

“You treat me like a child!”

  • Translation: “Even though I require you to take care of me, do everything for me and otherwise act like you’re my parent, I need to pretend you’re trying to control me when you ask me where I’m going or where I’ve been or anything else I don’t want to tell you. But you better not stop doing all these other things for me, or I’ll further abuse and manipulate you.”

“I never said that! You made it up!”

  • Translation: “I totally said that, but I’m not really happy that you’re reminding me of it. So, I’ll just pretend you’re insane so you’ll start doubting yourself again. I always like to watch you squirm and feel confused. Keeps you busy so I can keep doing whatever I want.”

“I prayed to meet you,” or “I manifested you,” or “You’re my soulmate!”

  • Translation: “I am going to make you believe that our connection is divinely inspired so that you’ll feel like leaving would be doing something against God or the Universe or whatever you happen to believe in.”

“I’m sorry I seem to have done things to make you not trust me!”

  • Translation: “I’m sorry you’re calling me out on the things I’ve actually done, but I will not be acknowledging the very specific actions I have actually committed against you or our relationship. I mean, yeah, I totally DID those things, but I’m not capable of taking responsibility for them, so my fake apology will have to suffice. And don’t question me on this one. Accept it, or I’ll rage on you like always.”

“Everything that happens going forward is on you,” or “The ball’s in your court now.”

  • Translation: “I guess we can be together as long as I can be a horrible human being and you can continue to pretend that I’m perfect. Otherwise, you’re on your own, toots. At least until I need another shot of supply from you. Ok?”

“You just don’t listen!”

  • Translation: “I don’t like when you don’t go along with whatever I want or whatever I say. You’ve got a lot of nerve to say the truth as opposed to my twisted version of it – so I’m going to focus on diverting attention from what’s actually true by focusing on your hearing.”

“Why do you always insist on arguing with me about everything?”

  • Translation: “Why are you so obsessed with the truth? Despite the fact that I make up facts to back up my lies, we both know I am superior and it’s all my way or no way.”

“Can’t you see that I love you?”

  • Translation: “Why do you keep making me take responsibility for things I’ve done to you? Isn’t the fact that I use the words I love you enough to make you shut up and pretend everything is okay?”

“Why can’t you love me for who I am?” or “That’s just who I am – I won’t change for anyone!”

  • Translation: “I want to do whatever I want, say whatever I want, and treat you however I want – but I don’t want you to notice or stop acting like I’m the best thing in your life. And if you do ask me to stop doing something you don’t like or to compromise or bend in any way, shape, or form, I will make you so miserable you’ll be begging me for mercy.”

“Why can’t you be like everyone else?”

  • Translation: “Why can’t you just shut up and do whatever I want in any given moment? Why can’t you read my mind and accept whatever I say, think or feel as fact?”

“If you cant see that there’s a problem with this relationship, then there really is a problem!”

  • Translation: “Oh look! We’ve just entered the devalue phase and you’re a little shocked at how mean I’ve suddenly become? Clearly, this is all my fault, but you know I’ll never take responsibility – therefore, I’ve decided I’m going to go ahead and start making you question everything – including, and especially yourself and your own inability to perceive the non-existent issues I’ve just made up to confuse you. Boom!”

“Weird, your tears don’t phase me, even though I’m a total empath.”

  • Translation: “I don’t care that I hurt you. I’m a liar, not an empath. Got ya!”

“I didn’t mean to cheat on you, it just happened.”

  • Translation: “I refuse to accept responsibility for cheating on you because I am not interested in your emotions and I don’t care how you feel.”

“I’m the most honest person you’ll ever meet,” or “I never lie.”

  • Translation: “I’m the biggest effing liar on the planet, but I have an image to uphold to seem innocent, and likable. Plus, I’m really good at lying to MYSELF and I tend to believe my own lies when it’s convenient for me.”

“So, you’re making this about you…?”

  • Translation: “I really don’t care how you’re feeling, because everything is always about me, even when it’s really about you. And the idea that you would think otherwise really peeves me right off.”

“I just want things to be good between us”.

  • Translation: “If you don’t behave the way I want and accept all my lies and crappy behavior, then you’re making things not good between us, so it will be your fault that I will have to be mean to you and/or leave again”.

Any of this sound familiar to you? Could you be in a toxic relationship with an abusive, malignant narcissist? If so, the following resources might be helpful for you.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Resources

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

Related Articles and Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

When Your Adult Child is a Narcissist

When Your Adult Child is a Narcissist

Do you have a strained relationship with your adult child? Do they seem to have an overblown sense of entitlement? Do they think the world revolves around them and get offended if you don’t agree? Do they ever try to control you or your choices, either directly or through guilt trips or manipulation? Do they make unreasonable demands on your time or expect you to pay their bills? Do they make up stories about things that never happened? Do they deny things that you know to be true?

Could your adult child be a narcissist? 

Have you found yourself wondering what you did wrong in raising them or what happened to the child you once knew? Have you asked yourself if your child might be a narcissist? How can you tell? And what are you supposed to do if you find out that your child is a narcissist?

What is a narcissist? 

We’re not talking about someone who takes too many selfies or is overly concerned with their appearance, necessarily, though those signs might be present. Still, those signs alone aren’t enough to identify a malignant narcissist.

In this case, we’re talking about a toxic or malignant narcissist, we mean someone who has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (or would be, if a psychologist had the opportunity).  Malignant narcissists are known to have certain features of antisocial personality disorder well as paranoid traits and ego-driven aggression. Additionally, you might see that they seem to have an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement.

In every malignant narcissist, you’ll see the lack of emotional empathy that drives their behavior.

As I explain in this video, narcissists often use “false” empathy to manipulate and control people around them.

What are the risk factors for developing narcissistic personality disorder? 

