Tag Archives: narcissism

Loving a narcissist


loving a narcissist

Loving a narcissist

Loving a narcissist is a major challenge, relationships require expert navigation to succeed and loving a narcissist requires strong will and self awareness to survive.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder where a person has an inflated sense of their own importance as well as a strong need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. However behind the facade of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that is vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

 “But enough about me, how do you feel about me?” – this would typically be what a narcissist would think or say! It’s all about them.  If your partner always wants attention and admiration, he or she may be a narcissist. If someone is easily slighted or over-reactive to criticism, they may also be a narcissist. If they feel they are always right, that they know more, or that they have to be the best, etc., these are also signs of narcissism.  Narcissistic individuals may only appear to care about you when you are fulfilling their needs or serving a purpose for them. A narcissistic relationship can lead to a lot of emotional distress.

 Around 1% of the population suffer from narcissistic personality disorder.

Common traits of narcissists:

  • Sense of entitlement or superiority
  • Lack of empathy
  • Manipulative or controlling behavior
  • Strong need for admiration
  • Focus on getting one’s own needs met, often ignoring the needs of others
  • Higher levels of aggression
  • Difficulty taking feedback about their behaviour

How does a narcissistic partner negatively impact a relationship?

Narcissistic relationships tend to be very challenging due to the fact that narcissistic partners usually have difficulty really loving someone else, because they don’t truly love themselves.   They tend to only see the partner in terms of how they fill their needs (or fail to fill their needs). Their mates and children are only valued in terms of their ability to meet these needs.  Narcissistic partners often lack the ability to have empathy with their partners’ feelings. This lack of empathy leads to a lot of hard feelings.

Yet many people are drawn to narcissistic relationships. Narcissistic partners can be very captivating, especially at the beginning. They tend to have a “big” personality. They are the life of the party. They can make you feel that you too must be great for them to choose you. However, in time, they can be too controlling in relationships. They may feel jealous or easily hurt.  When narcissistic injuries occur, they often lash out and can be cutting.  Their reactions are dramatic and attention-seeking. The initial rush of excitement is not sustainable. Narcissists are prone to falling madly in love quickly and are quick to commit and draw the other person. They are intense but the flame soon goes out and the controlling, self absorbed tendencies follow.

When you are in a narcissistic relationship, you may feel very lonely. You might feel like you are just an accessory and  your needs and wants are unimportant.  Narcissistic partners act as if they are always right, that they know better and that their partner is wrong or incompetent. This often leaves the other person in the relationship either angry and trying to defend themselves or identifying with this negative self-image and feeling badly about themselves – filled with self doubt.

Learning to develop your own confidence and sense of self love and value is important in counteracting the negative effects of being in a relationship with a narcissist.

Fostering self compassion is important too in counteracting narcissism – being kind to oneself can lead to us being less tolerant of abusive behaviour from a narcissist.

For there to be any hope of recovering a good relationship from a narcissistic relationship, the narcissist must overcome their self-centered and negative traits. They need to challenge their self-feeding habits and pseudo-independent stance. They need to focus on developing their capacity for empathy and respect of others.  Lastly, they need to develop transcendent goals, to care about and invest in others’ well-being. Being generous and giving to others are examples of behaviors that would be corrective, building real self-esteem and practicing focusing outside of oneself.

Mandy X

Source/Info: http://www.psychalive.org/narcissistic-relationships/

How to handle a narcissist




How to handle a narcissist

Narcissist’s are chronically insecure people. Their biggest fear is that they will be exposed and be seen as not good enough by others around them. As a consequence of this, they often choose partners whom they perceive to be above them or superior to them in some way. They often see their partners as an extension of themselves and possess very poor boundaries when it comes to relationships. So if you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, at least you can congratulate yourself on being above average in many aspects.

Due to the fact that narcissists have very low self-esteem, they attempt to surround themselves with good-looking and successful people. They see this as testament to their own worthiness. As far as a narcissist is concerned, there is only success or failure and nothing in between. Narcissists have very rigid rules about the world they live in.

