Every day thousands of people do things they never wanted to do because they are afraid of offending someone who is bullying them. I’m not talking about a grade school scenario where a bully steals someone’s lunch money. I am talking about dysfunctional family dynamics that are toxic due to narcissism.
We’ve all known people who think of no one but themselves, but the narcissist is more than selfish, he wants to take all you have and if you won’t give it up, he’ll find a way to make you regret it. Your relationship with a narcissist can go from him flattering you to seeking revenge in a very short time.
It seems there are a lot of people who have been victims of narcissism, but they had no idea what a narcissist was until it was too late. I have a good friend who used to be a millionaire until she met a narcissist who embedded himself into her life and accounts and friendships and he took her for a ride. Fortunately, she was able to bounce back on her feet, but the experience was grueling.
I used to think a narcissist was someone who dressed spiffy and liked to look at himself in the mirror, but that’s a simple caricature of a narcissist. So what exactly is a narcissist? There is such a thing as a narcissistic scale and we all fit on it. To some degree as I have been told it is like a scale of self-confidence, but once someone passes a certain mark, they are no longer manifesting healthy self-worth, but malignant narcissism.
A malignant narcissist is someone who is concerned with self and survival of the fittest. They use other people and seek revenge on those who cross them. They have no empathy for their victims or anyone else. If they appear to be empathetic, it is just a ruse to get someone on their side so they can use them.
When you have money, they wonder how to get it from you. If you cook dinner; they want to eat it and don’t leave anything for whoever else is at the table. If they see you have a new toy; they have no shame trying to take it from you. But what really sets the malignant narcissist apart is their lack of empathy and desire to get even with you when you don’t do as they ask. They will ask you to play a game that you can never win. Of course the narcissist sees it as more than a game–they will act as if it is life and death quest for survival of the fittest. The narc always has to be right and they always have to win.
M. Scott Peck calls such characters “the people of the lie.” Maya Angelou talks about people who commit little murders. The narcissist is out to kill your reputation and they have tools in their bag that a nice person like you never dreamed of using. This is why I am writing this blog–I am writing it to increase awareness and understanding about narcissism because many of us have been used and abused by them.
As you read the ways a narcissist will try to damage your life and reputation, there is one thing I must caution you against and that is using those tools back on the narcissist or anyone else. Power misused and revenge sought will only harm your soul and make you forget what it is like to love honestly and fully and then sadly, you too could become like the narcissist. When you know you’re being mistreated, try think of a way to pay it forward so you can stay grounded in love.