Narcissists are users. While they are capable of creating false positive impressions, behind the scenes they seek ways to be in an advantaged position. Presuming superiority, they like to find people who will play the role of the underling. Wherever they are, they want and need a human doormat they can wipe their feet upon.

As narcissists assess people, they think, Who can I most easily use and exploit? Which person is most likely to cater to my cravings, mandates, and self-serving initiatives? Who will give me the least resistance as I advance my causes? Which person can I out-argue? Who is most gullible, or at least the most pliable?

Narcissists are all about dominance, meaning they need people who will acquiesce, and that’s where you come in. A starting point in their relational style is entitlement. So, in their minds, it is your job to service them, propping up their egotistical yearnings. And along the way, if you show feelings of hurt or disillusionment, you will receive reminders of the impropriety of those feelings. With narcissists, you are always in the position of subordination.

So, what do narcissists look for as they seek individuals to fill the role of the doormat?

  • Let’s look at multiple features:
  • A willingness to go along to get along. Narcissists like people who are naturally flexible.
  • People who have FOMO, the fear of missing out. They will prey upon your hunger to be included and accepted.
  • Weak assertiveness skills. To the narcissist, the more conflict averse you are, the better.
  • Someone who says yes when they need to say no.
  • A person who is disinclined to debate or push back. Narcissists need the final word.
  • People who are natural servants, who have a reputation for helpfulness. Narcissists believe they should be served.
  • Those who are motivated by duty and obligation.
  • Those who are susceptible to messages of guilt and shame.
  • People who naturally give others the benefit of the doubt. Narcissists like being attached to people who let their weaknesses slide.
  • Those who are inclined to receive the narcissist’s sales pitch.

If you fit the profile of one who has become a doormat to the narcissist, there is a virtual guarantee that you will struggle with feelings of resentment, distrust, insecurity, and betrayal. You will want out, but you may find it difficult to navigate the barrage of coercive comments that will predictably come your way. But in the end, it will be essential to understand that you are in a losing situation that has no end date. Narcissists will use you and step all over you for as long as you allow. It’s a pitiable strategy for dominance, but it’s simply built into their character.

How to move forward

That being the case, become a person of assertion and boundaries. Don’t expect the narcissist to like your independence, but do what you need to do anyway. Define who you want to be and how you want to prioritize each day. Then commit to your own common sense. And when the narcissist inevitably scorns, don’t defend. Instead, remind yourself that the narcissist virtually never has your best interests at heart, so it remains up to you to care for yourself.

Ultimately, narcissists do not see your humanity. To them, you are merely a prop, a tool for their use. They are too committed to their own cravings to harmonize. They care only about one person, and that person is not you.

Do not play along with the role of enabler, flying monkey, or useful idiot. Remain committed to all that is best about yourself, and repeatedly remind yourself that despite the narcissist’s need for your subservience, you are under no obligation to be anything other than who you choose to be.

With your self-respect intact, there is zero need to be anyone’s doormat, and when the narcissist protests, becoming blustery and dismissive toward you, it simply proves that you are making the right choice.

~Les Carter, Ph.D.

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