You may not know this, or maybe you do, but narcissistic people are all around you. Our society is geared towards disconnection, materialism and loneliness – the Instagram and Facebook posts people make are all designed to:
- gloat and improve the ego and
- pump the system with oxytocin gradually from each ‘like’ that trickles in.
In parallel to this, is the endless hours of social media stalking, watching in envy as peoples near ‘perfect’, carefully designed, lives play out in front of us. This is a narcissistic world.
As a prerequisite to this, you will at some point need to spend an uncomfortable amount of time with one of these ‘narcissists’. This is not an easy task, for one simple reason, you won’t know they’re doing to you until it’s too late. Narcissists are incredibly deceptive; they will charm you with their wit, laid back demeanor, and for all intents and purposes, their dashing smile and glow. However, it’s all an act.
Months and years will go by, but you won’t realize what they are doing to you.
Narcissists bully you, but they bully you passively – sly remarks ‘told as a joke’ are designed to break your confidence and negative insinuations are cleverly woven into normally conversation to make you question yourself. A narcissist’s key goal is to take any confidence and self-esteem you have and slowly and systematically destroy it, one comment and one covert attack at a time. This could be a family member, friend, boss or a partner. But we will focus on the ‘partner’ – and I feel it’s important to focus on this because, in this writer’s opinion, they are the most damaging.
Let me paint a picture for you, you meet your ideal partner, she/he is perfect for you. They look amazing, they’re funny, they make jokes, they look great and, it appears they are flirting with you! You can’t believe it, you’ve met someone almost perfect, and they are paying a lot of attention to you! In psychology speak, and in the games of a narcissist, this is called ‘the over-evaluation phase’.
The narcissist is starved of self-esteem and they love attention, so one of the ways they create attention for themselves is to shower someone with ‘love’ and attention. Weird huh? Stay with me; they will say things like, ‘I like guys with (insert your hair color here) hair’, or, ‘I love people with (insert eye color) colored eyes.’ It’s all designed by them to have you fall for them. Once they’ve sucked you in, and maybe even started dating them, you are showering them with attention. What makes this sinister is the narcissist is doing this with multiple people simultaneously, without anyone knowing.
So, you’re dating your ‘ideal partner’ and they started off showering you with love and admiration, and things started to go somewhere, but after a few months, they start to pull away.
Narcissists are control freaks – they will cancel dates last minute, they will always make excuses for not being able to see you, they won’t reply for hours (because they’re replying to others). This makes you question yourself, ‘What have I done wrong?’, ‘Am I being paranoid?’ It will drive you crazy. This is a psychological term called Gaslighting, but in the realm of the narcissist’s game, it is the devaluation phase.
Narcissists will emotionally control you. You will start to seek that admiration they gave you initially and will start to wonder why they’ve seemingly ditched you at the drop of a hat. This will literally make you go crazy. However, what compounds this and makes it even more sinister is:
- the narcissist was never interested in you and
- the narcissist is playing this game with multiple people.
They love chaos and they love being the centre of attention, albeit indirectly. At this point, you may have the narcissist living in your house, getting child support from you, or in some way rinsing you of your resources. Narcissists are great at bankrupting people. They are the ultimate freeloaders and home wreckers. They are quick to judge others, but they themselves are lonely miserable losers who exploit others for their own gain. However, sadly, they are hopelessly insecure and nothing can cure them unless they admit they are narcissistic and get proper counseling, which they never will. Narcissists think they can do no wrong.
Back to our scenario, after they start to slowly push you away, they go a step further and seek to completely destroy your reputation. They will start to talk about you to their friends, their colleagues, their family and paint you in a bad light (yes, this is after they’ve manipulated your interest in them and then drove you crazy by making you feel guilty for everything you do and say, whilst purposely pushing you away emotionally). This is called a ‘smear campaign’.
Narcissists are influential people, their charm draws people close to them and they often have many loyal minions who will defend them and believe everything they said. In psychology speak; these are referred to as ‘Flying Monkeys’.
So, the narcissist will smear your name while you helplessly search for answers as to what’s happened on this emotional roller coaster. The loyal minions will stalk you, give you dirty looks and discard you from the social group. They themselves are spineless minions, but they don’t realize it. In these situations, you can’t defend yourself. The narcissist is hiding behind the minions and everything they say and do has been disguised and cloaked. The roller coaster has been pre-designed. Furthermore, it’s a game they play with multiple people.
This cycle of emotional abuse can be done over years and you could be so far as to having a house and kids with these monsters. Narcissists will purposely talk about things like marriage and ‘buying a house together’ and the names of their kids, even after just days into a relationship. This is called ‘love bombing’ and is designed to emotionally control the target.
In conclusion, these people exist.
They are everywhere and you need to be careful. One of the best things is to listen to your gut. Often first impressions are lasting with narcissists. If you suspect anything ‘off’ with them, listen to your subconscious and stay away from them. It’s not easy. They’re everywhere and unless someone speaks up, being a superficial lonely manipulative gossip is going to be commonplace.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
(via The Good Men Project)