Those of us living today know how it feels to have a narcissistic personality thrown in our face daily. There are many Trumpian folks out there who display this type of dangerous personality. Some feel it is entertaining to make a big bowl of popcorn and watch the drama unfold, while others who are negatively impacted by them are less amused. It is important to know about the patterns of these people so we can better identify them and protect ourselves from being pulled into their game of drama and manipulation.
We all feel insecure about ourselves in some ways, but there are individuals who go to extremes in their attempts to make themselves feel better about their existence. These narcissistic people may be more prevalent than we want to admit. To the outsider, they may come across as an idealized friend or partner, but the harsh reality is that in most cases, the relationship is based on deceit, and it can become abusive without warning.
Narcissism is most often developed out of a dysfunctional attempt to alleviate personal feelings of insecurity and inferiority. These individuals place great importance on creating a seemingly powerful and confident public persona instead of working to build healthy self-worth internally. Over time, these patterns become more deeply ingrained until they simply become an expected part of their personality.
These people are often perceived as charismatic, attractive, and confident. They may enhance their physical appearance by purchasing flashy clothes, steroid use, or cosmetic procedures. They may be well-known for their impulsive decisions with little consideration for consequences and often find it challenging to maintain focus on a plan due to their desire for instant gratification. Although attempting to appear resourceful, they are often quite dependent on others for their success. Unfortunately, others rarely get the credit they deserve for being supportive.
Many aspire to have high-profile positions either professionally or within communities. They often crave the spotlight and can go to exorbitant means to exhibit qualities that will most likely catch people’s attention. Often, there is a preoccupation with their own physical appearance and may use methods like over-exaggerating their achievements, talents, or plans for future projects.
To create this image, they may be irresponsible with money or in fulfilling other obligations while they work to create a fantasy world. They are also more likely to distort facts, directly lie, or take credit for other people’s accomplishments or ideas. These people also may present an over-inflated sense of themselves, including describing themselves as hard workers, fulfilled, and happy when in reality they struggle with feeling empty, insecure, inferior, and flawed.
Narcissists rarely accept responsibility for a lack of success, often experience difficulties admitting when they are incorrect, and struggle with making apologies. If they get called out for concerning behaviors or feel that others are being critical of them, narcissists often become aggressive towards those who are confronting them and may provoke a fight. A narcissist often becomes aggressive or plays the victim by claiming that they are being abused and judged unfairly by others. They attack or attempt to discredit anyone who challenges them.
A narcissist is best known for being the ultimate chameleon who is adaptable to a variety of scenarios and environments. It’s more than simply being manipulative or “two-faced.” They actually possess multiple selections of “faces” that can be chosen depending on what they feel will be best suited to gain what they want. They will often attempt to gain control over others by any means necessary including using aggression, crying, guilt-trips, threats, blaming, or making false accusations. They might also fabricate vulnerability to lure others into a false sense of confidence or compassion when interacting with them. This is a manipulation and rarely an authentic expression.
They have difficulties managing healthy relationships and often focus on maintaining surface-level interactions to help ensure that people do not have opportunities to get to know them on a deeper level. They may be more interested in having fans or followers than actual friends. This provides a type of safety buffer so others are less likely to see through the façade.
A narcissists’ siren song can be incredibly hypnotic and alluring initially. When relationships do occur, they are often exciting and intense but quickly become unstable and chaotic. For those unfortunate enough to be pulled into their gravitational pull, it can sometimes feel like they have been welcomed into Eden or trapped under the ashes in Pompei. In good times, the relationship can feel magical, but during other, challenging periods, it can feel combative, frustrating, or emotionally distant. These creatures initially appear alluring, but their venom is extremely toxic, and their attacks can feel brutal.
Like with any cycle of behavior, narcissistic people can act in a series of expected ways. These relationships often begin with lots of passion, compliments, praise, and high levels of attention. These patterns will often continue until something happens where they either feel threatened, bored, or they find another source of fulfillment from someone or something else. After this happens, the current relationship will rapidly shift to their person of internet being rejected, criticized, or quickly discarded. After this happens, it is crap shoot if the relationship will remain in the discard pile or if attempts will be made to restart it again.
Narcissists seem to have a type of sixth sense to target the person who is likely able to give them what is wanted. Many times, the unfortunate victims of a narcissist possesses a variety of desirable qualities including being nurturing, compassionate, hard-working, financially stable, and thoughtful; they may also come across as somewhat insecure or emotionally vulnerable. They may also be hand-picked because of their education, talents, success, competence, or other qualities that are considered important or desirable. Sometimes, people are painfully aware of being charmed into supporting them, while others risk becoming unknowingly enchanted. Some are lulled into a type of romantic, hypnotized state, so they will go to exorbitant lengths to provide happiness, stability, or love to an individual who is using them for personal gains.
Although these people can initially appear to be extremely caring, warm, and kind, those behaviors can all quickly change, and a seemingly supportive relationship can take a sharp, dramatic turn. They may also attempt to destroy other relationships surrounding their target that they perceive as threatening in some way. For example, they may express concern that you are spending too much time or energy on someone or on an activity. They can find fault in what you are doing or express concern that your actions are detrimental to your wellbeing. Although often subtle, these people are jealous, insecure, and controlling in relationships.
It can feel like a relationship happening in a re-enactment of the classic story of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” where you may be unsure of which character you are facing at any given moment. Victims of a narcissist often develop a deeper connection with their abuser and feel they don’t want to give up on them. They frequently feel they need to walk on eggshells, censor themselves, or take the blame for situations that were not their fault to avoid conflict. Many times, the victim may feel pushed to their emotional limit and will experience intense feelings of loss, anger, or stupidity about being taken for an emotional or financial ride by a charming, manipulative liar.
Many times, victims are scared to confront the narcissist publicly out of fear backlash from their actions. It is this anxiety that often keeps these types of dangerous individuals in positions of power within communities. Narcissists can be master manipulators who are rarely exposed unless they are pushed past the limits of their ability to maintain their façade. If this happens, they are exposed as a weak, immature bully with a sense of entitlement and a false sense of power and influence over others. Their power and influence can quickly fade as they become identified as toxic individuals who have a strong reputation for being dishonest, deceitful, or not to be trusted.
Some people feel that narcissists have an inability to feel remorse for their actions; however, it is more likely that they hold a different set of ethical values than most. They may find it acceptable to take advantage of others or manipulate situations for their own benefit. This is often at the core of how a narcissist can get away with hurting others while still coming off as a good person. They are phenomenal actors.
It is important to develop skills helpful in protecting yourself against the initial attack of these individuals or to defend yourself if you are unfortunate enough to become intertwined. First of all, don’t take it personally or waste energy beating yourself up. These types of opportunists seek out their prey for their kindness and vulnerability.
It is imperative that you advocate for yourself by setting boundaries and sticking to your guns. If you choose to remain in the relationship with a narcissist, you should work on accepting that your needs will probably not be met, and it will likely be a matter of time before more disappointment or volatility returns. These dysfunctional patterns are buried deep within a narcissist’s personality and is unfortunately unlikely to change.
In our current society, those individuals who are identified as violating personal consent or as a sexual predator are aggressively confronted. However, these charming, emotional predators are somehow often excluded from this type of community scrutiny. It is important for victims, survivors, and supportive allies to speak out and confront narcissism around us. Stop letting these charming, opportunistic manipulators get away with hurting good people.