Tag Archives: selfish

Narcissistic Abuse Isn’t Personal

When experiencing narcissistic abuse, it feels like the narcissist is attacking you like a hungry lion attacks prey.  They do their level best to destroy everything about you.  That feels incredibly personal, doesn’t it?  The fact is though that it isn’t.

Narcissists are incredibly selfish & self serving.  Every single thing they do is motivated by how it will serve or benefit them.

If a narcissist calls you ugly or stupid, it isn’t because he or she thinks you are.  It’s because it makes the narcissist feel powerful when they see you hurting because of that insult.

If your narcissistic spouse destroys your financial status, that isn’t about you either.  Destroying your finances makes him or her feel powerful.  You can’t leave him or her without money.  You can’t rent a place to live with a bad credit rating.  You are forced to maintain the relationship with this narcissist, & they love having that control.

If the narcissist in your life is your parent who refuses to treat you like an adult, again, that isn’t about you.  It doesn’t mean the narcissist believes you aren’t a capable adult.  Treating you as a child well past childhood gives that parent the control they want over you by making you feel incapable.

At the core of narcissistic behavior is the drive for narcissistic supply.  Narcissistic supply is anything that feeds the ego.  Everyone appreciates narcissistic supply to some degree.  A sincere complement makes you feel good, doesn’t it?  Most people appreciate complements.  Some may even fish for them once in a while, asking questions like, “Does this dress look ok on me?” in the hopes of hearing, “You look beautiful in that dress!”  That is narcissistic supply on a normal scale.  Narcissists, however, take this to an extreme.

Narcissists will do anything to gain their narcissistic supply & gain it often.  They have no problem tearing another person’s self esteem apart or manipulating & controlling others to get it.  The fact others are hurt in this process isn’t important to narcissists, due to their complete lack of empathy.  All that matters is they accomplish or obtain whatever it is that they want at that moment.  And, once that moment is done, they are looking for their next moment.

Narcissists are much like hard core drug addicts, always looking for their next high, & they will do anything to get that high.  The only difference is their drug of choice is narcissistic supply.

Always remember that what narcissists do is about them, not you. Even hurting, even destroying, you isn’t about you.  Every single solitary thing narcissists do is always about them & procuring their precious narcissistic supply, period.  The more you remember this, the less devastated you will be when the narcissist in your life says & does the terrible things they do to you.

One word of warning: this realization shows just what a damaged person the narcissist is.  It’s sad when you realize that someone’s thinking could be so warped as to not care about the tremendous amount of damage they do to others, including those they say they love.  While yes, this is sad, please don’t let yourself feel too much pity for the narcissist, because that can lead you down the path of tolerating their abuse.  Remember, they have chosen over & over to do the abusive things they have done.  This has shut down their empathy, & made it easier for them to continue to abuse.  While it’s sad they are as they are, narcissism is ultimately a result of their bad choices.

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Identifying Selfish People vs Narcissists

These days, it seems like narcissists are pretty much everywhere.  Yet, many people don’t understand there are differences between selfish people & narcissists.  Selfish people are called narcissists, when the simple fact is, they aren’t narcissistic- they’re just selfish.  And, narcissists are called selfish when in fact, they’re something much darker & more evil- narcissists.

 

Since selfishness is one of the main giveaways that someone is a narcissist, how does one discern a narcissist from someone selfish?  It can be done..

 

Here are 10 ways that can help you to discern selfish people from the narcissistic people.

 

  1. Selfish people are annoying, yes, but narcissists go beyond annoying with their selfishness.  Every single tiny thing can be turned back to them.  Selfish people will discuss topics other than themselves from time to time.
  2. Selfish people are capable of empathy.  Narcissists are not.
  3. Selfish people may not consider your feelings all the time, but they are capable of it & will do it sometimes.  Narcissists?  Not happening.
  4. Selfish people are capable of showing respect.  Narcissists are not.
  5. Selfish people aren’t necessarily envious of everyone they view as more attractive, more talented or more successful.  Narcissists are extremely envious.
  6. Selfish people don’t feel the need to brag about their great accomplishments, skills, looks, etc. like overt narcissists do, nor do they make a show of being a martyr or victim like covert narcissists.
  7. Selfish people can respect a person’s boundaries.  Narcissists refuse to respect boundaries.
  8. Selfish people change if you tell them that their behavior has hurt you.  Narcissists not only don’t change, but try to hurt you even more for daring to confront them.
  9. Selfish people are capable of giving genuine apologies.  Not so with narcissists.  They give fake apologies (“I’m sorry you think I did something bad to you”) or turn the situation around & claim they are your victim.
  10. If you confront a selfish person about something, they won’t rage at you or accuse you of being the selfish one (projecting their flaws onto you).  If you confront a narcissist, you can count on rage, projection or the silent treatment.

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Making Yourself A Priority

Many of us who grew up with a narcissistic mother learned early in life to put ourselves last in every way.  This carries over into adulthood, making for some very sad & resentful adults.

Even so, we usually are unwilling to change this. We want to be different than our extremely selfish narcissistic mothers, so we go in the completely opposite direction.  And, with Christians, being concerned for & helping others is a big part of who God wants His children to be.  How could we be so selfish as to put ourselves first?  We certainly don’t want to disappoint God!  And, if your narcissistic mother claimed to be religious, no doubt she used religion to reinforce that belief in you that taking care of yourself is selfish.  Even if she wasn’t religious, she probably told you, as mine did, that it was selfish & bad to take care of yourself.

The fact is though that taking care of yourself is NOT selfish!  Taking care of yourself is necessary.  I know, that feels so wrong after a lifetime of training from your narcissistic mother, but it’s very true!  How else can you expect to function or to be there for other people if you are sick or exhausted?