When your rules for living are inflexible, these rules are more easily broken. Narcissists live in a perpetual state of fear, they intensely dislike any kind of criticism and often act in an entitled and spoiled way. They do this to overcompensate for their feelings of inferiority.

The best way to handle a narcissist is to know your own boundaries. Narcissists will frequently try to move the boundaries and will use manipulation, emotional blackmail and guilt to get what they want. The tough part is that narcissists are emotionally intelligent enough to know how to manipulate and ingratiate themselves with those they wish to control. They can be extremely charming and charismatic, one-minute making you feel like the most special person ever and the very next moment can make you feel as if you are the lowest of the low. They are especially adept at reeling you in emotionally and then once you are hooked, they begin their campaign of control.

Never waste time arguing with a narcissist. Nothing is ever their fault and they have such impenetrable walls up to protect themselves that they will never acknowledge your points of view. Instead of getting them to see your side, you have to stick to your boundaries and give up trying to negotiate with them. They will always want more, no matter what you give them. This is why you need to decide what you will give them (what you feel is reasonable) and desist from discussing your decisions. It is just wasted energy as they do not possess the empathy required to acknowledge how you feel. There is very little room for manoeuvring with a narcissist.

Repetition is a good form of defence. Stick to your guns and when a narcissist tries to persuade you otherwise, keep repeating your original statement/offer. You will never change narcissist, so if you are in love with one-learning to manage them rather than change them is the best plan of action.

Narcissists are extremely selfish, self absorbed and are motivated by self-interest alone. If they appear cooperative and kind, it is because they feel this behaviour will get them what they want. They are unlikely to behave in ways that are purely altruistic.

My advice would be to avoid a narcissist at all costs. I see them as emotional vampires-they are exhausting to be around. If however you feel you cannot be without your narcissistic partner, learn to value yourself and keep firm boundaries around you as to what you will and will not allow. Never allow criticism or unfair expectations to be placed upon you. The more you give a narcissist, the more they will want. Protect yourself and love yourself and make sure you surround yourself with people who truly love you without expecting anything back-your friends and your family.

Mandy X

The Dark Triad of Personality Characteristics


evil personality photo

The Dark Triad of Personality Characteristics

A dangerous recipe of three personality characteristics exists. Someone possessing these three traits is dangerous as they lack empathy, use people as objects and have a determination to succeed that is devoid of morals and ethics.

These three personality characteristics are:

  1. Psychopathy – anti social personality, lack of empathy, lack guilt and very impulsive
  2. Machiavellianism – manipulation and exploitation of others. Often seen is corporate types
  3. Narcissism – selfish, self absorbed and lacking in empathy

People with these personality traits are brilliant at moving between these three personality traits and only show the side they need to in order to further their aims. They can be heartless and are adept at dissociation whereby they act in a detached way. Acting in a detached way ensure they will have no conscience or guilt over their actions.

Sadly, many CEO’s and Directors of companies possess the dark triad of personality characteristics. Their need for power and status coupled with their lack of empathy ensure they get ahead.

People who possess the dark triad have often experienced a difficult and unloving childhood where these anti social traits will have been fostered. Abuse in childhood is a good predictor of many types of dysfunction in adults. If you know someone who only seems to care about what’s in it for them, offers very little in terms of emotional intelligence and empathy and can cause upset easily without it affecting them, you may know someone with the dark triad.

Relationships are all about give and take, cut your losses (especially if you are in a romantic relationship) and get out!


Mandy X



Photo by hang_in_there

Emotional abuse and depression


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Emotional abuse and depression

It is nearly impossible to stay upbeat and happy when your optimism and spirit are being eroded away by an abusive partner. Emotional abuse and depression are closely linked but many overlook the connection. Emotional abuse is hard to pick up on but it’s effects can be devastating. Tell a decent, mentally healthy person that they have upset you and they will try to understand why and try to avoid that behaviour in the future. Tell an emotional abuser that they have hurt you and they will twist it around. By the end of that conversation it will somehow all be your fault. You’ll be accused of being too sensitive or be asked, “Can’t you take a joke?”. These subtle emotional blows can weaken even the strongest person and leave them with self doubt and an inability to make decisions as they used to.

