Narcissists can be found in every walk of life. Every family, every workplace, and every community has their share of selfish individuals who use others for their own gain.

They can be charming, yet behind the façade lies a damaged, dangerous personality.

A narcissist’s behavior leaves others baffled; how could another human being act so badly? How could someone treat those around them with such contempt?

Understanding how a narcissist’s mind works can help you understand their actions. At first, they seem inscrutable. However, beneath the surface, they are quite predictable.

In fact, a typical narcissist is rather boring. They resort to the same behaviors again and again. Their lives and relationships follow a pattern.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. They are cunning, manipulative, and well-practiced in the art of earning people’s trust

A narcissist knows exactly how to appear extroverted, attractive, and caring. They are masterful actors who make you feel important and desirable.

At first, they are playful, exciting, and encouraging. It’s easy to fall in love with a narcissist. They are extremely seductive, and they will shower you with gifts and romantic gestures.

Unfortunately, once they have you under their spell, they will turn on you. The abuse and objectification starts, and never stops until you leave or they abandon you.

They know that you’d run far and fast if they revealed their true colors up front, which is why they put so much effort into impressing you.

However, because they have convinced you to trust them, you’re reluctant to leave. Instead, you stay, assuming that you must be the crazy one.

You come to believe that you, not them, are in the wrong.

2. They are happy to deceive and insult you

Narcissists have a strange relationship with the truth. They frequently lie, distorting their version of events to suit their emotional needs. At the same time, it’s important to note that, to them, their lies are true.

For instance, if they claim you have mistreated them, they sincerely believe you are the guilty party. They will tell everyone that you are the “bad” or “mad” one in the relationship.

They have no qualms with putting you down. Their insults are designed to erode your self-esteem. In time, you start to believe that the unkind things they say about you are true.

You become dependent on their approval, and leaving is an unthinkable prospect. They hide their true selves from others, and it’s hard to convince anyone that, in private, they are a monster.

3. If you question them, they get mad or just ignore the truth

When it becomes apparent you’re dealing with someone who isn’t in contact with reality, your first response might be to challenge them.

This won’t get you anywhere, because a narcissist will tell you that you can’t trust your own perceptions. In their minds, they always know best.

Don’t waste your time trying to reason with them, particularly if they become abusive when under stress.

4. Behind the confident veneer lies a sense of insecurity

Narcissists gain a fleeting sense of satisfaction from manipulating people, but they are not truly happy. Think about it; happy people don’t need to tear others down to bolster their egos.

They are jealous, weak individuals who know all too well that their capacity for healthy human interaction is limited.

They aren’t able to put it into words, but they know, deep down, that something is seriously wrong with their behavior.

Secretly, a narcissist knows that they are cut off from the everyday joys of relationships. This is a lonely place to be. When they see happy couples and families, they feel empty.

The tragedy is that they lack the self-awareness necessary for personal growth.

They fall into terrible habits – feeding off the energy of others instead of looking inward – and this becomes a lifelong pattern.

You have more freedom than you think

The good news is that you have the power to leave a narcissist. Once you understand their tactics, you can step back and make the right choice.

You can see how they’ve worked their black magic, leaving you vulnerable to their abuse. You realize that it doesn’t matter how or why they became so toxic.

It’s not your problem to fix. Your priority is your health.

There’s no sugarcoating it – recovering from narcissistic abuse takes time. But you can learn to trust yourself again.

Even better, once you’ve dealt with a narcissist, you’ll be adept at dodging them in the future. The moment you suspect someone is trying to manipulate you, you’ll run away – and never look back.

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