5 Ways a Narcissist’s Boundary Busting Overrides and Hooks You
A Narcissist who is priming you to use you is one of the most charming, flattering, lively, fun, and interesting characters you can encounter. Their manipulative nature is so adept at mirroring you that quite easily they ingratiate themselves into your inner circle. They hone in on your needs, wants, desires as well as your deficiencies. Narcissists are lightning quick to pick up on what makes you vulnerable: poor boundaries, low self esteem, naivete, loneliness, or relationship desperation are just a few of the many vulnerabilities that they look to exploit.
By nature, narcissists are irresponsible and use people. They are disordered characters that view people as objects to use, have no qualms about ignoring your “NO” and will say ANYTHING they need to, for you to acquiesce to their demands to do for them what they are too lazy to do for themselves. (enabling)
At first glance, you might be telling yourself that you can handle their demanding nature by simply telling them no, or not giving in to their demands. You tell yourself you’re “strong enough” to deal with the pushy aspects of their personality in order to get some of the fun benefits of having them be your “friend”.
PLEASE RE-THINK these excuses for remaining in the company of a toxic person. What happens is that the narcissist’s personality disorder is LARGER THAN LIFE- larger than your greatest strength when push comes to shove; and IT DOES.
Here are 5 ways their boundary busting overrides your strength and hooks you:
- Your strength will be challenged at EVERY turn.
With normal people, if they try to push you into something you’re not comfortable with and you tell them a simple, “No Thank You”, they will listen to it and respond by backing off.
With Narcissists, they have an entire arsenal of weapons to use against your “No”:
They’ll say you’re being a bitch or an asshole. In other words, they’ll cut you down and judge you negatively for saying no instead of respecting that you have the right to say it. Narcissists view you as an object that is there to satisfy and please them, not a person who has your own rights, needs, thoughts and feelings. Don’t let your fear of being a bitch, asshole or bad person keep you in a position that depletes your strength.
If you stay in their presence, you are going to encounter endless drama and battles over your rights. They won’t “learn” how to respect you, they’ll simply fight you until they win and you’ll no longer feel strong but exhausted.
2. Your worth and goodness will be used up and eventually depleted.
You start out being a good person, who’s kind to others, helpful, believes the best in others and offers up your loving nature as it’s just part of the package of bringing “You” to the table in relationships.
In normal relationships, your worth and what you bring to the table is reciprocated by the others person’s worth and what they bring to the table. Typically, this will result in harmony and an easy ebb and flow of the relationship.
In a narcissistic union, your natural worth and goodness will be undermined and replaced with dumped shame. Your worth will be a leash that the narcissist begins dragging you around by. If you do what the narcissist wants, you will be PRAISED for your goodness. If you buck them, you will be told a plethora of negative messages about your “badness” or that you’re not good enough.
Before you know it, all your natural goodness will have been used up, taken advantage of, played for the narcissist’s gains AND the narcissist will be demanding that you tell them what you’ve done for them lately. Not understanding why just being yourself isn’t “working” any longer you will feel that you must now PROVE your worth to the narcissist to regain the respect that you know in your head you deserve.
At this point, the fact that you’ve stayed will send a clear message to your captor that you aren’t going anywhere. If you can’t stand by your worth with actions and LEAVE this toxic person in their tracks, you are sending a clear message that you don’t believe you deserve better and things will get worse.
The narcissist, knowing you aren’t going anywhere, feels safe enough to start dumping all of their projected flaws onto you. The reasons and excuses for their bad behavior will ALL be pointed back to you as being the cause and main problem in the “relationship”. You’ll hear things like, “If you could only _______ , then everything would be fine.” These statements will LOOP YOU into a never ending cycle of blame and fixing things that you have no power over – the narcissist’s disorder.
For those of us who have stayed past this point (myself included), we will exhaust ourselves giving, proving and allowing the narcissist to fill us with messages of shame until we are no longer feeling worthy and whole.
3. Your Natural Ability to Trust will be Overridden with Doubt
Narcissists will cause you to be on guard. Instinctually you will know in your gut that you can’t trust them to be fair or to give back without you saying something. You will begin to balk, question, and “keep score”; all glaring red flags that you’re placing yourself in a situation where you are not trusting the other person’s goodwill towards you. As you begin to assert yourself about the unfairness of the situation and express yourself to the narcissistic person, again, you’ll be argued with and put down (shamed).