You’re probably asking yourself how your child could have become a narcissist, right? Maybe you did everything right and it makes no sense to you. Or perhaps you were married to a narcissist and you tried really hard to protect your child from them, and now you don’t understand why they would land on the “dark side” after all you’ve done. So, what causes a child to grow up and become a narcissist? In this video, I explain how narcissists are created.

While there is some research that says narcissism may be genetically predisposed, but there’s no official word on how it really happens. The nurture versus nature debate continues, of course.

With that being said, from a psychological standpoint, it looks like narcissists are created in a few different ways. For the most part, chances are that one or more of the following happened.

An Insecure Attachment Style

Most narcissists are found to have developed an insecure attachment style. This is according to attachment theory, which is a psychological, evolutionary, and ethological theory concerning relationships between humans. When it comes to narcissistic abuse recovery, the significance of attachment theory and attachment style cannot be overstated. The premise of attachment theory is that, during infancy, children have a deep, intrinsic need to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver (specifically, the mother in most cases) for normal social and emotional development. When this doesn’t happen, the development of the brain and psychology are affected in dramatic ways, leading to unhealthy attachment styles. Certain attachment styles can naturally lead to both narcissism and codependency. Learn more about attachment styles and how they affect the development of both narcissists and codependents. 

In this video, I offer details on how attachment theory could offer insight into both narcissism and codependency. 

Due to Adoption

Maybe your child is adopted and spent a few days or weeks after birth waiting to be adopted. Maybe it was much longer than that. I explore the possibilities in this video, where I answer a question from a follower named Diana Gish, who wanted to know whether adopted children are more likely to become narcissists than other kids.

Diana said: Most narcissist videos I see relate to children who became narcissists due to parental behavior. Can you confirm the reverse – whether an adopted child fears abandonment more than a nonadopted child, and whether a child will display narcissistic behavior toward adoptive parents much like between spouses – blaming, poorly handling truth, failure to acknowledge anything good has been done for them, or bonding?

Due to an Extended Hospital Stay After the Birth

Perhaps your child was born prematurely or had some other condition at birth that caused them to need to be in the hospital for a long time for was in the hospital for a long time after birth, or you (or their mother, if you’re not their mother) had post-partum depression. In this case, as well as in the case of the adopted child who wasn’t properly nurtured in the first few days, weeks, or months after birth, your child could’ve developed an insecure attachment style, which may have contributed to the narcissistic traits you’re noticing.

Abuse, Neglect, or Other Ongoing Trauma in Childhood

Your child was emotionally, physically, or otherwise abused in childhood. Whether or not it happened at home, if your child experienced any ongoing abuse in childhood, the effects of the abuse could have contributed to their toxic behaviors. Perhaps you were married to a narcissist and your child watched you go through the abuse yourself – and maybe their other parent even encouraged your child to join in on abusing you verbally or otherwise. Or maybe you had to work a lot of hours and couldn’t spend as much time as you’d have liked with your child. There might have been times where your child felt alone and abandoned as a result. There’s also the chance that a sibling or even someone outside of your home caused trauma through physical, sexual or emotional abuse. It might have been a teacher, babysitter, grandparent, family friend, or even a school bully.

In most cases, an adult with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has a serious fear of abandonment. They might be terrified of being found out for what they really are or for what they think they are not. They fear rejection, abandonment, and criticism. This is because, in their minds at least, their parents or caregivers in childhood abandoned them or rejected them, in reality, or emotionally. In this video, I’ll fill you in on exactly how and why narcissists develop their often irrational fear of abandonment. 

Acquired Situational Narcissism

Perhaps your adult child became rich or famous suddenly. This might have caused them to develop something called acquired situational narcissism. Acquired situational narcissism is most likely to happen when there were already some pre-existing factors that would have led to narcissism under the right circumstances. So, at least in some cases, narcissism can be developed by people who had good, healthy upbringings. In this video, I’ll share more about acquired situational narcissism and how it might be affecting your adult child.

How do you know if your adult child is a narcissist? 

They Feel Entitled to Your Attention and Your Money

  • Your adult child continues to engage in the same kinds of attention-seeking behaviors they did as a small child.
  • They demand your time or attention even when you are dealing with some crisis or other kind of personal stress.
  • They always minimize or ignore what you do for them, but you continue to help them anyway out of fear or obligation,despite the fact that you feel unappreciated.
  • Your adult child seems jealous or any when you show attention to others, including but not limited to their own children (your grandchildren).

They Don’t React React Normally If A Loved One Is Sick Or Passes Away

While inappropriate relations to death or illness can certainly be an indication of narcissism in your adult child, chances are that you’d have noticed this kind of behavior and types of reactions earlier in childhood.

  • Your adult child either over or under-reacts to family members’ or friends’ death or illness.
  • When you’ve been sick or otherwise in danger, your child may not have shown compassion or any genuine concern.
  • If you are visibly upset or even crying, your child would have either ignored or minimized you, or they would have somehow made it all about them and their own issues.
  • They also may over-or-under-react to the death of their pets.

They Have Unrealistically High Expectations

  • Your adult child has pie-in-the-sky expectations all the time, in nearly every situation.
  • They get angry or sad when they don’t get what they want (narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
  • They are always putting others down and pointing out areas where people don’t “measure up” to them or others.
  • They will become overly critical of you as their parent or as a person.
  • They will judge your life choices and the way you present yourself.

They Can’t Seem To Maintain Long-Term Friendships

  • Your adult child can’t seem to keep friends for long, or they have one or two friends who seem to be their little “minions” or “cronies” – flying monkeys who do their bidding at will.
  • They seem to idealize their friends or romantic partnerships initially, followed by a period of devaluation until they either discard them or restart the cycle. This might go on for decades.
  • You might also be idealized, devalued and discarded, over and over again in your relationship with your adult child.
  • They might have a spouse or partner who seemed absolutely perfect until the spouse or partner starts accusing your child of psychological or emotional abuse.
  • They might have lost a lot of friends who suddenly “ghosted them for no reason.” (There IS a difference between “ghosting” and “going no contact,” for the record).

