Let me tell you something. This may or may not surprise you, but I absolutely LOVE it when people underestimate me. I know it seems counterintuitive – and I didn’t always feel this way. For a lot of my life, I felt offended and upset by people who chronically underestimated me. But one day, I recognized a powerful fact: if someone underestimates you, it actually offers you a rather significant advantage. If they think you’re not capable of something and you do it anyway, there is far less resistance involved, if that makes sense. And, if you’re anything like me, you might even take a bit of pleasure (not to mention some much-needed motivation) in proving them wrong.
With that being said, you and I both know that probably the most likely person in your life to underestimate you is the narcissist in your life. In fact, if you ask me, their consistent need to underestimate us is one of their biggest weaknesses. Not only does underestimating us leave them vulnerable in certain ways, but it also gives them a certain amount of overconfidence in themselves.
Could it be unethical to allow them to underestimate you and not tell them you see right through them? While some people will disagree with me, I’d say absolutely not – and here’s why.
Why Narcissists Underestimate You
Narcissists underestimate you for many reasons – the most frustrating being that they don’t truly see you for who and what you are. Seriously. So let’s talk about that.
The one thing to always remember when it comes to a narcissist is that they are only looking out for one thing from you – what you can do for them, or the narcissistic supply that you can offer.
When you’re in a relationship of any type with a narcissist, you become a source of narcissistic supply. Whether they are a partner or spouse, a family member, friend, or coworker, narcissists aren’t capable of really, genuinely caring about you and who you are. They are not able to form healthy bonds with you, in part because they completely lack true empathy. This leads them to see you as a target or an object instead of a whole person. At best, they’ll see you as an extension of themselves.
As such, they see you as “less of a person” than they see themselves and they believe that they can treat any way that they want. That means they can cheat on you, lie to you, gaslight you, manipulate and abuse you in any way or form – without remorse. They don’t feel bad about it and they never admit to what they’re doing unless it somehow benefits them to do so. And, if you’re ever lucky enough to get an apology from a narcissist, you’ve got to know that they have some ulterior motive. They want something from you or they’re doing it to get a certain result – not because they’re actually sorry.
So, in other words, narcissists are likely to underestimate you because they, themselves are limited people. It’s almost ironic when you think about how narcissists project their own limitations on to you. They are notoriously over-confident (on the outside, anyway) and are known to overestimate their own intelligence and abilities in general. However, deep down, some part of them secretly doubts who they claim to be – and often, this is an accurate doubt as that same deep down part of them knows they’re putting on a show. They will assume the same about you and everyone else. And let’s not forget the whole “black and white thinking” thing that narcissists have going on. Since there are no “gray areas” for a narcissist, they assume that your reaction (or lack thereof) to their little games, not to mention their blatant gaslighting and other forms of manipulation, must mean you have your own limitations. And of course, you do – we all have limitations. But they underestimate you by overestimating your limitations. This is exacerbated because the narcissist sees you as less than them and see themselves as better than you.
How Narcissists Underestimate You
Narcissists Underestimate Your Intelligence
This is probably the most common way narcissists underestimate you. They think they can pull the wool over your eyes and that you’ll believe whatever they say or pretend because you’re not smart enough to see through it. Contrary to popular belief, though, narcissists aren’t actually likely to end up with someone who is anything less than intelligent. They are so focused on how other people see them that they’re highly likely to choose someone who is intelligent, attractive, and who makes them look good. But after the idealization or love bombing phase ends, the narcissist sort of “forgets” this part. Rather than focusing on the good qualities you have, as they did during idealization, when they get to the devalue phase, they’ll be focused only on what they deem your bad qualities – or what they see as being “wrong with you.”
Narcissists Underestimate Your Strength
Narcissists need to see you as weak, at least once they get past that idealization phase of the relationship. They need to think of you as dependent and incapable of surviving without them in some way. This is, in part, a form of psychological projection, because despite the fact that they may be supporting you in some way (financially, for example), the narcissist needs your supply to feel normal. And if you were to suddenly display your true strength and stop feeding the endless hole that is their ego, the narcissist would kind of lose it! They would, in most cases, quickly scramble for alternate sources of narcissistic supply (if they haven’t already got them in place). Without it the narcissist is weak and feels lost. Here’s the thing, though. You and I both know that being in a relationship of any kind with a narcissist takes more strength than most people know. Don’t let them fool you into thinking you’re anything but powerful.
Narcissists Underestimate Your Ability to See Right Through Them
When you catch a narcissist in a lie, they will automatically assume they can keep up the charade. This is true even when you can provide them with clear-cut evidence of the lie. Even then, the narcissist will dismiss you and the evidence that you provide.
Examples of Narcissists Underestimating People
A good example of this comes from that Shaggy song called “It Wasn’t Me.”
