Handling a narcissist
Many lives get irreparably damaged because of abuse by a narcissistic person. Dr Raman Suri explains how to identify a narcissist and what to do in case you find yourself trapped with one
I didn’t fall in love with him; rather, the Universe tricked me into believing that I had, because my life-purpose, my soul-purpose, could only have been actualised through my narcissist.
If you have suffered from narcissistic abuse, you will relate to what I am saying. You are swept off your feet by a charming person who seems like an answer to all your prayers. They say what you want to hear, listen with rapt attention, shower you with praise, gifts, and adulation, and talk about walking into the sunset with your hand in theirs. But once you are fully in their grasp, they swiftly change from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde, and before you know, you have become a narcissistic supply. A person they will emotionally and mentally manipulate and destroy, to fill their own sense of low self-worth. It requires plenty of awareness and help to understand that you are being abused and psychologically browbeaten, since they work hard to establish that you are their oppressor and they, the victim. Getting out of their clutches often requires you to undergo a major transformation as a person and make life-altering decisions. In a way, a narcissist is similar to the foreign particle that enters the oyster, and to protect itself from the irritant, the oyster generates a pearl.
Who is a narcissist?
A narcissist is one who thinks they are the most important person on this planet. They think very highly of themself and need attention and admiration to such an extent that everyone must live their lives to please them. Narcissists believe others are inferior to them and do not deserve any individuality or personal identity. They expect that their partner’s or children’s lives should revolve around keeping them happy, even if it means depleting themselves completely. Narcissists also have a very important trait which is lack of empathy. They do not have a sense and feel of emotions. They only mimic their victim’s emotions to lure them into believing that the narcissist is the answer they were always looking for.
How to identify a narcissist
To identify a narcissist, there are a lot of red flags that one can look for. In fact, they are quite visible. There are seven stages of narcissistic abuse:
The love-bombing phase: When you have just found the narcissist and are getting to know each other, they will make you feel like they are the perfect one for you and do everything to make you feel extremely special and loved. Beware! This is a bait. Look for the intensity; if it feels too good to be true, it actually is.
The fading phase: When the deep interest (façade) of the narcissist in you starts fading, they will not be as attentive as before and start distancing themselves. You will be bewildered.
The emotional phase: Heightened emotions from the push-and-pull tactics of the narcissist baffle you. The anger and suppressed emotions begin taking a toll on you, and you feel addicted to the narcissist. But they distance themselves even more, making you feel confused and hurt. You try to mend what’s broken with no support or interest from the narcissist; in fact, they run farther.
Anger and fighting phase: There are confrontations. You try hard to set things right and work out the relationship, but no respite. They give you the silent treatment, and before long, you are in guilt mode, trying to apologise for your behaviour, when all along, you have been totally innocent.
Self-blame phase: You start blaming yourself for the breakdown of the relationship. Your self-esteem is trashed. You become obsessed with trying to fix the problem, but your efforts are completely ignored by the narcissist.
The end game: Either they or you will end the relationship. Sometimes the narcissist will keep you around, as you serve a few needs of theirs or you will continue to live with them for various reasons. In this case, I invite you to read further and learn how to deal with the narcissist, make a life of your own, and also let the reasons (because of which you choose to live with a narcissist) be taken care of.
Living with a narcissist is like walking on eggshells. You do something that they do not approve of and about which they have not communicated anything to you, and boom— the volcano erupts.
I have had my own share of eggshells being broken accidentally and the punishment following it, which has included days and days of agonising reactions, restraint, silent treatment, gaslighting, and manipulations. Yet I developed a self-support system, which equipped me to deal with the ways of my dearest narcissist.
Psychology of a narcissist
First of all, one must understand with absolute clarity that deep down, narcissists are scared, highly insecure, and low self-worth individuals. As they were growing, they had certain traumatic experiences or were themselves a victim of narcissistic parents or environment. All the façade that they build in their lives is basically a defence mechanism. So, it is your strength to acknowledge their reasons for being who they are and be kind to them in your heart, yet set boundaries to safeguard your interests.
