There is a spectrum of narcissism, ranging from “healthy” narcissism – that looks a lot like self love and also includes empathy – to toxic, personality-disorder level narcissism – that ranges from minorly annoying and all the way out to psychopathic. In this video, I’ll teach you about 7 different places on that spectrum and how the disorder manifests in different types of people.
So, you’ve figured out that you’re involved in a toxic relationship with a narcissist. And you want to know exactly what you need to look for when it comes to being relentlessly mentally and emotionally tortured by the narcissist – you need to know the signs of gaslighting.
Why should you educate yourself on the signs of narcissistic manipulation?
You want to know because knowledge and understanding are the first step to changing your situation into something better. Once you know the signs of gaslighting, you can work toward putting an end to the behavior before it gets out of hand – or even toward going no contact (NC) with your narcissist if necessary.
You can read all about the top warning 10 signs of gaslighting, in detail right here, or you can right-click and download this free and easy-to-use chart of the top 10 warning signs.
- Narcissism in Relationships: How to Deal When a Toxic Relationship Damages Your Self-Esteem
- Toxic Relationships and Narcissism: Stages of Gaslighting
- Free Help for Victims of Narcissism and Gaslighting
- My New Bestseller: ‘Take Back Your Life’
- How Self-Proclaimed Narcissist Sam Vaknin Gaslighted Me on Facebook
- Love a Narcissist? Stop Gaslighting in its Tracks With This Foolproof Trick
- This is the Only Way to Communicate With a Narcissist Effectively
- Are you being gaslighted? 10 things you need to know if you love a narcissist
- Toxic Relationship Red Flags: 7 Side-Effects of Low Self-Esteem That Can Kill You
- Toxic Relationship Hacks: 10 Shocking Facts About Narcissistic People
WARNING! Today’s episode of Go Ask Angie is OUTRAGEOUS – not only am I providing answers to two mothers who were left by narcissists during pregnancy, but between these narcissistic fathers, there are literally 12 children who have to deal with it – plus, one of the mothers was replaced by…wait for it…her own TWIN SISTER during her pregnancy!
I am just overwhelmed with the amount of things I want to say to those self-centered jerks (not to mention the so-called sister who was willing to be with a man who’d just abandoned her pregnant TWIN) – but I won’t waste my breath, because you and I both know that there’s no good reason to try to make a narcissist accountable for his or her behavior. It almost NEVER works.
Take a look at this video – or if you can’t, check out the transcript, below the video, and when you’re finished, please let me know what you think – and what advice you’d offer these moms.
Before I start with my answer, I just want to say that I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, and you definitely don’t deserve it!
I know that you have been totally shocked by this horrible situation – and who can blame you? Between your own pregnancy and other children and the devalue and discard you’ve just gone through, it’s amazing that you’re still standing.
But stand you will, because you’re a mother and that is what we do!
So much of what you wrote sounds familiar to me on more than one level. For example, my first husband actually treated my oldest son like a piece of property.
He’d ignore the baby while no one was looking, but when people were around, he was the perfect father – showing him off and always telling people how amazing he was. It was like “look what I did!”
Once I finally got a clue and left his ass, I quickly realized that his only reason for wanting to see my son was that he wanted to get back in my life. When I realized that, I was just done.
He hasn’t seen that kid since he was 16 months old – and he will be 19 YEARS old next month.
My suggestion: try to focus on the good stuff here. You’re having a new baby! Babies are adorable and full of potential.
Focus on taking care of yourself and your other kids now, and don’t worry so much about what he’s doing – spend your spare time decorating the nursery and generally NOT thinking about him.
Okay, I’ve got a few more pieces of advice for you before I close today.
- First: don’t allow this narcissist to taint your happiness. He has made his choices, and now you get to make yours.
- Second, don’t expect some big miracle to happen when or if you ever allow him to see your child – especially since you said he has other kids out there.
- Third, remember that as a toxic narcissist, he’s got a personality disorder and without serious therapy, he ain’t gonna change anytime soon (and whether it will work is QUITE iffy).
Now it’s time for you to consider every option that’s available to you – and take nothing for granted. Remember too that your ex narcissist is unlikely to see your child as a person, but more likely to see him or her as a tool to be used to get what he wants.
Be on the lookout for certain behaviors if your ex does get involved in the baby’s life – for example, he may choose to disregard your or the baby’s boundaries. He may withhold affection in order to get results from the baby as he or she gets older. And he will most likely neglect to meet his parental duties on certain levels, where his needs come before the baby’s, always.
Plus, since image is so important to narcissists, he may demand absolute perfection from your child anytime he’s involved.
Your kiddo will feel a lot of pressure to “be good enough,” and unfortunately, no matter how amazing he or she turns out to be, it won’t ever be enough.
