In this article, I will go deeper into what negative feelings and emotions you could experience when you’re dealing with a narcissist. A narcissist is great at manipulating and can have quite a negative impact on you and their environment.
When you experience or have experienced narcissistic abuse, you’re likely to experience a lot of negative feelings and emotions such as guilt, shame, anger, self-doubt, and anxiety. It can be quite a rollercoaster of emotions and a very draining experience. I’m sorry if you had or have this experience and I hope this article will be helpful to you in some way.
Clearly, negative feelings are a part of life and it’s not a bad thing to have negative feelings and emotions from time to time. When dealing with narcissists, however, it’s all a very different story. Narcissists (ab)use your ‘human’ and empathic characteristics and by doing that they emphasize and/or cause these negative feelings and emotions.
Gaining knowledge about narcissism
In general, it can be a challenge to deal with yourself and your fears and emotions even without the influence of a narcissist. To grow in life is hard work. So, when a narcissist is around, they will make this even harder and push you and your energy in the wrong direction possibly without you even being aware of it.
Therefore, it’s necessary to gain knowledge about narcissism if you think you might be dealing with a narcissist. Do you think you might be in a relationship with a narcissist? If you do, I advise reading my article about 12 warning signs you might be in a relationship with a narcissist and questions to ask yourself as well.
In this article, I will first shortly explain the narcissistic abuse cycle and cognitive dissonance. It explains how narcissistic abuse works and shows the area of tension between your behaviour, truth, beliefs, intuition and the narcissist’s truth and behaviour. It seems to be the perfect breeding ground to grow negative feelings and emotions within yourself. After that, I will go deeper into 8 possible feelings and emotions a narcissist can cause or emphasize within you.
Narcissistic abuse cycle
The cycle of narcissistic abuse describes the stages of the abusive behaviour of narcissists when you’re in a relationship with them. The pattern of emotionally abusive relationships consists of the stages of idealization, devaluing, and discarding.
When in a relationship with a narcissist, everything will start out great and it possibly seems too good to be true. Sadly, this idealization phase is temporary and it really becomes too good to be true. Their long term influence will be negative as a narcissist doesn’t want you to develop as a person but they rather want you to be in their control.
The stages form a repetitive cycle where additionally a narcissist could try to hoover you back into the relationship after breaking the cycle. In my article explaining the narcissistic abuse cycle, you can read more about how this cycle works.
Hoovering is customized to you by their knowledge of your emotional vulnerabilities. A narcissist knows what you care about and what your triggers are. This is what makes it so dangerous. There are no boundaries in what they do to get your attention again. In my in-depth article about hoovering you can read about the challenge when a narcissist is trying to suck you back into the relationship and how to deal with it.
Sadly, a lot of people experience or have experienced the cycle of narcissistic abuse. It shows the extent of possible brutal and manipulative behaviour of narcissists. This behaviour leads to very unhealthy dynamics and the only real solution to protect your energy is to break the cycle and go into a no-contact situation.
An important factor in narcissistic abuse and why it’s so tough to recognize is explained by cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a feeling of discomfort resulting from having beliefs and values that don’t match with your behavior. Your mind has a tendency to remove this discomfort, which can be done by changing your beliefs or your actions.
Narcissists love to (ab)use the wish of the victim to remove the discomfort following from cognitive dissonance. It can result in making you disconnect from your own thoughts, feelings, intuition, and truth.
To explain what happens more specifically: a narcissist has the ability to act normal while showing abnormal/disturbing behaviour and, on the contrary, respond abnormally when you show normal behaviour such as setting a boundary. This ongoing discrepancy creates anxiety and confusion.
A narcissist has its own truth and is very convinced of it. The extent of how far they go in their manipulative game can cause your truth to become blurry and you could become very confused and doubtful. Devaluing behaviour such as guilt-blaming, raging or using the silent treatment create cognitive dissonance because it doesn’t match with the idealization and love-bombing in an earlier stage.
You can read my in-depth article about cognitive dissonance if you want to learn more about this. It’s important to see and recognize how the dynamics of abusive relationships work in order to eventually shift the attention back to yourself again.
8 feelings and emotions narcissists cause and emphasize within you
An important feeling narcissists use is guilt. Narcissists are very skilled in manipulating others and they will try to make you feel guilty in order to have a sense of control over you. The message underneath is that you aren’t worthy and you deserve this treatment. A narcissist doesn’t apologize and doesn’t take any responsibility, which means the victim or others will always be the ones left to be blamed.
Sadly, a narcissist could use your hope or belief you can change them. If you’re an empath, you have an amazing ability to emphasize with others and support them. You have a lot of love, attention, and care to give, sometimes without even considering your own feelings and needs.
When dealing with narcissists, however, empathy can become destructive if you can’t let it go. It’s very challenging to do this if you have these feelings. It can be rooted deep into your identity and it could even be a need to you in some way as well.
