Sometimes narcissists aren’t just people we date (don’t get me wrong they can be that too) but maybe it’s someone in your immediate family or a friend or an extended family member… It’s a person who plays a major role in your life and simply wants something different for you than you want for yourself. Someone who has programmed messages inside your brain that are inaccurate but you find yourself believing. Someone you love but it’s also a toxic relationship to engage in. It’s the type of love that hurts in a way because no matter what you do, it’s never enough for them and you’re left feeling inadequate because of it.
“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because they aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.” – Daniell Koepke
1. You’ve been told to repress how you feel.
Narcissists have the best poker face in the entire world. You will never know if something is bothering them. They are fake because they have to be.
The impact it has on people around them often results in one of two things, either you have an inability to communicate emotionally with how you feel so you don’t or a sense of being overly emotional.
2. You’ve been told everything is about how you look.
Narcissists are all about their appearance and how they look to others. On the outside, everything appears a little too perfect but behind closed doors is a very different story. They strive to create the perfect script and appear to have a perfect life because that’s what they want people to think.
Anyone who is affected by that is expected to play their role and not mess up this image.
3. You never feel good enough or accomplished enough.
When you’ve been affected by narcissism you are constantly trying too hard in every sense of the word. And it isn’t just with a relationship you might put 110% into. It’s in every part of your life. Maybe in school you always strived for As, maybe in sports, you cared too much about your stats, maybe in your career you are a workaholic. Someone who has been affected by narcissists have been told nothing they ever do is good enough. They are told they can always do more and strive to be better. But more than that accomplishments are never met with a pat on the back but rather someone telling them it’s not good enough.
4. You feel like there’s something missing in your life.
When someone affected by a narcissist they often feel empty lacking an essential emotional connection they needed with another important person. But when they look for it, they often find people exactly like that same person and it’s a cycle that continues of a void never filled. They seek people who are emotionally unavailable, emotionally abusive, someone they have to try for because they were taught love is something you have to earn that can be given and taken away at any moment. They are always looking to fill that emptiness.
5. You are very competitive.
There’s a competitive nature to you because you are taught everything is about being the best and striving for unrealistic expectations. It comes with setting the bar really high for yourself and beating yourself up if you don’t meet those goals and expectations. You think love can be earned through accomplishments and success, so you are always striving to do more.
This impacts relationships because you are always giving more than you get and going above and beyond for everyone to a point where you might be exhausted trying to please people.
You hate letting people down so you try not to.
6. You are indecisive.
When someone is constantly putting you down, belittling you, and building themselves up to make you feel small, suddenly you don’t trust yourself. Even when you know they are wrong you find yourself having a difficult time making the smallest choices from what to eat to what you wear. You know every choice you make is never the right one so you begin to never make choices confidently. More than that, you fear making the wrong choice and being reprimanded for it.
7. You lack self-confidence.
In one ear you have someone constantly telling you everything that’s wrong with you, you have someone pointing out your flaws, you have someone who never makes you feel good enough or smart enough or successful enough. Even when they aren’t there you hear the voice. In the other ear is a tinier voice you wish you believed that they are wrong. But you don’t listen. You should be the most confident person in the world but you aren’t because someone has told you all of these lies and when you hear these things enough you begin to repeat it yourself and believe it.
8. You never give yourself the credit you deserve.
Even as overachieving and accomplished as you might be, it’s never you that gets the credit. Your humble nature isn’t even a good quality as much as it is a flaw because you are always giving credit to someone else even if it was all you. You can’t bring yourself to be even a little bit cocky when you have a little bit of a right to. Because in your mind, even your greatest accomplishment doesn’t amount to the person you think you should be.
The skewed view of how you see yourself isn’t accurate at all but you don’t believe it.
9. You seek unhealthy relationships.
The most important relationship we have is with ourselves so when that isn’t healthy due to someone else’s negative influence, every relationship we seek is one looking to fill a avoid. It’s another emotionally abusive relationship we’d be better off without. But when you are used to something, that’s what you gravitate towards. The problem comes when you actual meet someone decent who would be good for you, it’s so unfamiliar you reject it and push them away.
10. You have anxiety or depression.
There is the anxiety of never feeling good enough or never feeling like the choices you make are right. There’s the anxiety of fear in unhealthy relationships where you worry will something bad happen again and was it me that caused it? You are walking on eggshells because at any moment that person can lose their shit and it’s always been you they take it out on.
Then there is depression. The depression you feel trying to fill that emotional void and feeling inadequate because you think it’s something you should provide for yourself. Let me start with if someone has not provided you emotionally with the connection you need in your life that is on them and just because it’s affected you doesn’t mean it’s your fault. Someone denying you of love you deserve simply because they lack love within themselves isn’t a character flaw in you. I repeat it isn’t your fault they can’t love you the way you deserve.
There’s the depression of never feeling good enough or accomplished enough. You associate happiness with success. You can’t always be number one and successful. So you get in the mindset, “I’ll be happy when…” This person has taught you love and happiness can be achieved through accomplishments and getting somewhere. The problem with this is happiness isn’t somewhere to arrive at, it’s something you work towards and take with you when you get there.
11. You find yourself fighting for control in your own life.
When narcissists affect your life it’s all about control. It’s something as little as a snide comment, a mean remark and it just sets you off and impacts you far more than it should. But narcissists know manipulation, they know what to say, when to say it and how exactly to get to you.
Control. Once a narcissist realizes they don’t have control over you, they will try and gain it back so they feel that power. But the moment you stand up to them and walk away, they lose their power. Everything comes down to power with them. The moment you stop being affected emotionally by their comments, they might never stop saying those things but it will stop affecting you.
Narcists can’t control parts of their own life so they try and control others and use people to play a part in this story of their life they are trying to create. Once you take away that power you’ll realize you get your life back.
The after effect is anything but simply moving on. You take everything with you and it’s about reprogramming everything you’ve been told and recognizing within yourself when something is healthy and it isn’t.
It’s learning to choose the right people who build you up instead of knocking you down.
It’s about being good enough for yourself and living up to those expectations.
Strength is learning to love yourself when someone else wasn’t able to.