How Do Narcissists Exploit Your Need For Connection?

How Do Narcissists Exploit Your Need For Connection?


(Prefer to watch/listen? See video on YouTube) Narcissists have this way of exploiting your need for connection. It’s part of how they get you stuck in toxic relationships and feeling like you can’t leave, even if money or family isn’t an issue.

See, as humans, we are wired to connect with other humans. In fact, according to scientist Matthew Lieberman, author of the 2013 book Social, it is as necessary for us as food and water. He notes that social pain (as in being snubbed or having someone say hurtful things to you in a social setting) is as real to us as physical pain.

Lieberman points out that phrases such as “that breaks my heart” and “that hurts my feelings” are cultural evidence of the fact that emotional pain is so significant. And he says that while we might not like it, our wellbeing as humans is literally directly affected in profound ways by our connections to other people. He says social pain IS real pain – so not connecting can be as detrimental to our physical and mental health as not eating healthy food.

And this is confirmed by the Canadian Mental Health Association, which notes in a 2019 report that connecting with other people is far more important than we might think. In fact, we are told that “social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems.”

So literally, by not connecting with other people, we put our health at risk. In other words, the evidence shows that we NEED to connect with people in order to be relatively healthy. But when you’re dealing with a narcissist in a toxic relationship, you might often find yourself isolated and feeling very alone.

Worse, narcissists seem to instinctively exploit our basic human need for connection and use it against us to control and manipulate us. How? Well, let’s talk about it.

Narcissistic Abuse Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

Say the narcissist in your life is a partner or former partner. Do you remember the time when you were with that person and you thought that they were your soulmate? You could not believe that everything you loved, they loved, and everything you didn’t like, they didn’t either. And then they would be so sweet and charming until their narcissistic side came out. They were at first like a dream come true to you and became your worst nightmare.

But what you didn’t know then is that the narcissist had their own underlying psychological issues, likely starting in early childhood. It has a whole lot to do with their mothers (I know if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother) and their attachment styles. See more on narcissist and codependent attachment styles here.

While the narcissist cannot truly feel compassionate and emotional empathy, they certainly watch and learn what you like and how you want and need a connection. Therefore, the only type of empathy that the narcissist expresses is cognitive, superficial, and agenda-driven empathy. They simply just know that you have a need for connection. And they will do anything they can to exploit it.

But why would they do that? Let’s discuss it.

How Narcissists Exploit Your Need for Connection

How would it benefit a narcissist to exploit your need for connection? Two words: narcissistic supply – they need it. And they will whatever they need to get it – including pretending to care about you and expressing false empathy. Here are five different ways narcissists will exploit your need for connection.

1. Narcissists Idealize You

Most of us who end up in long-term relationships with narcissists have experienced at least some form of trauma in childhood. Often, our childhood experiences led us to become people-pleasers or codependents.

In so many cases, we also don’t truly see our value and we have rarely experienced unconditional love. We don’t know how it feels to have someone who is really “on our side” and we’ve rarely been given the opportunity to be the center of anyone’s attention. If we have, it has often been short-lived and spotty at best.

But when you first meet a narcissist, and they see you as a good source of supply, everything changes. The allure of love bombing and idealization – it’s powerful! Because for those of us who have had difficult upbringings, or who didn’t feel loved and seen by others, the kind of validation and perceived love that we get in the beginning of a toxic relationship is literally like a drug! It FEELS incredible and brings out all kinds of feel-good neurotransmitters in us. And since narcissists are so intense, we think we’ve practically won the lottery of soulmates.

We feel like we are walking on air! Not only will some narcissists go to extremes with wooing you, but during that idealization phase, they can literally make you feel you are the most important thing in the world. And when you’ve spent most of your life feeling like you aren’t important or like no one really “sees” you? Yeah. You’re going to fall in love, and fast. And how can you possibly run away from that since this is all a wonderful dream? This is how they trap you and you cannot help but fall for it because you are simply being treated like royalty. But all that is before the other shoe drops, which brings me to my next point.

2. Then They Devalue You

Once the narcissist has you in their trap, they will then show their true colors. They know you value your side of the relationship and while they’re intent on keeping you as a source of narcissistic supply, this is around the time that they notice that you have flaws – you know, that you’re human.

See, during the love-bombing and idealization phase, the narcissist is enamored with you – they can only see what is good about you. And since they lack object constancy, the moment they decide you are in fact human and they begin to mentally tally your flaws, the person you met initially seems to disappear. They start to criticize you, think less of you, and tell you all about it, one way or another.