Emotional abuse and depression often go hand in hand as emotional abuse can be likened to ingesting a slow poison. It robs you of your self confidence and your views of the world and makes you doubt everything – how worthy you are as a person, how accurate your judgements are and will lead to confusion and an underlying sense of loss although you may not know exactly why.

Signs of emotional abuse:

1) They are always right

Somehow, you will always be in the wrong. Facts and events get twisted and you will always end up being the guilty party. Nothing they do is ever their fault. They will have one set of rules for themselves and another set for everyone else. They do not take responsibility for their part and trying to get them to own up to something will leave you disappointed and frustrated.

2) They blame others

As previously mentioned, emotional abusers are never to blame for anything that goes wrong. They will somehow always be the victim. They will steadfastly refuse to apologise for their actions and blame anyone else,anything else to get off the hook. You are wasting your time if you hope that your emotionally abusive partner will apologise and work hard to change his/her ways. Why should they when it’s not their fault?

3) Gas-lighting

This involves making you believe things that didn’t really happen or aren’t really there. For example telling you that they have told you about an upcoming party that you are 100% sure they never told you about. They will never doubt themselves. Instead they will roll their eyes and insist they told you leaving you to doubt your memory. They will push their version of reality on to you and you may end up feeling as if you are going crazy, not knowing what is true anymore.

4) They are critical of others but do not apply the same rules to themselves

Emotional abusers often have low self-awareness. This is often because they are more tuned in to others in order to control them and manipulate them. Apart from being quite controlling characters, they are known for their constant put-downs.

“Why are you wearing that?”, “Why did you do that?” or “I hope you’re not going to put that there?”  These are all examples of typical questions that an emotional abuser would use. They are leading questions suggesting that what you are doing is wrong. They are said in a tone that makes a person feel on edge with a need to explain themselves. Don’t fall into this trap. Instead of explaining yourself, send them a question back “Why are you asking?”. They want to throw you off guard and make you explain yourself. Be more assured in your behaviour and remind yourself that you don’t need to explain every action you do. Get them to give their reasons instead of you giving them reasons. Put the spotlight back on them as much as you can.

Emotional abusers will rarely admit to any abuse.Many of them will have learned this unhealthy way of acting due to a dysfunctional childhood. Usually where they were suppressed by angry despotic type parents. They couldn’t show anger and had to learn emotional manipulation instead. They are often low in self esteem and will put on an act of bravado to seem bigger and better than they feel they are inside. This is why they put others down around them. It’s an attempt to feel superior and keep those that threaten them in their place. There is a lot of misguided and unhealthy ‘self-talk’ that goes on for an abuser. They will convince themselves that they know better than others, a self-righteous attitude almost.

5) They are often opinionated and controlling – they “always know best”

When you actually look at them and what they have achieved, you will see that it isn’t nearly as amazing as they think it is. They may have an air of entitlement, be opinionated and bossy. They will also find it almost impossible to genuinely experience empathy for others. In fact, emotional abusers are often narcissists in many ways. It’s all about them.

You can’t change an abuser. Don’t bother trying – it will just leave you exhausted.You may have normalised their behaviour, allowing them to continue the abuse. What would seem unacceptable to most people is something you now accept as normal behaviour. This is a very dangerous scenario as your view of reality can become skewed and this works in the abuser’s favour, not yours.

The slow erosion of your confidence and sense of self will take it’s toll and depression is likely to follow. If you think you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship, get help. With depression, it can become even harder to leave someone who is emotionally abusive so I advise speaking to friends and/or finding a therapist and getting perspective on the relationship. If others think you are in a bad relationship, it might be time to have a break from the relationship and work on yourself a little – this way you can see if the depression begins to lift. It can be a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation but something has to shift if you want to maintain your sanity and get a hold of your situation.  Remind yourself that you deserve someone who cares about your happiness, who doesn’t pick on you endlessly and who is balanced enough to take responsibility for his/her part and actions in the relationship.

