Episode 50: Dealing with Narcissist with Shivani Gupta

Shivani Gupta (00:16)

I'm Shivani Gupta, and welcome to the Ask Shivani podcast. I believe that one of the best presents that you can give yourself is time to be able to sit down and ask yourself some questions. I believe that the quality of the question that you ask yourself will determine the quality of your life.

Hey everyone, this is Shivani on the AskShivani podcast we are going to talk about something that really drives me bananas. It is dealing with narcissists. So, narcissists around everywhere. They might be in your home, they might be in your workplace, they may be in your friendship circles, they may be in there everywhere. So, let's talk about today narcissists, what they are, what their patterns are, how they suck us in, how we deal with them what we have to do to really get out of it, and start to live life without so much influence from narcissists. So, the official definition of narcissists when you look at that, it's somebody that everybody has an interest in themselves, right? But narcissists have this excessive interest in themselves. They really admire themselves; they think they are crush heart; they think they're amazing. And often they don't believe because they've got an excessive interest in themselves. That means that they probably have a lot less interest in you.

And so, one of the things that really, I didn't even know this really word narcissists, I'd sort of heard of it, but didn't really understand it. And you know, sometimes in life, you've got to go through an experience what a narcissist does, in terms of their cycles, and you feel this pain about – oh my god, why is it that people treat me like this? What is this about? What do I do about it, that you then understand what a narcissist did, what they do, and when you start to read about it, and you start to understand the patterns of analysis as to you go – oh my god, I'm so done with this! And I so want to live a life that's got a lot less narcissistic people. So, I just want to share with you what I've learned the hard way in this podcast, I just want you to reflect on it as which is almost my intention. And I decided for those of you listening today to this podcast, if you've got an answer says, whether you're aware of it or not, we know the first thing is if you're not aware, you want to become aware of the pattern going - oh my god, so this person that's been giving me the shifts in terms of how they do different things. Right now, I've got a label for them. Some of you might be aware that you've got narcissistic people, and then you want to identify what patterns might be about the end. And the other area that I'm going to speak about is some strategies in terms of being able to deal with a narcissist. And they will range from all the way from having to deal with them to perhaps choosing not to deal with them at all.

So let me talk and dive into all of that. So, the first thing is, if you are surrounded by somebody in your life that is overly excessively interested in themselves, they think they're really important, they admire themselves. And often they do that in a way that they put themselves up here. And as a result of that often put you down or other people around with them. So, you might be experiencing this narcissistic behavior from somebody towards you. But you might also be experiencing this narcissistic behavior from Person A through to Person B and you are kind of watching this narcissistic behavior. So just be aware of that. So, narcissists have stages, whether they even realize or not. And the first thing that they will do is that they will over love you, overcompensate, over praise you, tell you how amazing you are. So, this is what I call is their little strategy for like, sucking you into their little web into their world, so that they can really start to make you feel fantastic. Now if you have a great level of self-confidence and level of self-esteem, then you're not so sucked in very easily because you already feel pretty complete about that, but for most of us at some stage they will like – oh my god, this person is really nice. And we will actually be kind of attracted to this person who is being so charming, and wonderful. So, they will almost over love you, right? is probably the word to put it in, they will tell you, they want to become all of your world and they, you know, just shower you with love, and you then start to go this person is pretty freaking amazing.

Then over a period of time, one of the things that they will tend to do is they will start to then devalue you. After they've got your trust after you feel like that this person is amazing, whether they're a friend or a coworker, or a partner, or somebody else in your family or friendship circle. And so, the way that they devalue is that they might lie to you. They might throw you an insult sometimes those insults sort of wrapped up in a little what I call basically a shit sandwich, right like there's a bit of bread but there's shit in the middle and then there's still a sandwich so they will lie to you, they will insult you and sometimes they don't even say anything but they'll withhold your love. That might be silent treatment that might be a way to just withhold their love so that they don't want, so you then start to know going - oh my god, I had all of this and now I've got this withdrawal of it. So, there's a lot of behaviors that they have, which essentially then just start to make you feel devalued. And when you feel devalued when they the line sold, or do, you know, withhold their love or have these manipulative behaviors around it, my experience has been, there's a whole range of feelings that come up around it. So, you might feel you know, at times isolated, you might feel a bit indecisive, like you were feeling really confident about something. And then they go - Okay, fine, fine, you do whatever they withhold the love and then you can actually become really indecisive in terms of who you are and what you want to do.

