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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 March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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