How to create and maintain boundaries


Abuse is all about gaining control and power of a victim.  It is important to remember that if you have been abused it is not your fault.  The pathological need to control someone else is all about the abuser and not the victim.

There are several different types of abuse, most of us think of sexual or physical abuse but there is also emotional abuse (a form of abuse that is gaining more recognition) financial abuse and social abuse.  Sexual abuse includes unwanted sexual advances or forced participation in a sexual activity.  Physical abuse includes violence, intimidation, but it also includes neglect especially in the vulnerable such as withholding food or not taking proper care of a child or the elderly.  Emotional abuse is when someone attacks the self-esteem and confidence of another. It can be verbal abuse such as name calling, shouting and nasty little comments but it can also come in the form of threats and intimidation.  Financial abuse includes theft or controlling someone else’s money determining what they may or may not spend.  Social abuse includes isolating someone from their family and friends so that the abuser has more control and the victim has no support system.

If you have been subjected to abuse it is important not to make excuses for someone else’s bad behaviour (like a tough childhood/stress at work) abuse is abuse and the reason that someone is abusive is irrelevant.  Abusers will treat you as badly as you let them, usually with abusive people they will see what they can get away with.  If you take one level of abuse they will push to see if you will accept more.  Abusers may or may not be aware that their behaviour is abusive but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept it.   You are not obliged to take abuse from someone because they have problems and nor are you obliged to teach them how to behave.   Trying to teach an adult how to behave is a complete waste of time and can lead to more abuse.  Most abusers have little or no self-awareness or an ability to introspect so focus on yourself and not the abuser, if it doesn’t feel right or okay with you, then it isn’t.

Many of us who have grown up in narcissistic families of origin have very poor boundaries, or at the very least porous ones.  Some of us are not comfortable for example with the word “no”, because we were not allowed to use it as children, or if we did it was ignored.  If you have been involved with an abuser as an adult, getting involved with someone new might make you feel nervous. There is no way of knowing if someone is abusive or not at the beginning, everyone is on their best behaviour at the start of a relationship.  The only way that you will be able to tell if someone is abusive or not is to take it slowly and see how they behave in various situations.  Take note for example how they treat people who are serving them in one form or another.

It is important to have boundaries for your integrity and safety.  Many of us were brought up to be excessively polite but that brings with it a certain amount of danger.  Always keep the word “no” in mind for when you feel someone is crossing a line.  Another thing to remember is just because someone asks you an intimate question about yourself, you are not obliged to answer, especially if the question exceeds the intimacy of your relationship.  The more you practice upholding boundaries the more respect, love and support you will get.  Boundaries are a form of protection both emotional and physical they also protect you from taking on other people’s “stuff” by being too open and accepting. Boundaries are there so that you can be true to yourself and not always looking for validation outside of yourself.

Boundaries are really important, but being educated about narcissism and its manifestations is also very important.  Being able to pick up subtle hints on how the mind of an abuser works is also important, for example, if someone says something negative in a joking manner, they are probably not joking and it should be taken into consideration.  If at the beginning of a relationship it feels “too good to be true”, it probably is. Everyone can put on an act for a while, it is only over time that you will see the mask slip.  It is also important to know what you want from a relationship.  Don’t let someone “choose” you, that is a recipe for disaster, the “choosing” must be mutual.  Never enter a relationship because you think that it would be rude to say “no”.  You are not for sale, so if someone showers you with presents and dinners it doesn’t mean that you owe them anything.

Boundaries will help you to build up your confidence, they won’t get rid of the limiting beliefs that caused you to have poor boundaries in the first place but they will protect you.

Boundaries will help you to tell who is trustworthy, who is respectful and who is showing up as their authentic self and not someone who is trying to create a persona of who they think that they should be (or think that you want them to be).

Boundaries mean that you will stop putting the needs of others before your own. Many of us who grew up in narcissistic families have been taught not to take up space, to be as small as possible so that are narcissistic parents can “shine”, this causes inner conflict because we are taught that being assertive is pushy, setting limits deprives the other person and asking for our needs to be met is selfish.  Acting in your own best interest can feel self-indulgent rather than self-care.

Many of us who grew up in narcissistic families don’t even know what are emotional needs are because they were always ignored or met with anger.  Here are a few basic ones:

  • I need to be acknowledged for myself and not as an extension of someone else
  • I need to be accepted
  • I need to be listened to (have a voice)
  • I need to be understood (as far as possible)
  • I need to be loved
  • I need to be appreciated
  • I need to be respected
  • I need to be valued
  • I need to feel worthy
  • I need to be trusted
  • I need to feel competent
  • I need to feel clear and not confused
  • I need to be supported
  • I need to be safe both physically and emotionally

It is really important to embrace your emotional needs, especially if you were never allowed to have any as a child.  They will determine how you allow yourself to be treated by others and take control of your life.