Emotional abusers are the losers of life – they can’t make it on their own so they blame others for their weaknesses and prey on the vulnerable people they meet. If you want a better life, get rid of the loser.

Mandy X


Are you dating a narcissist?

selfish photo


Are you dating a narcissist?

Many couples come to see me regarding problems in their relationships and I have found a large proportion of these cases to be affected by a narcissistic element. Often, one person exhibits many narcissistic traits, making the success of the relationship more of a challenge.

So what exactly are the typical traits of a narcissist?

1) “It’s all about me”

Dating a narcissist can be extremely challenging because they are mainly motivated by what’s in it for them. They are motivated by self interest – pure and simple. If they do not see any gain for themselves, they will be unlikely to do it. If it means they can make their partner happy but there is no specific gain to them directly, their interest will be low or non-existent. Of course, if they sacrifice and then know they will be widely seen as a wonderful person, they might still do it for the recognition. A relationship often serves to enhance a narcissists image. The bottom line though is that they only engage in activities where there will be some type of gain for them. They do not engage in purely selfless acts for the benefit of others.

2) Narcissists lack empathy

Narcissists do not think in a healthy and balanced way. They lack genuine emotional connections with others. Despite this, they are incredibly adept at acting the part of a caring person, at least initially or when acting the part is called for. One thing that I have noticed time and time again is that narcissists don’t feel the natural, normal emotions many feel. What they have to do is act out what they think would constitute a caring, empathic person.

So, in the beginning when dating a narcissist, they will be very attentive, very romantic and appear wonderful in many ways. They will write cards, be thoughtful in sending flowers or other gifts, writing loving texts and arranging romantic dinners. A narcissist cannot sustain this behaviour however, as it does not come naturally to them. They do all the caring stuff as a means to an end – to capture the other person’s affections and gain emotional control. Once the other person is hooked, they can go back to being their normal selfish behaviour.

3) Narcissists are excellent at manipulation

Narcissists seem to have a 6th sense when it comes to uncovering other people’s weak spots. They are adept at figuring out another person’s vulnerabilities and they use this to achieve their personal goals. If you are insecure about the way you look, they may initially make you feel as if you are the most gorgeous person ever, but after a while they will use this against you. They will possibly drop the odd hint about how there are so many good looking people where they work or they will insinuate that their partner is not taking enough care of themselves. They do this to establish value. In this way, the slowly  influence their partner to feel they are not good enough and that they are lucky to have someone who stays with them. It’s subtle most of the time, but their subtle negative comments do the job of keeping you full of self doubt.

4) Narcissists never take the blame

Narcissists are not good when it comes to receiving constructive criticism. As far as they are concerned they are victims of others people’s ineptitude, lack of competence and/or other people’s negligent actions. They are unable to see their role in things going wrong. Instead they will lash out and convince others that it is their fault, that they are the one with the problem. Narcissists are very good at creating a mindset for themselves that  involves denial of reality. As I mentioned before, their thinking is distorted. They twist reality to fit their way of seeing things, Dating a narcissist means you will very rarely be allowed an audience with an objective person who will see your side. Don’t expect to hear them say “sorry” either.

So what do you do if you suspect that you are dating a narcissist?

Narcissists can still be loveable even though they give very little back in a relationship. They are often charismatic and charming.

1) Understanding and context

Try to understand why your narcissistic partner is the way they are. Sometimes, you can see obvious signs from a dysfunctional childhood. Some narcissists use the bravado to hide their own sense of shame and inadequacy. Understanding promotes tolerance of their behaviour.

2) Don’t try to change them

Trying to argue with a narcissist is often a waste of time as they tend to be very set in their ways. They have rigid thinking and are not swayed easily. Trying to get them to see your way of thinking is a futile exercise. Instead, accept who they are and what they are willing to give. If you feel resentful at their behaviour in a relationship, trying to change them is not an option.