A bit of psychology you might want to consider, too:
- If your child is a girl, she will need to feel adored by her father. While she’s little, he’ll probably do okay with that on a couple of levels, but as she gets older, he’ll get mean – commenting on her clothing, her weight and/or her attitude in negative ways. She needs to be validated this way – and it helps her to be stronger in future relationships. Girls need to internalize their specialness and HEALTHY dads (or even dad-like-people) can help with that.
- If your baby is a boy, you need to know that he will never be able to “measure up” to your ex’s expectations. The narcissistic father is infamous for competing with his sons in very unhealthy ways. And if that’s not his game, your son will simply be ignored. Just as girls need to be adored by their fathers in order to be validated, boys need to have their dads believe in them.
I remember my ex getting jealous of my son when he was born – because I paid too much attention to him! Outrageous!
As the mom of this baby, you’re going to have a lot of responsibility, but it doesn’t have to be terrible – knowing what you’re up against is the first step to making your life easier.
KNOW that this is NOT your fault – and know what to watch for when you’re considering dating in the future. This can help you to avoid getting into this situation again.
I’d like you to consider getting involved with a parent support group, such as Parents Without Partners, and I’d like to invite you to join SPAN, my online support group – it’s totally free and completely confidential. You can learn more at QueenBeeing.com/SPAN.
I wish I had better answers for you, but I hope this offers you a place to start. Please remember to take care of yourself as you go on this journey – and don’t be afraid to reach out to the people in your life you can trust when you need support.
Okay, now it’s your turn! What advice would you offer our mothers? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. Let’s discuss it.
“Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.” ~Jeffrey Kluger
A report in Cosmopolitan Magazine offers ten very insightful points into the psyche of your everyday, average narcissist – and if you keep these in mind when you’re dealing with one, you’ll find yourself feeling much more in control of the situation.
Need more help dealing with your narcissist? Check out my most recent book,Take Back Your Life: 103 Highly-Effective Strategies to Snuff Out a Narcissist’s Gaslighting and Enjoy the Happy Life You Really Deserve (Detoxifying Your Life Series) at Amazon.com.
Cosmo’s insights were, in brief, as follows – but be sure to click the link at the end of this post and see the full explanation on the Cosmopolitan.com website.
1. You can’t shame a narcissist – they’ll make your life much harder if you do.
2. The reason they’re so fragile and insecure on the inside and mean and hateful on the outside goes all the way back to childhood. Though researchers believe there might be a genetic component, the truth is that the way a child is raised has a great deal to do with how they turn out.
Also of note:
- There are two ways to “create” a narcissist – by denying a child unconditional love so they never feel comfortable in the emotional love, or to totally go the opposite direction and overindulging, overpraising and underdisciplining the child – making them believe they’re overly special.
- This would indicate that the term “happy medium” could apply to good parenting (My note)
3. Kids who got big responsibilities at early ages are more often narcissists than those who didn’t, whether it was direct responsibility such as for a sibling or indirect such as for the emotional health of a parent. This leads to their adult selves always seeking approval and trying too hard, never allowing themselves to just “be,” rather requiring to be the center of attention.
4. A narcissist desperately needs to feel superior to everyone around him, because inside they don’t feel like they’re good enough. And they react with contempt to anyone who seems to have something they lack.
5. Narcissists think big – that is, they are grandiose thinkers because they feel like it fills some hole inside themselves.
6. They have a huge sense of entitlement – they think they DESERVE to have what they want without regard for the needs and desires of those around them.
7. They haven’t met a boundary they haven’t crossed, and if you don’t put a stop to it when it begins, they’ll keep crossing until they’ve crossed every boundary you’ve got.
8. If you must confront a narcissist, do it carefully – they respond best to “empathic validation,” Cosmo says. So you should always “affirm the relationship first before you share anything that doesn’t feel right,” said a psychologist interviewed by the mag. “For example, if it’s someone you’re dating, say to them: ‘I care about you a lot, so when you don’t listen to what I’m saying, I feel like I’m nothing in your eyes,’ instead of ‘Why don’t you ever listen to me?'”
About the book: Do you find yourself giving all you’ve got and people still want more? Do you sometimes do without what you want or need in order to keep the people around you happy? Are you afraid to deal with confrontation and do you often find it easier to just go with the flow in order to keep the peace?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a people pleaser. Many people pleasers are also very empathic people, who are especially attractive to toxic types who love to take advantage every chance they get.
In this book, you’ll learn how to stop feeling the need to make everyone else happy and start figuring out what makes you happy, personally, and really – not someone else’s idea of what’s supposed to make you happy,
Listen up: you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else. Stop beating yourself up and start embracing your personal power. Take your life back starting today!
9. The only thing that might motivate a narcissist to change is having a meaningful consequence for their bad behavior. For example, a healthy narcissist might avoid cheating on a spouse in order to preserve the relationship, because “if the consequences are high enough, they might start to reevaluate their actions.”
