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13 Signs Of Narcissists Who Sabotage Your Happiness

13 Signs Of Narcissists Who Sabotage Your Happiness
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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 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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