The song tells the story of a guy who goes knocking on his friend’s door looking for advice. The apparent issue he’s struggling with is that his girlfriend caught him in the act with another woman. His so-called friend advises him to deny what happened and say it wasn’t him. When he explains to the friend that she physically saw him in the act, the friend tells him to keep denying the facts. At the end of the song, the guy decides to admit the truth and apologize – which proves that he’s not a narcissist.
But his friend might be one. Because, in my opinion, the advice he’s offering is literally telling him to gaslight the woman – literally to deny that she saw what she saw. This is of course blatant gaslighting.
Another way to look at it? The kid who sneaks into the cookie jar and consumes an unauthorized cookie or two. When they’re confronted by their mother, they deny having eaten the cookies, despite the fact that the evidence is all over their face – literally. Obviously, mom knows what happened, despite their insistence that they didn’t do it.
The same goes for a narcissist who is lying to you. They can get a little sloppy because they are underestimating you. They aren’t thinking about the fact that you know them, and that, if we’re being honest, their mannerisms, body language, lack of eye contact, and so on totally gives them away. Even when they’ve relied on your intuition in the past, they will forget that part, or continue to underestimate you because they’re overestimating themselves.
Your Empathy is Your Super-Power
Whether we like to admit it or not, before we’re fully awake to what the narcissist is, they can be really skilled at manipulating you. This along with your natural human fear of abandonment, combined with the inevitable trauma bond you’ll experience in any toxic or abusive relationship, leads the narcissist to think they can control you and continue to consume the supply you provide them indefinitely.
But the one thing that they fail to get is that because you have a superpower that they didn’t count on: empathy, emotional and compassionate empathy. While narcissists are capable of cognitive empathy (as in, they can understand on an intellectual level how someone might feel in any given situation), they do not have emotional or compassionate empathy. So while for you, it is automatic to sort of “get” how someone feels, for the narcissist, it is not. They have to stop and think about it – and often, especially when they’re trying to actively lie to you or pull the wool over your eyes in any way, they’re not thinking about how you might feel.
And because they underestimate you, they don’t understand that your ability to read people, your knowledge of them personally, all combined with your own intelligence and natural intuition will tell you that they are lying.
Why You Should Keep Letting the Narcissist Underestimate You
My advice on this situation will be unpopular, but I say do not bother trying to prove yourself to a toxic narcissist. In fact, if I were you, I’d LEAN INTO IT! That’s right. Go ahead and let the narcissist continue to underestimate you. Let them think they have control. This will give you an advantage if and when you are forced to deal with them, in every situation. As they say, being underestimated is one of the biggest competitive advantages you can have. And it truly is.
Remember too that the narcissist will also underestimate that your ability and power to heal. They will underestimate that you have the power to learn about and understand what is happening between the two of you, as well as the fact that you can look at yourself honestly and figure out what causes you to end up in relationships with people like them. This is way outside of the narcissist’s own ability, as they cannot acknowledge or admit that they might lack in any particular area.
Here is the thing. The narcissist’s lack of self-awareness, along with their grandiose delusions, lead to their ridiculously fragmented sense of who they are – and this false self that needs to believe it is superior to everyone else, including but not limited to you, is actually the narcissist’s greatest weakness.
For you, this means the narcissist will never see it coming when you decide to take your life back. They won’t know what to do if you leave, and they’ll never expect you to follow through and go no contact or low contact.
Keep Shining, Just Like You Always Do
You know what I want for you, right? I want you to keep on shining as you do. Imagine looking up into the sky and catching a glimpse of the sun through the clouds when you least expect it. You’re blinded for a moment, and you can’t see much outside of light (and maybe a few spots) for a few seconds, right?
Well, I want you to consider yourself the sun here – and the clouds, the narcissist’s delusion. Once the clouds clear, you’ll be seen in all your full glory. But even though the clouds might obstruct your light temporarily, your light can still shine brightly from behind them. And when those clouds do clear, you’ll gain clarity – and you’ll know for sure that you are in fact the light. You with me?
Question of the day: Have you ever been underestimated by a narcissist, and if so, what happened and how did you deal with it? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it!
Emotions control much of what happens throughout both our individual lives and in the world. Entire wars have begun as a result of human emotions. We make decisions about whether to get married or divorced based on our emotions. Ideas and inventions, passions, and hobbies are all driven by emotion, part of our internal drive to change the way we feel.
Emotional states affect our daily attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. If we don’t take control of our emotional states, many other aspects of our lives will be out of control as well.
Mastering your emotional state is an essential element to achieving success, contentment, fulfillment, and happiness.
Learn how you can master your emotional states with the easy strategies in this guide.
There are individual differences in what people decide to do with their story. What enables one person to experience personal trauma and tragedy and then decide to use it to their advantage in life, while that same situation makes another person feel like life is not worth living?