At times, I felt really unwell physically. So, you can actually have a physical impact on who you are and how you operate because of this narcissistic behavior. Sometimes you can almost start to dissociate yourself and start to completely remove yourself, which again, can lead to isolation. So, there's a whole heap of behaviors that happen, I would so check it out, Google it, understand that more as I'm speaking about this today. But once you've recognized some of these stages, look at how they might be coming out in those narcissistic behaviors towards you.

Some people, when they've had narcissistic people in a lot of their life will have, you know, post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. And it can have really big impacts in terms of your life, I've experienced ex friends who have been really narcissistic, I've had different family members that have been really narcissistic, I've absolutely been in the workplace, both in the corporate land, and even clients that I've had to deal with who are really narcissistic. And, you know, it's not to say that we can cut all of those out completely out of our lives, there will always be narcissistic people around. But it's the impact that it has on us. It's the impact that it has on you, and how you want to manage that you want to be able to, you know, run your own life and not have these narcissistic people take you in and out of their webs and their patterns and their roller coasters, in terms of what they want to do.

So, what I wanted to do was spend quite a bit of time here really looking at how do you actually break the cycle? What do you do? How do you make that happen? So, the first thing that I wanted to say is that, in our society, we talk a lot about physical abuse, we talk about financial abuse, we talk about sexual abuse, one of the things that, you know, I believe in is that narcissistic behavior like this is a form of abuse. So, this whole, I'm going to overlap you, I'm then going to devalue you, and then I'm going to basically discard you at some point. And then the fourth thing that happens is either they will just do that once or they will repeat that pattern. And then they will apologize. And look, I'm really sorry, this happened, there'll be some level of stupid piecework excuses that come around. And what they then want to do is repeat that cycle. So, then they'll overlap you, start to devalue you, at some point, discard you, and then, you know, try and charm you again. So, they tend to repeat the cycle over and over again. So, people that have been dealing with this for, you know, perhaps somebody in their life for years and years and years. Absolutely, you may have some PTSD around that. But you also need to understand that it is actually a form of abuse. I don't want to write what form of abuse it is and how it relates to other things. But it is a form of abuse.

The second thing, which I know we have some incredible people and teachers around the world, I'm learning so much about setting boundaries from a couple of meditation teachers that I've got in my life. But also, from, you know, books that you can read with Brené Brown, and Oprah talks a lot about boundaries, you need to really have some very, very clear boundaries, in terms of how you operate with them. So, some of the boundaries that I've had to set have ranged from limiting my exposure to them, then when I've realized that their behavior is quite narcissistic. And so, my trick is to work on my self-esteem. So, when they're over loving me, I don't buy into their crap, I don't go into the web, because I know how the web is going to turn out every single time. So, then we're moving over charming is not to fall for it. And to actually set some boundaries really, really clearly upfront. So, when that charm starts, being able to see that and let's say somebody in your workplace, and or somebody in your close family, but you know that you don't, you can't or won't be able to completely cut them off. So, then you start to say – Okay well, what's my strategy here in terms of setting my own boundaries, and so one of the boundaries I've said is how much I engage with them outside of when I have to.

