Licensed clinical therapist and renowned narcissist expert Dr. Ramani Durvasula is most known for her YouTube content. The majority of her videos revolve around informing and educating others about narcissists.
In one video titled “When Narcissists Use Positivity to Control You,” Ramani explains how narcissists use toxic positivity to manipulate their partners. Toxic positivity is the act of someone downplaying your problems and grievances while asserting positivity on you. One example of this would be if someone you loved had recently passed away. If you were dating a narcissist, they might say “It could be worse,” or “You just need to stay positive.”
By doing this, the narcissist works to invalidate your feelings and emotions, while asserting control over how you feel.
“Many narcissists may take offense at you having a bad day and bringing your gray cloud into their sunshiney day,” explains Ramani. “A narcissist might say to you, ‘why are you always so negative, I’m in a good mood, I don’t want your negativity near me.'”
“Narcissistic people like to set the emotional thermostat in the room,” she continues. “They want things to be great all the time, and they want people to mirror their artificially grandiose, positive worldview. When they ask you how you are, what they want to hear is that everything is great… That’s the only answer they find acceptable.”
To further clarify, she goes on to say that narcissists like to act as the emotional thermostat in the room. They want other people to align with them at all times, and if they don’t, they will assert whatever means necessary to get you to do as they say.
According to Psychology Today Signs of Toxic Positivity Include:
Signs of Toxic Positivity
Recognizing the signs of toxic positivity in yourself is critical. Often this behavior is learned from childhood and can be linked to dysfunctional parenting. In these situations, the child was rewarded for always staying happy and never complaining or commenting on negative issues. In this way, staying positive became an unhealthy coping mechanism that carried forward into other relationships as an adult.
Signs of toxic positivity include:
Denial of “negative” emotions — Feelings of sadness, anger, resentment, loneliness, frustration, embarrassment, or other negative emotions are stifled and pushed down, replaced by false happiness and upbeat optimism that are not in sync with the actual situation and experience.
Invalidation of natural emotions — Invalidating natural emotions creates a lack of self-awareness and self-worth, where authentic feelings are dismissed and replaced by artificial feelings that do not match the event or situation.
Guilt about feelings — Feelings are emotional reactions to a situation. Having feelings should not generate guilt, but inappropriately acting on feelings in negative ways can result in guilt.
Inability to respect other people’s emotional experiences — Telling people they should not feel negative after an event and pushing them to feel upbeat and positive even when they express deep emotional responses.
Emotionally shaming others — Telling people that they have to be positive, that they are overblowing a situation, or that they have no right to feel a negative emotion are signs you may have toxic positivity.
The video is most definitely worth the watch because Ramani lives up to her name as the narcissist expert.