This step-by-step method focuses on relationships with an extreme type of toxic person called a 'narcissist' and 'psychopath' (i.e. an 'extreme narcissist'). Here are the steps.
1. Take control! Educate yourself. This will help you to identify psychopaths so you can proceed cautiously. There are 2 aspects to this step: a) learn the psychology of psychopathy and b) examine how people affect you because narcissists and psychopaths are emotional or psychic vampires.
1.a. The psychology of a narcissist includes the following traits.
- Exaggerates his/her own importance, achievements, beauty, intelligence, power, talents and so on
- Has exaggerated fantasies about his/her own importance, achievements, beauty, intelligence, power, talents and so on
- Feels entitled to "the best" of everything
- Reacts to criticism with anger, shame or humiliation
- Takes advantage of others to reach his / her own goals
- Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
- Becomes jealous, hurt or rejected easily
- Lacks empathy and disregarding the feelings of others
- Is obsessed with oneself
- Pursues mainly selfish goals
- Trouble keeping healthy relationships
CAUTION: The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (NDP) resemble traits of people with strong self-esteem and confidence. However, to differentiate, note underlying psychological traits that are pathological (or persistent). Narcissists have such a heightened sense of self-worth that they consider themselves inherently superior. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism. They will often compensate for this by belittling or disparaging others to inflate their own self-worth. In fact, the tendency to be sadistic is highly characteristic of narcissism (i.e. versus other psychological conditions affecting levels of self-worth).
- Appears unemotional
1.b. Below is a quick list of the traits of a psychopath. However, to study this phenomenon further, consider a few good resources like the book 'Dangerous Liaisons: How to Recognize and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction' by Claudia Moscovici. Here is the list.
- Is glib (fluent but insincere and shallow words)
- Is manipulative. Conning, ie can deceive others into doing something.
- Is callous
- Is without remorse
- Is non empathetic
- Is superficial
- Is parasitic
- NB, psychopaths are NOT psychotic (i.e. psychopaths do not suffer with major mental illness like schizophrenia that would have made it difficult or impossible to differentiate between right from wrong. For instance, if police are present, they will not perform unlawful acts.)
2. Beware of excessive flattery and unwarranted affection, especially if you feel vulnerable. When dealing with a potential romantic partner, focus on his or her character rather than (nice) gestures. For instance, consider how he or she views and treats others and how he or she reacts when faced with opposition. Regarding this final point, I have always felt that insight into others come through observation of how they 'fight' and handle challenges
3. Establish firm personal boundaries. Narcissists need to be kept at a distance emotionally and often physically. Some ways of doing this are as follows. Cut all forms of contact (like email, text messages, telephone calls and physical meetings). If you must remain in contact (possibly because of your job or children), state your needs unapologetically. For instance, when they wish to dominate situations, be firm by stating your needs. For instance, you may say "I need ..." rather than ask, or worse yet beg, with a submissive "Please ...". Do not share your feelings of hurt with a narcissist because your emotional pain will encourage his or her narcissism. In that case, reserve those feelings for someone else you can trust. Once you have established boundaries, maintain them.
4. Identify and eliminate your vulnerabilities from their root. Research shows that some psychopaths can accurately identify vulnerable strangers merely through subconscious observation of something as subtle as the length of your stride. In other words, you do not even need to have consciously broadcasted that you have vulnerabilities. However, your vulnerabilities attract psychopaths at a subconscious level. Of course, this is an example of the law of attraction. Whether you experienced major past trauma or something less severe like hurt when you received a harsh look after you spilt milk at 7, several techniques exist. For instance, it is possible to do shadow work alone or with a professional. I am currently finding the following book very useful: The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson.
5. Psychopathy is a perfect example of 'psychic vampirism' (aka 'energetic vampirism'). If you are to take control, it is time to understand the 'energetic vampire' or 'psychic vampire' phenomenon. Furthermore, learn how to remove negative psychic cords between psychic vampires and you.
6. Make a list of how you will fill the void of ending toxic relationships. Make it very short and realistic. List things to do to execute your plan. Do not forget to include support systems. Establish personal deadlines to accomplish the items on your list.
OTHER MATERIAL RELATED TO ESCAPING TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH NARCISSISTS AND PSYCHOPATHS
- Psychic Cords, Energetic Vampirism & Solutions for Victims AND Psychic Vampires
- How to do Psychic Cord Cutting