3) Highlight the benefits to them

As narcissists are  motivated by personal gain, you may be able to influence them in this way. Show them how something will benefit them and you might be able to get their cooperation. Work with them and play to their interests.

4) Stand up for yourself

Let your narcissistic partner know when they annoy you. The more you allow them to mistreat you, the worse it will get. Be assertive and let them know when you are not happy with their behaviour. Your responsibility is to communicate your needs. If you find that your requests are repeatedly ignored, it might be time to rethink the status of the relationship.

5) Ask for what you need

Dating a narcissist can be a lonely experience and you need to be quite resourceful and self sufficient to cope. As narcissists often lack empathy, they need to be told what is expected of them. Ask for what you want and make instructions as clear and precise as possible.

There are many types of narcissistic behaviour, severe and long standing narcissists are often diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Some narcissists have less severe characteristics and they have the most chance of enjoying a successful relationship.

Mandy X



Photo by laudu

new relationship checklist

New Relationship Checklist

relationship photo


New Relationship Checklist

A new relationship can be both exhilarating as well as scary. The love hormones are in full swing and we can feel giddy with excitement, allowing our thoughts to imagine all sorts of happy future scenarios.

On the other hand, we are getting to know someone we initially know very little about and people tend to be on their best behaviour initially. I have put together a “new relationship checklist” to help those of you in new relationships navigate the possible pitfalls and be one step ahead on the romance and dating game:

New Relationship Checklist:

1) If your new partner does have hidden negative traits, they will usually start to appear within 3-6 months. A person’s natural temperament and personality cannot be hidden forever and they will be unable to keep up the pretence for longer than 3-6 months.

2) Don’t ignore the warning signs. I have been in relationships and have looked back and seen the signs so clearly, yet at the time, I so wanted the relationship to work that I dismissed these signs. Our inner wisdom often nudges us, tune in and listen up – this could save you a lot of heartache.

3) Are you being swept off your feet but in an extreme manner? Be wary of any extremes. A person who rushes in and overdoes it on the romance front may be demonstrating an extreme aspect to their personality. Someone who is too gushy and sends you cards, flowers and constantly flatters you may be setting you up for a fall. This isn’t always the case but there are patterns of abusive people starting out relationships this way. They rush in to woo you, get you emotionally hooked as part of their strategy to gain control. The more emotionally hooked you are, the easier you are to control and manipulate.

4) Find out about your new partner’s romantic history. Do they still keep in touch with any of their exes? How did their last relationship end? Be wary as you may not be given the truth but sometimes a partner that has no contact with any of their ex partners and does not have many good female friendships may be hiding something. This alone does not mean that there is a problem however – use this checklist as a whole rather than looking at each point in isolation.

5) Possessiveness/control – look out for any signs of rigid thinking relating to life and others. Someone who is overly opinionated and judgemental might eventually turn that attitude onto you. Also be wary of anyone who seems to treat you as an object or seems to have firm ideas around flirting and chatting to members of the opposite sex – this may be their way of ‘grooming’ you to come round to their way of thinking.

6) Find out about your new partner’s family and his childhood. How does he get on with his family? Do they all get on and is the family dynamic stable? A person who has grown up in a healthy stable environment is more likely to treat you well whereas someone who had a difficult childhood or has cut out certain family members will be more likely to have personal issues that might spill out into your relationship.

7) Genuine empathy – does your new partner show you genuine empathy? Narcissists can say all the right things but they very rarely feel true empathy. They are unable to put themselves in other people’s shoes. If you get the feeling that your partner isn’t supportive and seems more absorbed with their wishes/wants/needs – be very wary. A healthy partner will know how to support you and won’t only use words to do this. Get to know the difference between genuine empathy and someone who is just good with words – this is superficial and will leave you feeling alone in the future.

The above list isn’t exhaustive and these are just a few of the main points I have noticed time and time again. This new relationship checklist isn’t meant to scare you either. I believe that it is better to be armed with the right information that can assist you in making informed decisions than obtaining the insight when it is too late.

