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Being in Narcissism Relationships Is Like Playing With Fire. It Is Risky.

Being in Narcissism Relationships Is Like Playing With Fire. It Is Risky.

If you’ve ever fallen in love, you would know how good it makes you feel. It’s an exciting and at the same time terrifying sensation. You might be falling hard for the person and expect the relationship to lead to the beginning of your fairy tale. But be aware, it may not be what you think it is, but a fake love trap with a malignant narcissist.

Narcissists are everywhere. It is no surprise that we encounter such self-serving individuals at home, at work and in our everyday life. In reality, all of us have some degree of narcissistic traits. Some individuals, however, are over the top in serving themselves and cause emotional harm to others. In fact, Narcissist Personality Disorder wasn’t categorized as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association until 1987 as too many people share some of the traits and it’s very difficult to diagnose.

“Yes” to these questions? Chance is you may have a narcissistic lover.

First, ask yourself the following questions to see if you would recognize some of narcissistic signs in your toxic lover.

  • Do they have issues with his mother or father?
  • Are they emotionally immature?
  • Are they more of a taker than a giver?
  • Do they have grandiose tendencies?
  • Do they have questionable moral standards?
  • Are they perpetual liars or manipulators?
  • Do they lack empathy towards others?
  • Do they blame everybody for their problems and never take responsibility for their life?
  • Are they argumentative?
  • Are they control freak?
  • Do they show a lack of remorse?
  • Do they have anger issue?
  • Does being around them make you feel confused and chaotic?
  • Do they often say hurtful things to you and then accuse you of overreacting or being too emotional?
  • Do you feel worse emotionally now than you started dating?
  • Do they make you feel bad, worthless or critical of you?
  • Do they seem to be exceptionally attractive?

If you answer YES to some or all of the above, you’re in love with a narcissist. Not only are you in a relationship that can be more than painful but also downright dangerous. If you are not convinced yet, read on and RUN before they destroy your precious self and your life.

24/7 with your lover doesn’t mean thorough understanding. Check these signs:

Additionally, here are 8 signs that you should look out for in them to understand who they truly are.

I am the best (not really).

You might think they love themselves. Actually, they dislike themselves immensely. Their inflated self-flattery, perfectionism, and arrogance are merely covers for the self-loathing they don’t admit usually even to themselves.

Instead, it’s projected outwards in their disdain for and criticism of others. This is why they don’t want to look at themselves and have intense need for admiration to fill very low self esteem. They’re too afraid, because they believe that the truth would be devastating. Actually, they don’t have much of a Self at all. Emotionally, they’re dead inside.

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They believe that they are special and unique, and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or of high-status people. They unreasonably expect special and favorable treatments to feed their false ego.

You can’t catch me.

It’s easy to fall in love with narcissists. Their charm, talent, success and charisma cast a spell. They’re often super-attractive. They also tend to want to move fast in the relationship. They may appear charming on the surface but the emotion runs very shallow. They simply manipulate you to lower your guard and allow attachment to occur.

Because the relationship starts out so well, and because the ugliness seems to come out of nowhere, even the most grounded people can get caught by surprise. They might later admit to having seen plenty of red flags but because the illusion of the narcissist’s great qualities is so vivid, they tend to be ignored.

They even watch porn and cheat as they think they’re god’s gift to the world. They’re known to make their partners go without sex as a way to frustrate, punish, and even humiliate them out choosing porn over sex with them or just to hurt you.

Thus, pace the relationship in such a way that your dating partner’s true self comes forth gradually so you are well aware of who you are dating and what they are capable of. This honeymoon phase though ends quickly as they reveal their true self and being with a narcissist soon turns from loving, devoted and committed to cold, critical and most heartbreaking, unfaithful. None of it make sense, does it?

You just listen to me, okay?

It’s all about them and never a two way communication. They don’t like to hear No and have difficulty with compromise. Setting boundaries threatens them. They’ll manipulate to get their way and to make sure you feel guilty if you’re bold enough to risk turning them down. If you give in, they mistake kindness for weakness.

Should you challenge a narcissist or call them out on their bad behavior, you’ll instantly be confronted with narcissistic rage. Underneath the narcissistic exterior is a rage and disgust most people couldn’t fathom.

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Having a daily relationship with a narcissist takes a lot of mental work to figure out the motives or intentions. There’s never a dull moment in a relationship with a narcissist, which can be exciting in the beginning but ultimately feels draining and infuriating.

I need no rules (I don’t follow them anyway).

One of the most frustrating experiences with a narcissist is that rules are broken and boundaries trespassed, but they will never take accountability for it. They can’t bear the thoughts that they are wrong. Their ego is so inflated that they truly believe they’re perfect. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. Instead, it’s that a narcissist’s true ego or sense of self is so incredibly fragile and insecure that they cannot tolerate any hint of criticism. They can’t take accountability for any hurts or boundary-crossings because they aren’t internally sturdy enough to synthesize and integrate complex feelings.

The narcissist is so averse to criticism and accountability because he sees the world through a lens of entitlement. Narcissists feel entitled to indulge any thought, feeling or whim they happen to have in a given moment, and automatic compliance from others is expected and even demanded.

I am the boss.