You will know that you are being manipulated and in an unhealthy relationship if:

  • Your mood is determined by the state of your relationship
  • You live in fear of losing the relationship
  • You have massive mood swings from euphoria to desperation
  • Your relationship has the same mood swings that you have
  • You don’t feel like there is a piece of your partner that is “hidden”
  • Your relationship doesn’t feel straight forward
  • There are issues in your relationship and you don’t know why you cannot sort them out
  • Your never sure where you stand with your partner and you are not sure really how committed s/he is
  • Your gut tells you that there is something that isn’t quite right
  • You have developed trust issues and are constantly trying to catch your partner out to see if what they told you was really true
  • You feel a lot of anger and resentment
  • You feel like you cannot openly express yourself without being interrupted or “shut down” or “corrected”
  • You are losing confidence
  • You don’t feel that you would be accepted if you were just you and not constantly controlling what you say and your expression of emotions
  • You do things that aren’t really “your thing”, but they are your partners
  • You wonder is this really as good as it gets?

You stay in the relationship because things aren’t always bad.  There are highs and lows, you think that all relationships have highs and lows but this is not the normal high and lows it is manipulation.  In a healthy relationship you can talk and solve differences.  In an abusive relationship the abuser will let victim think that all of their relationship problems are their fault.   They will let them know by either saying it directly or by inference.  A healthy relationship doesn’t have extreme highs and lows.  Boundaries keep you intact, in touch with your emotions, needs and wants and who you want to spend time with and who is toxic for you.

Boundaries protect your self-esteem, your self-worth they provide you with a sense of self, security and a place in this world.

When we don’t have boundaries we:

  • Don’t realise our own self-worth
  • We don’t know who to trust
  • We believe that others have our best interests at heart (especially if they are family or “friends”)
  • We place more importance on the needs of others than on our own
  • We sacrifice stuff we need, to give to others

If we don’t have good boundaries we constantly look to others for a sense of self.  This is particularly dangerous if the person to whom we are looking for reassurance from is destructive and needs to strip you down so that they can feel good about themselves.

Setting boundaries can feel seriously uncomfortable at first because if people are used to you not having boundaries they won’t like it at all when you put them in place.  Many of us will shy away from confrontation or we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Often people will say “what is wrongwith you, you have changed!”, but that is only because they preferred it when they could use your lack of boundaries for their own benefit. There is a huge difference between having healthy boundaries and mistreating people the people who do not like you having boundaries will imply that you are mistreating them by being less available for them to use.

We are all entitled to basic human rights, those of us who come from a narcissistic family of origin will have had our human rights badly eroded to the extent that we are not even sure what they are.  If we enter into abusive relationships later on in life they will only confirm to us what we are not entitled to because the abuser will see that they can “get away” with a lot of abusive behaviour without being called out on it.  Here are what some basic human rights look like:

  • My needs and feelings are as important as anyone else’s
  • I have the right to own my feelings and express them if I want to
  • I am not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or happiness
  • I have the right to express my opinions
  • I have the right to be independent if I want to be
  • I have the right to decide how I spend my time
  • I have the right to decide how I live my life
  • I have the right to change myself, my behaviours, my values and my life
  • I have the right to change my mind
  • I have the right to make mistakes
  • I have the right to develop and express my talents and interests
  • I have the right to choose who I spend time with
  • I have the right to choose who I share my body with
  • I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • I have the right to be listened to respectfully
  • I have the right to ask for what I want
  • I have the right to say “no”
  • I have the right to say “yes”
  • I have the right to set limits and boundaries
  • I have the right to walk away from relationships that are not good for me
  • I have the right to have my boundaries respected

Asserting boundaries includes recognition of these basic rights and defending them.  Defending boundaries takes daily practice and being on constant alert so that you do not tolerate violation of your boundaries like you did in the past. People will treat you as badly as you allow them to, so the thing is not to let them treat you badly.  Standing firm on your boundaries increases your respect for yourself and the respect that others have for you.

