All right, before you rage over the title, just know it's my sad attempt to be clickbait-y. I fully acknowledge that narcissists can be really fucked-up people.
At the same time, I have a good argument on why you should adopt more narcissistic traits. I will also explain why having these narcissistic traits can actually protect you from the narcissistic manipulation of others. You'll agree with me by the end. So strap in.
You have for sure come across a narcissist before. Everything is about them. Nothing is ever their fault. They can be extremely dangerous. They may lie and cheat their way through life. They can ruin your life if you let them. They can suck you into their world and spit you out, just like that. They can shower you with glittering compliments in one breath, and call you an idiot in the next. They can make you question your own reality with their nebulous logic.
Maybe you had a narcissistic parent, or a narcissistic lover, or a narcissistic boss. Maybe they gave you the wonderful gift of lasting trauma. Maybe that's why you're like, "what the hell kari, why would I want to be like the very psycho that left me a mess of a person?"
Lower your metaphorical pitchforks! Let me explain.
First look at this list of narcissistic traits:
(courtesy of similarminds.com)
Some of these traits ain't too bad to have in my opinion. Like "sparkling"? I want to be sparkling. Heck, I would pay good money to be sparkling.
But notice how Narcissism is comprised of a cloud of intercorrelated traits. You could argue that some traits are more "moral" than others. For example, I consider "is able to plan and work towards goals" , "ambitious", and "believes they deserve all the good things they have" to be desirable traits. You could agree or disagree depending on your personal value system.
At the heart of Narcissism is a love-of-self. And I genuinely believe this trait is desirable in many different ways. The problem arises is when self-love is accompanied by a sense of superiority over others. This kind of narcissism is despised, and rightly so, because it can lead to narcissists using and abusing people to get what they want.
The reality is you do not have to view social dynamics as zero-sum games. Valuing yourself highly does not mean you have to devalue others around you.
What I am trying to say is this: cultivating a genuine love for yourself is great as long as it is offset by two things:
a genuine love for others too
high integrity and strong morals
Now why is it so important to love yourself?
You only got one life to live, man! You really gonna spend it disliking yourself? You really gonna spend it not valuing your own opinions and beliefs?? Look at all the amazing things you're capable of! You have the ability to speak kind words that make other people in your life happy. You have arms on either side of your torso that let you paint, or create and do a million other wonderful things. And even if you don't have arms you definitely have other wonderful abilities and skills that change the world for the better. I don't want to sound too lovey-dovey but look how magical it is that you exist in this world, when probabilistically it is so rare that any of us are alive at all!!!
Hippy bullshit aside, loving yourself can not only lead to a better quality of life, but it can protect yourself against narcissistic manipulation.
Narcissists will seek out people to feed their "narcissistic supply" - using people to build up their own ego. They prey on the weak-minded. They seek out people with low self-esteem. My main point is this: You need to be strong-minded and self-loving to dismantle all that crap.
Let's explore some insane manipulation tactics and how you can fight 'em.
NARCISSISTIC MANIPULATION TACTICS
Gaslighting works by manipulating the victim's sense of reality. For example, a manipulator might question or refute a victim's memory of events. They might also try and trivialise their own bad behaviour by accusing the victim of being too sensitive or overreacting, thereby placing the blame on them.
When effective, the victim ends up riddled with self-doubt and low self-esteem. In extreme circumstances they will begin to depend on the manipulator as a source of truth, which is extremely dangerous.
Basically the manipulator will project blame onto someone else. If they are late, it's because someone else made them late. If they cheated, it's because you weren't affectionate enough.
Narcissists know that the best way to forge quick and artificial connections is through flattery. They may lovebomb you excessively, especially at the beginning of a relationship or after they have hurt you. A general rule is that if someone tells you they love you on the first date.... RUN
Sometimes when manipulators hurt you, they will pretend that they had no idea that they were hurting you - they will feign ignorance. When in actuality they are fully aware of the detriment they have on your life.
Really, you just have to be aware of when this is happening. Try to actively question things. Like "really, this dude is a fully grown adult and didn't know that x would hurt my feelings?"
There are actually heaps more manipulation tactics and strategies. If you want to know more, just wander through the Psychology section of any well-stocked bookstore. Look for the books adorned with the word "Persuasion". "Persuasion" is just a colourful euphemism for "Manipulation". Also look for books about body language and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). I do recommend reading these books to know just how much influence other people have on you.
Have you ever been on a date like this? It's going well. Your date is handsome enough. He's not your usual type but you find yourself irresistibly drawn to him. He has a charming smile - a little upturned lip on one side of his 5 o'clock shadow. He wears gaudy rings that flash in the light when he gesticulates. He compliments your hair as "weird, but I like weird". He touches your shoulder whenever you laugh. He asks you about your best qualities. Anything out of the ordinary? Not really, seems prima facie normal. But believe it or not, all of the above cues are persuasion tactics to try and win your poor heart over. How? Just read any pick-up artist book and discover the wonderful(!) world of negging, kino, anchoring, peacocking etc..
The more you are aware of this, the more control you have over your own decisions.