They Cannot Accept Responsibility For Their Actions

  • Your adult child causes harm and heartache to you and others in their lives on a regular basis, but they will never actually accept responsibility.
  • They will deflect responsibility by saying things like, “Well, I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t (insert presumed mistake here).”
  • They will often blame the person they hurt directly.
  • They blatantly lie or “omit” the truth in order to avoid responsibility for what they’ve done.
  • They will never genuinely apologize, and if they ever do say they’re sorry, they prove they don’t mean it.

My Adult Child is a Narcissist! What now?

So, assuming you’ve determined that your adult child is a narcissist, what are you supposed to do? Should you go no contact with them? How could a parent go no contact with their own child? Well, here’s the thing. These are difficult and painful questions, and even more so when you consider the possibilities – and the fact that by the time they’re an adult, there is little hope for a narcissist to really change. 

In this video, I offer insight into the possibility of narcissists changing for the better.

Sadly, your options for dealing with your adult child when they have narcissistic personality disorder will come down to essentially two choices – and neither one is one you really want to make.

  • Do you accept the abuse in order to continue to have a relationship with your child, who for most of us, is among the most important people in your life? OR
  • Do you end your relationship with your adult child in order to maintain your own sanity, health, and emotional wellbeing?

No one wants to have to make this choice when it comes to their own child, right? But when the adult child is narcissistic, they drain you of your energy and they absolutely will not respect your boundaries.

When Should You Go No Contact With Your Narcissistic Adult Child?

The last thing that any parent wants to do is go no contact with their flesh and blood. However, unfortunately, it is necessary at times when it comes to the adult narcissistic child. So, if you’ve decided that you cannot tolerate their abuse and manipulation any longer, when is it appropriate to go no contact with the adult narcissistic child?

When It Affects Your Health

Narcissistic abuse is well-known to both cause and complicate health problems you might be struggling with. As we get older, it’s important to remember to be mindful of this. If your adult child is disrespecting your boundaries repeatedly and it is taking a toll on your mental and physical health, it’s time to go no contact with your adult child. Keep a close eye on your overall stress levels and health. If you are struggling to get proper sleep, if you are struggling to eat, or dealing with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, the time has come to go no contact.

When the Behavior Becomes Abuse

There is never an excuse for abuse, but you might not really recognize that you’re being abused by your own adult child. If this is the case, you’ll often feel exhausted or like you’re walking on eggshells with them. In other words, if the blatant disrespect, lies, and personal attacks that your child dishes out are worsening, to the point that you feel you’re being abused, it is time to go no contact.

When They Try to Ruin You

It’s difficult to imagine that your adult child might actually do something to intentionally ruin your life, but it happens more often than you’d expect. If your adult narcissistic child is angry with you about something and they are smearing your name and ruining your reputation, that is the time to go no contact. You have had to deal with your child gaslighting you, disrespecting your boundaries, and devaluing you for so long. If they smear your name and violate your privacy, then you will want to consider going no contact.

Can you maintain a relationship with your adult narcissistic child? 

Can you maintain an adult relationship with someone who is a toxic narcissist? Sure. Should you? That’s entirely your choice. And listen, I don’t think anyone would judge you if you chose to stick it out with your adult child if they’re a narcissist. But you have to understand what you’re going to be dealing with if you do. So, expect that they will not change, and understand that if you want to keep them in your life while reducing the stress and overwhelm involved, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage and to reduce the friction of the relationship.

Steps to Keeping the Peace With a Narcissistic Adult Child 

Some people will swear that with enough validation and proper counseling, things could get better in your relationship with your toxic adult child. But the truth is that by the time someone is an adult, you cannot help them change if they don’t want to change.

As you are probably aware, your average non-narcissist is perfectly able to create meaningful change in their lives with intention (thanks in part to neuroplasticity). That’s because, not only might they want to change, but they can recognize that there’s something they’re doing that is causing some undesired result in their lives. They can take responsibility for that and be willing to do something to make their desired result a reality.

However, if your adult child is truly a narcissist, they definitely will not have a problem with their own behavior, so they won’t see a need to change. Rather they will blame you and/or anyone else for the things that go wrong in their lives.  Since nothing could possibly be their fault, they’ll literally destroy anyone who implies otherwise as they continue to refuse to accept responsibility for anything they don’t love about their lives.

With that in mind, here is what you can do to keep the peace with your narcissistic adult child. The steps aren’t fair and they’re not easy. They won’t allow you to feel seen or heard, and they will leave you feeling exhausted and emotionally fried.

If you want to maintain a tolerable relationship with your adult narcissistic child, here’s what you do. 

  1. Accept them for what they are, without questioning anything they do, say, think or feel.
  2. Recognize that they will not offer you the same courtesy.
  3. Never argue with anything they say, want, think or feel.
  4. Offer them as much praise and validation as possible.
  5. Avoid criticizing them if at all possible.
  6. If you DO criticize, do the “compliment sandwich” thing. First give them a compliment, followed by the (gentle) criticism, followed by a compliment.
  7. Be prepared to accept all responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the relationship or outside of it.
  8. Be prepared to pay for or take responsibility for their bills or their behaviors.
  9. If they attack you, try to use the gray rock method and avoid confrontation if at all possible.
  10. Never try to “fix” them or “help” them get better. They do not want to change and cannot see a reason they should.
  11. Avoid telling them you believe they’re a narcissist. If they are diagnosed, allow them to deal with their psychiatrist and only discuss the issues with them if they bring them up first.

Do you think your adult child is a narcissist? If so, here are some resources that might help you.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources

These resources might also be of interest if your adult child is a narcissist.

