Three Ways to Maintain Your Self-Preservation When Dealing With a Narcissist

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The damage from narcissistic abuse is insipid and insidious and the emotional harm from it can be traumatizing. However, do not think for one second that you are defenseless or powerless to narcissists.

Narcissists are energy vampires. They cannot generate their own power or energy. In fact, they in themselves are powerless.

We fear them because we believe we are powerless and defenseless to them. However, what we fear in reality is not really dangerous. Our perception of danger has been skewed in large part from past harmful or traumatic experiences. We fear narcissists because of what abusers did to us as children when we were vulnerable to them and felt powerless to them. We learned to readily give up our personal power and energy to narcissists and other abusers who trigger our pain and the accompanying false belief of powerlessness.

WHY UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HARM, FEAR AND REAL DANGER ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR HEALING AND WELL-BEING

Narcissists, in reality, however, while aggressive and revengeful, are weak and predictable. This works to your favor since this makes them vulnerable. In fact, they are very easy to manipulate.

CAN NARCISSISM BE CURED?

“Really,” you may be thinking, “how can that be?”

Because in reality, narcissists push the same pain buttons our abusers did when we were children when we were powerless to them. We bring these same fears and beliefs into adulthood. As adults, we overestimate the danger and underestimate our ability to deal with it when, if we were able to look at it rationally, we would see very clearly that we are no longer powerless to these annoying creeps. Read more here.

So our fear of them is really false? The answer is an unequivocal, “Yes!”

We can learn, with practice, to deal with narcissists easily and effectively and not be vulnerable to them or fear them. Once you are able to see them and understand them for who they really are and break through the dysfunctional illusion and heal, you will see they are really more like annoying buzzing insects or whining man and woman babies – bothersome, boring, and predictable.

Here are 3 tips to maintain your self-preservation when dealing with them:

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-4-07-22-pmBecome a “Gray Rock.” Do not give them any attention, positive or negative. Like this meme states, gray rocks do not attract attention and blend in with the scenery and you can do the same to make yourself less appealing to a narcissist.

If you do not give them your energy, they will go away. They need narcissistic supply to survive. Without it, they cannot live. Practice not reacting to anything they say or do or even thinking about them.

Read more on the “Gray Rock Method.”

Say to yourself over and over and practice:

  • I am authentic and powerful in my silence.
  • I am indestructable.
  • I show no emotion.
  • I cannot be triggered.
  • I offer no supply.
  • I am invincible.
  • I am not powerless to anything that triggers me.
  • I am not defenseless to anything that triggers me.
  • I am silent.
  • I am not angry.
  • I am boring.
  • I give no clue as to what is going on with me.

Read more on how to minimize their toxicity here.

Turn the fear triggers into annoyance triggers.

Small mosquitoWatch them and map out what you expect them to do and when. You may find it useful to write down each action and how they make you feel. Plan what you will do when the narcissist responds as you predicted. This will help to remove the severity and seriousness from the situation by showing how weak and predictable, yet annoying, they really are, like mosquitoes. It will also make you more mindful and aware of your real power. Taking action (including saying “no”) will help you reset your internal fear threshold and provide you the self power (e.g. narc repellent) to regulate your emotions before they escalate and the confidence in your ability to protect your personal boundaries. Your confidence, self-esteem, and self-confidence will soar!

Read more on how to minimize their toxicity here.

For reasons of self-preservation (not revenge), learning to manipulate them may be your best option.

Now, I DO NOT recommend this at all to anyone who is in early stages of healing. In addition, it takes time and energy and practice, and frankly, good acting skills to learn how to do this.

th-16So when you are ready and have a legitimate need to benefit, you can learn pretty easily to manipulate them by giving the appearance you are giving up your energy. You can make them think they are manipulating you. Again, I am not promoting deceit for revenge. Rather, I am promoting self-preservation.

Read more on how to manipulate a narcissist here.