Signs of weak boundaries include:

  • Low self-worth and self-esteem
  • Apologising all of the time
  • Blushing easily
  • Doing things that make you feel uncomfortable
  • Doing things that you really don’t want to do
  • Going against you values, rights or needs to fit in with others
  • Putting other’s needs ahead of your own
  • Letting someone touch you when it makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Not being able to notice when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate
  • Staying in a relationship that makes you unhappy
  • Letting others direct your life and define who you are
  • Over giving without getting much or anything in return
  • Accepting food, drinks or presents that you don’t want
  • Letting others describe your reality
  • Not being able to ask for what you want
  • Feeling responsible for other people’s feelings, constantly trying not to hurt them at your own expense
  • Complaining to others instead of talking directly to the person who you have an issue with
  • Seeking the approval of others
  • Self-consciousness and social anxiety
  • Saying yes when you want to say no
  • Feeling guilty for saying no
  • Saying no when you want to say yes
  • Not speaking up when you have something to say
  • Not calling someone out when they mistreat you
  • Avoiding conflict and difficult conversations
  • Spending time with people who drain you and who you don’t really like
  • Feeling that you do a lot for people but they don’t really appreciate it
  • Ignoring problems “to keep the peace”
  • Expecting others to know what you want without telling them

Self-worth comes from honouring who you are and what you want, you need to have your own best interest at heart and live an authentic life.  When you have healthy boundaries you will expect honest, respect, loyalty and emotional and physical safety.  You will not tolerate people destroying the things that you value ranging from dreams, beliefs to physical possessions.  It is important to have these expectations, otherwise it is very easy to bully you and make you conform to what the abuser wants.

If you come from a narcissistic family of origin you will have been taught that putting other people’s (and in particular your parents) needs before your own is a virtue and what “nice” children do.  There are people who will suck the life blood out of you and leave you gasping for air without a backward glance, you are not a child anymore and being “nice” isn’t necessarily going to serve you well when you are dealing with toxic people.

Highly empathic people have a tendency to think that they have more than enough love and emotion to share liberally.  This is not so because people who are takers have no limit on their ability to take, they are bottomless pits that cannot be satiated.  They will give the impression that if you just gave a little bit more all would be well, but the truth is they are never satisfied. Their inner landscape is completely blank and they need to feed off others in order to feel alive (narcissists have frequently been referred to as emotional vampires).   The reality is that they think that empaths are “stupid” to try so hard because somewhere deep down in the psyche of a narcissist they know that they are not worth the effort.  Gratitude is not part of the make-up of narcissists, they just take what they can get where ever they can get it.  As such they have no sense of loyalty, integrity or honour.

It is important to have a very clear idea of what our boundaries are and what we are prepared to tolerate.  People make mistakes but if they appologise and then repeat a behaviour that was not acceptable to you, then that apology is insincere and only uttered to make you back down.  We also need to have deal breakers/one strike too many/a step too far.  Minor discrepancies can be overlooked to some extent but there are some behaviours that are just too big to be ignored and it is important that you do not make excuses for the abuser’s bad behaviour. In short some traits and behaviours are simply non-negotiable.

When a narcissist meets a potential partner who s/he believes will “serve” them well, they will try to fast track the relationship and might well talk about marriage or cohabitation after the second date.  This is a red flag as no one can know someone else in such a short time. You will know that you are being preyed upon.  They will love bomb you and tell you that no one has ever understood them like you do and that they have finally found their soul mate.  They do this for two reasons they want to control you and also because they can see your good qualities and they are afraid that you might meet someone else.


Never feel obliged to say “I love you too” if you do not feel it.  The narcissist will try to force proclamations of love from you so that they say “but you said you love me” and hence will try to back you into a corner.  You decide on the pace of the relationship, what feels comfortable and how much you want to see of this person from the beginning.  Never feel guilt tripped into giving more of yourself than you want to. If you lose a person because you have put up boundaries, then you know that that person would not have made a good partner/friend.

To protect yourself in a new relationship it is really important to maintain your other relationships and interests.  This helps to maintain a sense of perspective and how the person in a new relationship reacts to you doing things without them will be very telling. They might say that the don’t mind you doing stuff without them but call you twice in an evening that you are out with friends or “accidentally” go to the same restaurant, which of course means that they are lying about being “okay” with it.

Narcissists will expect you to trust them from day one.  In fact, they depend on it and will bristle with self-righteous indignation if you withhold your trust until they have proven that they are worthy of it.  Trust is something that is built up over time and in many different situations if someone tries to extract trust from you – this is another red flag.  In a healthy relationship both parties know that trust is built not extracted from others.

