Whether you deal with them in business or relationships, narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators can make life difficult if not down right scary. In the beginning, you may have hoped that your relationship could be successful, maybe even remarkable. But slowly as you got to know him, the shiny veneer wore off and you saw the darker side. The rules are simply mind over matter: as in “he doesn’t mind, and you don’t matter.”
There are tell tale signs and predictable behaviors that can alert you to the psychologically manipulative personality. In fact, if you missed the Part I in the series, you can click here for a refresher of the top 10 tactics used to manipulate you.
But there are signs inside of yourself that can alert you to psychologically manipulative people too. Here are some practical ways to understand the unwritten rules to the narcissistic game.
Crack their Secret Code by Listening to Your Own Feelings
You may not know exactly what he is doing or why he is doing it, but you can know how you feel about it. It is impossible to know what is going on inside someone esles’ head or heart. It’s especially difficult to recognize motive if pscyhological manipulation is used to hide that motive. Often times we can’t quite put our finger on it, but we know something is wrong. This article will help you identify your own feelings so you can better trust your red flags. Your feelings can tell you a lot about another person. Here are the emotions you may feel when encountering a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator:
- Exhilaration: First, you may feel excited about the opportunity you have as he sets his sites on you. You feel special, wanted, and you believe his promises. Like a drug, you may feel like you just can’t get enough of his high. At first.
- Confusion: Second, you feel confused because there’s things about him that don’t add up. His actions don’t match with his words. His body language doesn’t match with what he says. You want to believe what he has promised, but the way he talks, or the way he treats people makes you concerned about his true intentions. You reason with yourself and decide there is nothing to worry about- that his good traits outweigh his bad traits.
- Self doubt: Third, you feel guilty for doubting him, judging him or questioning him. You wonder if you are the one with the problem, not him. You notice that you’re self esteem is down, and you don’t feel good about yourself as you once did. You start to second guess yourself, not knowing who or what to trust.
- Whirl Wind of Emotions: Next, you start to feel crazy. You try to please him, but he seems so unpredictable. You try to do what he wants, but something always upsets him. You never know what you’re going to get with him. Elation turns to fear, and you try hard to use reason to figure out how to make this thing work.
- Disappointment: You start to realize that the promises are not going to come true, that you are being taken advantage of, and things aren’t going to get better. You start to feel a sense of dread. Feeling helpless to change him, you fear being trapped in this relationship indefinitely.
- Regret: Finally, you feel such a sense of regret over trusting him, you start to blame yourself. You wonder if his mistreatment was really your fault. You say things to yourself like, “I should have known better,” and “What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment?” You may not see a way out, and the guilt feelings seem to overwhelm you.
Sometimes the sociopathic static is so loud, recognizing how you really feel is difficult. Spending some time evaluating how you feel and why will give you important information. When dealing with a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator, your emotions may seem out of control. Finding someone to help you sort through them is a good first step. When you have the freedom to share openly and honestly about your true feelings, your load won’t seem so heavy. A professional counselor can help you put a plan together to fit your unique relationship circumstances.
If you believe you are dealing with a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator, take steps to give yourself some needed distance and perspective. Disengaging from this personality type will seem uncomfortable and even scary, but necessary for your health and wholeness.