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9 Signs You’re In Love With A Narcissist

9 Signs You’re In Love With A Narcissist
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When outlining the attributes of a narcissist, it’s important to note that not all narcissists are those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The character trait itself is one that may be easy to fall for due to a deceptive charm.

Wikipedia states that “narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.”

Essentially, just like the young Narcissus, one of the essential components of the narcissist is that they are head over heels for one person — themselves. If you are dating a narcissistic person, the progression into a toxic relationship comes as swiftly as the relationship progresses. Just as the fish is drawn in by a dangling worm on the end of a line, once you’ve been hooked, it’s pretty difficult to wriggle free.

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So, are you in love with a narcissist? Here are 9 signs you should be on the lookout for.

1. Their love bombing is totally deceptive

The relationship kicks off with a foolproof seductive element, the love bombing, which might come in the form of persistent text messages, phone calls, and emails detailing their love for you. Their one goal is to entice you. Don’t trust it, and never forget that ultimately it’s all about them, not you. We all want to be swept off our feet, loved, admired, and noticed by a partner or lover, and it is totally understandable that you will be impressed by their charm and magnetic personality. If you have felt vulnerable, suffer from low self esteem, or if you’re still hurting from a previous relationship that turned sour, the narcissist can smell this a mile away.

2. They are incapable of admitting they’re wrong

In the initial stages of the relationship, everything you do is perfect — your conversation, your friends, what you wear. The narcissist will agree with most of what you say. This might give you a false sense of security. You may feel that no one else understands you, gets you, or has the ability to love the real you. Once the winds change, and they will, most of what you do will be met with criticism. They are always right — such is the narcissistic element. Remember that there is only one way, the narcissist’s way.

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3. They are too interested in their own needs to bother with yours

If you’re in love with a narcissist, you will become accustomed to constantly suspending your needs to fulfil their’s. Initially, you will feel special, like a hero who is always supportive of their partner. After some time, this will begin to grate at you, as you constantly need to keep changing, cancelling, and rescheduling arrangements for their benefit. Even when this is done, they do not seem altogether satisfied, such is their tremendous need.

4. They bombard you with gestures to seduce and impress

The narcissist’s strength is the knack they have for making sweeping gestures. Being in a relationship with a narcissist has all the elements of a hollywood blockbuster, including the sounds and visual effects. However, like all bad trips to the movies, you might get to the point where you wish you could just walk out of the theatre. Not so easy when it comes to a relationship with a narcissist. Since the relationship kickstarted with so many grandiose gestures and seduction, you will be yearning for this constantly. This is why you will put up with their excuses and criticisms once they arrive. The whole point is essentially to hook you in, and this is when the seasons change.

5. They are deeply envious of your relationships with others

Initially, they will claim to adore the fact that you have close friends and a wonderful family. Who doesn’t love a partner who adores the close relationships you have built with family and good friends? But make no mistake, once you are firmly entrenched in the relationship, this changes dramatically. Now, any time you spend with others is the time you will be unable to spend with them. Narcissists do not deal well with any competitive element — whether that be family, friends, pets, hobbies, or anything else that will take your attention away from them.

6. They live in a narcissistic fantasy world

The reason why most narcissists are able to provide you with an incredible floor show of poetry, grand gestures, and seductive techniques, is because they live in their own fantasy world. They love the fantasy of romance — Disney movies where Prince Charming saves a damsel in distress and they live happily ever after. You will be carried away with the beauty of their words, feelings, hopes, and dreams. However, like all good fantasies, they have a beginning and an ending. We never found out what happened after Sleeping Beauty married the Prince. The narcissist wants the romance only, which doesn’t equate to a long-term, committed relationship, as the only person they love and are committed to is themselves.

7. They use people as objects for their own needs

The narcissist moves around in relationships as a way to fill a vacant hole that resides deep inside them. Your role is simply to feed their ego for as long as possible until their interest fizzles out. This is where the relationship suddenly switches from sizzling hot to stone cold. The confusion can leave you exhausted and drained, as you try to make sense of the changes in their behaviour. Internally, your mind is constantly preoccupied with questions. You start analyzing each interaction you have with each other, to try and make sense of their behaviour.

8. They have a sense of entitlement

They live with a sense of entitlement in all their relationships. This makes it difficult when dealing with workmates, friends, and family members. Even when it comes to hurting others with the comments they might make, they feel that this is completely acceptable. You might not be so lucky, as each thing that you say or do will be screened and censored. Anything that is seen as not to their liking, they will berate you harshly for. Since they are always right, there is no point in trying to argue your case. The narcissistic sense of entitlement overrides everything as their psychological survival depends on this.

9. They have a demanding and controlling nature

The narcissist sees others as an extension of themselves, which can be quite tricky when it comes to building up your reserves of personal space. This is when the control element begins to seep in, as their need to have you by their side grows. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t because they love being with you or want to contribute to your happiness and wellbeing. This is simply because you can provide them with a sense of importance and boost their already-inflated ego. As this progresses, you might begin to feel as though you are wearing a noose. Their control and demands know no bounds or restraints, just like their narcissism.

If you do recognize any of the 9 signs above in your own partner, understand that due to the intense nature of this type of relationship, it is natural that you will have been dragged in head first. We have all been sucked into situations that have been toxic and destructive from the offset, but too compelling and exciting to leave.

The point to remember is that narcissists have a never-ending need. You are not their saviour or their reason for being, you are simply the vehicle in which they can travel in first-class comfort until the next victim comes along. Begin to focus on your own needs, and make a choice to enroll supportive friends or family to empower you to step out of this toxic encounter and into a relationship which nurtures you.

Featured photo credit: Sara Cimino via flickr.com

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Michele Attias

Life Coach, Public Speaker & Writer

9 Signs You’re In Love With A Narcissist

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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