You’ll start to be confused. You’ll try to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and you’ll do things to try to change yourself to be better for them. You’ll think it’s all your fault and that is partially because this is exactly what the narcissist wants you to think.

Plus, you’ll find that even when you do “fix” something the narcissist complains about, they’ll find something else that’s wrong. You cannot win. So, as you might imagine, this is when they begin to instill fear into you, make you insecure, and this is where the heavy-hitting manipulation tactics like gaslighting come into play.

All of this ends up confusing you to the point that you literally don’t even know which way is up sometimes. You feel like you aren’t capable of making your own choices and you start to lean on the narcissist more and more for affirmation of any decision you have to make. So, as you might imagine, you become increasingly dependent on the narcissist, despite the fact that they become increasingly cruel and negligent of you and the relationship you’re in.

They will play with your thoughts and feelings but will keep you afraid to do anything against their wishes because they also know at this point that you would never leave them because you just simply need a connection. You are dependant on them and they will abuse that and will abuse you.  That means you at some point will fight back and this also provides them with the supply they need because even negative attention is still attention.

3. They Will Discard You If They Find New Supply

Even in a long-term relationship, narcissists always seem to be on the lookout for new supply. And while not all narcissists cheat, many or most do. And sadly, regardless of the level of commitment they’ve promised you and to which they’ve caused you to be obligated, the narcissist can easily disappear if they find a new source of narcissistic supply.

This is true even if they are still in a relationship with you. At this point, they might have even been cheating on you to find the new source. Because they can’t jump from one branch of a tree before they’ve got a good handle on the next – or, to put it more directly, they can’t ever be alone. So in most cases, they’ll hold on to you while they’re looking for their next victim.

And, of course, before they discard you, they will appear to act indifferent to you which will make you even more anxious. And this is another way the narcissist exploits your human need for connection.

See, because they know you fear that they will leave you – and they often do – they will manipulate you by giving intermittent reinforcement during this time. This is where they give you tiny glimpses of kindness, of love, and of that person you originally signed up to be with. You know – little “crumbs of affection,” just enough to keep you hooked and intermittently sprinkled between bouts of gaslighting and other forms of emotional and psychological abuse.

Often, this will lead to the narcissist ghosting you without warning – which will leave you confused, and if you are already dependent on them as it is, it will leave you frazzled, to put it mildly. A lot of times, what they want is for you to chase after them and to beg them to come back. And if you don’t, just wait – many, if not most, narcissists will come back around looking for more supply from you. We call that the hoover maneuver – and it means exactly what it sounds like. Just  like a vacuum cleaner, the narcissist will try to “suck you back in.” You might even fall for it, thanks to that need for connection.

How to Deal When a Narcissist Has Exploited Your Need for Connection

With all of that being said, the best thing you can do for yourself if this happens is to never go back to a narcissist that discards you. If you are able to, go no contact. So so block them from your phone and platforms if they haven’t done that already to you. If you can’t go no contact because you have kids with this person, you can always go low-contact, meaning you can just only communicate with them about the business of raising the kids and never about emotional stuff.

In any case, whatever you do, do your best to avoid accepting them back in your life or inner circle if they do attempt to hoover you. Remember that, ultimately, they are just exploiting your need for connection in order to feed their own need for narcissistic supply.

Question of the Day: Has a narcissist ever exploited your need for connection? If so, how did that play out 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.

 

158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

Could you be the victim of narcissistic abuse? If so, what can you do and how can you tell? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today  – signs that you’re the victim of narcissistic abuse (see video on YouTube).



 

What is narcissistic abuse?

Let’s begin today by briefly defining narcissistic abuse. In a nutshell, narcissistic abuse is officially defined as the intentional construction of a false perception of someone else’s reality by an abuser for the purposes of controlling them. It involves a sort of constructed reality in which the narcissist manipulates you emotionally and psychologically over a long period of time.

It can be difficult to figure out that you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse because it can be very subtle and pervasive. It took me personally 35 years to recognize it. So how do you know if it’s happening to you? Well, I’m here to help you with that. Please grab a pen and a piece of paper, or open up a note on your phone. As you read through the signs that you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse, go ahead and make a tick mark for each one that resonates with you.

Signs You’re Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse

Find out if you are being emotionally abused by a narcissist by asking yourself the following questions.

