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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 January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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