In The News

Fri 14 Sep 2018

Am I Involved With A Narcissist?


Health & Wellbeing
It's not always obvious when you're 'in it' and it can be a slow slide down the spectrum from when the first alarm bells start to go off.

SO WHAT IS A NARCISSIST?

Definition: a person with excessive interest in or admiration of themselves

They live among us, like chameleons, only showing us their best colours. We are impressed by their accomplishments and confidence. Taking people at face value isn’t a bad thing, but they will leverage the wazoo out of it for their own gain.

You may have an inkling that something is wrong when you realise that you are always tip toeing around them, this is the time to start looking for confirmation through other indicators.

One of the most common mistakes is making allowances for them or changing your actions based on what they tell you – through frequently hearing excuses or demands for their self driven needs.

A balanced relationship (professional or intimate) doesn’t have this happening every other day and it’s not ‘normal’ to be frequently apologising to others on their behalf.

Sadly you are not alone, they live among us, smoozing their way into our lives, our homes and our offices and the numbers are staggering.

THE 3 BIG RED FLAGS

  • Blame others for their egotistical behaviors
  • turn things around to be about themselves
  • control and manipulate for their own gain

The good news is that awareness is increasing and we can help each other spot the warning signs.

HOW DO THEY BLAME OTHERS?

  1. They will blame you or others if something isn’t right – usually when it simply doesn’t suit them.
  2. They can be pretty darn judgmental about others, yet aren’t congruent with their own words, actions and behaviors ie what they observe or critique about others, can often be how they operate themselves.
  3. They constantly talk about their past wins and how things were ‘before’, oftentimes it was ‘ruined’ by somebody ie no fault of their own (this may require some fact checking).
  4. They hold strong grudges and store up points to use against you or your friends/family.
  5. They have very little or no personal accountability.

Fundamentally accountability is not a strong point of narcissists – nothing they do, is ever their own fault.

Another alarm bell is whenever something goes outside of their control or desire, their anxiety increases usually resulting in (passive) aggression and again start blaming towards others.

Negotiation and flexibility is rare.

Regardless of how something goes wrong, there is always somebody externally being the cause.

STATEMENTS CAN BE

“Because they did this, I had to…”
“Because you said this, it caused me to act in that way…”

Simply implying “it‘s not my fault you’re unhappy with my actions, I was made to do it”.

“The first step is ACKNOWLEDGING something IS NOT QUITE RIGHT”

A strong trait of narcissists is that they haven’t done anything wrong. It’ll start off with a difference of opinion, leading to their views always being right. Further on up the spectrum they find ways to convince you that their way is the right way.

They will manipulate and align with the power figures in the workplace and family, and if not able to eliminate or isolate them, will make them best mates.

Finally, they will shut down all of your opinions, interrupt you when you’re talking, finally lead to ridiculing and making you feel like your views are silly.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THEM!

  1. They will go out of their way to make a good impression, either as a ‘character reference’ or to gain something they want for themselves. This is especially tricky if they have aligned with an authority that influences or impacts your life.
  2. Isn’t able to see things from another’s viewpoint, it’s always about them.
  3. They constantly talk about their past wins and how things were, before somebody ruined it for them.
  4. Turns the troubles, difficult circumstances, or problems of others towards themselves.

They have to look the best, have the best and be the best even if it’s not feasible or achievable within their current means.

These belongings, status statements and external validations are all to fuel their opinion that they are and know best.

No matter where they start on the spectrum it’s almost certain that the pattern of dysfunctional behaviours will continue until some proper intervention occurs from a professional.

Knowing they are on the spectrum is a massive step forward and important part of learning how to work with them or get away from them.

One of the more concerning escalations up the scale of narcissism is the subtle ways of controlling the people in their lives.

Having control of any situation they are in, making last minute changes, finding any way to control the people and situation is a very calculated and worrying trait.

They constantly minimise things outside of their control, the ability to reduce external (un-aligned influence) drives the decisions they make.

SABOTAGING FRIENDSHIPS

It’s not uncommon for there to be issues with your friends, particularly close ones or those with a strong sense of self. The inability to control that person further pushes the need for them to separate or discredit them, isolating you.

Plenty of friends and family will have a niggling feeling about them, “that something isn’t quite right”.

