As a healthy person, you can be at an odd disadvantage when you try to connect with narcissists. Your natural inclination would be to treat others respectfully in the attempt to create a mutually beneficial result. But narcissists are thinking: “How can I turn this relationship to my advantage?” By definition, they are committed to a False Self, meaning they are disinclined to be authentic.

Sad to say, narcissists are schemers. They have a foundation of deep insecurity (which they deny), so it is of utmost importance for them to create a milieu in which they can be on top. Their end game is to establish themselves as the authority, the one who calls the shots. They are not interested in mutuality at all, but in self-promotion. You exist as a pawn in their chess game. You are a means to an end, and you are ultimately expendable.

There are multiple signals to watch for indicating their false self, scheming mindset:

  • Their favorite topic of conversation is ME. Even if they ask questions about you, they ultimately make themselves the centerpiece.
  • They are impressed by the look of accomplishment. Narcissists are constantly on the prowl for ways to appear “together.”
  • They struggle with envy. Because they want to be the one who shines, they have great difficulty showing true pleasure toward your good circumstances.
  • Their interest in you is shallow. Narcissists make little to no effort to discover your essence, who you really are from the inside out.
  • They want, they expect others to give them favoritism.
  • They complain…a lot…about people who have disappointed them or who do not meet their standards. And when you disappoint, you’re next.
  • They have a deep history of broken relationships. When others (when you) fail to meet their impossible expectations, they discard people readily. Loyalty does not exist.
  • They are quite thin-skinned when you confront them or just show yourself to be too distinct. To them, your uniqueness is taken as rejection of them.
  • They are moody. Because they are constantly angling to gain an edge over others, they wear people out. This then creates emotional duress for the narcissist, and they are quite immature at self-regulating.
  • Enough is never enough. As long as you are utile…ok. But when you fail to give what they want, here comes the anger, vengeance, the contempt, and the discard.

Keep in mind. . .

Scheming narcissists assume it is your task to prop up their False Self. And when you fail in that task, you are vilified. But as you experience this, keep in mind…these people are damaged goods. They are all take and no give. (Even when they seemingly give, there is a hook on the back side.) They misunderstand the basics for successful connections.

The bottom line for you is to know what you are up against and adjust your expectations accordingly. Perhaps you have nursed the thought: “I can only engage with this person in a superficial way. There is no depth here.” Listen to the that thought, then recalibrate.

Don’t let your desire for relationship healthiness become a disadvantage. As you put distance between yourself and the scheming narcissist, you are poised to be a person of dignity, respect, and civility. That’s what people on #TeamHealthy stand for, but unfortunately narcissists are not able to join you there.

To watch the video of this article, please click here.

~Dr. Les Carter