5 Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head

Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head

5. The false self and the true self.

The narcissist hides behind the armor of a “false self,” a construct of qualities and traits that he or she usually presents to the outside world. Due to this armor, you are unlikely to comprehend the full extent of a narcissist’s inhumanity and lack of empathy until you are in the discard phase. This can make it difficult to pinpoint who the narcissistic abuser truly is – the sweet, charming and seemingly remorseful person that appears shortly after the abuse, or the abusive partner who ridicules, invalidates and belittles you on a daily basis? You suffer a great deal of cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile the illusion the narcissist first presented to you with the tormenting behaviors he or she subjects you to. In order to cope with this cognitive dissonance, you might blame yourself for his or her abusive behavior and attempt to “improve” yourself when you have done nothing wrong, just to uphold your belief in the narcissist’s false self during the devaluation phase.

Related: The False Self vs The Real Self by Teal Scott Swan

During the discard phase, the narcissist reveals the true self – the genuinely abusive and abrasive personality beneath the shallow veneer rears its ugly head and you get a glimpse of the cruelty that was lurking within all along. You bear witness to his or her cold, callous indifference as you are discarded. You might think this is only a momentary lapse into inhumanity, but actually, it is as close you will ever get to seeing the narcissist’s true self.

The manipulative, conniving charm that existed in the beginning is no more – instead, it is replaced by the genuine contempt that the narcissist felt for you all along. See, narcissists don’t truly feel empathy or love for others – so during the discard phase, they feel absolutely nothing for you except the excitement of having exhausted another source of supply. You were just another source of supply, so do not fool yourself into thinking that the magical connection that existed in the beginning was in any way real. It was an illusion, much like the identity of the narcissist was an illusion.

These are five powerful ways narcissists get inside your head.

It is time to pick up the pieces, go No Contact, heal, and move forward. You were not only a victim of narcissistic abuse but a survivor.  Owning this dual status as both victim and survivor permits you to own your agency after the abuse and to live the life you were meant to lead – one filled with self-care, self-love, respect, and compassion.

This is a copyrighted excerpt from the book, Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself and first appeared on Self-Care Haven. It has been reprinted with the permission of the author by TheMindsJournal.

5 Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head
5 Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head

Interested in learning more about narcissistic abuse? Pre-order my new book on narcissistic abuse, Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself.

Copyright © 2015, 2016 by Shahida Arabi.  All rights reserved, including translation rights. No part of this entry, which is an excerpt from a copyrighted book, may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author.

Five Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head
5 Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head
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25 thoughts on “5 Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head”

  1. OMG while reading this article i was feeling like this is exactly about the same person i knew few days back..so he was a sycho!!!?? your article will help me a lot to come out of that trauma..i was feeling very low these kind of ppl can make u feel unworthy inadequote guilty and so on…nd i was doing exactly the same i was trying to find my mistakes bt did not suceed bcz i did nthg wrong…thankGod its over..your article is like an angelic msg for me so that i can easily let go that mad person…may God bless u with all the hapiness nd gd health.. thanks a lot dear

  2. I feel so sad for the ppl who say they are staying for some higher purpose. It is not righteous to learn to peacefully endure abuse. It is not spiritual to subject yourself to sickness and tell yourself its for your growth. This is codependency. There is no world in which staying with an abuser help us or them. If they want help they will get it. Its not our job to be our partners treatment provider. I hear a lot of justification and guilt and denial. We have all been there. Our integrity is restored by having enough self esteem to not enable these ppl. A lot of us have grown up taking care of others needs all the time. Or confusing pity for love. These ppl are responsible for there own lives and we are for ours.

  3. I know a person that was close to me like that, she ruins people wherever she goes, destroys them, they believed her evil pity stories , got sucked in, then she goes for the jugular.

  4. Spot-on behaviour…. worst case of abuse and takes a long time to come to terms with. If you recognise this behaviour, cut them out of your life forever, concentrate on healing yourself and forget about justice ever being served. People you learned to love whilst with them ( family, friends) is already being “gaslighted” and they have to make a stand themselves. Do not count on their support in the process of healing yourself – the end also means loosing people you loved and respected whilst with such a person.

  5. Thanks for this article. I hope that as many women read it as much as possible! Your description is perfect. I was in a relationship with one and I’m a survival. I went through all the phases mentioned… It was the worst time in my life. After 4 years of abuse I managed to get a room in a friend’s house to run away and report to police. I had a record where he clearly says that he have the right to kill me if I leave him. He got arrested and deported! The “no contact” is exactly what the police told me to do! And I did. Later I was going through almost 3years of depression… Trying to find my place…Feeling lost. Luckily I have met a great man, who helped me move forward. It has been 5 years… Im happy and balanced now ?

  6. I lived this life for quite a while before a college psych class helped me realize what was going on and why I felt so crazy. I moved out but he made it impossible to “move on”.
    There are so many books and articles that boil-down the narcissists and/or emotional abuse to an understandable list, but what next? Please write about breaking free, fixing a broken self image (not your typical version of low self-esteem) and countering the smear campaign….and how to help the children who survive these nightmares too.

  7. Christian Cordero

    It is a great article, indeed. There is another way to see it, though. I am a Regression Past life Therapist and I am in a relationship with someone with most of what is written here, for about three years now. As Edgard Cayce said, there are no problems, only opportunities to solve issues that we have been dragging from past lives. So if I have a partner like that, there is an opportunity for me to step up and if I maintain my integrity, meaning not to be emotional, nothing will stick to me. There is a whole new world out there when you start seeing the energetic side of ourselves as we are more than the physical body. Our emotional body is one of the most difficult to master, so we need time and we usually leave the lesson for another timeline. She is my mirror and I am at awe with the transformation she is having as I have changed into a more grounded and loving standpoint. It is a very tough mirror that I am glad I have faced and being able to bring my partner to my level instead of me coming down to hers. As a practitioner, the lessons that experiencing these events has brought me so much understanding and clarity to pass it on or use it with clients. The astral body we do not see it, we feel it and if the heart is not taking part, new ways to face the mirror will not emerge. An empath lacking grounding has unresolved mother issues. Grounding allows the empath to feel somebody else’s emotions in others without “downloading” them onto you. Thanks for the great article!

    1. I now look at my encounters with Narcissists from ‘where I am today’ as an opportunity to gain an understanding and insight so as to not to become entangled yet another time in a dysfunctional relationship. A Narcissist as suggested in this article (and life experience) has helped me to understand – they have the ability to transform into whomever they feel you want them to be; they are the chameleon’s chameleon! One of the attractions of the narcissist’s supplies might be that they realize we try to ‘recycle and fix’ rather than ‘discard the item that is broken’. Not for nothing, but if my car is broken beyond repair, for what reason would I endure a relationship with it? It’s not a relationship if the other person is incapable, let alone deceitful, of reciprocation. This in no way equates with not being a caring and loving, grounded individual, it only is said to call attention that due to the amount of trauma and havoc a narcissist creates, trying to ‘fix them’ should not be added to the hardships a survivor need take on.

    2. It got powerfully my attention that most comments in this blog agree on one single thing: in order to stay sane one has to run away from the narcissist, but Christian offers a different approach: using the narcissist as a mirror to our own emotions which finally will lead us to a transformation in our lives, an opportunity to grow as spiritual beings. I been always attracted to narcissists and all my relationships have always followed the same pattern. As a matter of fact, I am currently in this kind of relationship (the article amazingly and accurately describes all the stages and characteristics of it) and i have to add this is the hardest one I’ve ever faced. It is so because this time I knew inside me that I had to stay, even though my first impulse was to run away because I was so afraid of all the pain and turmoil l knew it will bring to my life. But this time something very important happened to me: I woke up to a different level of consciousness, my spiritual level. Now, I know we are more than this body we live in. We are beings of light. You are right Christian, the emotional body is very difficult to master, but we have to do so if we want to grow as spiritual beings. The reason why my intuition urged me to stay instead of running away was because my spirit recognized this relationship as a growth opportunity. An excellent one because he is an amazing mirror where my emotions get reflected. Paulo Coelho says in “The Alquemist”: when you want something, the universe conspires for you to get it. I absoluetly believe so.
      I don’t know if I’m going to teach him lessons as he is teaching me, but I consider very important no to seek so very hardly. I don’t concentrate on “fixing him”, l rather pay attention to my issues and, if he is going to learn something from me, he will anyway. As I change without compromising my integrity, I’ve seen some changes in him also. But l dont know if he is ready to appreciate and love me back the way I’d like. This is hard but important to accept ,since my goal is spiritual growth.
      This approach to narcissists is a brave one. It takes guts!! It requires an open mind and heart, and not everyone is ready to adopt it. It depends on the spiritual level they are at, but I would continue stuck in my spiritual growth if i don’s see this narcissist as my opportunity rather than my problem.
      Thanks so much for sharing Christian, I’m not surprised with the kind of work you do.

  8. Oh my God I know this women.She married a close family member of mine!I describes her perfectly.It scared me just reading it.If you get involved with a person like this run don’t walk away!I promise you it has nothing but a horrible ending.

  9. Wow … that’s what is wrong with my husband of 32 years. I’ve been putting up with everything mentioned in this article all these years and just now realized that he’s a narcissist. I knew he had a mental disorder, but thought it was along the lines of mental retardation (for lack of a better term) because of his overtly mean and backward behavior that he expects me to think is normal, while insisting that there’s something wrong with ME. Wow … he’s a classic, alright … a classic narcissist!

    1. I’ve been living with one for 19 years and I feel trapped. Away from my mother country, away from my second country and with no falily around. I am so desperate for salvation and I don’t know how to break free. How have you been feeling about yourself after 32 years?

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