Narcissists are everywhere you turn in life. You exercise alongside them at the gym, chat with them at the grocery store, worship with them at church, cheer on your kids together at youth sporting events. They radiate qualities you admire and aspire to like confidence, a sense of humor, and the innate ability to know exactly what to say in any given situation.
They always seem to be there to pick you up when you’re feeling down, provide words of confidence when your resolve wavers, and make you laugh when you are taking yourself too seriously.
At the same time, they can also tear you down in ways you never thought possible.
Their methods are deceptive; they find you at your lowest point, offering the support and encouragement you so desperately need. They help to ease your pain.
Then suddenly, everything changes. The same person who went to such lengths to build you up is now exclusively devoted to tearing you down.
And the worst part is that you let it happen. You have learned to not only implicitly trust them, but to use their perceptions of you as the sole litmus test for your self-worth.
They will call you worse names than you ever called yourself even in your darkest moments, and you let them.
You let them stand in front of you and say these horrible things directly to your face because they have somehow convinced you they have the right to do so.
There are no limits to the depths of their cruelty or the brazenness of their tactics.
Nothing is off-limits. Lying is not just second nature; it is their default mental state. And they are amazing liars, because to them, the lies are true.
Their total disconnect from reality allows them to say just about anything and keep a straight face while doing so.
If you question them, your suspicions somehow get turned around and thrown right back at you like an emotional boomerang.
Compounding the sense of hopelessness is the fact that nobody else can see through the narcissist’s facade. They don’t understand how you could say such things about someone who has done so much for you.
Before long, you are under attack for trying to smear someone who on the surface had gone above and beyond to help you when you needed it most.
If there is any silver lining from letting a narcissist into your life, it is that their self-importance and self-confidence is an illusion, and they know it.
Their life is so fractured that their mind allows them to reconstruct reality in a way that they can endure. And they use co-dependent victims like you to keep their illusions alive.
At the core of the narcissist’s behavior is envy. Deep down they know they are the one who is broken, and they are unable to let their vulnerabilities to surface; therefore, healing is nearly impossible.
Instead of doing the real work involved in self-care and personal development, they choose the easier path of preying on the insecurities of others and exploiting them for temporary gratification.
The key is remembering that you have the power to save yourself from a narcissist. The only question is whether you allow yourself to rise above and use that power.
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Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives