Your self-worth takes a hit every time you associate with a narcissist, because they love to put you down in order to make themselves feel superior.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 29, 2021. It has since been updated.
Narcissists are vile people who come in charming packages, and you may not even realize that beneath the pleasant exterior lies a dark, twisted persona. The scary thing is that most people who don't know narcissists on an intimate level often think that they're harmless people to be around. They are willing to let their guard down around them, and that's when the narcissist pounces. You may not realize that you're in the company of a narcissist, whether they're a friend, a lover, or even a parent. And the longer they exert their influence on you, the more they try to lower your self-esteem to establish their superiority. A narcissist can never be benign because they're always looking for ways to spread their malice and turn the world into a bitter, negative place that reflects their soul. And here are the most common things they tell you to achieve their twisted goals.
A narcissist can be downright abusive, whether verbally and emotionally, or even physically, and that's when you know it's time to run away. However, before most people make the decision to walk away from the relationship, they may confront the narcissist about their behavior. If you've ever done this, you may have noticed that the narcissist immediately turns the tables on you and blames you for overreacting to what is completely "reasonable" and "justifiable" behavior according to them. They hurt you, manipulate you, lie to you, and when you rightly call them out, they accuse you of being too sensitive.
Every time you talk to a narcissist about how you feel, even if you're going through an incredibly difficult time, they don't really seem to care. The only people they're concerned about is themselves, and the only person they want you to talk about is them. So when you communicate what you need from them in a relationship, they accuse you of being self-centered and thinking only about yourself. They hate having to invest in anyone but themselves because everything has to always be about them. The moment you assert yourself and establish your expectations, they try to shift the focus back on to them.
"Commitment? Me? Ha!" A narcissist may not say this out loud, but they're definitely thinking it. You can never count on a narcissist to be faithful to you. Even if they're not sleeping with other people, they're constantly flirting with people who find them attractive because they love the attention that they get from them. They may even flirt with other people just to elicit a reaction from you and make you feel jealous. They want you to work harder to keep them interested in you without having to put in any effort themselves. If you ever find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, know that you'll never be secure until you walk away.
Perhaps the most heinous thing a narcissist does to you is to wear away at your credibility and your belief in yourself bit by bit until you start to question your own sanity. They constantly attack your personality, gaslight you, call you "too sensitive," deny everything you accuse them of, and make you feel like you're going crazy. The truth is warped to a narcissist, and soon you start to get caught up in the web of lies and deceit they weave, wondering if you even know what reality is anymore. They constantly push your buttons until you're at your wits' end and provoke you until you retaliate. Then they sit coolly back and watch as you react in exactly the way they want so they can call you crazy and unstable.
A narcissist not only attempts to destroy your credibility in yourself but also other people's belief in you. They complain to other people about how intense you can be, bringing up your "insecurity" and "sensitivity" and spinning them in a way that makes them look good. They spread rumors that you're crazy and systematically alienate you from your friends and the ones you love. The scariest thing about a narcissist is that once they know you're alone and doubting yourself, they don't even need to deny their abusive actions anymore. They just taunt you with the fact that they've managed to get away with their manipulative behavior.
Don't think that narcissists are easy to spot. Sometimes they pretend to be genuinely nice people who just didn't know better. All they ask is that you see their hurtful behavior from their perspective. However, they aren't really apologizing to you. They're just sorry that you misunderstood them and their intentions, and this is their way of letting you know that you're the only one who thinks that their behavior was wrong. It's easy to be fooled by their apologies if you're not really paying attention. They end up subtly blaming you instead of taking responsibility for themselves.
Once a narcissist has you under their influence, they aren't going to let you go so easily. They want to keep reaping the benefits of a relationship with you without having to invest much in you. They love to make you feel worse about yourself so that they can feel better about themselves. They project all their negativity on to you so they don't have to deal with it themselves. In short, they're terrible friends and lovers, but they never want you to realize it. They wear away at your self-worth until you start to believe that no one will ever love you the way they do. Don't fall for their lies because the only remedy to the wounds a narcissist inflicts on you is to cut the narcissist out of your life.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.