You’ve read hundreds of articles.
You’ve completed more checklists than Martha Stewart.
But still, you wonder…am I dealing with a 100% narcissist?
What if they’re only a narcissist some of the time?
What if they need my special kind of love and devotion?
This is the number one question I see out there in regards to narcissistic abuse recovery. And with good reason. Narcissists are masters at charades, making you believe that with any wrong move, you are throwing away all chances of keeping them in your life.
They make you doubt that they are 100% narcissist, which makes it seem so much harder to detach from the situation and do what’s best for you and your future.
In today’s video and article, I’m going to answer the burning question that I see all over the Internet and that is, How can I be sure that someone is 100% narcissist?
What Does Being 100% Narcissist Look Like?
If you look back in history, even the most horrific serial killers were not always 100% evil, so we can’t really go by the fact that sometimes, someone appears to be somewhat kind or nice.
Narcissists have all kinds of tricks in their bag that they use to fool you into thinking that perhaps they’re just a tortured soul who needs your special kind of love and understanding. This is why it is so commonly known that narcissists tend to prey on empathic people, or empaths, because empaths who haven’t successfully implemented their boundaries yet or learned how to protect their energy are often easier targets for narcissistic people.
And by the way, no judgment because I was that way for most of my life.
I have since learned to put up boundaries against anything that drains my energy. And in situations where I do need to be there for someone, I have learned how to protect my energy, to ground myself, and how to cleanse and purify my aura, or my energy field, afterward.
But, what does being 100% narcissist even look like?
There’s really no way to tell. I think where a lot of people get confused is when they’re going through checklists – and there are some good ones and there are some not-so-good ones out there. I generally recommend using the DSM criteria, but that’s just a scratch on a surface because it doesn’t really tell you exactly how they use those particular traits to abuse people. It just says how they are.
So, if you’re looking at someone and you’re trying to figure out, are they really a narcissist or are they a hundred percent narcissist, it doesn’t really matter.
We Don’t Need to Slap a Label on Someone to Justify Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship
This applies to any kind of relationship, whether it is a romantic partner, a friend, a family member, or a coworker. Sometimes, unfortunately, people do have to break free from their own family members.
Because someone has shown seeming moments of kindness or consideration does not mean that they were sincere during those times.
It also doesn’t mean that because they were nice last week when they fixed you a pasta dinner, that they’re not an abusive narcissist. A lot of narcissists are very generous and caring and considerate until you start trying to put up boundaries or until you begin pointing out the things that they’re doing. The reason they become angry is that they want to condition you not to bring up that they have been cruel or abusive.
What that might look like in practical measures is if someone has repeatedly lied to you, if someone has been unfaithful to you numerous times, and they keep making promises that they’re going to stop and then you find out they never stopped, or maybe they’re extremely verbally and emotionally abusive and they particularly do this when it’s just the two of you alone together.
Some of the more ‘garden variety’ types of narcissists don’t care about their appearance, so they might act a little wacky simply checking out at the grocery store with you. They might say things that are really unacceptable to you right in front of someone. Usually, it’s someone whom the narcissist deems as “lower” than they are. In those cases, they might feel a little more comfortable showing their true colors and, really, it’s to make you feel ashamed.
But not all narcissists do that.
A lot of times they look like the pillar of their community. They might do a lot of volunteer work, which is called the altruistic narcissist, but behind closed doors, you get this really weird vibe from them and that’s when they feel comfortable being verbally and emotionally abusive. That’s where they tend to shame you. So, we don’t need a label in order to break free from a relationship.
How Does Your Relationship Make You Feel on a Regular Basis?
I like to compare relationship dynamics to weather climates. What is your relationship climate? Do you have mostly sunny skies, maybe a little wind a couple of times a month, maybe a tsunami a few times a year? And then things are resolved in a respectable and reciprocal manner? Everyone cools off and comes back together as friends and as respecting partners, or whatever the case may be?
But if it’s the opposite, if there are volcanoes erupting every other day, you’re constantly putting out fires, and there are tsunamis and hurricanes going on all the time, but you had one day or two days during the month where things seemed a little smooth, you don’t want to focus on the two days. That is how we get ourselves into trouble is when we are not able to really look at the reality of the situation.
So if someone is really, really awful, 90% of the time, you don’t want to focus on the 10% because the thing you need to keep in mind is that most often the nice times when the narcissist seems like they’re being kind or considerate or generous, that’s an integrated part of the abuse. That’s what causes cognitive dissonance. It’s what causes you to doubt yourself and to doubt whether or not they’re actually abusive.