Another good way to view a potential partner is to see how they treat other people and animals.  In particular, how they treat people who are not “useful” to them.  Listen how they talk about their exes and other people, it will be indicative of how much respect and space they can or are willing to hold for other people and you. Trying to teach another person how to behave is a complete waste of time.  One cannot make another change, that has to come from within them, if they do not treat you with care, love and respect then that person has their own issues and you (or anyone else) cannot iron them out for them.  You cannot show them that there is a problem, because if they cannot see it, then it probably isn’t somewhere that they want to go or are not sufficiently emotionally developed to be able to go there.

If they do not respect your boundaries they do not respect you.   Most boundaries violations start off small and then they grow according to what they have been let get away with.  It is important therefore, that you address the small stuff so that you can determine if they respect you enough to correct their behaviour or not.  It is important that you state clearly what the boundary is that you feel that they have violated, don’t expect the other person to second guess why you feel disrespected.  Different people have different boundaries, what you consider to be a boundary violation might have been perfectly accepted in their family of origin or by their ex. You can use the classic “when you do that I feel” opener (not “you make me feel”).

There are some boundary violations which are just unacceptable from the word go, such as if a person treats you with contempt, distain or treats you differently in front of other people than they do in private.  Someone who treats you differently depending who else is around does not respect you as a human, they are objectifying you and treating you as a prop or possession.

You do not have to explain your boundaries to anyone.  They are your boundaries in the same way that you do not have to defend your core beliefs.  They are your set of “rules” for you.  It is impossible to justify boundaries to someone who refuses to acknowledge them, the only thing that you can do is to put distance between yourself and that person.  They are violating boundaries to get what they want at your expense, so it is important not to be too easy going about boundary violation.  On the other-hand it is important that your boundaries do not define you a bit of flexibility in a safe environment is not a “bad” thing so long as it does not compromise you and your dignity.

It takes time to see the true nature of a person and it is easy to project good intention where there is none (because that is who we want them to be), don’t fall for a person’s potential, if they seem problematic it is probably because they are.  Walking away from someone who is problematic is not an insult to them (although they might not see it that way – but that is part of the problem) it is self-care, when you take care of yourself you can make a much greater contribution to society at large.




Overt traits of covert narcissists

They are extremely judgmental of others.  This is because they have so many insecurities they are hyper critical of those around them.  Their criticism of others bears absolutely no relation to reality, if fact, the more threatened they are of the positive attributes of a person, the more critical they will be and the more inclined they will be “to bring them down a peg”.

They are usually charming to the person’s face and viscous about them behind their back. They are quite capable of all sweetness and light and make horrible comments under their breath as they walk away. That charm will be increased when they want something from a person.  This can include material goods, money and status.  There is absolutely nothing authentic about their relationships with others.

Their motto is “attack is the best method of defense”, so no matter what happens nothing is ever their fault.  This denial of responsibility refers to everything from taking a wrong turn in traffic, a failed relationships, abusive behaviour or even a badly cooked meal. They will project every potential negative feeling about themselves on to someone or something else.  A classic comment from a covert narcissist is “now look what you made me do”.  Their arguments are so illogical and so repetitive that there is no point in giving a counter argument.

You will never have a more isolated or lonely “relationship” than that with a covert narcissist.  They may act like part of a couple but every now and then they will drop a comment that makes you think “they have absolutely no idea who I am”.  They will also constantly tell you “who you are” and “who they are”, they never let actions speak for themselves, they always accompany their behaviour (and yours) with a narrative that paints them as nothing less that flawless and is designed to devalue you, they will often feign pity for you for being so substandard and imply that you are very lucky to have them because not many people would tolerate such an imperfect partner/ friend like you.

Covert narcissists are completely amoral and without conscience or remorse.  They objectify other people and they only see them in terms of what they can harvest out of another for their own gain.  They do not care if they suck someone dry, they will merely cast them aside and go on the hunt for a better resource of attention, money or status.  When a narcissist cheats, lies or abuses another person they see it as a “hit, a point or a score”, it makes them feel powerful and in control.

Narcissists are extremely condescending and they need to be like this because they have to feel superior at all times.  It is as though they think that if they “permit” the freedom of expression of others in their presence that they will completely and disappear.  Because like all bullies they are weak and cowards, so they have a tendency to negate, devalue and disregard the thoughts/opinions and feelings of others almost out of a fear that they will be over shadowed. However, if you listen to the content of what they say, there are no core values/beliefs and their opinions change depending on who is in front of them and how much they think they can “impress”.

They are the people who can walk over someone who is obviously in distress/dying on a busy street and will get annoyed with them for “being in their way” (unless of course there is an audience in which case they will be the epitome of “compassion”). They despise it when people talk about their illness or misfortune but expect 100% attention/empathy when they are talking about themselves.

