7 things a narcissist will do to drain your energy and bring you down

Living with a narcissist can be like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands. It’s elusive, confusing, and ultimately exhausting. When you’re dealing with a narcissist, everything revolves around them. Their needs, their desires, their feelings. It’s like you’re an extra in their personal movie.

Now, I’ve seen countless relationships strained and drained by narcissistic individuals. They have a knack for sucking the energy out of a room and making it all about themselves. They’re experts at manipulating situations to their advantage and leaving you feeling deflated and depleted.

In this article, we’re going to delve into the sneaky tactics narcissists use to drain your energy and bring you down. We’ll expose their game, so you can recognize when it’s happening and take steps to protect yourself. Because let me tell you, my dear reader, knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with narcissists.

Let’s get started.

1) They downplay your accomplishments

Narcissists have a knack for making everything about them. This includes your success and accomplishments. It’s not uncommon for a narcissist to downplay or even dismiss what you’ve achieved.

You see, in their world, your success should be their success. And if it’s not, they’ll find a way to undermine it. This could be through subtle comments or overt criticism. Either way, the end result is the same – you’re left feeling deflated and demotivated.

It’s a sneaky tactic that serves two purposes. First, it keeps the narcissist in the spotlight. And secondly, it keeps you second guessing yourself and your abilities.

But remember, your achievements are just that – yours. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

2) They’re surprisingly charming

Here’s the thing about narcissists – they’re not always the villains we paint them out to be. In fact, they can be incredibly charming and charismatic. This can make it difficult to recognize their toxic behavior because it’s often hidden behind a mask of charm.

This charm serves as a powerful tool for them. It draws people in, making it easier for them to manipulate situations and relationships to their advantage. You might even find yourself feeling guilty for thinking ill of them because they’re just so ‘nice.’

Of course, charm in itself isn’t a bad thing. But when it’s used as a tool to control and manipulate, that’s when it becomes a problem. Narcissists use their charm not to build genuine relationships but to maintain control and keep you under their influence. So, always stay vigilant.

3) They make you doubt your reality

One of the most insidious things a narcissist can do is to make you question your own reality. It’s a technique known as gaslighting, and it’s incredibly effective.

Here’s how it works: The narcissist will deny or distort facts to suit their narrative. They’ll make you question your memory, your perception, and even your sanity. Before you know it, you’re second-guessing everything and relying on them to tell you what’s true.

I talk a lot about this in my book Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship. It’s a deep dive into the psychological mechanisms at play in these types of relationships, and I share strategies to help people break free from this toxic cycle.

But for now, the key takeaway is this: If someone is making you doubt your own experiences or memories, that’s a huge red flag. Trust yourself. You know your reality better than anyone else.

4) They rarely apologize

Apologies require vulnerability, and that’s something narcissists are not comfortable with. They’ll go to great lengths to avoid admitting they were wrong, often twisting the narrative so that you’re the one who ends up apologizing.

This refusal to apologize is not just about preserving their ego. It’s also a way for them to maintain control. By never admitting fault, they keep you in a constant state of self-doubt and confusion.

I’ve seen this play out countless times in the relationships I’ve worked with. It’s a frustrating and exhausting cycle that leaves you feeling like you’re always the ‘bad guy.’

As the wise Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” If you’re dealing with someone who never seems to think they’re at fault, it might be time to take a step back and reassess the relationship. You deserve respect and accountability from your partner.

5) They react poorly to criticism

Narcissists have a hard time accepting criticism. It’s not just that they don’t like it – it’s that they can’t handle it. Even the smallest critique can be met with extreme defensiveness or outright hostility.

Why? Because any criticism, no matter how constructive, is seen as a threat to their self-image. It’s like a chink in their armor, and they’ll do anything to patch it up as quickly as possible.

In my experience, this hyper-sensitivity to criticism often leads to volatile and unpredictable reactions. One moment you’re having a calm discussion, the next you’re being accused of ‘attacking’ them. It’s a classic diversion tactic, designed to shift the focus from their behavior to yours.

Navigating these reactions can be challenging. But remember, everyone has the right to express their feelings and concerns. Don’t let fear of someone’s reaction prevent you from speaking your truth.

6) They belittle your feelings

Narcissists are experts at invalidating your feelings. If you’re upset, you’re being ‘too sensitive.’ If you’re angry, you’re ‘overreacting.’ This kind of dismissal is hurtful and damaging, and it can leave you feeling like your emotions aren’t valid.

I’ve seen so many people in my line of work struggle to express their feelings because they’ve been conditioned to believe they’re ‘wrong’ for having them. But let me assure you – your feelings are valid, and they matter.

As the renowned psychologist Carl R. Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Accepting and validating your own feelings is the first step towards healthier relationships and a healthier you.

If you’re finding this article helpful and want to stay updated with my latest insights and articles, I invite you to follow me on my Facebook page. Stay connected with me there as we navigate the journey of relationships together.

7) They make you feel guilty for their mistakes

One of the most emotionally draining experiences is when a narcissist turns their mistakes into your guilt. They are masters at redirecting blame, making you feel responsible for their actions and their consequences.

They might mess up, but somehow, it ends up being your fault. You’re left feeling guilty and confused, questioning if maybe you did do something wrong.

This isn’t just unfair – it’s emotional manipulation. It’s a way for them to avoid taking responsibility and keep you in a state of constant self-doubt.

Let me be crystal clear: You are not responsible for another person’s actions. You are not to blame for their mistakes. It’s tough to break free from this guilt, but it’s crucial for your emotional wellbeing. You deserve better, never forget that.

Final reflections

As we navigate our lives, it’s crucial to be aware of the energy-draining tactics narcissists use. These tactics can leave us feeling depleted and down, but recognizing them for what they are is the first step towards protecting ourselves.

One of the most insightful resources that I’ve come across, which I believe can further expand your understanding of this topic is a video by Justin Brown. In it, he explores the dark side of entrepreneurship and self-improvement, touching on points that resonate strongly with dealing with narcissistic behavior.

He discusses how society often celebrates the ideal of success but fails to highlight the resilience and mindset necessary to get there. This is akin to how narcissists project a facade of perfection while draining energy from those around them.

I believe this video will provide additional insights into recognizing these draining tactics and understanding that true fulfillment comes from within, not from external validation or achieving an idealized version of success.

Remember, knowledge is power. The more we understand about narcissistic behavior and its effects, the better equipped we are to protect our energy and maintain our well-being.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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