Good relationships nourish, and bad relationships distract and harm. Good relationships, at root, allow each partner to feel accepted, while bad relationships often involve trying to change your partner. In bad relationships, men and women spend much of their time feeling frustrated, sad, angry, or resentful.

Above all – have fun, enjoy getting to know someone new and enjoy the ride but always be on the lookout for any warning signs in the initial stages.

Mandy X


Boyfriend makes me feel I am crazy

insanity photo


Boyfriend makes me feel I am crazy

Emotional abuse is widespread and hugely underreported. This is partly because many people do not realise that they are being emotionally abused. I am seeing a client at the moment who feels as if she is going crazy. No one else in her life makes her feel this way and this feeling only manifests with her boyfriend. She has agreed to list the behaviours for this blog post:

“My boyfriend makes me feel I am going crazy. I have always seen myself as competent and able yet since being with him, my confidence has disappeared and continuously doubt myself. It has happened slowly over time but I realised recently that I had become a shell of my former self. I have lost my sparkle. I am quiet, subdued and compare myself unfavourably to everyone else. I never used to be this way. Here are examples of what I have experienced in this relationship:

1) My reality/feelings are very rarely validated by my boyfriend. When I tell him I feel neglected and say that he has not been attentive, instead of exploring that with me, he tells me that it isn’t at all like that. My feelings aren’t acknowledged on any level. Just because his reality doesn’t feature my feelings, they don’t exist for him.

If I tell him that I feel he talks to me in a patronising, rude manner he will say “No, I don’t”. End of discussion. As a result communication has shut down because his version stands and there is no room for any other interpretation. This long term effect of this has led me to doubt my perceptions of things.

I can feel a certain way but he tells me that I am basically wrong to feel that way. Where do you go with that? Instead of trying to have empathy and to look at how his behaviour might be influencing me, he blocks communication and bullies me into his version.” When I am trying to assert myself he will reply in a patronising way: “Okay, okay, okay” nodding his head and clearly not taking what I am saying seriously.

MANDY: A stable, emotionally healthy man would genuinely want to understand why his behaviour was having a negative effect on his partner. he wouldn’t bully his girlfriend into accepting his version every time. This is emotional abuse – plain and simple.

2) I am apparently “too sensitive” or “can’t take a joke”. When he  upsets me and I react (for example if he criticises me unnecessarily) he will immediately say, “I was only joking. Can’t you take a joke?” I am upset but my feelings are never validated. He says that he is joking and it is therefore my fault that I can’t see the funny side. The other response is that I am being “too sensitive”. And so the self doubt creeps in further.

MANDY: Denying how another person feels consistently is a form of emotional abuse. A caring partner is open to communicating and learning how best to negotiate and compromise to keep the relationship happy. A mature person will adopt an assertive win-win attitude instead of an aggressive, win-lose position ie. they win by dictating and closing down the discussion by making their partner feel ‘less than’ because they “don’t have a sense of humour or are too sensitive”. Abuse, abuse, abuse – carefully crafted and subtle but abuse nonetheless.

3) He rarely accepts blame. When I misunderstand my boyfriend, he gets angry and tells me that I “never listen”. He also once told me that I was the only one who always seemed to get it wrong. Whenever we don’t see eye to eye, it is my fault. He seems incapable of looking at his part in the interaction. Recently he borrowed something of mine and asked me to remind him to give it back. When he repeatedly didn’t bring it back it became my fault because he had “told” me to “remind him”.