Does someone in your life:

  1. Act like you don’t matter to them?
  2. Act like you’re faking it if you’re sick, or even say it out loud?
  3. Act really jealous and possessive sometimes?
  4. Always expect you to take care of their feelings, but never concern themselves with yours?
  5. Always heart or love photos and videos of people of the same or opposite sex (whatever they’re into) on social media?
  6. Always hide their phone from you?
  7. Always make you wonder if you’re crazy?
  8. Always push and cross your boundaries?
  9. Always seem to kick you when you’re down?
  10. Always threaten to end your relationship?
  11. Become angry or sullen if you don’t go along with their demands?
  12. Become excessively pushy or forceful about sex, or even hurt you during sex?
  13. Become overly critical of everything about you when you don’t do what they want?
  14. Behave in ways that cause you to make excuses to others for them?
  15. Belittle your accomplishments?
  16. Blatantly lie to you about yourself and expect you to go along with it?
  17. Call you lazy when you’re not feeling well and can’t keep up with your usual schedule?
  18. Cause damage and/or give away/steal your personal property?
  19. Cause you to apologize for things you shouldn’t apologize for?
  20. Cause you to become anxious about confronting them about literally anything?
  21. Cause you to lose interest in life?
  22. Cause you to not want to do things you used to enjoy?
  23. Compare you to others?
  24. Compete with you over silly things?
  25. Completely ignore you when it’s convenient for them?
  26. Consider themselves the “boss” and insist on making all the decisions in your relationship/family/life?
  27. Constantly threaten to abandon you?
  28. Disappear for hours, days or longer without explaining why?
  29. Dismiss your pain if you’re hurting (emotional or physical)?
  30. Do things they know make you uncomfortable?
  31. Drink excessively or take drugs, and then blame their awful behavior on alcohol, drugs or their own history of abuse or tragedy earlier in their life?
  32. Embarrass you in front of friends or extended family?
  33. Expect more of people than is appropriate? (For example, getting upset if the mailman forgets their birthday?)
  34. Expect you to ask for permission to do stuff, as though you’re a child?
  35. Expect you to get over it when any tragedy happens in your life?
  36. Feel entitled to spending your money?
  37. Feel entitled to your attention and UNCONDITIONAL respect, regardless of how they treat you?
  38. Feel like they have the right to control your money?
  39. Forbid you from doing things?
  40. Force you to account for your time when apart from them?
  41. Get angry at you for things you can’t control, such as someone liking your photo on social media?
  42. Get excessively angry without warning or over tiny things?
  43. Get upset if you need to spend money on things for yourself, your kids or the house when they want to spend it on themselves or their own needs?
  44. Ghost you sometimes?
  45. Give you the “silent treatment” when you don’t do what they want?
  46. Go “dark” and not answer you or return your texts when they’re away from home?
  47. Go into your social media accounts and question everything?
  48. Go through your mail, hack your email or Facebook account or go through your personal belongings?
  49. Harass you when you’re away from them because you have to be somewhere (such as work or school)?
  50. Have a lot of so-called friends on social media they seem to flirt with?
  51. Have rules that you’re required to follow, even though they never told you this and you’re an adult?
  52. Have secret dating profiles or social media profiles you’re not supposed to know about?
  53. Have the whole “Jekyll and Hyde” deal happening – where one side of them seems charming or even sweet and loving, while the other is mean, spiteful and downright hurtful?
  54. Have weird sexual issues?
  55. Humiliate you in public or in groups of people?
  56. Isolate you and prevent you from spending time with friends or family members?
  57. Leave you hanging when you’re counting on them?
  58. Lie about you to others?
  59. Look through your phone at will?
  60. Make a point of telling you how unattractive you are or of pointing out your flaws?
  61. Make everything “all about them?”
  62. Make excessive and unreasonable demands for your attention, even to the detriment of your other responsibilities?
  63. Make threats about how they will “ruin you” or otherwise cause trouble for you at work, to your family or to others?
  64. Make you afraid or unwilling to talk about yourself?
  65. Make you afraid to make a decision without getting their approval?
  66. Make you afraid to tell them your feelings, or to express your feelings at all?
  67. Make you do things that you feel are unethical or morally wrong?
  68. Make you do things you don’t want to do?
  69. Make you doubt your sanity?
  70. Make you dread spending time with them?
  71. Make you feel completely worthless?
  72. Make you feel guilty for anything and everything?
  73. Make you feel jealous by complimenting and flirting with others in front of you?
  74. Make you feel like hurting yourself sometimes?
