stop proving yourself to the narcissist

3 Reasons to Stop Proving Yourself to the Narcissist

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Want to learn why you should stop proving yourself to the narcissist?

We’ve all been there. 

Doing the humiliating dance of trying to prove our worth to the narcissist. Stripping ourselves bare of our entire identities in order to gain a crumb of validation from them.

Honestly, though, they should be trying to gain your approval, not the other way around.  

Frankly, the narcissist is not the kind of person you should be trying to prove yourself to.

In this article:

I’ll walk you through the step-by-step reasons why the narcissist isn’t worthy of your undying efforts and show you tools and resources that’ll put you on the path to healing from narcissistic abuse.

You’ll create a way forward and stop auditioning for the narcissist like you’re up for a role in a Hollywood script.

Sound good?

Let’s dive right in.

Video Transcript:

3 Reasons to Stop Proving Yourself to the Narcissist

1 – They’re Dishonest

If you’ve found yourself the target of narcissistic abuse, I’ll speculate that you’re a reasonably honest person…maybe too honest. What do I mean by that? Let me ask you a question…whether the narcissist in your life is a friend, coworker, or romantic partner, how soon did you share all your deepest secrets with them? How raw and vulnerable have you allowed yourself to be?

How honest do you continue to be with them, even though you’ve caught them in numerous lies?

The biggest mistake I see with clients and followers is this…despite the narcissist being a total liar, their targets are still painfully honest with them, freely giving away information that the narcissist then uses as ammunition. 

You don’t have to reveal all your innermost secrets and plans to a dishonest person. Wanting to protect your well-being and your future doesn’t make you a liar; it makes you smart. Furthermore, divulging everything to the narcissist doesn’t make them view you in a more positive light. It makes them think you’re gullible and easy to take advantage of, all while they continue to lie to your face left-and-right. 

From now on, you should consider making the narcissist prove they’re honest before you even consider sharing important information with them.

2 – They’re Unfaithful

Narcissists are notorious cheaters. They do not bond emotionally with their partners and are always looking for the next shiny object for entertainment and an escape from boredom.

Because of this, they are also notorious for blaming their partners FOR their cheating.

Narcissists who cheat aren’t doing it because there’s anything wrong with you. They do it because they have low moral values, a lack of willpower, and a severe lack of gratitude for what you’ve offered them in your relationship.

Forgiving the narcissist isn’t going to do anything to improve your chances with them. In fact, forgiving a cheating narcissist is the same as permitting them to keep doing it…and they WILL keep doing it.

No, the narcissist needs to prove they’re trustworthy, not the other way around. And this is very unlikely to happen because narcissists are the most untrustworthy people on the planet.

3 – They Have No Morals

Narcissists have no moral compass. They will do anything (and I mean ANYTHING) to fulfill their pathological agendas.

If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissistic individual for any length of time, you’ve likely already figured this out for yourself. Even if you caught them doing something shady or unacceptable, they probably gave you a reasonable-sounding explanation, causing you to go back into your bubble where they are just a normal person, trying to live their lives like everyone else.

But here’s the deal…the things you KNOW about the narcissist are just the tip of the iceberg.

Underneath the murky waters, there’s a whole undiscovered world down there.

narcissist mind games

According to Dr. Athena Staik, Ph.D., narcissism is a severe cognitive disturbance and is regarded as an enduring character disorder by the DSM; this means the prognosis for recovery is zero to none. This disturbance is characterized by the absence of an internal value system, a set of core emotion-drives that universally guide human beings’ decision-making behaviors in relationships.

Nothing repels narcissists more than the human traits of caring, tenderness, and compassion for others.

We can deduce, then, that no amount of trying to prove yourself to the narcissist will ever make a difference in their opinion of you. Instead, consider dropping your attachment to what they think and realize that no person alive is good enough for the narcissistic individual owing to their lack of empathy and sense of entitlement.

Instead of focusing on the narcissist’s opinion, who is a pathological liar, anyhow…reflect on the opinion you have of yourself. If that has been damaged during your relationship with a narcissist, consider asking your friends and family who care about you.

Even if narcissists can see that you have skills in any area of life, their whole agenda rests on making you feel worthless. This is precisely how they keep you auditioning and playing nice. If they can make you feel you’ve let them down or are no longer appealing to them, this is how they can extract copious amounts of narcissistic supply if you play into their game.

It’s time to stop trying to prove yourself to the narcissist, trying to gain their approval, their admiration, or their acceptance, because the whole structure of narcissistic abuse is designed to make you feel like you can never be good enough.

And that’s the way you will always feel as long as you’re in a relationship with them.