Some of the most incredible, happy people have experienced great personal tragedies.
On the flip side, people with every advantage in the world sometimes squander it and spend their days in addiction rehab centers as a result of drugs and/or alcohol.
What story are you telling yourself?
Ask yourself these questions:
Is the status quo in your life just the way it’s always been and there’s nothing that can change it?
Or, on the other hand, is there some way that you can you use your experiences to propel you forward toward greater success and happiness? How?
If your current story doesn’t serve you, then change it!
Beginning to change your story involves figuring out the meaning of events and issues in your life. It also means challenging the current story you have in your head and figuring out your life’s purpose.
Let your story encourage you to take action to make your dreams come true. When you’re living your life’s purpose, you’ll find greater contentment as you pursue your passions and arrange your life around what’s most important to you.
Changing your story requires you to look back into your past. But what about the present? How do you control your emotions on a daily basis in your regular routines? For this part of your emotional mastery, practice self-awareness.
There are certain automatic thoughts that all people have that go a long way in dictating their emotional states.
For example, how do you feel when someone cuts you off on the highway? Do you allow yourself to become angry and upset? What about when you get a flat tire or you don’t get that promotion at work?
Use these strategies to become more self-aware and take charge of your thoughts:
Assign a different meaning to things that bring on negative thoughts.
For example, what does it mean when someone cuts you off on the highway?
Instead of being angry, one way you can think about it is by reminding yourself that not all drivers are courteous as you think they should be. Plus, realize that you don’t know their situation. Perhaps they have an emergency.
These new thoughts diffuse your anger so you can let it go and move on.
When you control what’s going through your mind at any given moment, you’ve put yourself back in charge of your emotions.
Just as you can adjust your story to support you, by practicing self-awareness you can alter your current thoughts to support you, too!
Research has shown that gratitude goes a long way towards achieving a state of happiness. In fact, it’s hard not to be happy when you’re feeling grateful.
When you live in a state of gratitude, you’re also more likely to show prosocial, helping behaviors. Others tend to reciprocate such behaviors, and you end up with a circle of greater happiness for everyone involved!
You can practice gratefulness in many different ways.
Consider these methods:
Spend five to ten minutes in quiet meditation and focus on the different things you’re grateful for in your life.
Uplift someone. Another is by going out of your way each day to compliment or thank someone, without expecting any recognition in return.
Help others. Spend time volunteering at food pantries or homeless shelters.
When we start taking small steps on a regular, daily basis to take control of our emotional states, we become more skilled in emotional fitness. Emotional fitness and awareness cultivates maturity, astuteness, and success, and can make a positive difference in your overall quality of life.
Travel deep inside yourself without the baggage of conditioning. Be an explorer, have patience and eventually your true nature will surface. You will return from your journey with fresh skin and you will approach each day with a wonderful sense of wonder and bliss. ~~Marco R. Capristo
Whether we recognize it or not, most everyone’s habits and behavior are a result of some form of conditioning – and for those who have experienced the painful and all-encompassing abuse that a narcissist is known for, the conditioning hasn’t always been in our best interest.
It begins when we’re small children–our parents’ opinions of us begin to help us form our own perceptions of ourselves. If we’re cursed with narcissistic parents, our perceptions are skewed, twisted…often, plain wrong.
That’s because children are sponges – they absorb everything in their environment, including and especially the opinions of their parents and other prominent people in their lives.
If they tell us we’re beautiful, we believe that we are–but if they tell us we’re horrible and sick, we’ll believe that too.
And it doesn’t end there–add in the opinions of your teachers, siblings and friends…and later those of your spouse, your bosses and coworkers, neighbors and don’t forget that lady at the dry cleaner’s last week.
All of this “conditioning,” left unchecked, can sometimes add up to a very negative self image–especially if you don’t know that you don’t have to accept it.
And, we become what we perceive–we are what we believe we are.
Here’s the thing, friend. I’ve been saying this for years, and I don’t mean to nag. But please, take just a second and really focus on this next sentence.
You don’t have to accept someone else’s judgment, perception or opinion of you.
You get to write your own story.
You feel me? But seriously, go back and read it one more time if you need to – it’s that important. And, while you’re at it – tweet it out to your friends.
Fact is, you can be whomever and whatever you choose. All you have to do is believe that you can–really believe it. I mean, feel it down to your bones. And then, believe that you’re receiving it, that you’ve already received it. Own it–because it’s yours if you want it.
Bliss Mission: Choose Your Own Story
Today, I challenge you to take a look at the people around you–those you love, those you like and even those who present certain struggles. Remember your childhood, and the people you spent time with during that time.
Now, think of all the perceptions they had about you. Your parents? Your friends? Others?
Then, think about you. Have you adopted someone else’s opinion of who you are? Or have you constantly struggled against it? Do you feel guilty for being who you are, because you haven’t become what someone else wanted you to become?