  75. Make you feel like you need to always prioritize them above yourself?
  76. Make you feel like you need to earn their love or loyalty?
  77. Make you feel like your opinions are not worth hearing or expressing?
  78. Make you feel like your reality is twisted?
  79. Make you feel like you’re always sort of “on guard” and hypervigilant of their moods?
  80. Make you feel like you’re constantly on edge?
  81. Make you feel like you’re living in limbo?
  82. Make you feel like you’re not allowed to say no?
  83. Make you feel terrible every time you spend time together?
  84. Make you feel ugly, stupid, or otherwise unsavory?
  85. Make you feel uncomfortable about spending time with friends, other family members or anyone else?
  86. Make you feel unheard?
  87. Make you forget who you are?
  88. Make you go without things you actually need, like food and personal care items?
  89. Make you hate going on vacation?
  90. Make you regret your accomplishments instead of lifting you up when you do something good?
  91. Make you responsible for maintaining the relationship while also making it feel impossible?
  92. Make you the scapegoat for all the arguments or problems in the relationship?
  93. Make you wish you were dead?
  94. Make you wonder if you’re even a real person?
  95. Make you feel like you’re always “walking on eggshells” or living with constant stress, anxiety or generally in fear?
  96. Manipulate you with the constant threat of mood changes and impending rage?
  97. Minimize your feelings or act like your feelings aren’t important or don’t matter?
  98. Never apologize to you unless they’re trying to get something from you?
  99. Not concern themselves with your needs, ever?
  100. Pick you apart?
  101. Play games with your head? Tell lies in order to confuse you or blame you for something you didn’t do?
  102. Play the “poor me” game anytime they don’t get what they want?
  103. Pressure you to use alcohol or other drugs, even when you say no?
  104. Refuse to admit wrongdoing, or if they do, it’s only if they can blame it on someone else?
  105. Refuse to allow any privacy?
  106. Refuse to allow you to access your money or family money?
  107. Refuse to allow you to work, if you want to?
  108. Refuse to be nice to you?
  109. Refuse to get a job and require you to pay for everything while they do nothing?
  110. Refuse to make plans with you or if they do, cancel them at the last minute?
  111. Refuse to post photos of you together on social media?
  112. Require you to do things for them, such as housework, laundry or other kinds of support without reciprocation of any kind?
  113. Ruin all the holidays for you?
  114. Ruin your birthday every year?
  115. Ruin your day when they’ve had a negative experience outside of you?
  116. Ruin your plans every time?
  117. Say overly critical things about your body and appearance?
  118. Say really mean things to you and when you get upset, claim they were joking?
  119. Say they know what you’re thinking, even when they clearly do not?
  120. Say things that don’t make sense and get angry when you point this out?
  121. Say things to intentionally confuse you?
  122. Say you’re mad at them when you’ve shown no indication of this and then get mad at you for not admitting you’re mad?
  123. Seem to find reasons to rage at you even when you do everything right?
  124. Seem to have double standards – as in, they’re allowed to do what they want, but you aren’t allowed to do what you want?
  125. Start arguments with you and others in your life through gossip or other forms of manipulation?
  126. Steal or hide money from you and/or your family accounts?
  127. Take control of everything in your life?
  128. Take credit for anything you do that’s good or that’s recognized by someone else?
  129. Take out their anger about other things on you?
  130. Take your paycheck?
  131. Tear down your friends?
  132. Tell or imply to others that they are interested in them when they are in a relationship with you?
  133. Tell or imply to others that they are sexy or otherwise attractive?
  134. Tell you how to dress, directly or indirectly?
  135. Tell you no one else will love you or that you’re unlovable?
  136. Tell you that you’d be nothing without them?
  137. Tell you they know you better than you know yourself?
  138. Tell you you’re too sensitive all the time?
  139. Threaten to hurt themselves or YOU if you threaten to leave?
  140. Threaten to hurt themselves when they don’t get their way?
  141. Threaten to take your children away from you, if you have them?
  142. Threaten you with physical harm or make you feel afraid of how they will react when you speak or act in general?
  143. Triangulate you with other people in your life, pitting you against one another?
  144. Try to control every second of your day?
  145. Try to get revenge on you if you make them angry?
  146. Try to pit your kids or other family members against you or each other?
  147. Try to steal your thunder (as in steal your spotlight anytime the attention is on you)?
  148. Use religion to belittle and/or control you?
  149. Use your insecurities against you?
  150. Withhold affection in order to punish you?

