Self-esteem is a crucial factor in every person’s mental health. Low self-esteem can make a person shy, feel worthless or even become a narcissist. In my article about narcissists and gaslighting , I said that abusive narcissists usually target their victim’s self-esteem because when it’s ruined, the victim becomes easy to control and manipulate. Narcissists themselves have low self-esteem and that’s why they hate to deal with someone who is self-assured and confident.
In a certain study, it was found that in romantic relationships, people who have low self-esteem tend to get attracted to people who have higher self-esteem. As a result, someone who has low self-esteem may get attracted to a narcissist not because the narcissist is really self-confident but because they usually project a higher level of self-confidence and charm in the initial stages of a relationship. This can make a person who has low self-esteem fall in love with the narcissist’s false ultra self-confidence.
What does this mean?
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist it’s important to ask yourself these questions: did I get attracted to this narcissist because I had low self-esteem? How did my self-confidence change after getting in this relationship? Is this narcissist ruining my self-esteem?
People who start a relationship with a narcissist because they got attracted to their façade of tremendous self-confidence usually get disappointed because they were looking for a good partner only to find themselves with an abusive, self-absorbed narcissist.
Even if you initially had high self-esteem, once you are involved with a narcissist, you may be at risk of losing it because pathological narcissists don’t feel comfortable around a partner who is more self-confident than they are. That’s why they use different methods of abuse to make sure that their victim feels worthless.
How to Prevent a Narcissist from Ruining Your Self-Esteem
Below are five ways to stop a narcissist from ruining your self-esteem.
- Learn to be assertive without being aggressive: one of the factors that can ruin a person’s self-esteem is watching his rights being violated while doing nothing about it. If you silently watch someone violating your rights, you will be sending a message to your inner mind that your rights don’t matter, as a result you will feel worthless. Being assertive is all about learning how to never let anyone violate your right without being aggressive. For example if a narcissist tried to belittle you, respond confidently telling them how they are mistaken.
- Don’t give weight to their approval: some people feel confident when they are approved, praised and accepted, and feel worthless when they are rejected, ignored and criticized. This approach can really put your self-esteem at risk when you are dealing with someone who is mentally unstable like an abusive narcissist. A narcissist can deliberately ruin your self-esteem by ignoring, criticizing or even being verbally abusive with the intentions of making you feel worthless. The best thing to do here is to give their negative opinion little to no weight.
- Don’t play their power game: in a relationship, some people engage in indirect power struggles with the narcissist not knowing how it will affect their self-esteem. A narcissist can hardly accept defeat, even if you defeat them they will find a way to put you down and make you feel defeated. A feeling of defeat is one of things that can ruin your self-esteem. The best thing to do here is to never engage in those pointless power struggles.
- Build your self-esteem: if self-esteem can be ruined it can also be built. One of the best ways to build it is to learn to value yourself without depending on the opinion of others. Narcissists lack self-esteem because they depend on the feedback from people to feel good about themselves. Following the same approach can ruin your confidence as well. (See: how to raise mentally healthy children if your spouse is a narcissist)
- Impress yourself: the best way to feel good about yourself is to impress yourself by doing something you never thought you would do right. For example, if you believe that you can’t stand up for yourself correctly when being mistreated then learning how to stand up for yourself will boost your self-esteem. See: what words can destroy a narcissist.