The Only Way to Make Things Work With the Narcissist

Sure, during hoovering, they can be compelling and make you believe they didn’t mean what they said; that they really think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. But if there is a pattern of emotional and verbal abuse, this is all part of the narcissistic abuse cycle (or the power and control cycle). Therefore, it is important to try to get to a place within yourself of radical acceptance and radically accept that the narcissist cannot change. 

Stop resisting, stop fighting, stop feeding into the “what if” scenarios. Stop trying to appeal to their long-gone inner child.

These actions are exhausting, and they can take a tremendous toll on your physical and mental well-being.

Narcissists are who they are. By radically accepting them and choosing to stay in a relationship with them, it means you take the good and the bad without expecting them to change and without being surprised every time they betray you, yet again. These are really the only two choices you have.

You are dealing with a narcissistic individual.  Accept them the way they are and stop trying to force them into this image of who you want them to be. Accept them for who they are with all their betrayals, all their lies, all their cheating, their low morals, their lack of empathy…accept them that way.

If you really want to keep them in your life, that’s the only way you can do it…by accepting them for who they are. But that’s not really a way to live. Many people think to themselves, Well, I will martyr myself and just accept the narcissist for who they are because I can’t stand the thought of them not being in my life.

But it’s only a matter of time until you realize that this is no way to live because your mental well-being will continue to deteriorate. And that’s not even to mention all the physical manifestations that trauma will cause within your physical body. That’s really no way to live. And I hope you’ll see that today after reading this article.

Do you need help and resources to break free from narcissistic abuse in your relationship?

If so, I’d like to invite you to explore The Essential Break Free Bootcamp.  If you’re trapped in a toxic relationship or marriage,
this program can help.  

The Essential Break Free Bootcamp will give you the exact strategies to help you discover the key to transformational healing and overcoming the addiction to drama and trauma.  This practical and easy-to-follow program has helped thousands of people from all over the world to break free from suffering and trauma… and successfully guided them through the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse.

Learn more here!

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Tina says March 9, 2024

I met my covert narcissist ex while I was finishing up my MSW degree and his wife of 30 yrs was leaving him. (Yes, I should have known better) but He was listening to what I said before I knew his story or even considered dating him.
It was that men always compliment my looks and ignore my mind and accomplishments. Clued him in on the best love bombing towards me ever. That coupled with him having a take charge attitude (control domination) triggered in me Limerence- looking back the Limerence hooked him on ME as a great narcissistic feed. The first of three go arounds, lasted 6 months. I was crushing hard and he’d be so rude. I’d run away, ruminate then come back and apologize, for being so scattered. I knew I was looking like the crazy one. Breaking up that time I went no contact for 3 years. Sure wish I could have remember why I had such instincts.
Second time around, he told me I had gotten him wrong and it really bothered him that I thought poorly of him. So I gave it another chance, slowed down, paid more attention and tried very hard to communicate my needs well. Mind you, I was now a new mental health therapist. My adult children didn’t like him, my friends didn’t like him , but he had such an effect on me. Within a month he was suggesting that I sell my house and pay off the rest of his house and live with him. I didn’t. I did notice he actually enjoyed me being frustrated. When he gaslighted about some events first time around, I wondered if he believed himself. – I have discovered that the confusion we face while being hurt also causes us to stick around trying to clarify what’s going on. This time it lasted
four months. I directly asked for emotional reassurance, plainly, “its just what I need, today now.” He couldn’t. I left #2 in a way that should have made him angry. He never showed that.
Not even in the final Go Around, which started with a grand gesture. (YES, i had to explain to f&f that I was trying again again.) He went quickly into his entitlement less covert. Even tho saying he was impressed by my career determination, he was sabotaging me by disregarding boundaries and draining my energy. It was 2 years since the previous try and i still had tolerance to how he frustrated me! But this one lasted 2 months.
Why does he keep coming back for me. Man did I crush on him that first time, while his wife was exiting stage left. He’s still looking for that feed.
So he tried again later that year, and I was just feeling friendly as we had never made it to winter or holidays. He started the bombing, I felt myself starting to fall for it. So I questioned him why would anything be different this time. He took on victim role and I had him exit with his Xmas gifts and all. I thought it was pretty smart, but he was still fishing months later, and I declined to go on a cruise with him. in his over confidence , he was sure I am buyable. The rejection caused a full out malignant attack. In addition to nasty vulgar insulting emails from 6 accounts,, he has posted 5 times VERY BAD FaLSE reviews on my Mental Health business profile. Having them removed is a task, and he learned how to be mild enough that 2 reviews stuck for 2 months and I did lose half my income.
YeS, I have compiled the embarrassing, shitty and scarey evidence, the Kicker is that I feel like I’ll be betraying him by filling for a Protection Order and taking my legal recourse, because he also has a ‘protected license’ and a public reputation, that he cares greatly about .
I never thought he had this in him, and I wonder what he could do if he loses his status. ( I also fear he could twist it, play victim and somehow more damage to me).
A point is that anyone, successful, well adjusted confident people can get sucked in. It’s important to think of how to exit, and to remember why you needed to.