I invite you to begin to live your life as your true Self, that is, the soul that you are. Think from the realm of a soul, energy, consciousness, and awareness of the reality of all that is and beyond. As the law of attraction says, we ourselves are the cause and effect of all that is coming our way, whether it is experiences, situations, or people. Therefore, we can begin by identifying what is deep down inside of us that is attracting narcissists to us. Keep questioning what wounds are still open, oozing blood and pain, which emotions are driving us crazy and confused, and what actually to desire so that it comes back manyfold.
Usually, empaths attract narcissists into their lives because energies of the same frequency must collide with each other. When it comes to energy and relationships likes do not repel but attract each other. Whether it is a narcissist or an empath, when it comes to emotions and relationships, they both vibrate at the same energy frequency at the grass-roots level, which is that of ‘a wounded child.’
How to deal with a narcissist
Now the whole concern is how to deal with a narcissist. All available information on the topic advises the victims to exit the relationship, cut off the narcissist, go ‘no contact’ mode, and run and never look back. But the fact is that there are times and real-life situations where you cannot walk out of the relationship. Sometimes, kids are involved, sometimes finances, or some karmic contract that these two souls have entered into, to teach and learn lessons from each other. We are not judging a person’s choice to stay in the relationship; we are only looking at facilitating a system whereby you are well equipped to respond or not respond to the ways of the narcissist.
Some solutions as per my knowledge and understanding are:
Do your homework: Study, surf the internet, talk to people who are living with narcissists, switch on your own wisdom, do whatever on earth you can, and learn more and more about narcissists. Understand narcissistic traits and behaviour deeply. When you have substantial knowledge about their thought process, patterns, actions, and reactions, you will start identifying them every time they display those traits, and rather than reacting to what they are throwing at you, you will be able to detach yourself and not get drained emotionally, physically, and mentally. Remember, not giving them a reaction when they want it is the biggest shock of their life, as the intensity of your reaction is directly related to the ego rush they feel.
Set boundaries: Narcissists do not have a sense of personal boundary as they lack empathy and emotions. They like to be in total control of everything and everyone except for they themselves. They are in control of their narcissistic traits only during the love-bombing phase, and if one looks closely, it is nothing but the narcissist creating an illusion of being your soulmate and the person you were waiting for all your life. You have to understand how narcissists get triggered and try to create a system around that. For example, if a narcissist is manipulating verbally or gaslighting, you must identify the elements and create your own responses. This will enable you to follow your desires while making the narcissist feel that you are strictly and obediently going by their wishes. Also, set a ceiling on the behaviour of your narcissist. For example, if they get physically abusive, you need to take stringent action like seeking help from the police. Remember, they wear a mask publicly and project themselves as perfect charmers. So, whenever they feel the threat of getting unmasked, they come back to their charmer mode. In short, learn to manipulate the manipulator.
Work on yourself: The only reason you have attracted a narcissist is that you have an unhealed inner child with unresolved emotions. Start working on your own patterns of mistaking the narcissist’s unhealthy ways and red flags for love. Understand that it’s not love but attention that you are seeking to fill the void inside you and mistaking that attention for love. There are always deservedness issues with people who attract narcissists. Raise your standards and do some good for yourself. Remember, there is no substitute for self-love. You yourself have to create the love for yourself that you are seeking outside by getting addicted to people. When you truly learn to love yourself, you will realise that no matter how the other is, your love is not a slave of their responses. Love will simply flow from you when your cup is full, and that love will not allow anyone to cross your boundaries. This love will allow you to learn to agree to disagree, stop holding yourself responsible for all that is happening to you, and get out of the victim mode. And you know what? It is so powerful to live with someone who cannot shake your emotional sanity, and be in control of yourself, your reactions, your emotions, and your life. Look for happiness in little things, do something that intrigues you, identify your passion and pursue it, develop resilience and courage to take a stand for yourself, do what makes you feel fulfilled, and most importantly, do not forget to smile.
Stop giving them energy: Act smart and crystallise the reasons you are choosing to stay in this relationship. Focus on those reasons only and stop seeking any support in terms of love, empathy, or assistance from the narcissist. Join a support group, be in the company of happy people, or the people who align with you at the soul level and enjoy and learn from them. Stop focussing on that which is not and start focussing on that which is. Have gratitude for the good things in your life and expand the energy around those good things. You are too precious to give in to a weak person and their ways. Know your worth and live it up.
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