Narcissists can be extremely draining to be around.
After only a few minutes in the company of someone high on narcissism, you feel as if every single bit of energy has left your body, and you are going on autopilot. These incredibly toxic individuals are usually perfectly aware of the negative impact they have upon their victims. However, when it comes to emotional fatigue, they appear absolutely oblivious.
Instead of empathizing with you, narcissists intentionally wear you out so you are easier to manipulate. It’s all a part of their master plan to exploit you until you no longer serve them.
But why are they so eager to use you and everyone else around them?
In general, narcissists are people who have extraordinarily high self-esteem, believe they are the center of the universe, and demand everyone in their orbit to act upon it. Since they are incredibly self-absorbed, they are convinced that they are superior to others on every level possible. In their minds, not only are they more appealing than those around them, but they are also much more intelligent and competent. This type of mindset makes them believe they are entitled to behaving as if everyone else is their servant.
As Psychology Today reveals, a recent study dives into the exact reasons why narcissists are prone to exploiting those around them. Including you.
Research called “Self-serving social strategies: A systematic review of social cognition in narcissism,” conducted by Clare M. Eddy, suggests that narcissists’ “high self-efficacy combined with a competitive nature” might be the reason why they take their toll on others.
People high in narcissism tend to accomplish personal and professional achievements at ease, which helps them manipulate their colleagues, friends, and even their romantic partners “to gain opportunity and status.”
When it comes to “dark” narcissists, they tend to see others as objects, meaning they couldn’t care less about how they feel or what kind of emotions they experience.
Moreover, as Eddy claims, individuals with narcissistic personalities, who are accustomed to exploiting others, usually find it hard to distinguish themselves from the rest. They believe that their personal goals perfectly match those of the people around them. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for you to stop what you’re doing, ignore your individual interests, and start helping them follow their ambitions. Well, at least it does inside their minds.
What the expert found was that narcissists fail to understand the following four categories of abilities:
- Theory of Mind: understanding others’ mental states(beliefs, desires, and intentions).
- Basic emotion recognition: identifying accurately another person’s emotional state.
- Empathy: relating to another person’s emotional state.
- Emotional intelligence: effectively understanding and responding to the emotional states of others and of oneself.
Is there a narcissist in your circle that lacks these emotional competencies?
Simply put, narcissists push you to the edge of total exhaustion because they don’t see that you are tired.
Following an in-depth analysis of these social cognitive abilities, Eddy established that people with intense narcissistic personalities are unable to determine the exact emotional state of those around them. While you may be feeling on the verge of a mental breakdown, your narcissistic partner, for example, may think you are beyond overjoyed. Since they lack empathy, they cannot see the pain in your eyes, even when it’s obvious from miles away.
One of the main reasons narcissists are unable to treat you with compassion is that they believe empathy is a sign of weakness. These self-centered individuals are convinced that if they begin caring about others’ feelings, they would appear vulnerable and their true nature might get exposed. Besides, they fear what might follow after they find out the real extend of the harm their actions cause. This attitude is typical for vulnerable narcissists.
On the other hand, narcissists with a grandiose perception of self see themselves as superior to others. They spend little to no time determining the emotions of those around them. However, they do take their time to figure out what others are concerned with, only to use this knowledge to manipulate them. This tendency can be spotted in narcissists’ relationships, because, as Eddy explains, in a romantic aspect, narcissistic individuals seek to “control the partner’s mind, rather than their heart.”
So, what can you do to escape the narcissist’s constant energy-draining demands?
Usually, although narcissists have zero sense of empathy, they are well aware of how to use your emotions to control you. In such cases, your breakout may be to avoid falling for their “theory of mind” manipulations. In other words, you should never let them, or anyone else, bend you to their will. Because once they do, not only will you lose your energy, but you might also lose your else of self, your motivation to move forward, and your freedom.
Another way to reduce a narcissist’s reinforcement impact is to try an approach of gentle refusal. While acknowledging the importance of their request, you can assert that you are unwilling to do what they are asking of you. Depending on your relationship with the narcissist, whether it is your boss, your parent, or your significant other, you can determine the tone you lead the conversation with.
If the narcissist turns out to be your partner, you can work on promoting empathy in their mindset. While it is going to be undeniably challenging, you have the power to influence the way they treat you. As you are explaining to them how their impossible demands are making you feel, you can also show them ways of how both of you can benefit from your relationship by making compromises. No one says it will be easy, but it is definitely worth a try if love is still in the picture.