So, if you've got somebody really narcissistic in your workplace, and let's say they work as somebody in close to your team, or they might even be in your team. And you have to manage them either as a colleague, or as somebody that works for you or somebody that you work for, you kind of have to work with them unless you want to exit and do other things, which is always a strategy too. But one of the things is, well, how do I set my boundary? So, I keep to my professionalism around that. How do I not let them get into the lids going in, like hey, we haven't caught up for so long and fall into that charm and that overlap of strategy that they will always try and have you and then before they devalue and move into that second stage, same thing happens in your family, or friendship circles as well. So, if you know your kids are friends with somebody else's friends, but you know, that parent is pretty narcissistic, well, then how do you manage that? How do you limit their exposure on you? Or how do you let the kids socialize, but not always socialize with the parents? Or if it's somebody that is a friend of yours, or a family member of yours? How do you not fall into their charm again, and really setting those clear, clear boundaries around that? And if they move into that second stage of devaluing you in terms of lying or insulting you, or withholding their love than calling them out on their behavior and saying, that's actually not okay with me. Now, at that point, they'll either go into complete denial and go into overlap again, or they will discard it. There are some narcissists that will change their behavior when you call them on their devaluation stage. And they'll go - Yep, okay! So, I'm not suggesting that all narcissists will never, ever, ever change their behavior. But for a lot of them, when you've got that pattern with them over and over again, they're unlikely to, so the role becomes yours. And the responsibility becomes yours to be able to say - Okay, well, what am I going to do with this narcissistic behavior, particularly once I hit the devalue stage, when they start to have these behaviors that made me feel isolated, and unloved, and unworthy and indecisive, and I'm starting to dissociate, this is not good for me, and how I'm going to call out to them, and you can call out with that behavior verbally, you can write to them, you can process that or you can make that decision that perhaps you don't want to hang around with them. And you really need to limit some of the stuff that you need to do.

The other thing that I find as a strategy, it's so important to protect my energy. So, I find that, you know, we energetic grains, right, and we will be somewhere and I can have a great interaction with somebody, and that fills my cup. So, I end up walking away from that interaction with more energy, I can also go over here and interact with somebody, that is a really terrible interaction. And I feel that my energy is depleted as a result of it. So, there's some great spiritual ways and being able to cover yourself with light. Some of the teachers that I've worked with talk about covering yourself with white light and white lining itself. other teachers that I've had an opportunity to work with, talk about using golden light. I recently came across a beautiful woman Lynette, who I met last year. And she's got an amazing podcast, by the way called The Woo Woo Verse, and you can actually look up the golden light meditation that she does in that, in her podcast, and she just shares that really freely. And I've just started to do some of that as well.

So, finding ways to protect your energy, whether it's doing that spiritually, whether you are protecting that in terms of your interactions with them, but really watching out your energies really checking in, well what's happened to my energy levels, do I feel charged, and I've got more or have I got less hasn't been nourished, and my perhaps been more filled, or hasn't been lost because of that interaction. And what do I need to do to protect my energy, particularly around narcissists. Most of the time around narcissists you'll find that you will lose your energy. So, you may need to have other techniques to either fill up your energy afterwards or have a little gap in your diary. If you've had a particular interaction or a meeting with them. For example, I have a couple of narcissists in, you know, the kid’s family circles and some of their parents. So, one of the things I do is I have about a 45-minute limit. And I know that I can manage my energy levels really well to them. But then I don't want to sit there gossiping about other parents or teachers or schools like that really takes a lot of energy away from me. And so, what I tend to do is keep that conversation really light and keep it a particular level. It lasts about 45 minutes, after those 45 minutes. I'm out of it, I'm done and so, I have that time limit sets with me knowing that it helps me manage my energy levels as well.

And I think the other thing is to really look at making sure that narcissists we'll always promise you the world, look I've changed all now know this and they will actually some of them will actually show you that they've made these changes to be able to do that. So one of the people that was really narcissistic in my personal life, one of the things that she would do is say, you know, knowing that I'm a meditator, knowing that I'm a writer, she'll go to, you know, that interaction didn't end very well, one of the things I want to let you know, now Shivani, is that, you know, I've really started to read a lot more spiritual books, and I realized that, you know, the way that I'm living is not great. Or by the way, you know I’ve started meditation practices, she even once sent me a meditation group that she joined, and let me know that. You know, forgiveness is really important, this person's really changing, this person really changed. This is fantastic. So, they'll show me these, even these behaviors, that will show me that they've promised to change. And then, one of the things that would happen is I would let him come in, and then the same fricking pattern will start the overlap, the devaluing, the discard and the overcharge just constantly this pattern.

