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With an estimated 158 million narcissists living in the United States, the odds are there is at least one in your life right now, whether you are aware of it or not. They are our friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors – and for some, they are the person we fell head over heels in love with.

You may already know, deep down, that something is going on in your relationship that isn’t quite healthy. In fact, you may be reading this right now because you’ve somehow always known, you just couldn’t put your finger on it. Warning – a relationship with a narcissist is going to be a far cry from rainbows, butterflies, and happily-ever-afters. They are egotistical, conceited and self-absorbed. While they may tell you that they are in love with you, they are really only in love with the idea of you admiring them and giving them control of your life.

To better understand the mind of a narcissist and how to navigate relationships with them, consider the highly-rated bookDisarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed“.

Here are 10 of the most painful and heartbreaking that a narcissist will do while they are in a relationship:

#1 – They will isolate you from friends, family and loved ones.

Recognizing that your loved ones have the power to influence your actions and decisions, a narcissist can’t afford to keep this ‘voice of reason’ in your life. After all, they can’t afford to have someone get in the way of their ability to control and manipulate you. Instead, they will attack and badmouth your loved ones, even going as far as convincing you that they are somehow holding you back or hurting you in some way in order to drive a wedge between you. Before you know, you’ll have no one else, but the narcissist, left in your life.

#2 – They will win you over with their words.

Somehow, narcissists seem to always have the perfect thing to say, regardless of the situation. Their words are carefully chosen, designed to tell you everything that you want to hear, but be cautious. Often their intentions are anything but genuine. Try to read between the lines – the simplest and seemingly most obvious phrase may have an entirely different meaning.

For a deeper dive into the art of manipulation and deceit,In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative Peopleis a recommended read.

#3 – They will leave you walking on eggshells.

Faced with any situation that doesn’t follow their perfect narrative, a narcissist will lash out in a very real, sometimes very violent way. The greater their control, the easier it will be to set them off. You will find yourself afraid to say or do anything that will upset them, worried about how you will be punished, leaving you walking on eggshells and doing everything possible to keep the peace.

#4 – They will trap you in their web of lies and deceit.

A narcissist will do whatever they need to in order to draw you in, sure, but it doesn’t stop there. Once you are in their web, it’s going to be all but impossible to pull yourself free again. Why? They are master of manipulation, and they aren’t afraid to use lies, deceit, and countless games to confuse you, control you and prevent you from leaving. Regardless of how badly you want to break away, you’ll feel trapped.

#5 – They earn your trust under false pretenses.

Narcissists recognize that they need your trust in order for their manipulation tactics to work. For this reason, they will go to great lengths to convince you that they are honest and genuine, including hiding their true motivation and slapping on some false charm. They will become whoever they need to in order to draw you in, but don’t expect it to last long. Once they’ve earned your trust and know that they have you in their trap, a switch will flip, and their true self will show.

#6 – They will slowly destroy all that is good in your life.

If, before you met the narcissist, there were things in your life that brought you joy and happiness, these things likely won’t be in your life for long. Recognizing that the only way to tear you down and keep you in their control is to make you feel vulnerable and wounded, they will go out their way to destroy these sources of joy. For example, if you had a thriving career, know that they will sabotage it or manipulate you into giving up on your goals and dreams.

For rebuilding your life after such devastating experiences,Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuseoffers insights and guidance.

#7 – They will bend and break all boundaries you try to establish.

There will come a time that you will attempt to establish some boundaries in your relationship in an effort to protect yourself, however, don’t be fooled. It’s not going to be that easy. Try as you may to establish these boundaries, the narcissist has no interest in respecting them. They will overstep, break rules, and disrespect you at every turn. After all, they fully believe that they are in control of every aspect of your life.

#8 – They will change you, and not for the better.

In order to use you effectively in this game that they call life, they will do everything in their power to change you and alter who you are to match their needs. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be a positive change. They aren’t interested in helping you become a ‘better person’. Instead, they want to make you more vulnerable and susceptible to their manipulation.

#9 – They will completely disregard your thoughts and opinions at every turn.

While they may have made you feel like you were equals early on, it wasn’t long before you realized that your thoughts, opinions, and ideas hold no weight in a narcissist’s world. In fact, they may even become upset or agitated that you are suggesting anything that isn’t 100% in line with their own personal opinions.

#10 – They will highlight your flaws at every opportunity.

Your fears, insecurities, concerns, and flaws are all fair game for a narcissist’s manipulation. If they think they can use something to their advantage, you can trust they will do exactly that, and they aren’t worried about how much it may hurt you in the process. If it appears that a situation isn’t going their way, you can bet that they will throw your insecurities back in your face in order to shift the focus and force it to go their way.

Thriving Beyond Narcissistic Abuse – click here.