The Penny Drops

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. 

- Voltaire

The fact that you’re reading this book means you’re onto something. Maybe a particular event burst the bubble and a small gap opened up as a result. A gap in what, you’re not sure, but you felt it. It happened when a significant person in your life went that little bit too far, and you finally said to yourself: ‘This is not normal. Why am I tolerating this crap?’ You didn’t really know what normal was, but you knew that the union which you have with this person is definitely not it.

Through this small gap which opened up, you may have begun to realise some or all of the following about your relationship:

  • It’s unbalanced: The other person seems to have the upper hand and the final say, and you have to struggle to get an equal footing with them. Their problems get top priority. When you try to express or assert yourself, the other person finds a way to subdue you and bring the focus back onto them.
  • It’s manipulative: Like being under a spell, the other person seems to have an uncanny ability to pull your strings and get their way with you. Often you don’t want them to, but it just happens. When you try to influence them in any way, you’re met with so many obstacles you give up.
  • It’s intrusive: They have a permanent place in your mind. There doesn’t seem to be any psychological separation between you and them, and they enter your emotional space effortlessly. You find yourself craving some separation and psychological ‘air’, but end up feeling enormous guilt. Being a distinct individual in control of your destiny does not feel like an option with them in your life.
  • It’s rigid: You don’t experience much growth from the relationship, and it doesn’t go anywhere fast. It feels ritualistic, and you wish there were more to it.
  • It’s exhausting: You walk on eggshells around that person. There’s no particular reason. Simply being around them makes you anxious, like you don't quite stack up and you have to prove yourself to them.
  • It’s oppressive: It’s taken for granted that the other person is superior to you. Spending time with them leaves you with a hopeless sense of inferiority.
  • It’s hollow: The relationship feels empty and sad, and you don’t get much emotional nourishment from it.
  • It’s perplexing: You can never seem to find solid ground. There’s always a drama which must be addressed or something which the other person is unhappy about that you feel you need to fix. You crave peace and security, but it somehow always eludes you.
  • It sucks you in: There seems to be an invisible force which sucks you toward the other person. Even when you disconnect for a while, all it takes is a simple question to draw you back in and distract you from your task. You feel powerless to resist this emotional force, which seems to take on a life of its own.

Then one thing leads to another, and you find yourself googling ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’. You read a few articles, and your jaw drops. After the initial shock wears off, you investigate further. You read the forums, and you realise that a countless number of people share your experience. You learn the lingo; gas-lighting, idealise, devalue, discard, triangulation, hoovering and baiting. You put the pieces together and begin to see that many of these tactics have been done to you at some stage. It’s like your life story is being told to you. You begin to wonder: can this be true? Do people like this really exist? You read on. Finally, it hits you with full force. You realise that you’re not crazy; what you’ve been experiencing all this time is definitely real. People like this do exist. Not only do they exist in the world, they exist in your world. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You feel rage, sadness and despair, and a little bit of relief. You walk around with a sense of lightness, but also with a sense of having been stained somehow. Your entire reality has been turned on its head. You start questioning your core instincts. You realise that the relationship dynamics which you accepted and took as gospel are both unhealthy and grossly manipulative. You start to look at people differently. You monitor their behaviour, even that of the people you have known for years or a lifetime. The picture is not entirely clear. What isclear, however, is that you have a problem with narcissists and you’re only just waking up to it.

Down the rabbit hole

What you might not have realised is that monitoring the behaviours of others, while important, is not enough. Staying on the surface will only serve to get you mixed up in drama after drama and will keep you guessing as to what’s normal and what’s narcissistic. The crucial thing to realise is that the tactics which you have been subjected to are just the tip of the problem; it goes much deeper. The core of the problem is often much harder to see.

Also, if you think it’s as simple as walking away, guess again: The way out is not an actual road which leads to a new life and exciting adventures. You might have already suspected this. It was not a coincidence that you found yourself in this position to begin with. You are still carrying the same beliefs, behaviours and paradigms. You can walk away from a partner, or distance yourself from certain family members, choose a new set of friends, or quit a job, but in time you’ll end up in the arms of another narcissist, or eventually back under the control of the same narcissist. To make lasting changes, you will need a strategy.

Sharpen your sword

As the title points out, this book is a 101 on how to kill a narcissist. No, we’re not discussing actual murder! This is about understanding the core of the problem, not just the symptoms. It’s about seeing the core of the problem in the narcissist, and the core of the problem in you. This is about becoming conscious of what makes you a target for narcissists. It’s about shifting your paradigms so you can begin to separate yourself from the problem. It’s also about obtaining new internal resources which narcissists don’t want you to develop, mainly because these resources make you less susceptible to their control. It’s about developing a new belief set. It’s about educating yourself, and as a result, empowering yourself. It’s about developing your own autonomous identity, free of shame and guilt; a fortress which nobody will be able to access without your explicit permission and unless they offer you the due respect. With time, your new resources and beliefs will allow you to hop over to the sunny, narcissism-free side of the street. So in a way, yes, we are going to kill some narcissists. More specifically, we’re going to starve them to death by taking away their narcissistic supply. And it all starts with you.