Also, if you consistently put yourself & your needs last, it tells other people that they can do the same.  It sends the message that you are so unimportant that even you mistreat yourself.  If you can mistreat yourself, then it is perfectly acceptable for someone else to do so.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today to realize that you have every right, a duty to yourself even, to make yourself a priority.  Making yourself a priority doesn’t make you selfish, so long as you do so in balance.  (Narcissists take a healthy thing & make it completely out of balance)  It doesn’t make you a bad person, in spite of what your narcissistic mother will say.  Jesus even did so- there were times when He needed time to Himself & he took it, refusing to be interrupted.  If Jesus did it, & as Christians we are to be like Him, don’t you think you can do this too without being selfish or bad?

Make yourself your top priority, starting today.  You deserve nothing less.

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How Do You Treat Those Who Are Suffering?

I was talking with a good friend recently.  She told me about something traumatic that happened to her a while back.  She also said that many of her friends & relatives told her that she needed to get over it & trivialized her awful experience, rather than offer her compassion & support.  Naturally, it upset her badly that people she expected to be compassionate were instead cold & unfeeling.

Unfortunately I understand her feelings all too well.  Since I got sick at the end of February, I’ve experienced this same thing first hand more times than I can count, starting at the hospital.  Apparently even a potentially deadly illness isn’t enough to warrant compassion from most people.

There is a terrible lack of love, empathy & compassion in the world today.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].  2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].”  (AMP)

I firmly believe this is what is happening today, why people are so indifferent to the suffering of others.  Look at how people behave.  Money & things mean more than people & relationships.  Animal & child abuse are commonplace, as is hypocrisy.  And most importantly, God is rarely invited into, well, anything.  Not many people have God as their top priority in life.  Without God, it’s impossible to truly love people God’s way- full of compassion, caring, & great empathy.

Dear Reader, I’m certain you have been on the receiving end of this hurtful type of behavior. Your pain has no doubt been trivialized or even invalidated.  (This is especially common for adult children of narcissistic parents, since our parents didn’t always leave bruises or broken bones like physically abusive ones did, & they act like good people around everyone but their own children.)

While there is certainly no way to control how people act & completely avoid their coldness, you can remember that a person who acts this way has a problem.  That will help you not to internalize their words, thinking something is wrong with you for being upset over whatever trauma you experienced.  You need to remember that, because you are not wrong, crazy, oversensitive, etc. for being upset when something bad happens to you.

And, also remember that people with problems naturally turn self-centered to varying degrees.  Some people become so self-centered that they don’t have it in them to care about others who are also suffering.  Remembering this too will help you not to internalize being treated so poorly.

I would like to also encourage you to consider how you react when someone tells you about a painful or traumatic experience.  Do you offer compassion?  Empathize with their pain?  Or, are you so wrapped up in your own problems you refuse to see anything or anyone except what relates directly to you?

If you are the type to have a hard time empathizing when you too are suffering, it may be time to change that.  Aside from the fact that behavior can be hurting others, being good to others also is good for you.  It takes your mind off your problems, even if only temporarily.  You also may learn that this person & you share a common problem, & now you have someone to talk about your problems with.  You may be able to help each other!

Don’t know how to change this about yourself?  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to increase your empathy, to make you more aware of the feelings of others  & to give you wisdom on how to help those He puts in your path & wisdom with your words.  God will honor your prayer, & bless you for wanting to help others.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, 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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March 23, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you well today.

Again, I’m sorry for not posting more often.  It’s been a rough month.  Losing our dog on Feb. 21 was so painful, & the Complex PTSD has been really rough lately.  Maybe the grief has made the symptoms flare up.  I’ve been trying to be gentle with myself & recover, so writing hasn’t been happening.

I’ve noticed something lately that has irked me to no avail.  Selfishness.  As many of you know, I grew up with a narcissistic mother, so selfishness is nothing new to me.  However, lately, for some reason, it has made me so angry!  

Selfishness is at the root of a lot of awful, hurtful behavior.  As an example, in my post on February 23, 2013, I mentioned some of the heartless comments I heard after our dog passed.  I believe selfishness is at the root of them- my grief made some people uncomfortable, so they said stupid comments, thinking that would make me “get over it”  or stifle my grief, & they could be comfortable again.

Selfishness also is at the root of bad behaviors, such as the person who calls you only to gripe about their problems, & never asks how you’re doing.  It’s also the reason that people married to a narcissist will turn the angry narcissist’s attention to their child- so the child will be the focus of the narcissist’s bad behavior instead of them.  Meanwhile, this causes tremendous damage to the child’s mental health.  I should know- I’m living proof of this one!

The point is, there is a reason the Bible speaks against selfishness!  It is very damaging to relationships & the mental health of those of us on the receiving end of it.  I love Philippians 2:1-4 in the Message translation:

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

Isn’t that beautifully said?  It makes me want to be very aware of thinking of others rather than myself.  I hope it encourages you to do the same.  

I encourage you today to think of how you can bless others.  Smile at a stranger.  Tell your spouse how glad you are to be married to him or her.  Hug your kids (furry or human!) for no reason.  Complement freely.  Offer help to someone having trouble.  Be aware of the needs around you, & see if you can meet those needs.  If you are worried about being taken advantage of, then pray.  Ask God to help you discern who to help, & who not to help.

Lastly, while you’re blessing others, don’t forget to bless yourself.  Do a little something nice just for you, too!  Watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see with a bowl of popcorn.  Go to lunch with a friend.  Buy yourself a little something.  

Have a great day, Dear Readers.  May God bless every single one of you!  🙂

 

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