I, very far along in my healing, deal with narcissists and other boundary violators like manipulators and covert aggressors and passive aggressive people all the time. I do not fear them because I know how they tick and I no longer believe I am defenseless to them. I no longer fear them because I took my power back and healed and I know how to manage them. For example, I choose to voluntarily interact with them only if I benefit. I always make sure I benefit in some way because I know that they always are using me for something. It is just who they are and it is just what they do. I view it neutrally and not with any fear or emotional investment. If I do not benefit, I do not interact with them or I give up no energy. I just shut down and say nothing. I bank on the fact that they will come back again to “win” just like they bank on others’ vulnerabilities. If and when they come back, I just follow the same rule. If I do not benefit, I do not interact and give up no energy to the interaction.

Narcissists are aggressive and potentially dangerous and can only harm you if you fear them and allow them to do harm to you. In reality, they cannot generate their own power and need yours to survive. This is why they aggressively pursue you. This is behavior they learned in their dysfunctional families. They bank on our weaknesses and only target the emotionally vulnerable, kind, empathetic, generous, conscientious, and trusting people. You can use this information to your benefit and work the interaction with them to your favor.

Read more on how to manipulate a narcissist here.

But make no mistake and do not let your guard down. A narcissist always uses another person for something they need. They are aggressive parasites. Every interaction with them is parasitic. Accept that. It is not because they like you or love you or even hate you. They need you for narcissistic supply and actively go after it. They are predictable and weak and can be managed. They, however, cannot be cured.

Codependency Does Not Cause Abuse

th-27I’d like to clarify what I think is a huge misperception on codependency, healing, victimhood, and sources of emotional pain.

Abusers find us. We do not find them and we do not deserve disrespectful, abusive, damaging treatment. There is not something wrong with us that makes us deserving of abuse or pain. Abusers abuse us because we think like victims and unknowingly give up our power to them.

Codependency tendencies and what author and therapist Ross Rosenberg now more accurately describes as “Self-Love Deficit” do not cause abuse. Codependency is a consequence of abuse because abuse mucks with our self-esteem and feelings of self-power. We learn to not trust our own selves for validation of our worth and instead turn externally to others to define us and decide what is acceptable in us. Codependency is a learned maladaptive coping mechanism that replaces what should be internal motivating behavioral controls and emotions we rely on and trust to keep us safe.

“Codependency is traced to the first five years of life from being exposed to emotional manipulators.” Listen to Ross Rosenberg’s eloquent explanations to the root causes to our vulnerabilities to abusers here.

We develop codependency in power imbalanced dysfunctional families where we learn to be dependent on others (we perceive as more powerful but who are not) rather than our own selves to define our self-worth and to validate us and as a coping mechanism to not being loved unconditionally. This has profound consequences on our emotional development! We can become notorious boundary violators ourselves! We were taught to maladapt…to adapt in the wrong way. We develop skewed beliefs about our lovability and our self-worth and where to source them from.

And as we get older, we become vulnerable to abusers or narcissists or psychopaths or bullies who are experts on homing in on our vulnerabilities and who target us! They find us and target us because this is just what they do. It is what they need to do to cope and survive. They are wired to aggressively go after others’ power because they cannot generate their own energy because they are disordered! So we become dependent on these creeps who manipulate us and do not have our best interests at heart and stay with them and feel defenseless to them because we are pain addicted and suffer from traumatic stress and chronic shame and feelings of powerlessness. We falsely believe that abusers and emotional manipulators have more power than we do to control our pain.

LEARN MORE ON HOW ABUSE SURVIVORS CAN BECOME NOTORIOUS BOUNDARY VIOLATORS!

As narcissistic abuse recovery expert Kim Saeed tells us, someone with codependency tendencies can lose sight of their own lives in the commotion of tending to someone else’s, which makes them prime targets for narcissists. In abusive relationships, they can end up loving someone who is unrestrained and they find themselves being more accountable for the actions of that person than the person is taking for themselves.

th-28So we are not the cause of our abuse because we are emotionally dependent on others. If you believe this, get this out of your heads. If you believe this, shift your thinking now because this will cause you needlessly to take on extra blame and shame that will keep you from healing. You were victimized and preyed on by emotional vampires who hunted for you and targeted you because you are vulnerable, plain and simple and they feed off of your energy. You did not ask for, are not responsible for, and do not deserve abuse or emotional pain!

An emotionally  healthy loving partner would remind you of your value and worth, support your self-assuredness, and not want you to be dependent on them. Emotional manipulators, on the other hand, victimize us. Once we deal with our vulnerabilities and heal our wounds and do self-esteem work we can make huge strides towards no longer being targets and no longer feeling powerless to these creeps and not being dependent on anyone except our own selves to define our self-worth.

There is another very important and not so obvious lesson here related to codependency and personal boundaries. Codependents can become boundary violators themselves to source from others what they need to define their worth. Read more on the importance of protecting personal boundaries here.
Kim Saeed cautions that our biggest challenge is learning to use our compassion responsibly and learning to care and help others without falling into codependent behaviors where we use others to define us, self-sooth, and cover our own dysfunctions and, in the process, enable theirs. We disempower ourselves and the person when we try to fix, solve, or make the consequences go away. We discredit and diminish our own selves when we redirect our personal power from ourselves to rescue others who do not have our best interests at heart.

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The challenge is to support people along their journey without getting emotionally vested and entangled in “fixing” or “solving” their problems for them, or covering up for them. When you do, you will have acted with true compassion for yourself and others while honoring your own and other’s personal rights, authorities, and divinity.

What Makes Being Liked, Loved, Desired, and Valued Possible?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
12049632_1613466202253151_7563358611981122153_nBeing liked, being loved, being desired, and being valued are not synonymous and ultimately in a perfect world we would all aspire to and achieve all four.

But is this realistic or possible in a world where we all are different people with different tastes, personalities, needs, hang-ups, disorders, neuroses, levels of compassion, likes and dislikes, beliefs, opinions, and goals?

More importantly, we all have different levels of self-esteem, our personal confidence and belief in our own personal worth and abilities to achieve joy and to keep ourselves safe. Our self-esteem drives our self-worth and self-respect and sets the stage for us to set and achieve goals. So, self-esteem is where I would like to focus today.

Our self-esteem fuels everything we do and directs how we perceive other things and people. If our self-esteem is healthy, we are clear on our self-worth. This means we rely on ourselves confidently for validation of our personal value because we know what we are capable of doing, know we are worthy of joy, and set goals to bring us joy that we know we can achieve. When we do not achieve our goals or are unhappy, we do not hunker down in shame and look for others to soothe our disappointments. But we do take action and thought correct or course correct or get the advice or assistance to achieve our goals and, in short, makes us feel good about ourselves. We do not take “no” for an answer when it comes to achieving our goals which sustain our joy, success, and emotional health.

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So the role of other people is not to merely validate us and soothe our pain we do not think we can reliably handle. Their role is to complement us and to share our joy and personal power with. We do not need anything from them because we are self-sufficient. It is the connection with others whose truth aligns with ours that ignites us! We choose to love or be with others because their self-esteem, their truths, align with ours and we have each other’s best interests at heart. Alignment of truth including common values, goals, and levels of integrity is what makes a person desirable, likable, lovable and valued to a person with high self-esteem. And our self-esteem, reliant on our self-worth and personal integrity, are what makes us lovable to ourselves. Healthy self–esteem not only makes being liked, loved, valued and desired possible, it also helps to sustain our emotional health.

12744552_10153491263859895_1023025528576497643_nPeople with high self-esteem are clear on their lovability and the level of respect and honor they deserve and expect in any relationship, be it personal, family, or work. People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, cannot readily look internally for validation of their personal worth and typically are pain addicted due to abuse or trauma or possibly even suffering from something worse.

Interestingly enough, victims of abuse and the abusers themselves both use other people to soothe and ease their chronic pain. The main difference is that the narcissists and psychopaths do it offensively (knowingly with intent to harm and no remorse) and abuse victims do it innocently (unknowingly with no intent to harm). So being in a relationship with an abuser is not a relationship of alignment of truths, it is an alignment of lies and pains and needs. It is a relationship between a predator and its prey, a parasite and its host.