Tina says June 19, 2021

Wow! I have read many of your articles and this one truly has been eye opening with great information! They all have great information, but this one really sticks out to me at the moment because of where I am in my journey of limited contact with the narcissist because we share children. I can relate to so many of the emotions described here! I have gone through each of these stages of trying to prove myself and now I understand WHY I felt so worthless!! Even though I have had limited contact with my narcissist, there are still times where my mind tries to “reason” and fantasize about us being good friends and co-parenting peacefully for the kids, however I know that can never happen and I am at a point where I can now fight off those thoughts and remind myself of all the cruel manipulative things he has done to me to make it impossible to co-parent peacefully! He has made false calls to CPS, accusing me of abusing our children to police, making false reports to the police that I stole his medications, sending police to my home daily to do wellness checks, threatened to get me kicked out of my apartment, threatened to burn my apartment down, etc. The list goes on!!! I remind myself of these TRUTHS so I don’t run with the fantasy of a peaceful coparenting relationship! Thanks so much for your articles! They truly are life changing! Can you please write more articles on court proceedings and court battles for custody of children with a narcissist? Like what to expect, how to do modified contact, how to deal with our children being alone with the narcissist, effects on kids during these visits, how to deal with emotions of worry and fear when our kids are with these individuals. Thank you!

Mary says March 9, 2021

I divorced a Narc 25 years ago. He married one, and they tried to control me with our 2 kids. My daughter, is now 31 with 2 kids. She is also a narc. Treats me terrible. The ex husband is going through a divorce and living with my narc daughter. I want a relationship with my grandkids, but can’t stand to be with my daughter. This is where I am torn as a mother. Any suggestions?

    Carol says April 3, 2021

    Hi mary I guess you are just as puzzled . Our son actually said to me he likes bad girls! He brought home a really lovely girl said she was too nice never matched up that was the end of the relationship.. I didn’t interfere but the one he is living with now is vile and he worships her. We love him and boy people say parents interfere well Mary I will state I could have done but our son is a grown man but acts like a child. He friends are infantile. When this new girlfriend came along she loved him put her arms around him loved bombed him all what a narc does. I think he thought he had a mature loving girl until we all found out her true colours. I think our son wanted to change his life around to find a kind loving girl for him to settle down with but we now know she is fake.

Carol says February 26, 2021

What I truly would like to know can any one answer this, is why do they “the narc” like bad people and dislike good people who love them why? Please I would like an answer to this because it hurts no end.

    Amy says January 30, 2023

    Carol, the best way I can answer your question is like this: narcissism is a lot like heroin addiction.

    Both feel wonderful, initially. But – both also require higher doses to maintain.
    And sadly, both will ruin many, many lives instead of numbing the pain they were intended to prevent.

    Bottom line: the disorder will feed itself through subconscious choices & behaviors, much like a drug addict will seemingly change up their entire ethics, morals & integrity to feed their addiction.

    Narcissists are addicted to satisfying self-gratification, as perceived by their ego.

Susanne Iwanycky says February 2, 2021

Your articles are among the very best on narcissism I have read. Thank you! Excellent material.
A question. Why is there such a proliferation of narcissism at present? Have a good day.

    Kim Saeed says March 9, 2021

    Thank you for your kind praise, Susanne 🙂 I think narcissism has always been around, but we are now seeing such an epidemic of it because of factors like the internet, online dating, and the demand for instant gratification folks have developed now that we can have anything we want at the click of a button. Not sure it’s ever going to get better unless we pass laws on coercive control and wake the heck up in our “justice” system.

      Carol says April 3, 2021

      Kim thats how our son met his narc online dating. She cat fished him.

Becky says November 15, 2020

Hello Kim,
Thank you for your articles. They truly are a God send for me. They are helping me through a difficult time of divorcing my Narc husband of 30 years and it’s been challenging to say the least.
I am interested in your boot camp however, I see some CDs in the picture of what’s included. Actually, I’m not really sure what’s included and I wanted to find out. I have no way to play a CD disk anymore as my computers do not take these. Am I able just to download your program.’
Thank you again!!

JP says November 14, 2020

Love this article. If only I’d had it and the internet 40 years ago…. My only addition is that I believe narcissists cheat also because they need that narc feed. My mother and ex husband would do anything to get the “love” of strangers they would never see again in their lives.

