Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 00:00
Hi. It’s Marissa Lee here. And I’m so excited to be sharing today solo round episode with you. Whether you’re a member of the voice community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. And my mission, which has been inspired by my own personal and professional journey is to empower you to share your gift with others. Now is the time for you to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset, and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, and you can become the director of your own life. It’s time for you to live your best live. It’s time now, for a voice and beyond. So, without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 01:09
I just had to do a podcast episode on this specific topic. Because to be honest, I am over it and I’m over dealing with something that is so deeply personal to me, and I’m sure it affects a lot of you, my listeners, I am over dealing with narcissistic behaviours. This kind of behaviour is so destructive. In fact, for me, it was not only destroying me, but it has torn a family apart. You know, in life, there comes a time when enough is enough. And you have to walk away because you are losing an ongoing pointless battle with a particular person. It is one battle after another. There always seems to be some kind of a drama going on. And you spend all your time around that person constantly having hand grenades thrown at you. These people literally pull the pin and then turn around and walk away and blame you for the fallout. They have no empathy, and they take no responsibility, and are so highly skilled at the blame game. For me, I felt like I was constantly being run over by a bus. I couldn’t see the bus heading towards me. All I know is that I was having to pick myself up off the ground, not truly knowing what had hit me. To be honest, there were many times that I was doubting myself. I felt like I was going mad. And there was something seriously wrong with me. I felt that I was a bad person. Look, there is so much I want to share about this. But ultimately, let’s just say that I had to walk away for my own sanity. This is because this was such a toxic situation. And I found I was always in a state of high stress and anxiety around that person. I didn’t feel safe. And I was in fight or flight mode all the time. I want to ask you Does this sound familiar for you? So if you have someone in your life that makes you feel like this, just No, it’s not you. There is nothing wrong with you. This is the message I want to share in this episode. As much as many of us try with some people, it can be an impossible situation. These people are masters of manipulation, gaslighting, emotional blackmailing, they have a heightened sense of superiority and entitlement. And the deflecting is almost to a point of sheer genius. These narcissistic people are so critical, and they look down on those they feel are not important and of no use to them. They speak so badly about other people in order to build themselves up. But the truth is is that these narcissists actually load themselves deep down and have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, humiliation and fear of being exposed as a failure. That’s why they will usually react with rage or contempt, or try to belittle other people to make themselves appear superior. a narcissist will usually have real difficulty managing their emotions and behaviours. Remember that hand grenade I was talking about? If you find that there are people in your life that you feel you are always butting heads against, and no matter what the level of proof you have, that they are wrong, you are never going to win. Or you feel they’re always be listening you and spinning the truth to serve themselves. So if you have someone in your life like this, just know it is not you. It could well be you are involved with a narcissist. This person needn’t be in your family, it could be someone in your workplace, a friend, a neighbour or colleague. It doesn’t matter who they are. But obviously, it’s harder when it’s someone in the family because it can be heartbreaking. In this episode, my intention is to share my experiences around this and to shed some light on the behaviours of people with narcissistic tendencies. I’m going to break down what the traits of a narcissist are, and some of the signs that you may well be dealing with the narcissist yourself. A little disclaimer though, I’m not a mental health expert. And I’m not here to give advice. I just want to share some scenarios with you that hopefully will help you if you are having to put up with this in your own life right now.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 07:28
Well, what is a narcissist? It can be defined as someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, otherwise known as NPD. This is a clinically diagnosed personality disorder in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. Another disclaimer here, and this is from what I understand is that not everyone who displays some of these behaviours associated with NPD will have a narcissistic personality disorder, they may just have some of these narcissistic traits without the disorder. Irrespective of whether someone has NPD or simply the traits. These people can cause problems in so many areas of life, such as relationships, in the workplace, on committees, or even when dealing with them. When it comes to financial matters. These people need and they seek so much attention and they want people to admire them. People with this disorder lack empathy, and they lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others. But behind this front have extreme confidence. They actually have diminished self worth, and a very easily upset by the slightest piece of criticism. It can be something so trivial to everyone else, but it can make them feel unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favours or the admiration that they believe they deserve. So basically, you end up with a schoolyard bully, with a most fragile ego. Based on the research NPD affects more males than females, and it often begins in the teens or early adulthood. Some children may show traits of narcissism, but this is often typical for that age group. They’re just acting out being demanding children, or entitled teenagers who feel that the world revolves around them. So don’t worry if your child is misbehaving in any of these ways. They’re just being a kid and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to become a narcissist. So where does narcissism come from, you may ask? Well, although the cause of NPD isn’t known, some researchers think that over protective or neglectful parenting may have an impact on children who are born with a tendency to develop the disorder. Genetics and other factors may also play a role. But because the cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown, there’s no known way to prevent the condition. And when determining whether someone is a narcissist, there is no physical blood tests, MRIs, or exact determinations that can identify a narcissism and there is help treatment for NPD centres around talk therapy, also called psychotherapy. However, the big problem is that people with narcissistic tendencies will not want to think that anything is wrong with them, because it’s always everybody else’s fault. So they actually don’t usually seek treatment.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 11:51
Living with a narcissist somewhere in your life can be a nightmare. a narcissist charges through life as though everything they embody, from their ideas, to their pursuits, to their problems, to their needs, is a way higher priority than yours. Your life just isn’t as relevant or as interesting to them. And you’ll know this because they are constantly steering the conversation right back to themselves. Oh, em, gee, I used to get cut off mid sentence, or they would actually totally disengage and start looking around the room while I was sharing something deeply personal with them. Sometimes I would play a game and I would stop mid sentence to see if they were paying attention. Literally, I would just stop sometimes in the middle of a word. And surprise, surprise, they didn’t even notice. It felt rubbish. And you know what, my life was way more interesting than theirs. I can assure you. They loved bathing in themselves, their accolades. Their dramas are endless dramas, their ideas and even their victimhood. Don’t get me started on the victim mentality. You know, I knew every tiny detail about their lives from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but they barely knew me. They barely knew anything about me. They really didn’t know me on a deeper level. Not really not the important stuff. I was having surgery once and they didn’t even bother telling anyone else in the family that I was going to hospital because it wasn’t about them. I was literally stealing their limelight. During my biggest highlights, they never seem to be happy for me. Narcissus may bombard you with calls and texts to offload all their dramas even during your most inconvenient hours. Because it’s always their hour. It’s always got to be about them. They always find a way to be the centre of everyone else’s universe, whether it’s good or bad. These people in my life had such a hard time letting others shine, even though they reeked of their own bravado. They couldn’t let anyone else be awesome. They were so envious. For example, when I hit all my different milestones, nothing was celebrated. When I got my PhD or I published my book or I started my podcast. Did they care or share with anyone else? What I was doing? No, of course not. Because it wasn’t about them. Were they happy for me or proud of me? Know, they could not care less. Now, let’s talk about boundaries. Oh, goodness, what boundaries, you won’t be needing those with the Narcissus because they just don’t exist. They will never admit it. But as far as they’re concerned, everyone else is just an object for them to manipulate, or a place to dump their problems. So your boundaries mean nothing to them. They are never going to respect them. The level of this offence will be different depending upon the circumstances and the person. But the most common threads here are one of entitlement, a sense of self importance, and a blatant disregard for the boundaries, feelings, needs, priorities and schedules of others. This is so messed up. And if you happen to assert yourself and your boundaries, well be prepared for the fallout. In fact, it is amazing how things get turned around so quickly, leaving you feeling confused as to how you suddenly became the bad guy. Welcome gaslighting into the mix. They often react with rage or the lowest of low blows, they go for the jugular there is this desperate grasping at straws kind of energy amongst narcissist. So think of a narcissist like a house of cards. One small nudge to their self esteem, and the whole structure falls apart into this messy pile, leaving you wondering what in the world just happened? Why did that one comment upset them so much. How was this my fault when I wasn’t the one doing the thing? You see, the problem is that a narcissist will often imagine that other people are belittling them, or trying to hurt them in some way. Even if the person is simply trying to set a small boundary or give constructive criticism or advice. And this can get ugly. Remember that behind their grandiose sense of confidence is insecurity and self loathing.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 18:14
