Tag Archives: gas lighting

When Narcissists Criticize You It Is About Them Not You

One of the cruelest things narcissists do to their victims is either saying or implying the most heartless, cruel things to their victims until their victims believe what the narcissist says about them is true.

What victims who are either currently being subjected to this or have recently escaped it don’t realize that the narcissist is lying.  They don’t believe a single word of what they say about their victims.  In fact, chances are that they find those things they criticize about their victims to be very good or enviable qualities.  If you think about what a narcissist has told you, you’ll probably see that this is what happened with you.

Did the narcissist tell you that you’re stupid?  Clearly you aren’t & others have admired your intelligence.  The narcissist had to beat you down by making you think you aren’t intelligent so that way you won’t realize what he or she is doing to you.

The same goes with your looks.  If a narcissist tells you that you’re too fat or thin, that’s a sign you have a great figure.  If they criticize your looks in general, they clearly have noticed other people either noticing how attractive you are or flirting with you.  Narcissists can’t handle their significant other thinking they are attractive.  That person might actually gain some self esteem & realize that they really can do much better than the narcissist if that were to happen.

If a narcissist criticizes some talent you have, that isn’t because you are doing something poorly or possess a talent that has no worth & value.  They may envy your talent, & since they can’t do it, they want to stop you from doing it too.

When a narcissist hates someone you love, that also isn’t because that person is a bad person.  Quite the opposite.  The narcissist recognizes that he or she loves you & is a good person.  My narcissistic ex husband hated my best friend & did his best to ruin our friendship.  I firmly believe it’s because he knew she saw the kind of person he really was, & was afraid she would talk me into leaving him.  This scenario happens all the time with narcissists.

This cruelty goes for any criticism the narcissist says.  They have various reasons for doing this beyond what I mentioned already.

Mostly when narcissists are critical, narcissists are trying to gain control over their victim.  If a person is beaten down enough by someone, they will relinquish control to that person because they feel they are incapable of doing much of anything.  Narcissists are extremely skilled at gaining control over people in this way.

Also, when a narcissist’s victim outshines them in any capacity, it threatens the narcissist’s ego.  They can’t handle such threats so they try to tear that victim down as a way to eliminate the threat.  I experienced this so much with my mother.  Anytime I received a complement in her presence, she would punish me for it.  Often, she would be angry with me, & become especially cruel with her criticisms.  Other times, she would tell me that the person who said that was stupid or had poor judgment.  Either way, the message was clear- I didn’t deserve the complement.  I needed to be put back in my place, which was definitely beneath her.

If you have been or are currently being subjected to the cruel, scathing criticisms of a narcissist, I hope you will remember what I have said.  Please don’t take what they say to heart, because what they say isn’t true!  It’s a lie said for the sole purpose of benefitting them somehow.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

When Narcissists Manipulate By Appearing Confident

When I was married to my narcissistic ex husband, he said many bizarre things.  One of those things came to mind recently.  He said that it is impossible for someone to think another person is attractive without wanting to have sex with that person.  According to his so called “wisdom”, every single person in the world thinks exactly this way, except me, so clearly there was something very wrong with me. 

At the time of this conversation, I was a typical victim of narcissistic abuse.  Thanks to the narcissists in my life, I believed I was incredibly stupid, so I believed what narcissists said no matter what evidence there was to contradict their words.  Obviously they were much smarter than dumb me, so I had to listen to them, I thought.  So naturally, I believed this lie & others my ex told me.  This one was different though.  Even though I felt ashamed for being so “weird” in this area, I couldn’t make myself agree with him. 

Over the many years since our divorce, I wondered once in a while what his statement was about.  It wasn’t until I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder that I figured it out.  Since many narcissists behave similarly, I thought I’d share my findings.

When narcissists say something with such utter certainty as my ex did, there is a reason for it.  Never forget that.  They aren’t talking just to hear themselves talk, although they do love the sound of their own voice.  Narcissists always have motives with everything they say & do.  What they say isn’t simply empty words.  They’re said with purpose.

They may be trying to gaslight their victim into believing something they want their victim to believe.  When someone hears something said enough & with enough certainty, chances are excellent they’ll start to believe that thing.  In my situation, I believe my ex wanted me to think that way.  He wanted others involved in our marriage, so he was trying to make me feel wrong for not wanting the same.  If he could make me feel flawed enough, he thought he could make me change my mind.

I think my ex was also trying to normalize that behavior.  If I believed it was normal, I wouldn’t have been upset to find out he was unfaithful.  I would have accepted it as just a part of life, without complaint. This is a pretty common tactic of narcissists.  If they can make their victim think something is normal, it’s a big victory for them.  The victim will tolerate that thing that the narcissist wants them to tolerate, even if it is something they originally thought was wrong.