It ties into intermittent reinforcement, or as I like to call it, the hurt and rescue cycle.
They go along and they’re doing really hurtful things. They’re giving you the narcissistic silent treatment. They’re lying, they’re cheating, and then suddenly, “Come back honey. I just can’t make it without you. You’re in my blood. I can’t imagine my life without you. Please come back. I’ve promised things are going to be different this time. I promise I’m going to treat you the way you deserve.”
Does that sound familiar? It probably does. Now, there is a small percentage of narcissistic people who don’t do the romantic Hoover, but most of them do because we as empaths or as compassionate and caring, people want to be able to see and believe that there is good in everyone, but that’s not always the case.
If you’ve ever heard me talking about cognitive empathy, or maybe you’ve read one of my articles that I wrote on it, cognitive empathy is a very dangerous kind of empathy that narcissists use to get inside your head, find out what your deepest dreams, desires, and also your deepest fears are – your deepest wounds – so that they know better how to hurt you. Cognitive empathy is used by torturers, cult leaders, and even car salesmen.
So, when you think the narcissist is being nice or kind, it’s usually a charade. You definitely want to keep this in mind. So the question is not are they 100% narcissist? The question should be, how do I feel inside this relationship on a regular basis? What is the relationship climate?
A person who truly cares about you is not going to try to shame you. Another way that you can gauge whether someone is exhibiting narcissistic traits is that things were super romantic, fun, exciting and adventurous in the beginning of the relationship and you felt like you had this connection that you have never ever felt with anyone else.
That lasted maybe three to six months or so. And then, suddenly, the little digs about your appearance, the way you dress. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds, a person who truly cares about you and considers you a friend or a lover is not going to make you feel ashamed. Some may even feel a little closer to you. Maybe they feel like when you put on a few pounds, it means you’re happy in the relationship…and this happens a lot. This is one of the things narcissists don’t want you to know.
A Relationship With a Narcissist is Fun, Exciting and Cool… in the Beginning
But then over time, you feel less of yourself, you feel less confident, you feel less attractive and even less intelligent. You start to feel like people that you have known in your whole life suddenly are looking at you in a different light.
Now that may be true. There might be some people close to you who are looking at you when you’re talking about your relationship and they’re like, “Oh my God, I can’t even believe you’re telling me this!” and maybe you’re acting as though you can’t really tell if it’s really that bad and your friend’s looking at you like, “Whaaaaat??”
That means you have started to normalize the abuse and to normalize the dysfunction. This is a blueprint dynamic of a narcissistic relationship.
By contrast, in a regular relationship with a non-disordered person, the beginning of the relationship might be fun, but you might not have a connection right away. It might take a little while for you to build up a friendship and then as time goes on, you feel more comfortable with that person. You feel better about opening up. They’re not ridiculing you, they’re not using your deepest fears and desires and dreams and wishes against you.
They’re not using the things you told them as ammunition to break you down. These are the things you really want to focus on. Not whether someone is 100% narcissist.
Look at someone like Hitler. Consider the things he did, but he reportedly did not drink alcohol. There are so many different theories and stories out there, but according to one of his personal assistants, he didn’t even eat meat. He didn’t like the slaughter of animals.
Those are the things you should be looking at, instead of focusing on whether someone is 100% narcissist. Because someone might seem to have one or two good traits doesn’t make them a good person. Start tracking and monitoring your relationship climate just like you do the weather. And then after a few weeks, sit down and figure out what is the reality of the situation?
Have you started to normalize abusive behaviors? Are you trying to make excuses and justify someone’s bad behaviors towards you because you have the dream, the wish that the relationship might work out somehow?
Yes, we have to deal with the trauma bonding. We have to deal with biochemical addictions. That’s what makes leaving so difficult. But once you get out and you start to heal, you’ll begin to realize that everything was lies, chaos, and basically a circus.
After watching this video, if you feel like your relationship is toxic, make sure you check the links down in the description box below because I’ve included lots of really helpful links for you to help you start moving forward, detach from painful relationships, and begin the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse.
It’s not critical that you determine with absolute certainty that a person is “100% narcissist”. All abuse is abuse, and the only thing worse than being abused is wasting another day of your life dealing with a narcissist.
If you feel miserable and trapped in your relationship, that’s a problem that likely won’t improve on its own. Join the many wonderful folks in The Essential Break Free Bootcamp who have finally found freedom and are healing their own lives.
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