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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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