I’d also add to the section that says narcs may give a reasonable answer to their wrongdoings – maybe my people are on the far end of the narc scale – but their answers were usually ridiculous and contrary to facts and/or what my senses saw/heard/smelled/touched.

This writer focuses on romantic relationships it seems. If you have a narc mother (or parent) like mine, you should realize it’s hopeless and move on to give yourself a chance. Otherwise you learn too late, like me.

Kim says November 14, 2020

kim, just want to thank you for these articles. They are amazing. Have helped keep me sane and strong and away from the narcissist.
My marriage broke up 2 years ago…and the pattern continues. Difference is im a stronger person today and praise God im not in that life anymore with my 4 year old daughter.
So thankyou.


Tammy says November 14, 2020

I never imagined I’d be the woman who allowed a man to treat me so unkind and do such horrible unthinkable things to me all while I did my very best so he would love me the way he did in the beginning .before I messed it all up ..That day never came of course I have so much shame over it but I shouldn’t it’s not my fault not one reason did I give him my only flaw was to love him he did not deserve it and he is to blame for ever thing he has did and every word he’s used to hurt and destroy me .. I take back the power I gave him over me he is nothing now and has no power no control and no love will he ever get from me. Your emails and stories are very helpful and they give me so much hope .

    Nicole E says March 9, 2021

    Oh how I envy you! I wish I was strong enough to get to this point. I cry every single night bc I crave him. I’m literally addicted to a man that could care less about me and I don’t know how to break free. It’s been 3 years and I still can’t leave. I hate myself for it too. Congrats on your success. I hope to one day break free and be as happy as you are. I’m so alone with and without him.

Ann says September 18, 2020

I literally just a few days ago had the movie ‘Nights In Rodanthe’ pop up in my viewing feed.
I know now why.
It was sent to me by my guardian angel.
I needed to watch it to learn a valuable life lesson.
Richard Gere was carefully placed into Dinan’s Lanes life to be shown she can be her authentic self. She has the choice to eave her past roles behind and find herself worthy of unconditional love.
This is just as I have stepped outside my comfort zone to have the courage a take the leap of faith; to leave my old past contracts behind that do no suit me.
To see I have a choice to be healthy and happy to embrace joy in my life.
It’s amazing thank you for helping me in this process!!

NINA says September 17, 2020


Isabel says September 17, 2020

Thank you Kim for this teaching, it really spoke to me. My partner literally humiliates me, almost daily and then expects me to be loving with him. I’m tiered of proving myself to him. I notice his patterns don’t change, and yet allow him to treat me so bad.
I’m June of this year I finally stood up for myself, and I restrained him from me, and he is no longer in the home. Even while he’s away, he blames me, and doesn’t take accept any responsibility. Thank you again this is a real eye opener. ??

    Kim Saeed says September 17, 2020

    Hi Isabel,

    It’s definitely difficult when you’re still dealing with painful and abusive behaviors. I always recommend breaking free from situations like this because it’s the only way to truly begin feeling relief from the trauma. We’re having a price relief event on our main program right now. You can find more details here:

    The pain won’t go away on its own. You’ll want to take a proactive approach to your healing and our program has been vetted by therapists.



Catherine says September 16, 2020

Thank you for all your advice to those still involved with a narcissist. I am 5 years out and still dealing with the damage done during a 30 year marriage. I am proud of the fact I am still standing, but it has been very difficult having little confidence. I still enjoy your articles because it helps me not feel so alone.

    Becky says November 15, 2020

    I am so relieved and happy for you being 5 years away from your narcissist. After being together for 30 years I know that was not an easy thing to do.
    I am presently divorcing my husband/covert Narc of 30 years and I am so filled with trauma, drama and chaos in the words of Rebecca Zung.
    It is good to know you are doing well and I look forward to the day I can post I am 5 years out as well. Thank you for helping me and I look forward to the day I can help someone as well.
    I love the articles from Kim. They are truly life saving!
    I continue to wish you all the best on your ongoing journey.
    Thank you. Becky

      Alexandria says February 28, 2021

      I am also 30 years so happy for you Keep up the good work God Bless and protect you and your family

    Alexandria says February 28, 2021

    Also 30 years on and off , so happy for you keep up the good work God Bless and protect you and your family

Sebastián says September 16, 2020

No one has commented on this? It’s one of the better articles I’ve read from you, at least for it’s impact on me. Maybe I didn’t realize that I had been trying to prove myself to her (at least in my head, as I’m no longer in contact with her), and that’s why this has struck a cord. I’m grateful to many of the authors of such articles for some of the sanity they’ve brought me. Thanks.

Albee Johnsony tube says September 15, 2020

I just want to thank you for the information its helping me to heal.Thank you

    Kim Saeed says September 16, 2020

    Very glad to know it’s helping you, Albee 🙂


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