The narcissist will say things like, “Why are you always keeping score?” or “You’re so insecure”. Knowing that it’s unhealthy to keep score, you’ll feel challenged to stop being so “unhealthy”. You also know that you don’t feel insecure or have a history of it, but you are being mistrusting with a narcissist. We don’t stop and grasp that we are not trusting them for a reason. We must allow ourselves to ignore the put downs, understand that the mistrust is coming from the narcissist’s unsafe actions and not our own deficiency or damaged nature. We feel bad that we were so unhealthy / unfair with the narcissist.
They will use your good nature against you every chance they get. They know what makes you tick and they know how uncomfortable you feel about not extending benefit of doubt or being of service to other people.
4. Every desire you have will be negated
Every single thing you’ll want in a relationship with a narcissist will be NEGATED. Want to go for steak for dinner, the narcissist will wrestle you out of your desire and you’ll be eating seafood. Want to just stay home and watch a good show cuddled up and comfortable? Even if the narcissist stays home with you “as you wanted” they will sabotage things to make the evening unpleasant. They’ll sit coldly and distant complaining about the show you’re watching or how hot it is cuddled up with you.
When you say black, the narcissist says “white” just for the sole purpose of staying in control. You will begin to feel frustrated that none of your needs are met and when you try to talk to them about it, refer to rule #1, The narcissist doesn’t care about what you want and need, it is ALL ABOUT THEM. So if you have sore feelings to discuss, you may as well keep it to yourself because the narcissist will not listen nor accept any responsibility for not meeting your needs. Your frustration is YOUR problem and you will be blamed for being negative & demanding and left to deal with it on your own.
5. Every Consequence You Try to Enforce Will Be Ignored and Turned Back on You
Let’s say you have a norma friend who has called you after 9:00pm on a work night. You tell them that your weeknight bedtime is 9:00pm and you inform them that if they want to talk, it will have to be prior to that time. The friend will most likely respect your request; however if they in the future call after 9:00pm, one of the natural consequences is that you will not pick up and they will not be able to speak with you and will therefore adjust accordingly in the future because they enjoy your friendship and really desire to speak with you.
A narcissist will argue against everything in the former example. First of all, you will be put down for going to bed so early, you will likely be told you’re controlling for having a routine, and you will still be called at ANY TIME the narcissist wants to call you before or after 9:00pm. When you employ the consequence of not answering the phone, the narcissist will bemoan this consequence, accuse you of not caring about them, not being a good friend, being selfish and rigid etc. Then they will take the initiative to control you (for having set a boundary) and will now give YOU the silent treatment or some other form of passive-aggressive punishment that will send that message that YOU did something wrong by having a boundary.
In no time, you will feel the pain of having stood up to them. They’ll be sure to not let you forget it. If they begin ignoring you and you still feel that they are a “friend” you’ll begin feeling guilty for setting a boundary and doing whatever is necessary to get the friendship back on track. Many of us who’ve been punished for asserting ourselves to a narcissist end up apologizing for offending or hurting the narcissist’s feelings, when it was the narcissist who was hurting our feelings and didn’t care what type of consequence we doled out. They’ve set themselves up to be the victim and in control of rejecting us for being assertive; and we are trying to “earn” back their friendship and apologizing to keep the peace.
Often, when the narcissist uses alienation to punish us, we begin to question how much they really care about us, but we blame ourselves. They aren’t as upset about “losing us” as we thought they would be. Instead of challenging ourselves to look at the true interaction for what it is, the equivalent of an upset kid, not getting what they wanted and taking their ball and going home, we allow the narcissist’s punishment to speak to our fears of not being lovable and we feel abandoned and unloved then set out to get the narcissist to “approve and accept” us again.
Even writing about what happens when we attempt to assert ourselves with a narcissist, exhausts me to no end and has me remembering in vivid detail, how many pointless arguments I had with a narcissist simply because I was trying to protect and assert myself with boundaries.
Please take note that all attempts to be assertive with a narcissist or to strive to have your needs met in a relationship with one, will ONLY result in endless Arguments and your feeling frustrated, depleted, disrespected, shamed, blamed and unworthy. Save yourself the hassle and understand who you’re dealing with the moment your boundaries are repeatedly disrespected and negated. You must remain confident in your worth and not place yourself in the company of someone who doesn’t value you and what you want and need.