Narcissists love to shame their victims to make them be easier to control.  Remember how my ex told me that everyone in the world thinks the same way on that topic?  That was a shaming statement.  I was supposed to realize how wrong I was, because I was the only person in the entire world who felt as I did.  If he could’ve just made me feel badly enough, he could’ve convinced me that he was right, I was wrong, & he would have won this battle.

When you are faced with this type of manipulation, it is important to trust your gut.  What you feel inside is what is truly right, not what the narcissist claims is right.  If you get confused or feel conflicted, take some time to pray.  If you can’t get away to do this, a simple, “Father, help me!” prayer can make all the difference in the world. 

It also helps to consider what the person has said logically.  Ask yourself does what they say make sense.  Using my situation again as an example, logical questions I asked myself could have been something like.. how is he qualified to know how every single person in the entire world feels on this topic?  Does this belief include thinking a family member is attractive?  What about the fact I’m straight- does he think if I think another woman is pretty I should want to have sex with her?  

These sort of mind games are difficult when you are in the situation, but they can be handled.  Slow your thinking down so you can think rationally about things, be true to yourself, & take no crap!  Don’t let a narcissist manipulate you!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

About People Who Push Your Buttons

The world is full of many people.  Some of those people seem to have a knack for pushing every button you have.  Something about them constantly gets under your skin.  It seems like every single time you speak to them, you walk away angry or hurt.  Possibly the worst part of it is when you say something to them, no matter how gently you phrase it, somehow they twist the conversation around to the point you end up feeling badly for upsetting them. 

While many people don’t want to believe this, those people are almost always covert narcissists.  Yes, it does sound harsh to label them as such.  No, I don’t know the person you know who behaves this way.  Yet, I feel safe in standing by my statement that this person is almost certainly a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists love to push people’s buttons.  They say cruel things to someone either about that person or those the person loves.  That person’s family, job, hobbies, beliefs, likes, dislikes & more are all targets for the covert narcissist’s criticism.  However, their nastiness often happens only when their victim is alone with them.  If the victim is with the narcissist & at least one other person, the narcissist is often as sweet as can be.  That way, if the victim gets angry at the narcissist’s fake behavior, they aren’t believed.  They would look foolish because others only see the good behavior.  An example I can give of this behavior from my own life happened with my late mother in-law.  My husband & I eloped.  Not long after we got home, we visited his parents as we did constantly during that time.  His mother & I were alone washing dishes while he & his father were elsewhere in the house.  His mother told me how she & his father were horribly disappointed that my husband married me instead of an ex.  A short time later, my in-laws had a party.  At said party, my mother in-law told her sister, “I want you to meet my beautiful daughter in-law!”  I obviously was angry & disgusted, but who upon seeing this would have believed how awful my previous interaction with my mother in-law had been?

Covert narcissists also like to play dumb regarding so many things, including their button pushing behavior.  Playing dumb is very advantageous to them.  It means people think they can’t do much so they do things for the narcissist.  They get joy from being able to make people do things for them.  It also works well when they push other people’s buttons.  If the victim confronts the narcissist, the narcissist can play dumb & claim they didn’t know what they said or did would upset the victim or that they were simply trying to help.  Either way, if a victim is unaware of this tactic, often they will feel badly for misunderstanding the narcissist.  They will let the issue go.  As an added bonus for the narcissist, this also teaches the victim to be more tolerant of abuse.  Victims come to think the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better, so they need to overlook anything that the narcissist says or does that is upsetting. 

The truth about covert narcissists & their button pushing behavior is they know exactly what they are doing.  They aren’t naïve.  They only play naïve in order to get their way.  No one who is truly naïve knows exactly who they need to hide certain behaviors from & has the self control to do this.  Also a truly naïve person wouldn’t know that certain things are especially upsetting, let alone continue to do them regularly.  This is especially true if you have told this person their behavior upsets you.  Anyone who knows something is upsetting & yet continues to do it knows just what they are doing & make no mistake, this is abuse!  A normal, functional person with even a minimal degree of empathy would stop doing hurtful things upon finding out something they say or do hurts other people. 

I know this can be hard to believe, that someone you care for is this type of person, but accepting this fact is truly life changing.  Understanding the truth about people in your life & learning ways to deal with them enables you to have much healthier relationships.  You have more peace & joy.  Best of all you learn to avoid abusive people.

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Filed under Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism

One Of The Narcissist’s Weapons – Touch

One way of controlling victims that narcissists use is touch. 

