Narcissists are bullies that come in different styles. Some are socially sophisticated and make you feel torn inside out. Others are openly menacing and show their canine teeth. Concealed narcissists sabotage you with passive aggressive ploys, pretending they are humble and good.One way or another a narcissist will take advantage of you, even when he tells you he adores you and you are the most important person in his/her life. Narcissists convince most people that they are telling the truth. Narcissists are chronic liars. The words rolling off of their tongues are designed to deceive you so they can get their way. They have no sense of limits, nor do they have a conscience. Narcissists wear many masks and have multiple lives–many of them secret. Their moral compass is based on how much narcissistic supply they can get for themselves–image, money, power, social and business contacts, etc.
Narcissists go beyond the limit with people, causing tremendous emotional and psychological stress. This is particularly the case when it involves their spouses and children. Narcissists don’t care whether they hurt your feelings, demean you, humiliate you, make you feel sick or even put you in the hospital. With a narcissist you can never count on them to have empathy—ever. They effect a pseudo empathy which can be convincing. Once they get what they want they are back to their old ways of exploitation, duplicity and manipulation.
Many narcissists are like volcanoes–always in a state of endless blowing off rage. They are not like Old Faithful where you can time when the great steams will rise in the air. They are unpredictable which sets your nervous system on constant edge. Living with a narcissist you are always in the sympathetic nervous system —the fight or flight system of survival. Being the recipient of this kind of treatment puts you on constant edge, always waiting for the next vituperative eruption.
You can’t change the narcissist but you can change yourself. Recognize that you are a separate valuable human being. Develop practices that lead to calming your nervous system–gentle yoga, a form of meditation that works for you, listening to music, going to tai chi classes, doing cardiovascular exercises that lower stress and get your endorphins working and that strengthen your immune system. Develop a support system of people whom you can trust. They don’t have to understand the narcissist in your life but if they are truly empathetic they will help as they listen and care deeply about you. Do what you love–photography, sketching, writing each day with freedom and lack of judgment, spending time in Nature, gardening, cooking–whatever appeals to you and introduces beauty into your life.
If you are married to a narcissist it is possible that you will make the decision to divorce this person. Often it is impossible to live with this kind of psychopathology. If the narcissist is a mother, it may be necessary to sever the relationship and go no contact. This is your decision. Remember, now is the time to finally think about your own needs. You have never done this in your life before. Take very good care of yourself. You are entitled.