 

Is The Narcissist Spying On You? Tips To Know For Sure

Is The Narcissist Spying On You? Tips To Know For Sure

After the narcissist discards you, you may have mixed feelings. Maybe you’re feeling relieved after struggling with whether or not to leave the narcissist, but they saved you the trouble by discarding you first. Or maybe they’ve left you, and you’re still really, really sad, and you wish you could be with them again. Perhaps you’re still with the narcissist and they are actively neglecting you, attacking you, or giving you the silent treatment, but you don’t know why.

Either way, you might have noticed something kind of odd: somehow, the narcissist seems to know every detail of what you’re doing even when they’re not with you – and that seems to be happening even about things you did or said when you were totally alone in a room or your vehicle. What the heck is going on?

Is your narcissistic ex spying on you?

Here is the unsettling truth. The narcissist that you thought disappeared from your life might have decided they don’t want to let you go. Or they might feel they need to spy on you because they don’t trust you. Or they could just be incredibly controlling and paranoid, causing them to feel obligated to know what is going on

Whether or not you’re still in the relationship, the narcissist might decide they still need to keep tabs on you. They might feel they need to know what you are doing. The same obviously applies to the case of you going no contact with them. How do you know if the narcissist is spying on you for sure?

Watch for Suspicious Vehicles Near Your Home (and Elsewhere)

Do you notice an unusual car that is parked near your home often, one you’re sure doesn’t belong to a neighbor? Do you ever see the same vehicle around town or in parking lots of places you shop or do business? That is fishy. It’s possible that this is the narcissist, using a different vehicle to spy on you – one that is not recognizable to you. Or, it might be one of their flying monkeys, doing the narcissist’s bidding for them.

If you’re worried that you’re being followed, don’t just assume you’re crazy. The narcissist did their best to make you doubt yourself, your perception, and your sanity. But if you feel that someone is spying and following you in a vehicle you don’t recognize, take down the license plate information and if you can, have a good look at the person in the car – even if the car has tinted windows. Even better, try to snap a few photos of the car and license plate with your smartphone.

Don’t hide what you’re doing if you choose to snap photos, and be sure to snap pics each time you see the car in different places and on different days. This will allow whoever is in the car to know that you’ve got proof of what they’re doing – and it’ll provide potential evidence in case you need to file for an order of protection.

Narcissists Manipulate Through Your Smartphone Or Devices

If you notice something is abnormal with your devices such as your smartphone, tablet, or computer, there’s is a chance they’ve been bugged. The narcissist could have discovered a way to bug your device to spy on you – and it’s not difficult or too expensive to figure it out these days.

For example, they may have a program installed on your phone to copy them on everything you’re doing, or they might have access to your social media accounts because you shared your passwords in the past, or because you didn’t remove your password information from a shared computer or device.

They might also have installed spying apps on your smart home devices or have hidden cameras and/or voice recorders around the house – even ones that could be motion or sound activated and feeding the information they gather to the narcissist’s phone or computer outside the home. That means that as long as the batteries work (or as long as its plugged in), the device could continue to feed to the narcissist indefinitely.

Don’t believe me? I get it. Here’s how you can fact-check me here: just get on the internet and look around. For example, a quick Amazon search using the term “spying devices” returns a whole host of affordable and easily hidden cameras, voice recorders, and more.  There’s this very average looking pen for less than $40 that is secretly a voice recorder.

And this tiny camera appears to be a little bigger than a quarter – which means you could hide it almost anywhere. And let’s not forget the little box you can attach to someone’s car to find out where they’re going when you’re not with them– all for under twenty bucks. Would you even recognize this if it were placed under your vehicle or even in the trunk somewhere? Honestly, I don’t think anyone would.

Tips for Discovering the Narcissist’s Spy Devices and ‘Bugs’ on Your Phone

  • If the narcissist has installed some kind of listening device or recorder on your smartphone, you’ll hear a slight echo while you are on calls.
  • If the narcissist has bugged your smartphone using a spyware program or even a hidden geo-locator app,  your phone might feel hot to the touch, especially when the narcissist is actively tracking you.
  • If you charge your phone and the battery starts taking a lot longer than usual to charge, you could have spyware on your phone.
  • If your battery suddenly starts running out faster than it used to, they might be tracking you.
  • If you’re getting weird texts, new ads, and are using additional mobile data, they might have installed something to follow you or listen to you on your phone.
  • If your phone suddenly slows way down or no longer performs as it did before, it can be a red flag of some kind of spy app.

Device-Specific Tips for Discovering Spying on Your Phone

Tips for Android Users

For Android users, you can find spyware by looking in your phone’s settings: Go to Settings, then Applications, then Manage Applications or Running Services. Look for services or files that you don’t recognize, but be careful not to delete anything important. Note that the most effective tools will be difficult to see as they probably have fake names in order to hide them.

Tips for iPhone Users

For iPhone users, it can get a little more complicated. Since iPhone has a built-in system to prevent spyware and the like, your narcissist will have to get a little more creative. They might just know your passwords and access everything from their own computer, or they might actually have done a “jailbreak” on your phone, meaning they’ve corrupted the system. More likely is that they’ve had access to your phone or account and have secretly installed something to track you or listen in. This could be easily figured out by reviewing your installed programs.

Check with Your Service Provider

In either case, a factory reset of the phone can remove spy programs. It might also benefit you to go to your service provider’s store or office to have the phone checked out – and worst-case scenario, you can always replace your phone. Better yet, get a second phone and keep the original one for awhile. Just stick it in a drawer in a quiet room and check that it’s charged every couple of days. This way, the narcissist won’t know the new one exists and they won’t know what you’re up to.

Tips for Discovering the Narcissist’s Spy Devices in Your Home

Has Your Computer Been Hacked?

