How to go about spotting a narcissist? If you have ever felt something was wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it, you may have been around a narcissist.
Narcissists are people who are damaged and don't want to admit it. Instead, they want you to think you are the damaged one and no one will want you. Then, their hope is you stick around, but they’ll never admit that their ultimate fear is abandonment.
Their bad behavior feels like home
When I was at this early stage of awareness, my choice was a boyfriend who reflected my father’s behavior.
My boyfriend was arrogant and controlling and told me I was lucky and that no one else would want me. I thought this was super normal, but I didn’t feel good when I was with him.
Permanently embarrassed, I spent many years making excuses for extremely bad behavior. My boyfriend was depressed and busy at work. I told people he was stressed, a special case, a difficult person, and the ultimate excuse, an ‘alpha male.’
I made these excuses for my narcissistic family member as well as for my first boyfriend. I was still making the same excuses about my family member when I was 40 years old!
Realizing bad behavior is not normal – the wake-up call when spotting a narcissist
I had to experience a big fat wake-up call because all my life the bad behavior had been normalized; it had become normal for me to make excuses for those who created problems for me.
They’re family, they don’t know better, they have great potential, blar, blar, blar.
Questioning, questioning, I was always questioning. In fact, believing it was ME who was the issue really drove me into the self-development arena from the age of 15. Despite that, it took me another 25 years to REALLY get it.
If I could only be better, do better…
From the age of 15, my thoughts were – ‘if only I was a better daughter, more intelligent, more amenable, more able to help, then it will all be OK.’
Eventually, the penny dropped and I realised their behaviour was related to their issues, not mine. That's how I began to go about spotting a narcissist.
‘Mwah…poor narcissist, they had a tough early life they can be sooo nice sometimes.’
Boy did I use this one!
I looked for reason after reason. Maybe it was just their sense of humour, because they can be so there for you sometimes. Perhaps I was just being ungrateful, ungracious and selfish.
Narcissists infringe on your natural human rights
The truth is no one has the right to insult another person and define it as a ‘joke’ when you protest. No one has the right to make you feel your entire life is on a knife-edge and no one has the right to use emotional or physical violence to get what they want.
Many people have experienced difficult early lives, but it doesn’t follow that they have to go about this world causing other people damage as a default. Self-responsibility is the key and narcissists don’t have any.
When you have the wham moment it’s a relief.
I remember my first full-blown WHAM moment. This was when I realised it could all be very different.
I discovered I didn’t have to subscribe to the drama and the stress involved anymore. I will admit though, to this day, I still turn up for flights bang on time. There are still too many childhood memories of running down aircraft strips laden with suitcases as the plane door was shutting for the last flight home for the season.
Full-on narcissists like to stretch the drama to the point of breaking a person, even a child. They think it’s funny whilst the rest of us have a cardiac arrest.
Spotting a narcissist – they enjoy their bad behaviour and don’t want to be fixed
The truth is the narcissist doesn’t want to be ‘fixed’ and you can never be ‘fixed’ enough to be acceptable because the issue isn’t anything to do with you.
You’ll never be enough of a partner, a friend, an employee, a son, or a daughter. You’ll never reach their ideal because they don’t even know what that ideal is.
What they know is you are either superior or inferior, their immediate need is to deaden the pain of inferiority - by making someone else more inferior than them.
Today, I have minimal drama in my life; I don't put up barriers but I have sensible boundaries. I am far from perfect, but that is perfectly OK! I no longer wake feeling full of dread, or inadequacy, or the terror of anxiety. I have a happy life. This didn't come easily, it was earned.
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