Guest Blog for Elephant Journal

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Author’s note: Throughout my life, I have attracted many people who seemed manipulative. Here, I use the term “narcissist” as a loose descriptor in reference to those times where I felt I was duped, mistreated or otherwise taken advantage of. I recognize my own role in these interactions, and hope that sharing my experience will help others cope. 

 

Do you have have a narcissist in your life that is hard to avoid—a boss, neighbor, co-worker or family member? Avoiding the snares of narcissistic manipulators can sometimes feel like trying to walk past a smiling, ink-squirting, hungrily-grasping octopus.

I’ve encountered many narcissistic types in my life and have learned how to not let them bring me down. Here are some examples of what can happen and how to get out of it.

Duped Right Under My Nose

Many times after having an interaction with a charming narcissist, I’d’ have a nagging feeling that I was duped without being able to put my finger on exactly how or why—only to have the painful answer reveal itself later.

Like a car crash in full momentum that couldn’t be stopped, they crossed my path and although something in me would scream “Danger!” my mind and body would go into self-sabotage autopilot. Before I knew it I was opening my mouth saying “Of course I can do that favor for you! (one of many that will overextend me and disrupt my biggest priorities), lend you that money (that you’ll never pay back), give you my number (that you will treat intrusively), write that paper for you (that you’ll take full credit for,)” etc.

They would take what I offered and make out like a bandit, gossiped behind my back or sprinkled some public condescension at very strategic times, leaving me awestruck.

Commitment to Health

After one too many slippery, stinging and exhausting interactions, a determination was born to unhook myself from these kind of people. I knew I had to change deep down because even when I broke up the relationships or switched the jobs, like a cosmic joke I’d find myself with the same people, just different faces in different places. I was the common denominator.

Starting With Me

I came upon the concept of mothering myself from a book called Maps to Ecstasy by Gabrielle Roth, which hit a nerve of truth. I became dedicated to creating habits of self-care for my heart, body and mind every morning. 15 years later, after having loved myself up every morning (through journaling, praying, meditating, gratitude, exercise, whole foods and music), I find a have much better resilience when it comes to dealing with these kind of people.

Here are six ways my morning routine built my resiliency so that I became more capable of handling difficult situations and personalities.

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