10. No matter how intelligent and together a narcissist is in other ways, they are emotional toddlers. Cosmo’s experts both noted that the best way to deal with a narcissist who is raging is to consider them like you would a two-year-old who is throwing a tantrum, and that most of that is just their way of “putting on a show.” Both agreed that as long as you’re not in physical danger, you have to pick your battles and decide what you will and will not tolerate, and then make your choices accordingly.
Like I said, I find all of this stuff very insightful and totally on-target. What do you think?
BTW, I’ve also got a couple of other books on the topic – including Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now.
See Story on Cosmo’s website: click here
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
Did you know? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Think you might have C-PTSD but you’re not sure? Take our free C-PTSD Self-Assessment.
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- You might enjoy my book, Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
- Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know
- Divorcing a narcissist? Drop the tears, think straight, expert says
- Are you married to a narcissist? 12 easy ways to spot
- Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Top 10 Warning Signs You’re Being Gaslighted
- For ACONs – Adult Children of Narcissists
- RED FLAGS: Top 17 Early Warning Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist
- Toxic Relationship Hacks: 10 Shocking Facts About Narcissistic People
Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from a member of my SPAN (Support for People Affected by Narcissism in relationships) online support group, a well-educated male who has chosen to be identified by the name Manager Poet. He also happens to be a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and I thought his perspective was interesting and that it may be able to help a lot of people. You might also want to check out this post on the differences between male and female narcissists.
I have learned much about the female gender through experience and academically (books). I still marvel at how ignorant I am of the trials and tribulations you go through in this world. Without sounding creepy, much of what I learned about love was from my mother and grandmother.
I was blessed with good relationships.
Both mom and I had been abused at different times physically, but mainly emotionally by my dad. EMDR therapy in 2014 helped me immensely to deal with my wounded inner child. I’m not comfortable at this juncture going into much detail regarding that.
I now understand what a narcissist really is.
My first marriage (27 years) was to a narcissist, as I now understand what a narcissist really is. Tools like eHarmony, counseling, and personality tests gave me the confidence to believe that I had finally found the love of my life. I ignored what I now understand to be the red flags of a personality disorder being broadcast by my then-fiancée and soon-to-be wife.
I could drone on and on but I won’t, based on the following universal truth: the more you poke at an old turd, the more it stinks.
Physical and emotional intimacy should go hand-in-hand.
For me, emotional and physical intimacy go hand in hand. It took me a long time to learn that but I did. Like I’ve mentioned before, as a male, we are wired differently.
I believe you can love people who have varying degrees of flaws. You must decide what flaws (benign) are character-driven and what flaws are common to the human experience.
I will say I don’t consider personality disorders as a flaw (benign). A personality disorder, to me, is the equivalent of a donor getting rid of malignant cells by transplanting them into your body/mind over time. There is no happy ending for the recipient.
The Power of Touch in Relationships
I’m not much of a poet. It is how I journal sometimes. I leave you with this.
Touch is a truly wonderful gift one gives another. You first learn of its significance from your mother. As I entered into adolescence, I viewed touch in a totally different way. I thought more of touch as just a roll in the hay.
Love gives birth to what touch should be.
It’s when the two become one, don’t you see.
What happened next, I’ll never understand.
The gift of touch was slowly being banned.
Seeking touch from others in different ways, a massage, a haircut and a wash, didn’t fill a growing void. Touch as a gift from my love was slowly being destroyed. I thought that perhaps I could earn more touch if I would try all the harder. Yet in the end, she had no more ardor.
As I recall, there was a sick experiment done long ago. Some babies got touch, while the others were told no. The infants who were touched seemed to thrive. Babies denied touch all but died.
Woman or man, it does not matter. Denying another touch causes a soul to shatter.
Any one can learn to touch another if you so choose. Ask yourself, ‘How could being affectionate ever cause one to lose? ‘
For now and in the future, I will cherish any touch I receive. Even if it comes from my stylist, though that may be hard to believe. When someone washes your hair with such finesse, it is hard to not feel so blessed. Reclining, warm water flowing over my head, her hands moving through my hair gives my touch deprived soul rest.
Being who I am, I am willing give the gift of touch. The question still remains, ‘Am I asking too much? ‘ One more line and then I’m through.
What does being touched do for you?
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources
- The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
- Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups – We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
- One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
- Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
- Where Are You in Recovery? You might not be sure exactly where you fit in and what level of recovery you’ve achieved. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out this self-assessment to help you determine exactly where you fall in the stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse. Once you finish and submit the assessment, you will be given resources for your own situation, along with recommendations of which groups to join.
- Which Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program is Right for You? If you aren’t sure which program you want to utilize to facilitate your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this self-assessment will help you decide.
- Check out my book entitled Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now.