“If lack of empathy isn’t a hallmark of an antisocial individual, then what is?” – Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) by the American Psychiatric Association has attributed a lack of empathy as an essential feature of narcissism, which, develops from a young age and surfaces in a number of different ways according to the acclaimed journal.
The word “narcissist” is flung around loosely and with the wrong context these days, usually referring to people who are self-absorbed or just plain selfish. If we were to go by the textbook definition of narcissism, most of us would check many of the boxes, however, some people make it more obvious than others.
People with this condition are commonly described as apathetic, arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and deliberately exploitative.
If we closely examine the relationship that narcissists have with others, we can see the contrast between true narcissists and their victims.
Usually the pain caused by such an individual is from the victim placing their well intended, but misguided trust into someone who does not return the favour, or has no idea what to do with the victim’s emotional contribution.
The purpose of this article is to identify and underline the frequent, and often misunderstood, behaviours of narcissists and how they can affect your life. It should be our obligation as loving human beings to make ourselves and others aware of the potential hazards left in the wake of narcissistic abuse.
Here are 5 things all narcissists do to try and take advantage of others:
If you have proof that they are wrong, or if you confront a narcissist about something they have said or done, they will immediately engage one of their favourite sneaky tactics: triangulation.
Triangulation is when the narcissist bring another person into your issue, and paints a very inaccurate picture for them, thereby making you out to be the bad guy (once again) while they receive emotional support on the sidelines. Eventually you start to feel like your friends have chosen the narcissist over you. Be careful! The narcissist wants you to compete for their affection and attention.
2. Wearing a mask
You think you know someone…it turns out, you only know what they want you to see.
Narcissists are constantly performing an act; from the moment you first meet them, a narcissist wears a mask. They start out by showing you a false version of themselves- someone who is caring, supportive, and kind. Yet as soon as they get what they want from you, the facade falls, and the hurtful remarks follow.
One way to spot someone’s true identity is to look for signs of empathy. As Dr. Samenow explains, empathy is a fundamental trait of a healthy functioning personality type, and it’s something narcissists lack.
3. The blame game
Did they say something incredibly hurtful? “You misunderstood.” Did they make a joke at your expense in front of others? “You’re too sensitive.” Did they conveniently forget something important? “You weren’t being clear.”
Regardless of what happens, the narcissist is never to blame. In their world, “it’s not me, it’s you” is their common response, and trying to prove otherwise is merely cannon fodder. Narcissists will always try to make you feel bad for something they have done, and they don’t care who they hurt along the way.
4. Chameleon personality
Depending on who they are around, a narcissist will change their personality. They will try to appease whoever is near them, simply to look like a decent person. After all, they will eventually need someone in their corner to back them up. So, they take on personality aspects of those around them.
This is a sneaky tactic narcissists use to make others believe they have something in common with them, in hopes of aligning them for whatever purpose they have in mind. Remember, a narcissist doesn’t have an authentic personality, so if you notice someone who acts like a chameleon around others, best to stay away.
5. The devalue and discard method
After the narcissist gets what they want from you, they will end the relationship. However, it will never be an easy break; it will be full of toxicity, drama, and chaos…just the way they like it.
They will start by pointing out everything “you did wrong” in the relationship, and mention the numerous times “you hurt them.” By removing your role as the victim, they believe they walk away with all the power. This is when the discarding takes place.
They will contact all of your mutual friends to talk about what an awful person you were, and the horrible things you made them go through, followed by a strong recommendation to cut all ties with you. They will continue the psychological abuse by attempting to block you out of your familiar social circles, and by spreading as many lies as possible. Your real friends will see through this ploy, however, and will remain by your side through the storm.
Narcissists are sneaky, but their not as smart as they would like to believe. There are those who can see through the narcissist’s toxic games, and they will call one out every single time.
By Raven Fon