I hate to say it, but controlling, narcissistic and self-absorbed people are everywhere. They can be your neighbors, classmates, doctors, contractors, teachers, coworkers, bosses, friends and family.
It is an essential skill, one that you will continue to develop throughout your whole life, of recognizing who is harmful to your well-being and removing yourself from their influence.
The primary problem is that narcissists are covert abusers, so they rarely scream, beat you, or trash the house. Instead they will sap your self-worth, remove you from the rest of the world and make you dependent on them.
The key is noticing their behaviors from the actions speak louder than words principle. In every interaction with another person, you should keep close to your heart the feelings they impart to you. This is the narcissist’s weakness; they always violate this principle given their behavior and need to manipulate others. They say one thing and do another.
Only About Me, And Never About You, Unless It Has To Do With Me
Seems simple enough, but it manifests itself in subtle ways. Narcissistic people rarely control others in a way that is noticeable to outside eyes, unless those eyes are trained to recognize it.
But here is a simple, foolproof way of figuring out long term if a person has their best interests for you: how much they talk about themselves. With narcissists, everything will be about them, unless something about you helps them reach their ends.
This also comes through as a closed worldview. The narcissist likes what they like and won’t like (or downright despise) anything else. They’ll keep that hidden for a time, but when it comes down to it, nothing save for them is good or right.
Say Goodbye To Your Connections
So we’ve established that the narcissist’s goal is to control you from within and mess with your mind and perception. How do they do this? By making sure that they are your sole influence.
There’s no question that the people around you have immediate and long-term influences on your behavior and psyche. Controlling people realize that and so it is in their best interest to establish themselves as the authority figure, and remove everything else.
The result will be a loss of human contact, along with your identity in the world.
Don’t think that just relationships will suffer. Your interests, hobbies and all other activities that the narcissist doesn’t benefit from will disappear. It’s a slow process, but it’s always working and that’s why they succeed.
You have priorities for things in your life and narcissists do too. If you love to play the piano, the narcissist will put taking that away on the top of the To-Deprive list.
Something may “accidentally” happen to the piano, but most likely you’ll be discouraged to play it. Negative feedback like “Play something else…”, “Do you practice enough?”, “It must be off-key.” It will all amount to “Something is wrong with you. Don’t do that.”
If you’re into clothes or fashion, you will never receive a genuine compliment on your tastes. Anything boosts your self-worth takes away from them, and is the enemy. Ad infinitum.
The Emotional Instability Will Affect Other Areas of Your Life
The loss of motivation, participation, self-confidence, satisfaction and overall happiness will have an adverse effect on your health. Lack of sleep, poor productivity, loss of motivation, illness… something will happen.
It seems a bit ridiculous, but years of emotional abuse, especially from malignant narcissists, will eventually take their toll. If you’re raising a family, those traits will be picked up by the children and continue down the family line.
This is why the most important thing is recognition. Getting away from the abuser can be hard, but the hardest part is actually considering that they may be narcissistic and accepting it once you’ve found the evidence to convince yourself. Then you must take action.
Chances are you’re reading this article because you suspect you may be involved with a narcissist. My advice to you is to never be complacent; take action and figure out right away whether this person is a narcissist or not, and proceed to get away.