Question of the Day: How many of these signs resonated for you? What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it. 

More Resources for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

 

Narcissistic Abuse in Childhood: What Adult Survivors Need to Know

Narcissistic Abuse in Childhood: What Adult Survivors Need to Know

Guest Post Written By Ivy K.

I’m a narcissistic child abuse survivor. This type of abuse is nearly impossible for a child to explain. I’m an adult, and I still cannot explain it to a person.

How do you explain narcissistic abuse to ‘outsiders’ or other people who don’t understand?

This is what it sounds like; this is an example of why it’s impossible to tell another.

  • An 11-year-old Ivy says, “I don’t want to be like them when I grow up.” (Ivy knows she can’t tell anybody her parents are mean because they are so charming in public.)
  • Another teenage girl with normal growing pains says, “OMG, I can’t stand my Mom. I hate her. I hope I’m never like her.”

Think about those two quotes; they are very similar. However, only one is coming from a child who is being abused.

Related: Why Being Raised by a Narcissist Could Cause You to Marry One

“But why didn’t you tell someone?”

I tried. When I did voice to another about the abuse, I only sounded like a whiny little brat. Here’s a couple of lines I’ve said as an adult:

“They act differently when people are around.” and “They are putting on a show for you.”

I can easily see how the comments wouldn’t stick and fly over somebody’s head.

“You could have asked a counselor for help!”

Professionals such as social workers, guidance counselors, etc. – just don’t get it. They do not understand that No Contact is the only way to handle narcissistic abuse. I have been asked to speak to my abusers repeatedly, only to open the door to more abuse because these professionals have no training.

Related: How to Find a Therapist Who Understands Narcissistic Abuse

This is one reason why children don’t speak up about the abuse – because there’s always a push for children to interact with their parents. I’m sure professionals with no training on this type of child abuse see the parent “doing everything they can” (when they cry victim as a manipulation tactic) and “the child is just making a mountain out of a molehill.”

No One Believed Me

I tried to tell people I was being abused at age 16. But, unfortunately, because of the nature of a narcissist, nobody believed me. So, by the time I was 17, after many years of enduring the abuse, I had a nervous breakdown and was sent to a mental health hospital.

I missed a lot of school. I shouldn’t have graduated with my class.

Why I Am Sharing This Story NOW

I’m sharing this for one reason, so that, as Pearl Jam sang in Why Go, “MAYBE SOMEDAY ANOTHER CHILD WON’T FEEL AS ALONE AS SHE DOES, it’s been two years and counting, since they put her in this place, she’s been diagnosed by some stupid f**k, and mommy agrees. Why go home?”

Yes, before anything else, I had Pearl Jam lyrics to let me know I wasn’t alone. Their lyrics seemed to zero in exactly on this unexplainable invisible abuse. I knew something was wrong when I was very young. …. I’m talking age 7.

And then, Pearl Jam came along, and a lot of their early lyrics validated my feelings. However, I didn’t know the abuse had a name until much later.

What Narcissistic Abuse Feels Like to a Child of a Narcissist

When the abuse is at its worse, it feels like they secretly want me dead, and they’ll do a real good job of nearly killing me without laying a single finger on me. On a good day, I know their script. I know exactly what they will say before they say it, and I’ll have to concentrate hard to keep from rolling my eyes and/or busting out in laughter.

When you’re a child, you learn not to have an identity. If you do discover yourself, you know darn well you had better hide it from your parents. (*Cindy still describes our mother and daughter relationship as the Two-Headed Monster. Because in her eyes, I’m an extension of her. I am Cindy, not Ivy.)

The setup is backward when it comes to toxic parents. The adults are to be the center of the child’s world – not the other way around. You are to know what they want before they know.

The moment you stop making them the center of your universe, they no longer have any use for you. If you wait it out, they’ll forget about you altogether.

Neglect is easier than abuse. You want to be neglected by your parents. To borrow from Dr. Phil, your parents are not A Safe Place To Fall. Meaning you know not to go to them for advice or for life skills, such as what to do when your car battery dies or how to replace a clapper in the toilet, etc.

Something simple turns into a stressful, dramatic ordeal because of their need to make it about them.

I’m assuming many who have survived narcissistic child abuse don’t know how to build a healthy and safe circle of support to go to when simple life advice is needed.

