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13 Signs Of Narcissists Who Sabotage Your Happiness

13 Signs Of Narcissists Who Sabotage Your Happiness

Most people think a narcissist is simply someone egotistical and arrogant. If you’ve ever fallen in love with a narcissist, you know how painful it can be. Unfortunately they’re not always as obvious as you would expect from the get go. We are all narcissistic to a certain extent, while the pathological narcissists have a serious negative impact on everyday life and relationships with others.

Painful relationships are blessings in disguise. If you’re still trying to prove your worth, you attract narcissists. Moreover, you purely don’t realize that you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Their bad behavior is not short-lived. The best way out of a narcissistic relationship starts with awareness and is followed by taking responsibility for your choices and learning how to love yourself enough to leave.

Having said that, here are 13 tell signs to help you spot one in your life or discover that you are indeed a narcissist.

1. They feel they are superior to you.

Narcissism is the expression of the ego. The main indicator of narcissism is an unwillingness to unravel the false ego-self to live authentically. In fact, they live in fantasies of unrealistic success, power, appearance or even ideal love.

The truth is they are very insecure and have a hard time accepting their failures or the things they perceive to be less than perfect. Narcissists will always try to impress others and try to make themselves look like a superstar and act superior to those around them. So, they believe their views are inherently superior to your perspectives. But what they truly value is the attention they desire to receive.

2. They often break rules and have poor boundaries themselves.

Narcissists enjoy getting away with violating rules and social norms. They love to be the exception to the rule. They repeatedly break promises and obligations. They ignore your thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space. They show little remorse and rather blame you for their own lack of respect.

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They have no respect for your boundaries, either. Any time you say no or set up a boundary on their bad behaviors, it’s just a challenge to them. They are usually very stubborn and hate being told what to do.

3. They have a deep need for admiration and validation.

They often expect preferential treatment from others. Thus, they expect you to cater to their needs without being considerate in return. In their mind, the world revolves around them. They believe that they are so special and unique that they can only be understood by or associate with other special or high-status people just like them. And if you are not on the same page with them, you are not that special. End of story.

They often become envious of other people’s success and accomplishments. They also believe that others are jealous of them. They typically feel entitled to something better and think they’re not getting the recognition they deserve from others.

Thus, they seek excitement and drama to give them access to adoration and notoriety. They get upset and condescending when you do not share the same feeling. This tells you either directly or indirectly that you are not that important, or not as good as them.

4. They are emotionally abusive.

They don’t give you a chance to take part in a two-way conversation. You struggle to have your views and feelings heard. When you do get a word in, if it’s not in agreement with them, your comments are likely to be corrected or dismissed. They are often quick to judge, criticize and ridicule you even out in public.

Communicating with them is basically a series of endless conversations where you express an opinion and they immediately jump on it. They just can’t relax because they always need to be in charge of everything, including you. This is where the emotional abuse kicks in. They start to pull apart your thoughts and challenge your view of reality, particularly when they believe they are intellectually superior and smarter.

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5. They can be very charismatic and seductive.

When they’re interested in you for their own gratification, they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you, most likely after they’ve gotten what they want, or become bored, they will drop you without a second thought.

Many narcissists enjoy provoking negative emotions to gain control, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off-balance. They might throw a tantrum if you disagree with their views or fail to meet their expectations. They become argumentative and typically respond with fight or flight.

6. They are skilled manipulators.

They use other people to meet their unreasonable self-serving needs or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. They even make decisions for others to suit their own needs. Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt. They hijack your emotions. They might bring up one thing they’ve done and blame you for not being appreciated to fulfil their unreasonable needs.

They will often call you crazy and slowly start to convince you that you are. They are known for what’s called gas-lighting that is the form of abuse to create anxiety and confusion, breaking down your own trust in yourself and your ability to discern what’s real and what is good for you.

7. They fear what others think of them.

People with narcissism are hyper-sensitive to criticism. Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their defence system can be surprisingly easy to set off. They become overly self righteous and reactive if they are not recognized or if they can’t get their way. If you do something that they don’t like, it means you’re against them or you don’t understand them.

They also like to impress others by making themselves look good externally. This, so-called trophy complex, makes them use people, status or money to make themselves look good on all levels in order to substitute for the perceived inadequate real self.

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8. They fail to take responsibilities for their behaviors.

Narcissists tend to blame on everyone but themselves. They’re good at making excuses and not taking responsibility for mistakes they make. Narcissists don’t accept that they create their own experiences. Their responses are triggered by unhealed wounds, so they’re trying to relieve pain, subconsciously, through harmful emotional abuse of others.

9. They are often the unsuitable partners.

You will notice that once you stop feeding their ego, start getting real and calling them out on their bad behaviors, they will quickly abandon you and jump ship. That’s because a narcissist won’t put the feelings of the partner above their own.

There’s also the undeniable self-esteem boost that comes when they find out another person, other than the partner is attracted to them. That explains why they often come with a serious pattern of broken relationships usually with infidelity. Faithfulness is a tricky thing for them because they just would not pass up the affirmation of another person’s approval and admiration.

10. It’s not your job to save or fix them.

The grandiose people, because they feel superior, they’re very unlikely to seek treatment. Rather, they hold a grievance against the world, which will eventually cause for a deep craving for admiration and lead the narcissistic to lead a life searching for fleeting ego boosts. The narcissist is unwilling to unravel the false ego self, which is a necessary part of the healing process. Unfortunately, they are genuinely damaged and not open to healing.

11. They are the lookout for your vulnerabilities.

They love the spotlight and have a sense of entitlement. As they are constantly looking for admiration and appreciation they can go to extreme lengths to achieve that.

They cannot genuinely care about your feelings. It is difficult for them to understand how they can hurt others. They harp on your personal insecurities or struggles. Personal insecurities or struggles that you might not have otherwise been aware of seem to be a constant source of tension and are often addressed critically and insensitively. Once they hone in on what’s important to you, they will use these things against you.

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The underlying message that gets communicated through such hostility towards you is something like “I am not bad, wrong or a problem, but you are.”

12. On the contrary, they do not show their vulnerabilities.

While they try to project and maintain the false image, this kind of hollow self portray eventually force them to prevent any feeling from reaching consciousness. Since the false self is perfect, of course, a lot of feelings have to be suppressed.

Thus, narcissists do not feel emotions like vulnerability, empathy and compassion, or on the surface level, if at all, and cover them up with rage, blame, manipulation and disdain for others. Deep inside, they know that something is not quite right but sadly they cannot empathize with other people’s feelings. Instead, they hold them in contempt and ridicule. They cannot show their true feelings because it would shatter their ego and their entire identity.

The reason that feelings of anger and rage are so typically expressed by them is that they externalize in the very moment the far more painful anxiety or shame related emotions hiding just beneath them, especially when others bring their deepest insecurities too close to the surface.

13. They make it clear they know everything.

After all, they know more about everything than anyone else, and they’re not afraid to show it. In fact, they can be expected to argue, educate, and inform you about virtually every topic you bring up in conversation. They certainly don’t shy away from disagreements or opportunities to teach you about their way of thinking and make sure you know that their way is the better one.

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Kris Lee

Emotional health and communication writer

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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