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

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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.

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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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