Their emotional/self-awareness and interpersonal/social skills are extremely low. They also have absolutely no capacity for logic (which is directly related to their inability to take personal responsibility for anything – including things that they say themselves), it is for this reason that you can never have an authentic connection.

The saying goes “if you are looking for offense, you will always find it” and so it is with narcissists.  Their radar is constantly in search of possible slights on their character. Like all highly critical people they are extremely sensitive to even the mere hint of anything other than an accolade. This could include not being at home when they called by (naughty you, you should have known), to laughing at yourself (which they will see as an indirect attack on them).  Everything that happens around them, they revert back to themselves.  For example, if you go on holiday somewhere nice and have a great time, they will see that as you doing it on purpose “to rub their nose in it” because they couldn’t get time off work/spent their money on an extension of their house.  Either way you went on your holiday specifically to insult or make them jealous.  They literally cannot understand that you might have booked your holiday without them in mind.

If they know that you want/would like something from them, they will deliberately withhold it from you because they would see that as you taking advantage of them and that is their job not yours!  This could be anything from old clothes that they are discarding that you admired, a lift to the airport to someone to listen to a problem you are having. The answer will always be “NO” unless there is something in it for them.

They are extremely envious of others (to a pathological extent), they will try to hide it but they will also try to get some of what you have from you.  Even if they have much more for example in material wealth, they will still try to take from those who are less affluent.  This is linked to the fact that they cannot feel gratitude for what they have and are always looking for more even if it means cheating, stealing or lying.

The covert narcissist constantly needs low level attention, they don’t necessarily want to be a pop star but they do expect to be the centre of attention in all of their other relationships, they will constantly charm new people and utterly ignore those who they think that they “have”.

Narcissism and suicidal feelings

If you come from a narcissistic family of origin or have had a narcissistic partner, suicidal feelings are “normal”.  This is because you have been drip fed poison about yourself over a long period of time, interjected with acts of “kindness”.  The acts of “kindness” were performed simply to keep you doubting yourself. In reality the narcissist wants to destroy you because it gives them sadistic pleasure and makes them feel strong. They invalidate everything that you do or take credit for it themselves.  If you come from a narcissistic family of origin you will have been caught up in a system (more than one person), that has constantly devalued you.  This only adds to the confusion that you will be experiencing, one person could be wrong – but all of them?

What the narcissist is out to achieve is to murder your soul.  To attack your personality because they do not have one.  They do it by choice not by accident, they know how to behave but they choose not to (all you have to do is notice the difference in how they behave publically vs privately).  They get away with it in part because you project good intention on to them where there is none, even if we think that they are “up to something” it is our incredulity, politeness and our cultural mores that keep us stuck (such as you should respect everyone, being vulnerable and open is a “good” thing, don’t judge people and universally trust everyone until proven otherwise)

A narcissist might well speak of you in glowing terms in public and at the same time demean, humiliate and abuse you behind closed doors.  This is an inverted smear campaign designed to discredit you if you say anything about their abuse.  They are extremely paranoid and their fear of exposure makes them capable of anything, even murder.  That sounds very melodramatic but when you are dealing with someone who has no conscience there are no limits to what they will do.   They do not see you as a sentient human being, merely an object for them to feed off, provide drama and entertainment for and generally make them feel more alive inside their emptiness.  Being offensive and crippling others self-esteem just makes them feel powerful.  Another really unpleasant thing about narcissists is that the nastier you are to them the more respectful they will be to you.  So if you are abrupt and uncooperative with them they will simply see you as a bad source of narcissistic supply and move away.

No matter how strong a person is, there is no way that they could stay strong under a constant vicious, vile and sadistic attack like that.  It is no wonder that sometimes you feel filled with a sense of utter despair, unloved (and unlovable), and helpless.  The reason for this is that you were looking for love where there is none, you were told that they love you, but a narcissist notion of love is to draft someone else into their service.  The minute that doesn’t work for them, that person will be totally discarded like an empty wrapper, the only time you will hear from them again is when they want something from you.  It is not your fault that a narcissist treated you the way that they did.  In fact, it has nothing to do with you at all, it could have been anyone with a kind and trusting nature that they felt they could push around.  Knowing that does not take away the pain or scars that they have inflicted but it is a good starting point to take back ownership of your life and to become the whole and beautiful loving person that you were always intended to be.

