As the adult child of a narcissist, I can’t count how many times I have felt overly responsible for other people in so many ways. One of those ways was how people feel about me.
If I met someone who didn’t like me, I felt it was my responsibility to change so they could like me. If someone felt envious of something about me, I had to downplay that thing they viewed that way. If they felt I was a snob, I had to prove to them that isn’t the case, & I am just quiet. If they thought something was wrong with me because I love my cats & old cars, that too had to be trivialized around them to make them feel better about me. And honestly, it got old.
As I healed more & learned more about people, not only narcissists, I realized something. How someone feels about me isn’t my responsibility.
People are often quick to judge others they have just met. I do it myself. Upon first meeting someone new, I pick up on someone’s energy & the subtle cues they display quickly & that determines if I am willing to speak to them more or not. Unfortunately mistakes can be made with snap judgments. As I mentioned earlier, people have thought I’m a snob because I’m quiet. My one sister in-law told my husband this many years ago, & she was far from the first one to make such a foolish assumption about me. And interestingly, she also wasn’t the only one who behaved in the manner in which she accused me of behaving.
When people make judgments about other people, often they can do as my sister in-law did, & project their flaws onto another person. Narcissists haven’t cornered the market on projection, although they definitely do it more often than the general public. The average person will do it too sometimes, & their projection makes them feel negatively about the victim of their projection.
Insecurity is also a reason people may feel negatively towards a person. Their insecurity makes them feel threatened or badly about themselves. If you are someone in a minimum wage job who dropped out of high school, for example, imagine how you would feel around a biochemist. Clearly they make a lot more money than you & have a much more advanced education. You easily could feel inferior. Most people would be uncomfortable in this situation but wouldn’t act out on their feelings. Some insecure people however, wouldn’t hesitate to let the biochemist know they dislike him or her, are unimpressed with their intelligence, etc.
Along the lines of insecurity is envy. Envy can make a person feel badly about themselves, & wish to make the person who made them envious feel just as badly. Women in particular are known for doing this. Some women see another woman that they believe is much prettier than them, & they will talk negatively about her behind her back. Their envy makes them behave badly.
No matter what someone’s reasoning for their negative perceptions of you, their perceptions are just that – theirs! They chose to see you a certain way & not learn the truth. A person who is unwilling to learn the truth about another clearly has issues, & those issues have nothing to do with you. So the next time you find out someone thinks badly about you, just remember that you are NOT responsible for how other people feel about you.
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