“Alignment of truth including common values, goals, and levels of integrity is what makes a person desirable, likable, lovable and valued to a person with high self-esteem. And our self-esteem, reliant on our self-worth and personal integrity, are what makes us lovable to ourselves. Healthy self–esteem not only makes being liked, loved, valued and desired possible, it also helps to sustain our emotional health.”

Relying on other people to define your self-worth or to soothe your internal pain is not self-esteem and will lead to emotional fatigue, chronic pain, sadness, and depression. It keeps you vulnerable to the narcissists and psychopaths, the emotional vampires who need your power and energy to survive.

th-17The point here, folks, is that in terms of being liked, being loved, being desired, and being valued, IT IS NEVER ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON defining your acceptability and our worth. It is about you developing your own self-esteem, your own truth, gauging it accurately, upholding that truth and finding others whose truth aligns with yours.

Read more here on how learning to enjoy living alone can build emotional health.

So I am committed here at Yourlifelifter to teach you how to release your pain, build your self-esteem, take your personal power back and thrive. You can and will heal.

Narcissistic and psychopathic manipulators, emotional vampires and abusers cannot.

Am I The Narcissist?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

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I hear frequently from readers who fear they are the narcissist and the one with the personality disorder.

My answer?

“Absolutely not!”

This distorted thinking is a consequence of prolonged abuse that started in childhood and its traumatic impacts on your beliefs, self-worth, self-assurance, gauges of reasoning, and your abilities to trust and regulate your emotions.

The fact that you would even be concerned about this, demonstrates that your emotional capabilities although skewed, are intact.

Prolonged narcissistic abuse is slick invalidation from emotional vampires – carefully planned and premeditated efforts to stealthily through covert aggressive combat maneuvers, take everything valuable that you have to offer (your love, trust, compassion, beauty, generosity, child-bearing abilities, finances, or whatever) that they can manipulate from you to provide an illusion of grandeur and greatness to the world without any of the work.

When we do, we give up our power and energy that per our divine design at conception, were intended to be used by and for us to nurture our souls and become the best versions of ourselves as we search for internal truth – truth that we choose to share with others in relationships of mutual respect.

So, “no” you are not a narcissist. You, however, are a wounded victim of one or more who steal energy from you they cannot generate on their own. And perhaps you picked up some of their bad behaviors that will pass once you are away from them.

The good news is that you can fix your skewed thinking and heal and as you do, so will your children and you will thrive. You will make memories and people will love you just for being you. You will release the pain that made you vulnerable to them in the first place and become a stronger more self-assured version of yourself.

th-14You will take your power back and thrive. I explore these topics in much more depth in my book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors.

Narcissists will be forever evil and when they are done and gone, the only person anyone will miss is the one they will never be.

Read more below on the topic from one of my favorite Facebook Pages of “Truth,” “Sanctuary for Awareness and Recovery:”

Sanctuary For Awareness And Recovery

Paradox with several Personality Disorders and mental illnesses: since the ego and perception are both affected, it is common for those with some PD’s and mental illnesses with Narcissistic traits to actually perceive those they are treating poorly as the ones who are Narcissistic, because of their reactions to their behavior, or because they have healthy confidence and boundaries.

The root cause is usually a lack of boundaries, and a lack of respect or awareness for other people’s boundaries.

So the person who insults your teeth might call you “narcissistic” if you don’t just LET them insult your teeth. Apparently you were supposed to agree with them or hang your head in shame, not stand up for yourself against a blatant insult. So therefore in their mind the insult was perfectly fine, it was your reaction to the insult that was “narcissistic.”

Another example of this may be when someone enters your home or room without knocking or without waiting for an answer when this has not been established as the “norm” for them in your home or room, in other words you have NOT told them to “don’t knock, just come in.” They’re already showing a lack of boundaries with this behavior, so one shouldn’t be surprised that they react very defensively and emotionally when asked not to do that.

Saying and doing things that display hostility, arrogance, coldness, aggression, superiority or hatred are blatant displays of poor or absent boundaries, so when such a person’s behavior is confronted, disagreed with, or disapproved of, (speaking in a respectful manner that is), they are most likely going to react defensively and perceive it as arrogance, control, or an attack, and if they have some level of narcissism they may rage.