All right, so you know don't want to be controlled by other people. You want to be a free agent. You want to be able to live authentically without someone maliciously or covertly puppeteering you. The reality is it's impossible to be completely free of the influence of the people around you, for you live in a societal soup - you know, "no man is an island" yadda yadda yadda.
But there are ways you can have better control of your life in the way you want. Here are 4 ways how. The last 2 are the narcissistic traits I talked about at the beginning of the post.
HOW TO FIGHT NARCISSISTIC MANIPULATION
BECOME MORE AWARE.
You need to be aware of the shit happening around you. You need to have higher consciousness. You can't just go through life going through the motions, as most people do.
Most people run on default mode - they wake up anxious, hit snooze thrice, go to the same shitty job, gossip the same bullshit, swear as they get stuck in traffic on the way home, swipe on attractive people dancing on tiktok, sleep at ungodly hours, wake up, rinse, repeat. I'm not judging at all - I get stuck in the same patterns. The system is set up against us in this way. But you need to go down the path of most resistance and fight this.
There are 2 great ways to become more aware:
Sleep. Fucking MASTER your sleep. I'm still trying to achieve this myself. If you don't recharge your system properly, you are more likely to give into the whims of others. Sleep is so damn important. Good sleep allows us to consolidate our memories, regulate our moods and appetites, and gives us the clarity to make better judgement calls.
Meditation. Meditation allows us to detach from our sensory inputs. It allows us to see the situation from a third party perspective. As a result, it becomes easier for us to respond appropriately to our reality, rather than react irrationally. If your brain is an operating system, meditation allows you to access this operating system (and affirmations/visualisations allow you to reprogram this operating system. But that's a post for another day). If you don't have the patience to meditate, I hear psilocybin helps you enter meditative mental states much, much faster.
Once you develop a higher consciousness, only then can you afford control over your situation. Think about it like this: in lucid dreaming, you can only control your dream once you are aware (lucid) that you are in a dream. Same goes for waking life.
Good sleep and meditation allows us to see reality clearer. It allows us to see the intentions of others. It allows us to cheekily peek behind the curtains of social reality, and think, holy shit, this is happening?
Like I said before - just read heaps of psychology books. Especially the ones titled "Influence", "Persuasion", and "Priming". They're fascinating anyways. You'll realise just how much you operate under the influence of others. You might even start to question your own free will...
HAVE A STRONG FRAME OF REFERENCE.
Okay, imagine this.
You're on another date. The person sitting opposite you is super cute. They have that ruffly hair you like, and their eyes twinkle in the candlelight in a way that makes you swoon. Cool cool cool. But what about their personality? That's what you came here to learn about. So you talk. But you notice something odd as the night progresses. They agree with ALL your opinions. Even the unpopular political ones that would elicit shocked gasps from certain circles. You hold the freaken sociopath belief that pineapple should not only be on pizza but should exist in every savoury dish? They agree. They even backtrack on their own opinions if they discover it differs from yours.
What the heck? Do they not have any opinions of their own?
Your imaginary date has a weak frame of reference. Meaning they do not have a defined belief system by which they view the world.
It's important to have a strong frame of reference. Why? Firstly, it's so you don't have to endure pineapple in ramen just because your psycho date wants it for dinner. Secondly, if you don't have a defined view of the world, someone else will define it for you. And that someone might not have the best of intentions.
LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF.
"Do you love yourself?"
99.999% of people I ask answer "no".
Unfortunately the only people I've known who have answered "yes" have been absolutely the kind of people that could use a lil bit less self-love, if you know what I mean.
You need to learn how to love yourself in the same way a narcissist does. You need to believe that your beliefs and opinions matter. You need to trust your own version of reality, so that you cannot be manipulated to believe the fabrications of another.
You need to develop self-love so that you do not depend on the love of others.
Why is this so important?
Because I've heard shitloads of stories of people being trapped in marriages with a narcissistic partner. I've read a story of a woman trapped in a goddamn 30 year marriage in which her soul was sucked dry. I've read stories from countless men who would give anything to have seen the red flags early in the relationship and nipped it in the bud. Honestly, imagine if you spent half your life suffering like this, just because you were under the spell of a narcissist!
Please, I impore you: Fight fire with fire. Love yourself in the same way a narcissist loves themselves. Otherwise you might find yourself feeding someone else's fire at the expense of your own.
HOW TO DEAL WITH A NARCISSIST
Ultimately, there's only one way to deal with a malevolent narcissist.
You really gonna waste your beautiful finite time on earth dealing with these fuckers? There are so many more awesome people in the world, that are deserving of your time, energy, and love.
No, it won't be easy. Because they will have most likely played with your emotions and gotten you super attached to them. It's especially hard if you're naturally a loving, agreeable person that finds it easy to see the good in people. Or maybe this narcissist is your parent and it is not a viable option to leave right now.
However you can always set in motion to begin to separate them from your lives. Doesn't matter if you're still in love with them, or if they're occasionally the best person ever. If they repeatedly violate your boundaries you need to yeet this person from your life trust me on this one okay