It’s thus very brutal how a narcissist works. You need to be very realistic in what this person is saying and what this person is doing. Judge this person on actions and not on words. Their actions will lead you to the truth.
Toxic empath narcissist relationship
A narcissist will eventually show his or her true colours. When an empath realizes something is wrong with their partner a first instinct could be to try to fix them. After all, you want the person you love to be helped and rescue them if possible. An empath could believe they can heal their partner with compassion or being spiritual.
Reality is that if this person really is a narcissist they can’t be fixed. It can be very hard for empaths to believe and accept that someone doesn’t have any empathy or the possibility for a deeper connection. Although it’s very admirable to believe this, it’s exactly why the suffering won’t end.
Read and learn about narcissism and realize you need to let this go. The narcissist is definitely the exception you need to make. A narcissist will (ab)use this characteristic and drain your energy by doing so. They toy with your hope and could pretend to want to become a better person. Sadly, they are simply fooling you as long as you are willing to allow it.
I wrote an in-depth article about the toxic empath narcissist relationship explaining the unhealthy dynamics of this relationship if you want to read more about it.
Closely related to the feeling of guilt is perfectionism. A narcissist can emphasize perfectionism within a victim. Narcissists have unrealistic expectations of others that can possibly lead to a victim trying very hard to be the perfect partner. The unrealistic expectations of a narcissist come from a place of feeling entitled and believing it’s normal that everything should be about them and their needs.
Sadly, their needs are unending and you will never be able to fulfill their needs. It’s like a bottle of water that has no bottom. You can pour water into it but the bottle will never be full of water. You can try to fulfill their needs and be the perfect partner, but you will never succeed.
It’s very draining to be in this situation. The victim will search for answers within themselves, whereas the problem actually is the narcissist’s unending needs and lack of compassion. A narcissist has no harmony or peace within themselves and therefore a very disturbed energy.
A narcissist thus emphasizes perfectionism by using the hope and belief that the relationship will go back to ‘normal’ or the idealization stage if you become a ‘better’ person. It’s necessary for a victim to recognize what’s really going on to stop this destructive dynamic of trying to be more perfect and fulfilling the unending needs of others.
To summarize, this dynamic revolves around the victim’s characteristics of seeking answers within themselves, trying to make a relationship work, and avoiding conflict. A narcissist thus (ab)uses you feeling an obligation or responsibility to make the relationship work. You want to fulfill the expectations of others because you care. It becomes unhealthy if these expectations are more important than your own expectations.
There will likely be shame involved when in a relationship with a narcissist. This can be a feeling of shame caused by the narcissist directly but could also be feeling shameful about being in an abusive relationship. You could feel ashamed and unworthy of love by all the blaming and raging of a narcissist. Another way it could be stimulated is by making fun of you, possibly disguised in hurtful ‘jokes’.
A narcissist likes to mirror and project their (possibly unconscious) feelings onto you. A narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self and they create an identity of being superior and possibly act grandiose. There could however internally, deep within, be a lot of shame involved which they project onto you.
Another form of shame can be recognized when a victim recognizes the situation they’re in but they can’t make the decision to get out of the situation. There will be a lot of shame involved in staying in an abusive relationship. It could be seen as a form of self-torture. A victim has to deal with the abuse itself and with their own abuse of feeling a great amount of shame as well.
Shame revolves around thinking about expectations, opinions, and feelings of others. It’s a form of being stuck by focusing on others. By creating or emphasizing shame, a narcissist abuses the empathic characteristic of caring for the feelings and opinions of others. Some empaths want to help others and don’t consider their own feelings and needs in doing so. This could result in wanting to help the narcissist even though there is a realization within this person can’t be helped.
4. Self-doubt and low self-worth
A narcissist can create a lot of self-doubts and have a negative impact on your self-worth. The truth of a narcissist is very strong and they seem to have no doubts or uncertainty about anything. Their opinion and act is done in such a dominant way that it can cultivate a sense of self-doubt in their victim. Your opinion, perception or belief simply doesn’t matter if it doesn’t help the narcissist in some way.
They use all forms of manipulation to stimulate self-doubts, such as gaslighting, silent treatment, word salad, and verbal/emotional abuse. A brutal form of manipulation that mainly causes a lot of self-doubts is gaslighting. It can have many other consequences as well, such as anxiety, shame and feeling less like yourself.
Gaslighting is ongoing manipulation and brainwashing to cause the victim to have ever-increasing self-doubts and eventually lose their own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. This is done in such a slow way that it’s hard to realize it’s happening when you’re in it. You can read more about it in my in-depth article about gaslighting and its signs, effects and how to recognize it.
A narcissist thus emphasizes negative thoughts, creates dependency and an environment in which you will have increasing self-doubts and less self-worth. Clearly, you don’t want your self-worth to depend on a narcissist. It needs to follow from internal sources.
