Narcissists love to have their egos stroked, and are well known for having a “collection” of people to do just that. Even a narcissist realizes that – in order for people to “accommodate” you – you must maintain some type of good will. To achieve this good will, a narcissist will often “shape-shift,” or embody a new persona in order to please people and get what they want. Namely, constant admiration and stroking of their ego.
Quite simply, it is not normal behavior to alter personas from one person to the next. Observing this tendency should be a telltale sign that the person is unauthentic and best, and narcissistic at worst.
4. “IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU”
Narcissists will do any say anything to cloud another’s judgement on their abnormal behavior. After subjecting their victim(s) to abuse – emotional and/or psychological, most likely – they’ll seek to invalidate and criticize any resistance to their actions. Common phrases include “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re too serious,” or “You’re misunderstanding me.”
Narcissists pride themselves on being emotional chameleons. When it comes to abuse, they’d like nothing more than for the victim to dwell in negativity and misguidedly blame themselves for the narcissist’s actions. The ultimate goal of a narcissist is to evoke a sense of self-doubt within their victims; as this self-doubt permits them more time to inflict their will.
5. THE IDEALIZATION-DEVALUATION-DISCARD CYCLE
Narcissism encompasses antisocial views and behaviors. This is most evident in relationships with romantic partners, of which there are often many. In nearly every case, the narcissist will put their partner through a cycle of idealization, devaluation and discarding.
Idealization involves making their partner the centerpiece of their life. During this phase, they’ll be charming, courteous and praising. They’ll flatter someone with this phase, and make their victim think they found their soulmate. In return, they’ll receive the admiration and attention that they constantly need.
Suddenly, the narcissist will begin to create feelings of “hot and cold,” where they continue the idealization phase to small extent, while criticizing their victim and often withdrawing from them. Predictably, the narcissist will manipulate the victim’s emotions in an attempt to maintain control. This period is often wrought with emotional and psychological abuse.
Finally, the narcissist believes their job to be done and subsequently pulls out of the relationship. But not before demeaning and disrespecting their victim in some terrible way; often by leaving them for someone else, humiliating them in front of others, or simply ignoring them for days on end.