4) He is rarely wrong. One night I tripped over his sports bag that he had left right in the doorway. When I asked him to please not leave it right in the doorway, he told me it was my fault for tripping as I should have put the light on. (I am sure if I had done that I would have been in trouble for putting the light on in the middle of the night.) I just can’t seem to win – damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

5) He sets me up to fail. He withholds information from me. I believe he does this as a way to feel in control.I think he does this as a way to feel superior. It feels good for him to have information that could help me but that he can keep to himself – makes him feel powerful. Leaves me feeling stupid. He will randomly ask me, “So do you have anything to tell me?”. Of course, I will have no clue as to what he is referring to and ask him what he means. He will then say in a vague way that if there is anything he should know then now is the time to tell him, if not then I have nothing to worry about. I have learned that this is his way suggesting that he knows more than I think he knows. This is his amateurish way of trying to get me to confess to anything that he might need to know. He has never trusted me even though he says he does…I have never been unfaithful so this tactic of his never works. I feel insulted that he even has to say it. I guess he imagines that if I ever do anything to be unfaithful, he will get me to confess this way. Controlling.

MANDY: Manipulative and controlling behaviour.

6) He is very insecure.

Although he would never ever admit it, his behaviour makes me think he is very insecure. He feels inferior and so enforcing his worldview on me helps him to feel better about himself. He plays games and can’t seem to tackle issues head on with me.

He constantly questions me, “Why have you done that” Why are you putting that there? Why did you say that?..it is constant. I feel I am constantly having to defend and explain myself and my actions even for small things.

MANDY: By putting pressure on others, an insecure person can avoid the spotlight being put upon him. Attack seems to be their best line of defense.

7)He has double standards.

He will have one set of rules for me and another set for himself. Hypocrite comes to mind. He will do things that would be completely unacceptable if I did them but if I try talk about this double standard he will have some clever way to wiggle out of it.

8) He is controlling and manipulative. He often says things like, “Don’t you think…..?” It is his way of telling me what he believes and he will try manipulate me into agreeing with how he sees the world. Once we were eating dinner and I needed a toilet break. I found myself almost asking for permission – I said. “Do you mind if I go to the loo quickly?” (In hindsight I realise I should have just made a statement, telling him I was going to the bathroom). He answered, ‘What about your dinner?” This was his way of trying to get me to stay and finish my food. He would never be that direct and tell me I was not allowed to go to the loo. He then said “Don’t you think it’s bad enough that we sit in front on the TV and that we should be sitting at the dining table?” The message is clear but is delivered in a subtle way that could be misinterpreted. If I decide to confront him, he will then either say – “You don’t listen”, or “how did you get that idea from what I said?” or..as a last resort “I was only joking”..or “you are so sensitive”.

So, I feel I am gojng out of my mind, he does very little to help me believe otherwise. He regularly says things like. “so are you coming to the meal tomorrow?” (This happens frequently). Nine times out of ten it will be the first time he has mentioned it and I will say “What meal?”. I will then  get an annoyed reaction, “I have already told you!”. I won’t remember and he will get annoyed at me for not remembering something that he never told me in the first place. I will readily admit that I don’t have the best memory in the world and it has happened in the past that I have genuinely forgotten but he also has a habit of giving me news about his plans three or four hours before it is meant to take place. He will never back down and question himself, it will always be that I have forgotten. This rarely happens with my friends and family and thankfully, my very different experiences with my friends and family is probably the only thing that keeps me from going completely insane.

I wanted to write about this because manipulation, control and emotional abuse takes many many forms and the alarm bells should start going off for you when you find that you doubt your sanity – especially in relation to your partner. I had become depressed and anxious. I withdrew from the world. If you feel this way no matter who you are dealing with, it might be worth seeking professional help. But if you feel that the self doubt is at it’s highest around your boyfriend, it probably has more to do with that specific interaction. Get help before you really do go mad!!

(Anonymous client;

MANDY: Emotional abuse is frequently well hidden and subtle. Trust your instincts and if in doubt, give yourself away from your partner in order to see if you feel as crazy and doubtful away from them. This form of crazymaking is a way to gain control, to make you doubt yourself to the point where you begin to take on their viewpoints and become more pliable and easier to control.

It is an invisible form of control and everyone is susceptible no matter who you are, your background or your socio-economic status.

Get objective help to strengthen your confidence and make decisions in your best interests.

Mandy X





Photo by Dima Bushkov

Egocentrism vs Narcissism Infographic

egocentrism vs narcissism infographic

Mandy X