Sadly it isn’t until a major incident occurs that friends feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns and often times they have a valid fear regarding your well-being and safety.

TAKING CHARGE IS NOT THE SAME AS CONTROLLING

  1. Ideas you have that don’t suit them are ridiculed, shut down and made to be wrong.
  2. Only they have all the right answers both publicly & privately.
  3. They have a way of turning a lie you discover into a necessity they had to do.
  4. They can be deeply critical of others (especially those that have the ability to see through their façade) and will convince you why those people should not be in your life.
  5. You are spoken to as if you’re owned.

If they tick 5 or more off the list I’d definitely be looking for external support and maybe even professional help for them.

Throughout my years of coaching, nearly 50% of my clients have been involved with a narcissist and as a result have needed my support in their next relationship.

RECAP OF TRAITS

  • Blaming others for their action ie Bob did this, which made me angry
  • They always have to be right
  • Self centered around their wants
  • Egotistical and lack accountability or self reflection
  • Control the friendships, family and those of influence around you
  • Sabotage areas of support to create isolation

“I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS BEING CONTROLLED UNTIL A CRISIS POINT MADE ME QUESTION MYSELF AND OUR RELATIONSHIP.”

Society tells us to stay out of ‘domestics’ and not to interfere in others’ relationships. Ultimately it’s up to you to notice the signs and start a conversation with those around to voice your concerns and ASK FOR HELP.

In the workplace, HR often don’t realise and can’t uncover the full, strategic clever manipulation and alienation that is being generated by a work colleague.

You may have to start a diary to collate evidence in order to be heard and believed. This is particularly important if they are a superior or involved/aligned with one.

Watch for the red flags and even if there are only 2 or 3, take note and be on the look out for more.

If you’re living with a narcissist then, there will most certainly be more signs on the horizon. You have a responsibility to yourself to fulfill your own happiness and make changes or leave.

People won’t interfere or even know if anything is wrong unless you start the discussion.

THE 13 INDICATORS

  1. Goes out of their way to make a good impression, either as a ‘character reference’ or to gain something they want for themselves.
  2. They will blame you or others if something isn’t right – usually when it simply doesn’t suit them.
  3. They can be pretty darn judgmental about others, yet aren’t congruent with their own words, actions and behaviors ie what they observe or critique about others can often be how they operate themselves.
  4. Isn’t able to see things from another’s viewpoint, it’s always about them.
  5. They constantly talk about their past wins and how things were ‘before’, Oftentimes it was ‘ruined’ by somebody ie no fault of their own (this may require some fact checking).
  6. Ideas you have that don’t suit them are ridiculed, made to be wrong and shut down.
  7. You’re views are irrelevant, they have all the right answers both publicly & privately.
  8. They hold strong grudges and store up points to use against you or your friends/family/colleagues.
  9. Have a way of turning a lie you discover into a necessity they had to do.
  10. You are spoken to as if you’re owned.
  11. They have very little or no personal accountability.
  12. Turns others troubles, difficult circumstances or problems towards themselves.
  13. Critical of others and will convince you why those people should not be in your life.

https://newhopeforwomen.org/images/wheels_large.png

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY

  1. The first is ACKNOWLEDGING something IS NOT QUITE RIGHT.
  2. Take some time out, create some distance, get away and clear your head. There is nothing better for you than to have some time out for a clear perspective.
    It’s not uncommon for the fog to clear when you step outside the environment, without the influence of the narcissist shadowing you.
  3. Do your own research and discover what you need to know about narcissism, the power of relationship control, passive aggressive behaviors and the circle of domestic violence.  You can do this discretely in your own time, even borrow somebody’s computer and take notes for future.
  4. Surround yourself with positive people, preferably not associated with your partner.
    It can be remarkable to see other couples interactions and give you the opportunity to reflect on how yours differs, constant tension is not normal.
  5. Make use of free call services. Narcissists want to isolate you from people that can be your support base, find ways to hold onto these friends that can give you some quick, immediate and non biased advise.

Here are a couple of suggestions.

  • familymediationstation.com.au
  • safehavencommunity.com.au
  • WhiteRibbon.org.au

50 ways to spot a Narcissist: http://bit.ly/50waysnarcissist

13 Indicators of a Narcissist eBook: http://bit.ly/narcissistebook


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