To do this you have to do a few things:

  • Work on creating stronger boundaries
  • Realise that no one has the right to tell you who you are, what you are thinking or the motives behind an action or decision that you took
  • Realise that you are being lied to constantly with only a light dusting of truth to make their lies seem credible
  • Know that they will say bad things about you behind your back, there is nothing you can do to prevent that (they can do it about anyone) authentic people will see through their smoke and mirrors
  • It isn’t personal, it is an extension/function of their personality disorder
  • Try to remember who you were when you were a young child, before people tried to mess with your head
  • Keep a journal
  • Show compassion to yourself
  • Be careful (judge without being judgemental i.e. is this person a good fit for me, my strengths and my weaknesses) about who you let get close to you




One of the most difficult things to understand in a relationship with a narcissist is their projection of their own dysfunctional behaviour on to you.  This is particularly difficult and painful if you happen to be a child of narcissistic parent(s) because before you are developmentally mature you are being told some really toxic information about who and what you are, because you “trust” your parent you believe them not realizing that they are projecting all the thing that they do not like about themselves on to a very small, vulnerable and suggestable child.  A narcissist has no boundaries so they will even consider a baby to be “bad” if they cry or won’t go to sleep.  Narcissists are not problem solvers so they will never consider why a baby is crying and what could they do to remedy the situation, they will just think that the baby is doing to annoy them and will give them their “just punishment” by ignoring them, putting them out in the garden or yelling at them (narcissistic rage).

Once that child becomes able to talk the narcissist parent will start to name call such as telling the child that they are selfish (“think of all the sacrifices I made for you”), always looking for attention (“You are so needy, will you give me some space”), a horrible child, truly ghastly child, they will threaten abandonment, call them liars (if a child dare to mention that the parent’s behavior is less than perfect (such as favouritism) the will swing around and say well “if you were nicer to me I would be nicer to you” or plain “don’t be so stupid”, or that they are a failure.  On a rational level the child knows that they did not do or are not what they are accused of being, but because they are hostage to their parent(s), there isn’t any way out. As a result the child either numbs out completely or becomes highly reactive and hyper sensitive trying to anticipate the parent(s) needs before they do.

What is actually happening here is that the narcissist cannot tolerate the feeling of shame that s/he has so they project their behavior on to you to protect their own very fragile sense of self and make you believe that it is your fault.

With regard to adult relationships the narcissist will try to make you feel like you have just found your soul mate (be it a lover or a new friend), that you have so much in common – you like the same everything from values, food, film, music, books and holiday destinations (what could possibly go wrong?).  They will put you on a pedestal and will admire everything about you in an exaggerated way.  The thing is that when you try to climb down off the pedestal, they won’t let you.  So when you admit weaknesses or vulnerability they will totally invalidate what you said because s/he needs you to be perfect to reflect/mirror their own “perfection”.  They believe that you are going to save them from themselves by being this perfect person that they have created in their heads and “make it all better”.  When they realise that you are not going to make them feel better about themselves, the mask of the false self, slips and their true damaged self emerges.  They don’t realise that feeling better about themselves cannot be sourced externally. This also is a dynamic that happens between parents and children, the parent thought that children would make them feel fulfilled and fill the emptiness that they have inside them, but the children don’t, they have their own needs (that will never be met) and therefore have failed the parent aka “bad, selfish, horrible and needy irritants.

Because you didn’t make the narcissist feel better about themselves they will consider that you just didn’t give enough admiration, money, love, attention and praise.  There are a number of manipulation tactics that they will use to “make you try harder” such as narcissistic rage, silent treatment, never appreciating anything that you do for them, name calling and gaslighting etc.  The once adoring partner/friend turns into a monster and they will go to extreme lengths to hurt you and everything about you will annoy them and will be “wrong”.  They will criticise the way you look, the way you cook they will rant and rave at the way you speak until finally you feel like you are walking on eggshells and will tip toe around them just “to keep the peace”.  It is at this stage that the person who is involved with a narcissist will deny their own self of sense of self explicitly to avoid the wrath of the narcissist for just being.  Anyone with any sense of self left will leave the relationship at this stage (and will have to acknowledge that a smear campaign will be mounted against you always – because the narcissist is never in the wrong).  This is especially hard since the abuse did not come from you and other people will not see the dynamic and like Eleanor Rigby

Waits at the window, wearing the face
That she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

With a narcissist, it is for absolutely everyone else.  The less they know a person the harder they try to keep their mask on.  So narcissists will often perform amazing acts of kindness to complete strangers and neglect and ignore their own family.

Because the narcissist cannot even consider/contemplate their own inadequacies, terrible behaviour and psychotic turns they have to make it be someone else’s fault (projection) and who better than their nearest and dearest because they can abuse behind closed doors and anyone else would just walk away (anyone who wasn’t carrying their own narcissistic childhood wounds).

