These manipulative and egotistical people walk among us every day, often unnoticed since they’re hidden behind their false masks. Oftentimes, they’re charismatic, charming, the life of the party.
But, the truth is that behind their charming face, there’s a person who is incapable of feeling compassion and empathy. A person who is excellent at playing devious mind games. A person who is willing to do everything in their power to make you doubt your own perceptions, logic, and sanity, and distort your sense of self in order to exploit you for their own agenda. A person who considers themselves better and more important than everyone else.
So, if you doubt that a friend, a family member, a colleague, or whoever might be a narcissist, the only way to find out if this is true is to pay close attention to their language. Because a narcissist’s language reveals their cruelty which is designed to control you and instill a pervasive sense of worthlessness in you.
Namely, narcissistic individuals collect three important pieces of information, described below, in the “idealization” phase of the relationship in which they’re first showering you with attention and praise, and they later use these pieces of information against you in the devaluation and discard stages in their cruel language.
Here they are:
1. The secrets, insecurities, and flaws you have confided in the narcissist about.
Narcissistic individuals rejoice when you share your secrets, your wounds, and your problems with them early on. During the early stages of the relationship, which include love bombing, you’re most likely to share your heartbreaks and what you consider to be your weaknesses and flaws with them.
You may see this as a way of creating a bond with your partner and a way of being vulnerable around them. But, narcissists don’t see this the way you do. They see this as an opportunity to find out what your weaknesses and fears are and then use these to provoke you, belittle you, and damage your self-esteem during the devaluation and discard phases.
For instance, if you tell a narcissist, whether they’re a partner, a friend, a family member, or a colleague, that you are insecure about your weight, then get ready to endure their constant put-downs and snide remarks about your body in the devaluation stage.
Or if you tell them that you’ve experienced many failures, it won’t be long before they’re emphasizing your mistakes and failures, (rather than the lessons you’ve learned from them), and undermining your successes and talents so as to make you feel incompetent and weak. Because by making you feel this way, they make themselves feel powerful and superior to you. And narcissists live for that power since it’s the only power they can possess in their empty, meaningless lives.
2. Your talents and successes, especially the ones they perceive as a threat to their sense of superiority.
During the idealization phase, the narcissist showers you with excessive attention, sweet words, and compliments. They can’t stop praising you for your strengths and accomplishments. They can’t stop talking about you to their friends and family. Their association with you makes them feel important. It feeds their ego. It strokes their sense of superiority.
In the devaluation stage, the narcissist will literally translate your qualities, talents, and accomplishments into flaws. For example, if once you were “confident” and “attractive,” now you are “vain” and an “average-looking” woman or man. If once you were “smart” and “ambitious,” now you are only a “know-it-all.”
The narcissist will do their best to manipulate you into thinking that your qualities and accomplishments aren’t real. They’ll undermine your successes and make them appear as if they’re not a big deal and as if they’re of little importance to the world. They’ll manipulate you into thinking that you are incapable of doing even the smallest of tasks, although you’re better than them at everything.
They may even accuse you of being conceited or envious of them, when in fact, they’re the one who is envious of you and everything you accomplish.
Remember: Narcissists have no limits as to what they’ll use to undermine your talents and successes and instill a pervasive sense of worthlessness in you.
3. Your need to please them.
By showering you with excessive attention and compliments during the idealization phase, the narcissist makes you dependent on their praise. In the devaluation phase, they use your need for validation and approval to their advantage by appearing sullen and often emphasizing that nothing you do is ever good enough and how incapable you are of meeting their expectations.
In order to take back your control and power from a narcissistic partner, friend, or family member, you have to confront the language that they use against you. You have to create in its place a language that lifts you, encourages you, and inspires you by replacing the narcissist’s harsh, hurtful words with your own truth.