I wrote an article about self-worth, appreciation, ego, and narcissism in which I explain how a narcissist pushes your self-worth in the wrong direction. It’s very important to push yourself back in the right direction and this article shares tips on how to work on your self-worth.
For a narcissist, a relationship is about control and being the dominant one. They thrive on emotional responses and try to push your buttons. A narcissist will know and learn how to make you angry. They can use their anger to gain a form of control over you.
A narcissist could also be frustrated and have a lot of anger within themselves. This is because their unhealthy need for admiration and validation can’t be fulfilled by others or themselves in the long term. All frustration, anger, and disturbed energy will be constantly influencing you and this drains your energy.
It’s important to try to not take responsibility for the behaviour of others. Realize it’s their anger and frustration and not yours. It can be very hard to separate these when in a relationship with a narcissist.
Dependency is an interesting thing. It’s because a narcissist tries to create a dependency upon them but in a way, a narcissist is fully dependent upon the opinions of others. They need narcissistic supply and they will constantly seek validation and appreciation. A narcissist can’t validate or appreciate themselves enough, which makes a narcissist a slave to outside messages of praise and attention.
A narcissist could thus try to create a feeling of dependency on them and try to isolate their victims. In my article about the narcissist’s web of control, I explain how a narcissist does this and uses manipulation strategies to do so.
A few examples of trying to create this dependency could be ‘you are nothing without me’, ‘you should be thankful because I’m the only one who really cares about you’, ‘you need me’ and ‘who would love you if I wasn’t here?’
7. Walking on eggshells, fear, and anxiety
A familiar feeling is that victims feel like they have to walk on eggshells. It’s a tension in which the victim feels the need to be ready for an unpredictable attack. This feeling can, for example, follow from a combination of a narcissist blaming you a lot and a victim trying to keep things working well.
In general, a narcissist can create a lot of anxiety and fear within their victims. They use many manipulation tactics to do so. For example, some narcissists use the silent treatment which is a passive-aggressive tactic and can be a very draining and painful experience. You can read more about it in my in-depth article about how and why narcissists use the silent treatment, stonewalling, lack of affection, and how to deal with it.
Clearly, it’s a very unhealthy and toxic experience when in a relationship with a narcissist. All these negative emotions are being caused and emphasized and it can feel like this person has real control over you. You could feel hopeless about your situation. A narcissist is manipulating you into building a wall in your mind and you might feel like you can’t walk through it. This wall can almost feel physical.
It’s very difficult to break the bond as it’s often connected with childhood issues. It’s worth it though! Know that in the end, you have control over yourself. Realize you built this wall and you can take it down as well. It’s not about the narcissist, it’s about you.
Knowing narcissists (ab)use all these human and empathic characteristics, we need to slowly emotionally detach from the narcissist. Then there will be no more emotional hooks they can try to use. In a twisted way, a narcissist forces you to work on yourself. If you are able to shift attention to yourself and you sincerely don’t care about the narcissist anymore, you will have control over your life again.
You will probably get messages from your intuition that something is off. Your intuition recognizes the truth of a narcissist. It’s hard to recognize however when a narcissist pushes you into the world of ego and appearance. In this world, it’s about external things and this is where blaming, jealousy, shame, anxiety and so forth happen.
It will distract you from what you know within. If you manage to gather your thoughts and feelings and you become more conscious, your intuition will become more clear. Methods that could help to do this are meditation or using conscious breathing. It requires you to stop all this ‘noise’ and allows you to connect with your deeper self.
Focus on yourself and push yourself in the right direction
A narcissist thus abuses your human and empathic characteristics in order to create and emphasize all these negative feelings and emotions. I realize it’s quite an intense article. It’s, however, necessary to learn about what narcissists can do in order to recognize what’s really going on. There needs to be a realization that many emotions are not your own but rather being projected upon you.
When you’re dealing with a narcissist your energy is being drained and you might become (more) disconnected from yourself. It’s a brutal experience and it’s necessary to counterbalance the effects a narcissist has on you and to slowly restore your energy.
My view on dealing with narcissists is to first gain knowledge about narcissism in order to recognize and analyze their behaviour and after that slowly trying to shift the attention back to yourself again. This shift as well as recovering from the influence of a narcissist can require a lot of time. It’s normal it takes time to heal as they can have such a large negative impact on you and your self-worth.
It’s important to think about what behaviour is your responsibility and what your boundaries are. You can’t change the behaviour of others or take any responsibility for it. It requires a process of emotional detachment from the narcissist to break free emotionally. This is very challenging and requires strength and hard work.
A way to achieve this detachment could be using the grey rock method. This is a method of slowly emotionally detaching from a narcissist when going no contact is not an option right away.
Another useful way to slowly emotionally detach is to practice conscious breathing or meditation. Breathing exercises and meditation help you to get your thoughts straight and recognize/acknowledge your thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
I hope this article and my website can be helpful to you. I wish you strength and more kindness in the future.
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