Even if the narcissist is not good with technology, they can hire a hacker to hack into your computer. If you see odd things such as popup ads or toolbars that you never installed, there is a good chance the computer was hacked. Unfortunately, skilled hackers can bypass the firewall. If your computer runs very slowly, that is another sign of hacking. Certain protection programs and antivirus programs might help, but to be safe, you should have your computer examined by an expert in the field to know for sure.

Does Your Home Have Hidden Cameras & Listening Devices?

A narcissist can find a way to install a hidden camera in your home. But there are several ways you can test whether you have hidden cameras in your home. Here are a few to start with.

  • Turn off the lights around you and notice if there are unexpected LED lights, usually red or green.
  • Look at your mirrors to see if there are small spots that might hide a tiny camera
  • .You can even install a bug detector that will reveal whether or not you have a hidden camera.
  • This article from Turbo Future offers a comprehensive list of tips for discovering in-home spying devices and hidden cameras.
  • This one from Howell Law Firm offers some additional really helpful tips for figuring out if your house is bugged or if your smart devices are being used against you.

How and Why Narcissists Use Smart Home Devices to Gaslight, Abuse, and Control You

This video offers additional tips on how narcissists might use your smart home devices to gaslight, abuse, manipulate and control you.

The idea of being spied on by the narcissist is scary, but if you notice any abnormalities in your home, on your devices, or that someone is following you – then there is a good chance that the narcissist is spying on you.

Turning It Around: Ways to Find Proof You’ve Been Cheated On 

If you happen to need to use technology to prove that you’ve been cheated on to show the judge in divorce court, you’ll want to take a look at this video, which offers tips on how to find proof a narcissist has cheated on you.

More Helpful Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Related Articles for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

Get Help and Support in Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

 

Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorce is always difficult and life-altering. When you’re divorcing a narcissist, there’s a whole other layer of manipulation and controlling behaviors involved. And, as painful as it is, it is less uncommon than you’d hope.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost half of all marriages end in divorce. If you are planning, experiencing, or have recently gone through a divorce with a narcissist, there are things you should know about starting over.

How Divorcing a Narcissist Affects Your Health

Research tells us that while most people are resilient after a divorce, surveys indicate that 10-15% of divorced people find it very difficult to manage to start over. If you’re dealing with a narcissist during divorce, you’re probably in that 10 to 15%, sadly. This means that your divorce was or will be quite traumatic. You may be feeling stuck, confused, lost, and abandoned.

Mental Health and Stress Issues When Divorcing a Narcissist 

You might feel like dealing with narcissistic abuse for as long as you have could leave you without the skills to cope with loss and start over. And you would not be alone in that feeling – as it turns out, we have seen thousands of narcissistic abuse survivors struggle through divorcing a narcissist. You might suffer from increased anxiety, depression, and a variety of symptoms related to C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) related to narcissistic abuse in your toxic relationship, both during and after the relationship.

You might also feel excessive stress that can lead to additional mental and physical effects. Due to the rejection you feel during divorce, you might struggle with even deeper mental health and emotional wellness issues. In a study published by Ovid Technologies, researchers found that oxytocin, a pleasure hormone associated with social bonding, may have protective health benefits. A separate study published in the American Journal of Science showed that the brain areas that sense pain are also activated with social rejection.

And, according to one researcher, dealing with your parents’ divorce as a child increases your risk for divorce. This makes sense for narcissistic abuse survivors on a deeper level, as a large percentage of narcissistic abuse survivors are also the adult children of narcissists, according to my own research and experience.

The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), which measures the relationship between life events, stress, and illness, tells us that divorce is rated as one of the top stressors – and this is just general divorce – not necessarily divorce involving a narcissist. Divorce is topped only by changing jobs in the list of stressors. Other top stressors include moving to a new place

Physical Health Issues When Divorcing a Narcissist 

Divorcing a narcissist can be all-consuming, but it’s very important that you put yourself and your health first if you’re going to survive this safely. If you’re not careful, divorcing a narcissist can have serious physical health ramifications. Not only could your brain health be affected in surprising ways, but you might even die earlier than you would have otherwise. A study published in the Association for Psychological Science journal shows that people who are separated or divorced have a 23% greater mortality rate than married people.

With that being said, ongoing narcissistic abuse is known to cause mental and physical health issues that might even be more profound – and divorce may be the first step you must take in order to begin to heal yourself from the long-term trauma you’ve been dealing with. In any case, when you’re dealing with divorcing a narcissist, you’ve got to take good care of yourself.

Research tells us that staying physically healthy and mentally positive are the most effective ways to overcome the health risks associated with divorcing a narcissist.

Starting Over After Divorcing a Narcissist 

Staying mentally positive can help you overcome challenges and be resilient when starting over after a divorce. You can do some basic things to help yourself be resilient.

  • Do your research
  • Let yourself feel
  • Get professional help
  • Self-care
  • Practice coping skills
  • Embrace challenges

Research is a really easy way to empower yourself during any stage of a divorce. I always say that knowledge is power, and that is definitely true when it comes to divorce. There are many amazing self-help books you can read that are specifically related to overcoming narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships, including some on divorcing a narcissist (see our favorites here), a variety of narcissistic abuse recovery support systems you can engage, and professional legal resources available to help emotionally, mentally, and financially.

Learn What Other Narcissistic Abuse Survivors Have Experienced in Divorcing a Narcissist 

Since divorce with a narcissist might be more common than you’d expect, there are many others who have survived it. Their stories, ideas, and advice can help you start over. See some narcissistic abuse survivor stories here.

But be careful here and don’t allow anyone else’s experience overshadow what you are going through. How you feel may be different from what others have experienced, and my friend, that is completely okay. You are not required to relate or to do anything because of anyone else’s experience. Divorcing a narcissist is difficult and painful and the experience, as well as the healing, is going to be completely individualized for each person who experiences it.

