You never know you're with a narcissist until you find them doing these six things. That's an indication you need to get away from them.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on September 26, 2019. It has since been updated.
It's a losing battle with when you're with a narcissist. No matter how logical or intelligent you are, a narcissist knows ways to manipulate you into feeling small and unworthy. They know how to push all the right buttons to constantly make you wonder if you're doing the right thing or if you're even a good person. And it can be a devastating feeling. Even if you aren't completely convinced about their behavior, then it's when they do these six things that you know they're manipulating you:
Otherwise known as gaslighting, narcissists can twist your words around to make you feel like all the issues that have come up in the relationship started with you. They distort your sense of reality and make you start to actually believe that you were at fault. Even if they did do something wrong and it's obvious, they will find a way to turn the tables on you and pick out all your faults to make it seem like you were wrong.
Instead of having and engaging in a rational and calm conversation, they go straight for your vulnerabilities to make you bend to their will. If you do something they like and want, they'll shower you with love. But the moment you decide to do something independent of them, the narcissist in them will withdraw their love and make you feel guilty for even thinking of something without them. In very subtle ways, they emotionally blackmail you into being their puppet.
Because of their habit of making it seem like everything is your fault, you end up feeling like you're overreacting. Logically, you know you aren't but the way they can bring out all those emotions makes you wonder if you aren't, in fact, just overreacting. Even if they've done something as drastic as cracking an insulting joke about you in public, they will always make it sound like you're getting worked up over nothing.
Narcissists have a need to keep you hooked to them. They don't like when you aren't dependent on them for everything, physically, emotionally or mentally. So they turn you against your loved ones by making false comments. And they know how to make it sound realistic. So much so that you end up believing them and starting fights with your loved ones and isolating them. It's not until much later that it hits you what they've done.
No matter how you're feeling, they have a way of making you feel small and insignificant. If you're happy about a job promotion, they say that it was just luck. If you're upset about something someone has said, they say you're overreacting. If you're frustrated about something, they tell you that it's your fault in the first place. No matter what emotion you share with them, they dismiss it. But if you don't give their emotions attention, then a fight will break out.
With all their manipulation, one of the worst things they do to you is to make you doubt your own actions and thoughts. Their eternal gaslighting leaves you wondering if what you're doing is right. It's also why leaving them is so hard. You don't know if others will love you the way they "love" you. All the confidence you had before them just crumbled after being with them for so long.
It's not fair. You are a strong, independent, confident person who needs no validation from others. Your ideas and hard work brought you to where you are today and no one, not even a narcissist, has the power to bring you down. You just have to find that courage, the one that is hidden below layers of pain, and break free. And the people who love you will always love you. They might not always understand what is being done to you but when you bury the hatchet, you'll find them welcoming you with open arms.
You deserve it.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.