A narcissist will not take responsibility for their own horrendous behaviour therefore in their mind it has to be someone else’s fault.  They can flatly deny that something happened at all or someone else “made them do it” and they absolutely do not care who they might hurt in the process.  They cannot bare the fact that they feel so empty inside, they constantly compare themselves to others which makes the insatiable gossips and are riddled with envy, jealousy and the constant need to “put other people down” either by going after a person’s reputation, making up lies or by name calling.  All of this negative activity makes them feel better than/superior to everyone else, but only in the very short term.  Inevitably it has no long term feel good feeling, they know what they are doing and it only fuels their feelings of shame and unworthiness, because they have been behaving like this since childhood, acting out comes to them on automatic pilot, they have done it before they realise what they are doing and the damage just adds to their shame which in turn has to be projected on to someone else.

One of the most confusing thing about this kind of behaviour is that a narcissist can blame someone for something when that person wasn’t even present when a situation occurred (that the narcissist refuses to take responsibility for) the narcissist will loudly claim that another was responsible and that poor unsuspecting person will be completely confused when others start to behave in a hostile way around them.  You need to realise that their projection onto you was not your fault and you were not selected because you were weak, you were selected because either you don’t know what they are saying to you behind your back or because you won’t confront them out on their amoral behaviour, you know it isn’t going to get you anywhere and will only make them even more vindictive.

Einstein said that the most dangerous people are those who believe in their own lies.  So it is with narcissists they will look you straight in the eye and tell a complete lie.  With most “normal” people you can tell if they are lying/fabricating or exaggerating too much, because they look a little uncomfortable.  Not so with the narcissist they are extremely comfortable with their lies, because if their lie backfires on them they simply flatly deny that they told it and make up another one.

In synthesis, projection is all about a narcissist blaming someone else for their own psychotic, vindictive, cruel and pathological behaviour.  It is a very immature and deceitful way to behave but at this stage I hope you realise that there is absolutely no point in expecting any other type of behaviour from a narcissist and remember once a narcissist always a narcissist if they have done it once they will do it again.  Don’t be lulled into a false sense of togetherness with a narcissist, they are only being “nice” as a means to an end.  It is only a matter of time before the mask slips again.





Arguing with a narcissist

When arguing with narcissist it is important to know that you will never “win”, they will argue in an incoherent way and you will be left wondering “what just happened?”. They are deliberately destructive in their approach and are in the argument to win.

Here are some of the techniques that they use:

  • They negate everything that you say (even when it isn’t an argument),
  • So you say something like “my fried Mary is going to Greece on holiday next week”, they will reply “no she isn’t she is going to Spain”.  They say it with such certainty that you start to question yourself, even though you know that the narcissist has never met Mary.
  • They assume superior knowledge to you on absolutely everything even when it is blatantly obvious that they haven’t got a clue what they are talking about. For people who are so image conscious it is surprising that they don’t mind looking idiotic in this situation.
  • There is absolutely no point in accusing them of wrong doing because they are never wrong and will never admit fault. It is likely to make them defensive, aggressive and more determined to “win”.
  • Narcissists will never talk to you, they always talk at you, so you are never going to be able to make that connection and they will fire off one ridiculous statement after another.
  • They will use the hamster wheel effect, which is that they will argue round and round in circles without ever getting anywhere. This is done to frustrate their “opponent” (and all conversations with narcissists are competitions) and you will just give up because it is clearly a futile conversation.
  • They will hop from topic to topic. You could be talking about a domestic issue that needs to be resolved in a hurry and they will suddenly say “well you made us miss the flight to Paris three years ago!” “What?”
  • They will talk at you in a really condescending and patronising tone which implies that they are seriously wondering if you are bright enough to follow the “conversation”. If you get angry with them for not sticking to the point they will tell you to calm down and not be so emotional.
  • They will accuse you of things that they are doing. So they will accuse you of having an affair (because they are) and when you say “I was thinking that you might have been having one” they will go on the offensive and say “you are just saying that because I accused you first”.  They are big into projecting their shortcomings/faults on to you or other people.
  • They have a cycle of being reasonable and being completely hypocritical and unreasonable. This is very difficult because you never know which version of them is going to turn up.   This allows them to take the opening move like in a chess game  giving them the upper hand because you always hold back to see who is showing up
  • Never expect an apology there is no way that the narcissist will admit to any wrong doing, which means that there is no point in asking them to be accountable for their behaviour.
  • Use “we” instead of “you” because this will sound less threatening to them and more likely to bring the argument to a speedier close.
  • Don’t be provoked into taking their bait. They will try to escalate the argument simply because they find it fun and love the drama.
  • Pretend to take their excuses seriously in a way that they know you don’t such as “yeah right”, this is a very narcissistic thing to do because you are saying the right words but your tone and body language will let them know that you don’t believe them.
  • These conversations are exhausting and futile so get out of there as fast as you can