That’s why it’s so important that you give yourself time to process your feelings instead of bottling them up or pushing them aside. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my own recovery from divorcing a narcissist was not allowing myself to take the time I needed to grieve the relationship. I thought that because I was “out,” things would just immediately get better. And in some ways, they did – but I needed to take the time to mourn the relationship.

Things to Avoid When Divorcing a Narcissist 

Going through narcissistic abuse is, on its own, an extended trauma in your life. Pile divorce on top of it, and you’re looking at a whole new level of concern. It is never easy, and we all make mistakes in the process. But if you are at all able to avoid the following, you will be doing yourself a big favor when it comes to your narcissistic abuse recovery process (not to mention the process of moving on after your divorce).

  • Avoid doing anything, especially making life-changing decisions, out of desperation. Always take time to THINK before you act, even if that means you refuse to make any decision related to the divorce on the spot. Get away from the narcissist and take some time to think in a stress-free zone.
  • Don’t allow the narcissist to treat your children as negotiation or manipulation tools. Do your best to keep any kids you have out of discussions that do not involve custody or the business of raising them. Stay calm and only focus on FACTS when you must communicate about the children. Try to keep your emotional energy to yourself during the divorce – at least when it comes to the narcissist and their flying monkeys.
  • Don’t share everything on social media. Be careful with how much you share about your divorce and/or your soon-to-be-ex on social media. Rather than posting on your persona page, consider joining a private online narcissistic abuse recovery and/or divorcing a narcissist support group.
  • Be careful to avoid developing or resuming bad habits or addictions. This one is harder, but while occasional indulgences might not hurt, long-term bad habits can be hard to break. Focus instead on what you can do to make yourself and/or your life better in this process. So, rather than eating ice cream every day to feel less stressed, or having a glass of wine (or three), maybe you could add in a stress-relieving walk or a daily meditation session. (Or if you’re like me, your walk can BECOME your daily meditation!)
  • Avoid becoming a hermit. Divorce can lead to social isolation. Don’t get back together with your ex or date anyone available out of desperation or loneliness. Try socializing with friends or using your time for medication and self-care instead of engaging in risky behaviors. I suggest you wait a minimum of one year beyond the finalization of your divorce to allow yourself to have plenty of time to heal.

Divorcing a Narcissist When You Have Kids

If your divorce will involve children, you might be interested in getting this free toolkit designed to help you smoothly transition into being a single parent.

Get the Help You Need When Divorcing a Narcissist 

You should not be going this whole “divorcing a narcissist” thing alone. There are plenty of resources available to you, whether you’re looking for one-on-one coaching narcissistic abuse recovery coaching, one-on-one divorce coaching, a support group, or even a therapist. In any case, it definitely helps to talk to someone, be they a coach, counselor, or another mental health professional during a divorce. In some cases, you might even be lucky enough to have a friend or family member who is willing to listen and who may understand.

Since divorce is one of the top life stressors, don’t take this lightly – your health is essential, and NOT getting the help you need can put you at unnecessary risk. Even just talking out your problems with a friend can make a difference and allow you to develop resilience.

Remember too that self-care should have a space on your priority list. While there may be practical issues to manage, like living arrangements and dividing property, do not forget to make time to allow yourself to heal. You will need to practice your coping skills to start over and seeing a professional can help you build the resilience you need. Embrace the challenges of starting over with the knowledge that you are creating a new, different, and better life for yourself.

Divorce is almost never easy, and narcissists make it miserable. At times, it may feel like your whole world has changed, and that’s because it has – but my friend, that can be a very good thing if you allow it to be. Point your eyes toward your future and start intentionally choosing what comes next. You can take charge by starting over with an intentional mindset with focused and specific goals as you move forward. You might even want to consider strategizing your own personal “comeback” with one of our coaches.

Resources for Divorcing a Narcissist

 

What Is Reactive Abuse?

What Is Reactive Abuse?

If you have dealt with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship, chances are that you’ve experienced a confusing phenomenon called “reactive abuse.”

What is Reactive Abuse?

Reactive abuse is when you, as someone who is being abused, lash out toward your abuser in response to the abuse to which you’re being subjected. However, the truth is that it is a manipulation tactic that allows the user to shift the blame on to you. s shift blame from themselves onto the victim. You’ll be told that you’re overreacting or being overly dramatic and you’ll be accused of being the abuser yourself.

In other words, reactive abuse refers to what happens when you react in a significant way to a toxic behavior that is repeatedly used to control and manipulate you. Often, it involves a situation in which your reaction confuses or concerns you, and it causes you to begin to wonder if you are in fact the abuser in your relationship. This happens because often, narcissists are so abusive and manipulative that they provoke you into reacting in a way that, out of context, might seem abusive.

That means that in toxic relationships, abusers will do whatever they can to avoid taking responsibility for their behaviors. This results in a number of different manipulative and controlling behaviors, one of the most frustrating of which is deflection and blame-shifting. That means if you are the victim and you are being abused, you might fling insults, scream, throw things at the abuser, or lash out at them.

That is essentially the definition of reactive abuse. Basically, reactive abuse is what is happening when your abuser has provoked you into reacting in an extreme way (that is generally outside of your character) to their abuse and manipulation. Then, they will retaliate by calling you the abuser because of how insulting them and rude or disrespectful you’re being.

But guess what? Abusers count on this tactic and they use it to their advantage at every possible opportunity. I know, you’re shocked.

Examples of Reactive Abuse

For example, if you punched your partner in the face, you would be physically abusing them, without question, right? But things get a little muddy if you punched them in the face because, after they knocked you down and beat you up, it was the only way you could escape.

Or, if you burst into a red-hot rage and call them every name in the book when they just say a single sentence to you, you would be abusing them. But if that sentence was, “I’m stealing everything you have, I’m cheating on you with your best friend, and you look fat in that dress,” who could blame you?