How do you deal with a narcissist? Well, firstly, you must be kind to yourself. As I shared in my scenario, the narcissistic abuse that I received, it often caused me to feel like I was going crazy. This is because the Narcissus had such a knack for making everyone in their own self created chaos. Take the blame. But once you have an awareness that this is happening, the less likely you are going to be gaslighted. Learn to use your gut instincts and your intuition here. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s usually not right. You can trust your gut on this. It is way smarter than your brain that is going to try to rationalise the situation. And unfortunately you can’t rationalise anything with a narcissist. Secondly, promise yourself you are going to stop getting suckered back into their charm. You see narcissists can really lay on the charm thick and fast when they want to. They know how to put on a magnificent show. Whether it’s a fun loving one, a romantic one or one that will make you want to feel so sorry for them. You can never underestimate a narcissist ability and willingness to keep putting on the facade. Each time they have an upset with you or they lash out at you especially for It means they can still use you in some way. But beware, the honeymoon period won’t last with them. They may become that charming person again, but be prepared for the next conflict. And the next one after that, and the one after that, and man, I was played big time. You may ask, Is it wise to confront their behaviour? Well, confronting a narcissist will almost certainly result in a battle, at least initially. So the decision depends upon how important it is to you, as the recipient of the behaviour. In my case, my offenders never took responsibility in any scenario. And they were so good at spinning the truth, they believed their own lies, and they threw them in my face. So if you want to call them out on their lies, and on their behaviours, I say good luck. But if you do decide to call them out, maybe begin by stroking their ego and telling them how wonderful they are, and then follow through with a bad because a narcissist can only deal with small amounts of negative feedback at a time. I suggest ease into building your case, and honestly hope for the best. All I can say is batten down the hatches people and be honest with your willingness to receive their bad behaviour in return.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 21:57
So after listening to all of this, you feel that someone you are struggling with in your life at present may possibly be a narcissist, it’s up to you, it’s your choice how you deal with them. What I’ve been doing here is sharing mostly my own experiences and adding a little bit of research into the mix. Just know that trying to fix the narcissist? Well, it’s easier said than done. The most important thing to remember in those moments of conflict with them is that it’s not your fault. And it’s not your responsibility to drive away their personal demons or to satisfy their cravings for admiration and praise. By doing this, you may risk chipping away at your own mental health and it did with me, getting through to them is not going to be easy. It’s not going to be a straightforward task in any relationship with a narcissist. It never will be. However, while you can’t change them, you can absolutely change how you respond to them. Your life is your own show to run no one else’s. Because NASA says Don’t nod. People only have as much power over you as you are willing to give them. Originally, I started out by not giving them my energy and my power when they violated my boundaries. And then I had to step this up. I stopped responding to their demands, but this cause their behaviours to escalate. It got to the point where maintaining my sanity had to become my priority. I had to find a way to stop being their punching bag. So I decided to withdraw from this relationship. And you too can choose to withdraw as I did. If you believe you have no other choice. You may feel sorry for these people to start with. But don’t ever risk your own peace of mind. Having people in your life who are constantly angry, contemptuous, victimised, disappointed and forever needing validation is only going to manifest so stop trying to make excuses for them. You don’t need to be in such a toxic relationship. Whatever you do, remember that you are in control of your life no matter how you may be treated by even the most significant people in your life, you have to start dictating to others how you expect to be treated, what they can and cannot get away with. You decide how you respond to these people and their bad behaviours. Life is so short, you don’t need to be surrounded by toxic people. There are so many amazing people in the world out there that you can spend your time with. time and energy are in short supply for all of us. So be careful how you spend these. We all deserve the best. You deserve the best, you are worthy of the best. You are worth the effort. Always have been and always will be.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 25:58
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you’d like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of a voice and beyond.