And so, one of the things I was like, I am so done with this. And so, I don't actually want to see any promises anymore from people that are narcissistic. So promising is great. I want to see some action; I want to see some real action. And I want to see that action over a bit of consistent period of time, not for a week, not for a month, I want to see you change, not for me to get me back into your web, I want to see you change that from a variety of different things that you're going to do. So, one of the things I want you to get out of this podcast is recognize if somebody put that label on them, if you recognize some of the things that I'm speaking about, as somebody who's narcissistic, do your own research, look at patterns that narcissists have, literally Google it. And yes, there'll be different articles around that. But for me, they have these stages, because you know, when somebody is really balanced, and not a narcissist, they will love you, but they don't overlap you, they don't have to shower you to charm you to get you to go into that stuff. And once somebody starts to devalue me by lying to me, by insulting me, by withholding their love in terms of what they do, I also now recognize that, if they're doing it to me, they're also doing it to others. And if they're doing it to me once they're more likely, unless I have boundaries around it, to keep doing that to me.

So, I've had patterns where somebody is, you know been a narcissist for a decade or more. And I've had to really put some boundaries in place to be able to say, how is it that I want to do that, because it's not good for me. And when I'm in that stage of feeling like isolated, indecisive, it has an impact not only on me, but as an impact on my family, like, you know, I'm in this thing, then trying to fill my cup back up to actually then be able to function again, sometimes it's been that bad with my workplace, and my businesses and my kids, and my husband and my close friends. And so, it takes me a long time at times to recover from this you know, cycle that just keeps going over and over again. So, one of the things we have to do is if we're in the samples, we want to be able to put, if we can't put a stop to it, at least puts like a guide in there to say, Okay, I'm going to put a guide in here to work out how to define a do boundary that this person is going to have to reset through that.

Also had a breakup, you know, realize that it's a form of abuse, work out some boundaries, get some support, like find a counselor, find another friend, find somebody that you can speak, to listen to podcasts, listen to Brené Brown, listen to Oprah talk about boundaries, you know, do some research on what might be some simple ways that you can start to put some boundaries in terms of not letting these people in easily. And if you let them in, and then they repeat that, then what are you actually going to do around that, and ask for some action around you so that there is some concrete action, not just these bowls, bullshit, crappy excuses in terms of what they're going to do. And they're actually going to make some changes in their life. And then make a decision whether that is the right thing for you.

There was one particular person who did show that they took a lot of actions. But you know, when I really felt through that, and my heart and my mind, I just didn't want to risk it again. Because the recovery for me was long. So, I just said, look, that's awesome, that you've made those changes. I think that's fantastic. I hope that they serve you. But I just really can't continue to see you as a friend, it's not going to work for me. And in that case, I made a decision to have more than a gate, I put a whole fricking, you know, six-foot fence around it, which I don't want any reference to any political ex-presidents. But I had to kind of put a really big fence around it. Because the level of hurt and the recovery periods for me were just too long. And I didn't want to risk that. I didn't want to keep going back to that and I was willing to let that friendship go.

Because, the impact on me and my family and my business are too great and I just had to let them go with love and say - Yep, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, I really believe that same. And it's our decision in terms of who are we letting into our inner circles. And it's also up to us to push people out of that inner circle out to the circumference, or bloody into fourth dimensions or wherever that they need to be, so that they don't have that impact on you.

I always wish you well. I hope that there's something that I said today resonated or struck a chord or you're really angry, or you're going to do something about it, or you're sad, but you're going to do something about it. Just don't let narcissists ruin and run your world. Make sure that you take some control and work out how you're going to run your world. If you have any questions, you know, my website, my email address, this podcast is called AskShivani. If there's any questions that you think or topics that you'd like me to cover, always just shoot me an email, always ask the questions that you do, and I would so love it. If you would take a moment to review and rate this podcast it would mean the world to me. Thank you. Thank you so much, and have a beautiful day.