Related: Get support in our free online support group for narcissistic abuse recovery. 

Narcissist Parents and Victim-Playing

There’s another part to this. Because the narcissist’s inner voice is so toxic, they truly don’t feel comfortable until they believe they are the victim in a real-life situation. Then, they have to make real-life matches their toxic inner voice.

Their need to play the victim is so intense that they create situations that make no sense to anybody else.

As the narcissist creates these situations to ensure they’re the victim, the problem is easily forgotten about amongst the chaos. Playing the victim is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists.

Two of the most important things to know about narcissists is they lack empathy and will put themselves first in any given situation.

What to know about narcissistic child abuse: it is invisible, nearly impossible for the victim to explain, and is handed down from one generation to the next. It is a toxic legacy. 

Terms to know:

*Names changed in the interest of privacy

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

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

Signs of Narcissistic Abuse in Toxic Relationships

Signs of Narcissistic Abuse in Toxic Relationships

“Some people aren’t loyal to you, they are loyal to their need of you. Once their need changes, so does their loyalty.” ~Unknown

Narcissists do not care who they hurt

Ever have a “frenemy” – you know, the “friend slash enemy” combo, all neatly wrapped up into one friend, relative, co-worker or acquaintance? Not sure? Well, let me ask you another question.

Have you been just SHOCKED at the level of betrayal to which someone subjects you on a regular basis? Whether it’s a friend, a family member or even a co-worker, a “frenemy” is also often a narcissist, which is officially defined as “a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.”

Do you know and/or love a narcissist? If so, have you ever had one tell you that he or she “knows you better than you know yourself?” How about being told that your feelings and thoughts aren’t real or legitimate? And depending on the point in your life in which you met the narc and the intensity of his manipulation, you might even believe him. 

The Two-Faced Narcissist

I know, everyone’s got a touch of narcissism – it helps us stay alive. Still, some have what might be considered “toxic” levels of narcissism – and one of the most telling signs is when someone from whom you expect (and deserve) loyalty goes the other way and betrays you.

For example, the boss who doesn’t back you up on a project – or the one who steals your idea and takes credit for it. Or the wife who just can’t seem to get it through her head that you are a person with feelings and emotions, too. Maybe it’s your child or your father who is “touched” by narcissism – it could be almost literally anyone you are in any type of ongoing relationship with.

Related: Narcissists and love bombing

Why do narcissists feel the need to create such difficulties for the people in their lives? It has a lot to do with their need to be in control of every person, situation and thing they come into contact with – at least on some level.

For a narcissist, this is just par for the course – it’s how they manage relationships and how they keep themselves artificially elevated within their own fragile egos- they start by messing with your head.

Seriously. It’s all part of a complicated and convoluted manipulation technique called gaslighting.

Learn more about gaslighting and narcissism.

You become addicted to a narcissist’s approval. As his source of narcissistic supply, you seek it out, changing yourself entirely if necessary to get that coveted “atta girl.”

Related: Inside a narcissistic attack

You develop what appears to be extreme loyalty to the narcissist. But what you might really be dealing with is a whole other ball of wax.

See, because of the excessive pressure you’re under inside of the relationship, you might find yourself being almost rude to people on the outside.

Related: Narcissism Exposed – An Example of Gaslighting in Relationships 

This might be due to your desire to keep your narcissist happy and avoid another raging episode, or it might just be because you’re so mentally exhausted from dealing with him that you literally can’t deal with anyone else’s issues.

In any case, the narcissist gets what he wants yet again – you, isolated and under control.

Loyalty isn’t a two-way street when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.

At some point, you begin to realize that the narcissist’s loyalty isn’t with you or with any one person, but rather with whomever or whatever is offering the attention and validation that he craves, needs, must have to survive.

KNOW THIS: You won’t ever be his first priority unless he needs or wants something from you, or unless someone is watching and he needs to prove how devoted he is. And it’s really not you – it’s him.

You will begin to notice that the narcissist isn’t really a whole person. There’s a very detailed and finely tuned shell there, alright, but the narcissist left alone will begin to wither like a plant without water.

He will grow bored and depressed because he has nothing of his own to hold on to – or if he does have his own “thing,” then he wants you to love that thing too. And if you don’t or won’t? You’re the one with the problem. And he will tell you exactly what’s wrong with you and everything that you are.

How to Deal with a Two-Faced Narcissist

Dear Narcissist: You can’t handle the truth!