Or, you’re at a party and you witness your spouse flirting with everyone in the place. You stay calm and say nothing, but when you get n the car, you ask them about it. They might then say you’re crazy and that they were just being friendly – and that you are insanely jealous, and they find that very unattractive, and if you’re always going to accuse them of this stuff, they might as well do it. This, along with a string of personal and painful insults, might lead you to be cussing them out by the time you get home. The neighbors might overhear it and feel sorry for your spouse because they have no idea what happened at the party or in the car.

What Are the Consequences of Reactive Abuse?

Mental & Emotional Stress and Illness

While there are probably very few people who will actually blame you for reacting to such abusive behavior in an extreme way, you probably still feel bad about it, primarily because it is not something that is normal for you. You aren’t abusive and you don’t hurt people. But every now and then, your abuser pushes you to the point where, for a moment, you no longer care what they do to you because you are so mentally and emotionally drained and overwhelmed. This puts you into an unhealthy mental and emotional state and can lead to many other complications, including C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder).

Keeping You in an Abuser’s Control

When you have these extreme reactions, your abuser may exploit them to prove that you are the unstable one. For example, some abusers will pull out their phones and record your meltdown, but fail to acknowledge the amount of brow-beating and gaslighting they had to do to get you to that point. The abuser will then call you crazy, mentally ill, sick, stupid, and/or otherwise unsavory.

They will spread rumors and tell everyone how awful you are so that people will both feel sorry for them (offering additional narcissistic supply) and also be a little bit afraid of you (and/or feel sorry for or disgusted by you). Of course, this will also give them a permanent reason to continue to abuse you, because they will keep holding your reactions against you all of the time and forever. The abuser will always remind you about when you were abusive to them and of what a nutjob you really are.

And as I noted, they conveniently forget that they were the ones who instigated your reaction. Abusers will even use this kind of “evidence” against you in court or other legal situations. This just one of the many reasons I highly recommend dealing with these people with the gray rock method.

Abusers Manipulate Their Victims To Push Them to React

Abusers know that their victims will react to the abuse and manipulation to which they subject them, and push them to the point that the victim might sort of “abuse them back.” If you’re involved with a narcissist, you might have experienced this. Knowing they can get you to react and to even retaliate, they will sometimes take the opportunity to even potentially record what you’re doing or saying during this time. This, of course, will later be used against you in the various smear campaigns the narcissist runs against you.

Not only does this help them to “remind you how crazy you really are,” but the narcissist is even likely to attempt to use it against you during court and other legal proceedings.

But are there actually situations in which the victim may actually be abusive by nature as well? Yes, and this is called “mutual abuse.”

Is Reactive Abuse The Same As Mutual Abuse?

Mutual abuse is what some people call it when both members of a couple appear to be abusive to each other. This is more of a myth than truth. In other words, narcissists and other abusive people will tell their abuse victims that their responses to the abuse are also considered abuse. And those reactions can sometimes be considered “reactive abuse,” as we’ve discussed – but in reality, this is yet another manipulation tactic.

In fact, the claim of “mutual abuse” is often heard by domestic violence counselors, such as those at TheHotline.org.

“Many times, we speak with survivors of abuse who want to address concerns they have about their own behaviors. They will often express that their relationship is mutually abusive, a concept used when describing a relationship where both partners are abusive towards one another,” the organization reports. “But ‘mutual abuse’ doesn’t exist.”

The counselors at DomesticShelters.org agree, noting that, “perpetuating the myth of mutual abuse is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous.”

“To say partners are mutually abusive or equal in abuse puts undue blame on the survivor,” says an article on their website. “When a survivor hears that he or she is mutually abusive, what’s heard is that he or she is to blame, and that reinforces what the batterer has been saying all along—that the abuse is the survivor’s fault. The myth of mutual abuse also reinforces the behavior of the batterer—that his or her actions were justified.”

All of that to gently remind you that if you’re being abused, your reaction to the abuse cannot be considered equal to the abuse.

How Can The Victim Stop Reacting To Abuse?

How can you prevent yourself from falling for the abuser’s manipulation tactic?

Remember that when you are being abused, it means that someone is holding power over you. If you are struggling to reclaim your power during narcissistic abuse, you will want to learn and employ the gray rock method, when possible.

What is the Gray Rock Method?

The grey rock method (also known as Gray Rock) was named and first published by a writer called Skylar, who advises that you act boring and don’t react to the narcissist’s attempts to engage you in drama. The tactic is highly effective but also infuriating for narcissists to experience. Be careful and use this method with caution if you are dealing with any physical abuse as the abuser may not react well. Learn more about the gray rock method here. 

More Resources on Using the Gray Rock (Grey Rock) Method

You’ll want to be careful to avoid reacting and try to focus on staying calm and being almost boring. Try to avoid name-calling or physical violence, if you can.

If you are fortunate enough to have a friend to whom you can send a code that tells them that you need help, that is a great tactic. That also means you have to be honest about what you are facing if domestic violence is involved. You should never suffer in silence.

This video offers additional insight on reactive abuse.

 Resources for Narcissistic Abuse & Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

 

How The Narcissist Sees You: Narcissistic Supply Explained

How The Narcissist Sees You: Narcissistic Supply Explained

If you’ve ever met a malignant narcissist or someone who has the traits consistent with narcissistic personality disorder, chances are that you know someone who is addicted to narcissistic supply. Most malignant narcissists are addicted to admiration, at least on some level, and nearly all of them are addicted to having people “give themselves” to them!

If you are among the people the narcissist considers to be part of their inner circle, or if you’re the spouse, child, or another family member, you are most likely being used for narcissistic supply, or you were in the past. They demand your respect even though they don’t earn it. They demand your support, but they never return the favor, unless it benefits them to do so. They love being told that they are amazing – and they love it when you freak out and scream and act crazy. That’s especially true when they drive you to it. They want attention whether it is positive or negative. That also means they demand compliments, money, sex, and anything else that helps them keep their false self alive.