Touch is a very intimate thing.  It usually is allowed by only those closest to us.  Most people are uncomfortable with someone touching them who they aren’t close to unless that touch is nothing more than a simple hand shake.  After all, most touching behaviors that are common in close relationships are highly inappropriate when they come from strangers.  How awkward would it be for a stranger to hold your hand?  Hug you?  Kiss you?  Put their arm around you?  It would be incredibly awkward.

Yet, in such situations, sometimes people will tolerate the awkward touching rather than speak up.  Narcissists love to manipulate those people.

Touch is a way of increasing closeness & intimacy, in particular in romantic relationships.  Consider a healthy dating relationship for example.  That first time holding hands or that first kiss makes the couple feel close to each other.  Naturally that is a very positive way to use touch.  Narcissists will not hesitate to mimic it in order to gain control over their victim.  In fact, touch is such an effective weapon, it is commonly used by pedophiles to test the boundaries of children they wish to abuse.

When a narcissist first meets their victim, naturally they won’t begin using touch obviously.  It probably will be subtle, such as the male narcissist putting his hand on their female victim’s waist as she enters an open door or the female narcissist touching her male victim’s arm as he speaks.  Such touches seem innocent & many people won’t give them another thought.  The manipulation begins to work though whether or not the victim realizes it.  Those simple touches so early on increase a sense of intimacy & closeness.

When the narcissist sees such touches are accepted by the victim, they will push the boundaries a little further.  When those touches are accepted, the narcissist will push the boundaries a bit further, & the cycle continues.  As the cycle continues, they get more comfortable pushing all boundaries with their victims.  Then before they know it, the victim is going along with whatever the narcissist wants.

In romantic relationships, this touching thing is also a way to show others who the victim belongs to.  When dating, my ex husband constantly touched me.  His arm was around me, he was holding my hand, he wanted me to sit on his lap.. something to show other people that I was his property.  I found it very awkward sometimes but ignored it because, like most raised by narcissistic parents, I didn’t pay attention to my feelings.  It wasn’t until years later when my grandfather mentioned this & how disturbing he found it I realized how weird it was.  Not knowing about narcissism at that time, all I realized was my ex wanted to show others that I was his “property”, which was pretty unsettling.

If you meet someone new & they are too comfortable touching you, consider that to be a red flag.  Not all people who are the “touchy feely” type are narcissists of course, but some are.  Pay attention to the person’s behavior.  If they consistently push boundaries with you, that is clearly a red flag.  If you ask them to stop touching you & they don’t or accuse you of being over sensitive, that is another.  The average person will respect your boundaries & alter their behavior, no matter how accustomed to & comfortable with physical touch they are.

Also, if you are involved with someone romantically who insists on touching you constantly, then it may be a red flag of narcissism.  Consider this person’s behavior as objectively as you can.  Ask yourself if they have shown other signs of narcissism.  If they have, then act accordingly to protect yourself. That is your right!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Ignoring Narcissists

Do you know the one thing that makes a narcissist’s head practically explode?
 
Ignore her.  It’s that simple.
 
Love her or hate her, either is fine- both mean you are giving her some attention, & as long as the narcissist gets attention, that is all that matters.  Positive or negative attention isn’t important- only that she is receiving attention.  But ignore her as if she doesn’t even exist?  Pay her no attention at all no matter what her games?  She simply can’t handle it.  She will ignore the other person at best, or will do her level best to discredit the ignoring person or take revenge at worst.  (It can be quite the show!)  
 
The reason for her outrageous behavior is what is called narcissistic injury.  Anything (real or perceived) that threatens a narcissist’s self-esteem is what is known as a narcissistic injury.  And, rejecting a narcissist, even when it is done simply to protect yourself from her harmful behavior rather than to be mean, is a threat to her self-esteem.  She won’t care why you don’t want to speak to her- she only cares that you are rejecting her.
 
There is a possible result a narcissistic injury that anyone dealing with a narcissist should be aware of, & that is what is known as a narcissistic rage.  Narcissistic rage ranges anywhere from refusing to speak to the one who inflicted the narcissistic injury, hurling cruel insults, slander, screaming, sending others to “talk sense into” the offender or even physical violence.  Remember, with narcissists, the only thing that matters to them, is them.  You, your feelings, desires, life, friends or family mean absolutely nothing to them.  They will do anything to take care of themselves, & if that means hurting you in any way to do that, so be it.
 
I’ve been the object of narcissistic rages many times in my life, & I have noticed that ignoring the narcissist is what creates the worst rages.  I’ve also noticed that the more “valuable” you are to the narcissist (you listen when they want to talk, do what they want you to do, etc), the more potential for an especially nasty rage.  The less “valuable” you are to the narcissist, the more likely the rage won’t be bad, or they may even walk away quietly.
 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism