‘How do I know I’m not the narcissist???’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this frantic question. But let me tell you.
Asking yourself this is a testament to the fact that the narcissist is inside your head, and the abuse is working.
It’s also clear evidence that you are simply not a narcissist.
Reading these few words isn’t going to convince you though, right?
I’m guessing that for you to be asking yourself this, your journey of recovery has progressed to the point where you’ve done a heap of reading on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
You’re at the stage where you have a solid handle on the disorder, its symptoms, and the manipulation strategies used by abusive narcissists.
This must be the case or you wouldn’t be worried that you are narcissistic, as the phenomenon and associated behavior wouldn’t mean all that much to you right now.
With all the information you’ve gathered, and more importantly because of the narcissist’s brainwashing about who and what you are, the question niggles at you…you are scanning yourself, your behaviours, things you’ve done and haven’t done that could be classified as narcissistic…and here you are slap bang in the middle of freakoutsville.
This article assumes these two things: 1) that you are pretty clear on NPD, and 2) the thought of being a narc scares the crap out of you.
Here is your big dose of logic that YOU ARE NOT THE NARC!
Causes of thinking you might be the narc
The methods the narcissist uses to erode your understanding and belief in who you are, are all focused on breaking your spirit, and to maintain power and control over you. They do this for several reasons.
The first is to feed their addiction which is to secure external confirmation of their beliefs. This drives the need for constant reinforcement from you (and all that surround them) that they are superior, special, omnipotent, and entitled to all they desire in this world. This is the ‘supply’ the narcissist needs to survive.
The second key reason is to ensure your disempowerment. After all, so long as you feel this way, you believe you are trapped in a relationship with them.
It also means that your resistance to satisfying their addiction by meeting all their demands is low to nil. Supplying the narc becomes your priority, as it is and always will be theirs.
Enter gaslighting which we will consider for now to be all the manipulations employed to achieve your disempowerment. These are the tools used to brainwash you into believing you cannot trust your understanding of reality or your mental health.
When you are in this space you have essentially lost all trust in yourself. You are fully disempowered.
This is precisely how they want you. Doubting all you know of yourself and reality is the foundation needed for the narc to get away with pretty much anything.
During devaluation, brainwashing tactics come at you hard and fast. Let’s zoom in on a few to see how the narc plants the seed in your mind that you are the narcissist (and waters in well, with lots of fertilizer for vigorous growth).
Denial underpins all NPD defense mechanisms to protect the false self from confronting any truth about reality.
The narcissist unable to accept that they have any flaws uses projection as a defense mechanism to attribute what is unacceptable in themselves, onto you.
This, of course, means that narcissistic traits are regularly cited as your defects. Examples of your listed shortcomings might include ‘you’re so selfish’, ‘you think everything should be about you’, ‘you’re so manipulative’ etc.
2. Blaming you:
Similarly, the narcissist cannot accept any responsibility for any negative behaviors. A preferred ‘go-to’ when attempts are made to hold the narc to account is to blame you for the issues raised.
In this scenario, you will get a dose of projection (i.e.: a diatribe about your narcissistic traits) being the cause of their behavior.