The continuous attention and admiration that the narcissist gets from you help to feed their over-blown, bloated, secretly non-existent sense of self-worth and esteem – that false self they project to the outside world. In many cases, narcissists are able to summon up a powerful kind of charm and charisma that seems to help them keep getting more and more attention, assuring a constant stream of narcissistic supply coming their way.

What is Narcissistic Supply?

Narcissistic supply means attention, admiration, emotional energy, and other kinds of “services” the narcissist requires in order to function and to maintain their ego. It can involve smile attention, or sex, money, caregiving (and caretaking), and more. The narcissist’s need for your emotional energy can be likened to the mythical vampire’s need for blood. They require it to survive. It nourishes them and keeps them feeling comfortable with their lives. They get their narcissistic supply from people, but in some cases, they might even get it from a pet or group of people.

What does it mean when you call someone “a narcissistic supply?”

In the narcissistic abuse recovery community, we often refer to the victim of the abusive narcissist as “the narcissistic supply.” What we really mean is the “source of narcissistic supply,” and this is sometimes misunderstood. People might think by calling ourselves “supply” we are minimizing ourselves. But what we are doing is acknowledging that the abusers in our lives only saw us for what we could provide to them – not for what and who we actually are. In other words, we are reminding ourselves that, as a “narcissistic supply,” we are used by the narcissist to get attention, validation, admiration – all the “supply” they need to feed their ego.

What qualities do narcissists look for in a source of narcissistic supply?

There are certain qualities that make someone feel more likely to be used as a source of narcissistic supply. These include the following.

  • Empathetic (especially when it means you react quickly to their extreme emotions).
  • Kind and compassionate (but they’ll call you abusive for setting a healthy boundary).
  • Willing to put others first (though they’ll always accuse you of being selfish).
  • Modest about your good qualities (so your ego won’t require much of them – they never validate you).
  • Attractive (even though they will tell you otherwise to hurt you).
  • Intelligent (even though they will constantly make you doubt it).
  • Independent and able to entertain yourself (so they can ignore you when they want to).
  • Willing to drop everything for them and do whatever they want, when they want, without question (because they need your attention when they need it, but they want you to leave them alone when they want that).
  • Flexible and willing to change for them (though they’ll literally never return the favor).
  • Loyal (because, obviously, they deserve loyalty, despite the fact that you don’t, according to them).
  • Low or reduced self-esteem (often due to having grown up in a toxic family or having previously have endured an abusive relationship of any kind (because it makes you more likely to accept abuse again and/or to have lower standards, along with a higher threshold for abuse, making you more tolerant and accepting of their abuse).
  • Socially brag-worthy (In other words, they’ll be proud to show you off and claim you as their property – even though they’ll do everything in your power to make you feel completely worthless behind closed doors. They do this because it keeps you from believing you can do any better. This, along with all of their other manipulations, is designed to keep you around if and when they want you).

What kind of people typically attract narcissists? 

Let’s talk about the types of people who attract narcissists. In this video, I’ll fill you in on exactly who narcissists are seeking out for supply and why.

 

How does the narcissist see you?

Whether you are a child of a narcissistic parent, a co-worker to a narcissist, or someone who has or had a narcissistic partner, you could be a source of narcissistic supply for them. Many have a whole circle of supply, which we sometimes call a narcissistic harem.

As a source of narcissistic supply, the narcissist sees you as someone who gives them something they need. This could be simply attention and admiration, or much more. In most cases, they may also get supply out of scaring you or making you cry, or out of making you chase them or worry about them.

While they may say otherwise, the narcissist sees you as a product and/or a service – or, in many cases, as an extension of themselves. And while they may claim to love you, what they really love is what you can do for them. They love that you are among the people who provide them what they “need,” and yet, sadly they can never love or feel any compassionate empathy for you.

What happens if you refuse to keep providing narcissistic supply? 

The fact that they see you as a source of narcissistic supply leads the narcissist to, on so many levels, literally NEED you. And that is exactly why you’re likely to see a fit of narcissistic rage if they start doubting your devotion. FOr example, you might suddenly decide you’re going to start taking care of yourself because you’ve recognized that you have recently slipped in that area. As you do this, you might even start setting a few boundaries and feeling even better.

How does the narcissist feel when you cut off their source of narcissistic supply?

This will lead you to start questioning them and demanding the respect you’re due. They might notice that you’re not bending to their wishes anymore. And of course, being as self-focused as they are, they won’t be interested in your personal growth. All they see is that their source of narcissistic supply might suddenly be cut off. That scares them.

Just for reference, close your eyes for a second and imagine how you feel when you are facing a power outage. If you’re anything like me, you might get a little irritated (or more than a little), especially if you are busy on a particular day and need the power to work on your computer. The longer it is out, the angrier you become.

Or, imagine how you’d feel if you were suddenly forced to fast for 48 hours and you’re not prepared. You’re going to stay hungry (and if we’re being honest, maybe a little hangry, at the very least). And you’re going to be pretty cranky.

Both of these examples offer a bit of insight into how the narcissist feels when they are deprived of narcissistic supply.

A narcissist will always look for a source of supply even if you are no longer that source if you go no contact. And if they find a source of supply before you leave them, then they will discard you and will end up hoovering if their new source of supply ‘dries up’.

How Narcissists Test You: 10 Ways They Know You’ll Make a Good Narcissistic Supply 

How do narcissists test someone to find out if they’ll be a good long-term source of narcissistic supply? This is how narcissists test you to see if you will be a good source of narcissistic supply.

More Resources on Narcissistic Supply

Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support

Helpful Reading for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

 

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