Even though you and other people in his or her life can see through the narcissist, there are plenty of “flying monkeys” who can’t. And let’s not forget that the narc can’t ever believe that something isn’t right about him or her self.

So unless you want an exercise in futility, I don’t suggest that you try to enlighten him to the error of his ways. So what can you do?

You’ve got choices.

1. Stick it out and shut your mouth.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but if we are being honest, there’s only one way to really communicate with a narcissist.

2. Get out.

If you can go no contact with your narcissist, that is the only sure way to truly eliminate their influence in your life. If not, you can try these tactics to temporarily control a narcissist. 

Related: One Proven Way to Deal with Narcissist and Gaslighting Episodes

3. Go ahead and get your exercise.

Stand up and say what needs to be said. While it may cause a narcissistic rage or narcissistic injury situation, sometimes you just have to tell the narcissist the truth and hope they get it – for your own sake. In some cases, you can get through to them temporarily at least – but most often, you’ll find that any concessions the narc makes are just part of his latest manipulation tactic.

Related: Top 10 Warning Signs You’re Being Manipulated

Have you had the misfortune of experiencing the two-faced narcissist? Have you visited “One Way Loyalty Street” before? How did it make you feel? 

Not sure you’re dealing with a toxic relationship? Try this quiz.

Coach Lise on Self-Care, Healing and Inner Dialogue

Coach Lise on Self-Care, Healing and Inner Dialogue

*Editor’s Note: Please help us welcome Lise Colucci to the QueenBeeing team!

I was feeling really run down and in low spirits today. It’s allergy season and it has begun to hit full force. Before I knew it, I was hit with a few personal setbacks that set off negative thinking.

As the dialogue in my head escalated from a mildly complaining tone to feeling defeated and undone, I realized this was a reality that I was creating for myself based on my beliefs in that moment.

I had fallen out of self-care. I ran right through self-preservation and sped through  “just making due”  before just totally giving up.

That realization woke me up; this is not the life I wish to have, I thought.

This attitude will serve nothing but to carry my burdens all the way to bed and likely into my dreams. Then what?

More of the same tomorrow? NO thank you.

What can we do when the world feels so heavy and difficult, so much so that our beliefs alter our inner worlds to match its gravity?

Observe, then restate the beliefs, that’s what! It took a good half hour to get into it, catching the sighs of bodily discomforts and restating the inner dialogue which came out of those sighs.

“I am so tired” needed to be restated, while respectfully validating the needs of my body.  “I can take a 10-minute rest and restore some energy“ became the new thought.

The phrases I heard myself thinking that felt full of weight and unhappiness such as, “I am alone and I have no help” needed another approach.

That one I could go at head-on by shifting my beliefs. I restated it to “I am capable. I also have friends and know I am not alone, if I need help I am able to ask.”

I realized that in that moment that no one could physically help – but certainly, a loving friend hearing me could lift my spirits and that alone can go far in restoring positive energy.

All I needed to do was ask for a listening ear. So I did, and it worked! The beliefs began to lighten up and I was able to restore positivity in my day.

During and after emotional abuse, it can get dark in our inner worlds. We lose the ease of joy and uplifted outlook on life and often feel hopeless, unwanted, alone.

Worse than that, the dialogue in our heads can become that of the abuser, telling we are wrong and unworthy. The same practice that I used above can be applied here, any time.  

We don’t need to force the beliefs to change.

The beliefs we hear ourselves think can be gently and incrementally restated to improve our self-worth and our outlooks – and to increase our joy. It can be done in a simple, honest way that allows you to believe in your worth and feel gratitude for many things in life.

Ask yourself:

Do you catch yourself believing things that are unkind toward yourself or are dragging down your day? Do you hear someone else’s words echoing in your mind reinforcing the abusive things you were told? What can you do, right now, to begin to create change in your very important belief system? 

Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section, below. Let’s discuss it. 

Thanks for reading this post! My name is Lise Colucci and I am one of the certified life coaches at QueenBeeing. I am so happy to be given this opportunity to serve this community and honored to get the chance to witness others healing as they seek the amazing help that coaching can provide. I will be posting short articles on different topics that relate to narcissistic abuse, healing, self-care and more and I hope that you gain some comfort or deepen your own understanding through them. This article is a bit more personal than I normally write so that you can get a sense of how I work in my own life as well as the ways I use to problem-solve the healing process. 

Learn more about me here or schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me here

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