Today, every time you have a negative thought about yourself, take notice and change your mind.
Cancel the thought, and intentionally replace it with an affirmation of your true desires. So, if you think to yourself, “I am always late,” notice it. Then, mentally cancel the thought and affirm, “I am always on time.”
Perception is everything, people. And you can change yours at will. 🙂 Good stuff, yes? I think so. I’ll leave you with a final thought to get your wheels turning as you begin to release any negative perceptions you’ve held about yourself.
“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”~ Carlos Castaneda
Do not allow the simplicity of this tip make you doubt its power – this is one of those things that WORKS – changing your perception intentionally, and with a little practice, not only will you see results fast, but you’ll soon realize how much control you really DO have over your own life.
Are you ready to rewrite your story? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below! Let’s talk about this.
How likely are you to judge someone who looks differently than you? What about someone who has a different religion, belief system, morals, values?
My knee-jerk response to that question is “oh, I never judge…I’m one of the most open-minded people I know!”
And while that may be true in some cases, the fact is that I’m human, and unfortunately, like everyone else in the world, I’ve made snap-judgments based on a person’s appearance or behavior.
For example, if I’m walking alone in a parking lot at night and I’m approached by a well dressed woman, I’m not likely to feel nervous–but if I’m approached by a not-so-well groomed man, I’m likely to squeeze my kids’ hands a little tighter and might even clutch my purse a little.
And, if he walks too close, I am likely to start walking faster.
I know, that’s terrible. I owe men everywhere an apology for that type of stereotype. Men, I’m sorry, I hope you’ll understand. 🙂
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, allow me to get to the point…
What about you? Do you find yourself judging your neighbor’s teenage daughter for wearing that short skirt? What about the family that never picks up their newspapers? Or the mom at the grocery store whose kids are terrorizing her?
Of course you do…at least now and then. It’s human nature. But did you know that judging other people can have a negative effect on YOU?
It’s pretty simple really. By thinking negatively about someone else, you are bringing negativity into your mind…which then, of course, attracts more of it into your life.
Ok, so here’s the deal: quit judging people already. And, quit taking others’ negative behaviors personally. You have a choice. YOU can decide how to let it affect you. You can decide how to react, and you can choose your own perception of the situation.
I know, easier said than done, right?
Something that I’ve discovered in my pursuit of fulfillment is that the way to avoid judging people (as often as possible, anyway) is to find compassion within yourself for your fellow humans.
It’s not as hard as it sounds, and the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
The next time you find yourself judging someone, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. If a checker at the grocery store is rude to you, remember that she’s a person. Maybe she’s dealing with something in her life that is distracting her or upsetting her. Maybe she’s working three jobs and she is doing the best she can to take care of herself and her family.
If it’s your friend or family member driving you bonkers, you might even know what is bothering him or her. Maybe you can help them to get through it, maybe not.
Bliss Mission: Respond With Love
The bottom line is this: by responding with compassion, and by NOT TAKING IT PERSONALLY, you can avoid a lot of stress in your life–both for yourself and for people around you. And, my friends, avoiding stress means FEELING GOOD. And, like attracts like.
If you feel good, you will draw good into your life. Simple as that. So when you react and respond to those around you, do so with love, even if you don’t know the person.
And so, your Bliss Mission, should you choose to accept it, is this: spend the next 24 hours of your life consciously avoiding passing judgement on other people. Don’t beat yourself up if a judgmental thought pops in your head–just allow it to pass and then replace it with a more positive, compassionate thought.
You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple tweak in your thought process can make in your day. What do you say? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
I take good care of myself and others. When someone needs my compassion or a shoulder to lean on, I give those things freely. For myself and for others, I am a gentle and loving caregiver.
My supply of love and compassion is constantly growing because it comes from the source of all things. Therefore, I always have something to offer when others are in need.
My friends and family come to me when they need someone to care for them because they know I am overflowing with abundant love.
If someone I care for has challenges in asking for what they want or need, I listen closely to my intuitive sense of what’s right for them. Then, I ask them if my perception of their needs is accurate. Usually it is, and when I have confirmed that, then I give them all the love and care they want.
With all the resources available to me, I find myself with endless patience and compassion. This is especially true in regards to myself.
I am my own best advocate, so treating myself kindly is critical to my well-being. Therefore, I extend my gentleness and kindness not only to others, but also to myself.
Today, I commit to taking every opportunity to be good to myself and others. I am gentle and kind to all beings, and I take good care of those in my life. Daily, I look into my heart daily for new ways to extend loving caregiving to those in need.
Ask yourself these self-reflection questions.
1. How do I show love and compassion to my family?
2. Is there a person in my life who could benefit from more gentleness from me?
3. How can I go about showing kindness to that person today?
Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!