When narcissists know YOU know

Today, I’m going to let you know that you’re kind of screwed once the narcissist knows that you know. So, let’s take that apart and really lay out what that means for you. This relates to a consistent question I get from people all the time via comments or emails, or whatever: “Do narcissists know that they’re narcissistic or difficult?” And maybe even more importantly, “Do narcissists really know how insecure they are?” Because clearly, this person is insecure. Do they know that shame-right rage spiral I talk about so often?

Narcissistic people aren’t demented or frankly delusional. They are able to see that there are consequences to their behavior, and they know that their behavior at times is not a good look. But their impulsivity and entitlement, in some ways, mean that they cannot stop themselves and don’t think they should have to. It’s as though they will burst if they don’t get their nonsense out. It’s that tension reduction I talked about. So, they know that over time, their behavior is kind of causing a problem, but they will rationalize their behavior, justify it, explain it, and defend it. But yeah, in a tiny corner of their brains, they know what they’re doing is probably not a good thing. And sometimes, in therapy, if they’re in therapy, they may even admit that they can’t stop themselves. It’s too uncomfortable. They just need to get it out. And they know it sounds silly. If they actually spoke their truth, which would be, “Why can’t everyone just let me get away with what I have to say? I don’t really mean it, and I just need to let it out. I think that everyone is out to get me when they don’t let me, and life is so unfair to me, and I do always know what’s best. Why can’t everything just be my way and let me have my tantrum?” They can’t say that, and they know it, but that’s what’s happening.

So, there’s an inflection point in every narcissistic relationship. It’s the point when they see that you get it. It’s a subtle dance. It’s something that’s happening just under the radar. It’s almost imperceptible. You aren’t taking the bait as much. You aren’t letting the gaslighting get to you as much. You’re gray rocking a little more. You’re not defending. You’re not explaining. You may even be holding yourself a tiny bit taller because now you get it. Maybe you aren’t putting yourself down as much or getting as anxious when they say they will cut bait and leave or when they throw their passive-aggressive stuff at you.

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