They target people to use as narcissistic supply to fuel their ego. They are out to get intelligent, self-sufficient, empathetic individuals as partners. They tend to lack core identity and need narcissistic supply to fill their empty psyches. They feel a sense of challenge in targeting highly successful, attractive individuals who may already be in other relationships or who express a sense of vulnerability.

Narcissists are masters of love bombing which is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. They do this to make you dependent on them, while also testing your boundaries. Once they discover that you are not perfect after all, you’ll not only be told the opposite, but you’ll be punished for your imperfections, which are often exaggerated and sometimes nonexistent projections.

Punishment often includes terrible statements meant to degrade, demean, humiliate or stonewall you. They withhold affection and may even spread nasty rumors about you behind your back.

I am charming and gentle outside, rude and ruthless inside.

Ahhh, these three little words can change your life. But when a narcissist says it, those words take on an entirely different meaning than what you’d expect. It’s the act of tempting you with those things you will never get that keeps you with them.

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In public, narcissists switch on the charm that first drew you in. People gravitate towards them and are enlivened by their energy. You’re proud to bask in their glow, but at home, they’re totally different. They may privately denigrate the person they were just entertaining. You begin to wonder if they have an outward double personality.

Ever since they were denied genuine love and support as a child, they cowardly take it out on you with hurtful words and manipulative tactics under the guise of love. But we all know it’s not real and can see through the mask. Eventually their masks are coming off and be ready to jump off the ship when it happens.

You most likely won’t be the only one.

They are unable to form healthy attachments with other human beings. So even though they may say they are in love, they always have their eye out for the next best thing. And there is always a next best thing.

Even if they are in what appears to be a committed relationship, rest assured they are dabbling on the side. If there is the opportunity to get more attention and adoration from a potential love interest, the narcissist will take it. Anyone who thinks that their narcissist is capable of being faithful is fooling himself/herself. They are always on the lookout for something better no matter what they say to the contrary.

You should just be as good as me.

You begin to doubt yourself and worry what they will think. After a while, you start to lose self-confidence. Your self-esteem may have been intact when you met, but your narcissistic partner finds you coming up short, and doesn’t fail to point it out. Most narcissists are perfectionists, and nothing you do is right or appreciated. Talking about your disappointment or hurt gets turned into your fault or another opportunity to put you down.

Narcissists have no boundaries and see you as an extension of themselves, requiring that you’re on call to meet their needs. You might get caught up in trying to please them. This is like trying to fill a bottomless pit. They expect you to know without having to ask. You end up in a double-blind – damned if you displease them and damned when you do.

Most individuals are emotionally traumatized by their toxic encounter with a narcissist. They are not only grieving the loss of the relationship, but they are also processing the unreality of a fake relationship.

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People with narcissistic characteristics may be prone to causing harm by invading personal boundaries, lying about almost anything and everything, engaging in abuse, and exhibiting no empathy or remorse for emotional harm they have done.

What you must learn about a narcissist.

There is no way to fix or improve the behavior of a narcissist.

If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, it is in your best interests to get yourself out of the relationship as quickly as possible. Pick up the shattered pieces of your life, take them with you and never turn back.

However, with a narcissist is that making a clean break is almost impossible. By the time a break up is on the horizon, the partner of a narcissist is has been so beaten down psychologically they are unable to move on. Besides you’re likely to be unpleasantly surprised to see the narcissist partner to react with rage, insult you, hurt you in any way possible, lie about you or half-apologize and to explain themselves. SO, keep the contacts at minimum and create solid boundaries.

It’s okay not to be okay.

Feel your feelings. You will have good days and not so good days. You might feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster at times. Openly discuss your feelings. Join a support group. The support of people who understand exactly what you are experiencing is vital to healing and recovery. Take an honest self-inventory. Were you at a low point in your life when you met the narcissist? Was your self-esteem compromised? Were you lonely or did you just come out of a bad relationship? Do you lack good boundaries? Do you have childhood wounds, perhaps an unavailable or narcissistic parent?

Don’t dwell on what-ifs.

Breaking up with a narcissist is painfully harder than a normal breakup. One of the many reasons for this is they pummel us with manipulation, assault our self-worth, and stealthily erode our self-esteem. Then when the relationship is over, we beat ourselves up for the things we did or did not do, and berate ourselves for staying longer than we should have, and for the signs we failed to recognize.

Accept that the narcissist as who they are. They are totally incapable of love and deep connection. Nothing you did or didn’t do would have changed the outcome. You were not loved for you as a person. You were used for the perks you were able to provide. You were their human helium tank that maintained their inflated view of themselves. I know it sounds harsh, and it’s a very painful realization to accept. But the acceptance of this fact is also the very thing that will accelerate your healing and set you free.

Blessings often come in disguise.

Narcissistic abuse is a betrayal of the heart, soul, mind, and spirit, and often the wallet too. It corrupts and completely shatters what we thought was reality and tarnishes our faith in humanity. For this reason, it takes a while to restore our equilibrium and process the trauma of our experience. Putting the pieces of your life back together and rebuilding yourself is not an easy, painfree process, but it is worthwhile in the end.

You will be strengthened and move on. You will come to view the breakup as a blessing. You will realize that through your relationship with the narcissist, you were given the gift of self-discovery, transformation, and renewal. You will never be the same again but you will be a better, stronger, wiser and an infinitely happier version of your old self.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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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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