Narcissistic personalities can be draining for those they’re closest with. Oftentimes, you may not recognize a narcissist’s toxic behavior, especially if they use flattery and praise to control you. Oftentimes, those who are manipulated by guilt are the ones who tend to recognize the behavior first, especially if they seek the guidance of a therapist who can point out the toxic behavior early on. For those who are controlled by praise and support, they will typically notice a shift in the narcissist’s behavior and treatment of them if they slide out of his or her control. For those that are manipulated by a narcissist, they often feel the following emotions. If any of these feel familiar to you, your parent, sibling, partner, or friend may be using a tactic to control and manipulate you.
1. You apologize all the time.
Even when you’re not wrong, you somehow still end up apologizing for hurting the narcissist’s feelings. Victims usually end up doing this to “keep the peace” when they know the narcissist can fly off the handle when they don’t get what they want. Furthermore, victims may apologize when the narcissist twists facts to fit their narrative. This is a technique called gaslighting and it can convince you of wrongdoing that didn’t actually happen.
2. You’re overly anxious or always worried about hurting them.
Remember when I said victims may try to keep the peace? I wasn’t exaggerating. A narcissist’s incessant control will often turn into explosive rage if they don’t get what they want, even if it is something as simple as seeing you at an event or on the weekend. Because their reaction is so out of control, victims may think it’s easier to just appease the narcissist by giving them whatever they want to avoid a fight. In reality, all this does is further the cycle of emotional abuse.
3. You’re emotionally exhausted.
Dealing with a narcissist can cause you to feel like nothing you do is good enough. When you try to do something as simple as have a conversation, you often find yourself in the middle of a dramatic episode that escalated purely as a result of the narcissist. This is why conversations can go from zero to 60 in a matter of minutes, leaving you feeling confused and exhausted. This mental exhaustion can result in you not wanting to partake in your favorite hobbies and even cause depression, forgetfulness, difficulty falling or staying asleep, weight loss or gain, and so much more.
4. You don’t feel like you’re “good enough.”
A narcissist has impossible standards because all they genuinely want from their relationships is total control. When they feel like they don’t have that control or feel like they’re losing it, they’ll do everything they can to try and convince you that you’re wrong or diminish your feelings. Narcissists are incapable of taking any sort of criticism or blame and instead will always blame others for their feelings. You can call, visit, set aside your plans and make sacrifices as often as you can and the one time you say “no,” it’ll prompt the narcissist to say things like, “Why don’t you care about me?” or “All I want is to see you.” A narcissist is a master at making you feel like taking time for yourself or having your own life is selfish.
Newsflash: it’s not.
5. You question yourself and your actions.
A victim of a narcissist may often turn to other friends or relatives and ask if they’re the problem. This can be problematic if the person the victim turns to is controlled by the narcissist through flattery because they will defend the narcissist at all costs. This is why it’s so important to seek the guidance and support of a therapist because they will be able to look at situations through an analytical lens and not be blinded by emotion. A narcissist can leave you feeling confused, which is what they want because you’re easier to control when you’re vulnerable. A narcissist will prey upon a person’s shortcomings.
6. You’re sad or depressed.
Narcissists are prompted by emotion, not logic, so when you’re only guided by your emotions, you’re going to attack someone’s character every chance you get. This can be extremely painful for the victim who feels like they’re constantly being insulted and devalued by the person they love. This can cause victims to become depressed and ashamed, feeling like they’re to blame for the failed relationship when in actuality, nothing could be further from the truth.