Lazy Parasites

Narcissists are notoriously lazy in practically everything that they do (unless they feel like they have a worthy audience or they are working towards a specific personal gain).  It is for this reason that they do not cooperate well either in the home or in the work place.  Because of their immense sense of entitlement and superiority they will see that it is the job of everyone else, to take care of their needs.

This laziness can be in the form of not wanting to do menial jobs around the house, not wanting to work outside the house to bring in a second income, riding on and taking credit for the work, opinions and efforts of others, not taking care of their relationships both familial and social, unless they perceive a person to be either useful or powerful in which case they can turn on the charm in a dazzling way.

Laziness also manifests itself in how they look for a partner.  A narcissist will automatically look for someone with low confidence and self-esteem or a carer/giver type, as they will know instinctively that they will be easier to control, manage and well give them more of their time, attention and resources than someone with a healthy sense of boundaries and a strong sense of self.  Just like predators in the wild, they will seek out wounded or hurting prey so that they do not have to expend too much effort or energy in hooking their target.  This prey will have already been primed from previous experiences to succumb to the initial charms and attention of the narcissist, they will lie, manipulate, cheat and will mirror what they think their prey wants to hear.

Once you become involved with the narcissist they will show his or her true parasitical nature and gradually manipulate their “partner”, “friend” or colleague into taking care of them.  They will do this absolutely without remorse or any sense of moral wrong doing or guilt.

Another ploy that narcissists will use to ensure that their needs are met is by invalidating the efforts of others and exaggerating their own contribution through lies, manipulation (either overt or covert) and drama.

A narcissist is “emotionally” very lazy and will not work on their “relationships” unless they think that the other person could be useful to them.  They will not take up the phone or write to a sick or depressed “friend” and they would seriously resent having to listen to them or worse still take care of them in some way.  That is not the role that they have assigned themselves and would definitely see it as beneath them.  Other people need to do that for them.  In fact, in the eyes of a narcissist, other people are not allowed to have needs or feelings, if they do they had better take care to keep them to themselves as it will only make the narcissist angry and resentful if they feel that they are being “put upon” in any way.  Their attitude is that other people are only there for their convenience.  If you are any trouble they will ignore and shun you until they want something from you.

Narcissists do not invest in their relationships once they have their target (friend, lover or acquaintance) “hooked”, as it takes too much energy and effort.  Obviously their own children take no effort to be “hooked” because the narcissist views them as their own property from the moment they are born.  Due to the parasitical nature of the narcissist, they will feed off the energy and efforts of others.  Consequently, if you are in close proximity to a narcissist it can feel like all the oxygen is being sucked out of the air or it is like being covered in ticks, having your blood slowly but constantly sucked out of you.

They will say things like “I would love to help you but…”, “I was going to bring you chicken soup but…”, “oh I was just about to do that, but you got there before me” the mechanism that is at work here is that they are trying to extract gratitude or a sense of indebtedness without having actually done anything.  Naturally they had absolutely no intention of doing anything at all.

The narcissist if a master in the art of harvesting compliments and praise for something that they didn’t do.  For example, take a husband and wife scenario: guests have been invited to dinner and the wife has done the cleaning, shopping and cooking all day long, then just as the husband (or vice versa) hears the car pulling up to the house, will jump into action and rush to the stove and start stirring pots or put finishing touches on the table.  The guests will turn to the narcissist who has been completely lazy until this point and pay a compliment to them and the narcissist will say in a totally insincere way “Oh no my spouse did it all” and the guests will think how modest s/he is and generous in their “praise” of their partner.

Narcissists unlike other parasites do not know when to stop taking, so they will eventually leave their partner so depleted that they can lose the will to live, if a narcissist makes a partner depressed or suicidal they will feel no remorse what so ever.  They will see it as an achievement in the ultimate execution of power and at the same time get annoyed with their “host” for lowering the quality of the narcissistic supply.  They will spend other people’s money with loose abandon if given access to it, they will take credit for things that they did not achieve, they will get angry if they are not given everything that they want without question, they will verbally, emotionally, sexually and spiritually abuse their partner in a way that will leave them feeling confused, exhausted and weak.  Just where the narcissist wants them to be.