Furious. Frustrated. Feeling stupid. Feeling duped. Feeling like a mug. Relieved to hear you’re not the only one. Boiling resentment. Shame.
That’s how it can feel when you’ve been sold to by a narcissistic business owner – and trust me, I’ve been there myself! In this post, I’ll use my studies of narcissism and work with my clients to help explain what’s going on and why it can be so difficult to shake the negative feelings associated with narcissistic relationships.
You probably recognise at least some of these characteristics of narcissistic business people, if not all.
- It’s very impressive – there might even be some really convincing facts and qualifications to make them seem highly credible
- It taps into your fears and seems to alleviate them e.g. lack of money in your business or getting more subscribers
- Often it involves making more money
- There’s a push to buy quickly
- No refunds or guarantees
- No review button on their FB page
- Plenty of NLP and mind triggers to get you to buy
- There’ll be a sob story and probably a rags-to-riches story too
- There’s an element of “poor me” going on so you feel you can’t complain
- They’ll use impressive sales statistics (and not show you how many people were actually satisfied with the product or service)
- They lie or twist the truth
- They might have a couple of people who achieved success around to give a testimonial, but genuine testimonials are few and far between
- After you’ve bought it, you realise the product or service you bought doesn’t do what they said it would do
- The product or service looks flashy and fancy, but has little substance when you actually start using it
So Why Do They Do This And Why Do You Go Along With It?
Well, let’s have a look at what narcissism is and what’s going on in that person. The best explanation of narcissism that I’ve come across is by Dr Craig Malkin, author of “Rethinking Narcissism”.
His model is The Narcissism Spectrum Scale and we all fall on the scale somewhere between 0 and 10. At 10 is full-on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and at 0 is what Dr Malkin calls “Echoism”. In the original myth, Narcissus fell in love with his reflection in a pool and Echo fell in love with Narcissus. But Echo had been cursed by Hera to only ever be able to repeat back what someone else has said, so when Narcissus said “who’s there?”, Echo could only repeat back “Who’s there?” and you can imagine how frustrating that conversation was! Right in the centre of the Narcissism Spectrum Scale at 5, we have what Dr Malkin calls “Healthy Narcissism”. Yes, there is such a thing as healthy narcissism.
Anyway, the key to this scale for Dr Malkin is specialness. At the higher end, people have a need to be more special than everyone else around them. At the lower end, people have a need for other people to be more special. So you can see how dysfunctional but natural a relationship between a narcissist and an echoist would be. What’s happening at 5 with healthy narcissism is that instead of my specialness being in relation to anyone else around, I’m special in my own right and I also know that you’re special too. My specialness doesn’t diminish yours and your specialness doesn’t diminish mine. In fact, both of us shine brighter when we acknowledge and celebrate each other’s specialness.
Narcissists and Echoists lack true self esteem and true heart-centred confidence in themselves, so they look to other people outside of themselves to provide it. Healthy narcissists have near unshakeable confidence. For sure, we can move up and down the scale according to circumstances and who we’re with, but those around the middle tend to have better awareness of when their specialness starts being compared to other people.
Specialness and Sales
So let’s go back to the sales of the narcissist. They have a NEED to be more special than you, so they can’t create anything that would actually help you to outshine them. On a heart level, there is deep pain and discomfort that they have built defence mechanisms around. They’re trying to control the world outside themselves to maintain this special facade so they don’t have to go into that pain. Realising that they’re no more special than anyone else would be a big blow to their vulnerable egos.
I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a deeply wounded and neglected inner child in there who is desperate for love and acceptance just as they are. They don’t really want attention to be conditional on them being more special but it’s just too painful for them to go to the truth. So they continue living a fantasy life – and that’s where the lies come from.
Can you see why you’re unlikely to be able to give feedback, review them or get a refund? They can’t reflect truthfully and honestly. Any hint of criticism will be met with fury (it might be veiled but it’s there) because it reflects their own deep insecurities. And the refund would hit that all important money goal they have and use to wow people. Look deeper and you’ll see they actually have money problems that they hide from others.
Why Did You Fall For It?
Don’t worry, it’s not a mirror of your true self. Yes we can all be a bit narcissistic and egotistical from time to time, but there was more going on. They tapped into your big dreams of reaching more people to help and they tapped into your desire for financial security. If you’re reading this far, I’m pretty sure that you’re the type of person who cares deeply about people and who wants to help people in your business far more than you want loads of money.
Also, if you’re at the Echoist end of the spectrum, you’re a perfect dysfunctional match for a more narcissistic person. They need to be more special and you’re more used to allowing other people to be more special than you. You’re the perfect client to meet this need in them.
When they tapped into your big dreams and financial worries, it was done with manipulative techniques and it’s my belief that when a person taps into another person’s subconscious mind to influence them for their own gain without conscious permission, a violation has happened. Part of the difficulty in trying to let go and forgive is that a piece of them is lodged in you, in your energy system. Since you can only heal and process energy that belongs to you, it’s really hard to let go of your stuck negative feelings because you can’t heal and process what isn’t yours. Instead you need a way to get rid of their energy from your system.
There Is Hope
Clearing this stuff is what I do and I’ve been doing it for people with narcissistic family members, partners or spouses. You don’t have to stay stuck with their energy and you most definitely can let it go. The main technique I use to remove foreign energy in a person’s system is ThetaHealing and then I use a powerful forgiveness process as well. Forgiveness really does bring about compassion and freedom from all kinds of sh*tty situations.
And if you recognise yourself as Echoist, you can absolutely go inside and change the beliefs keeping you trapped in the idea that everyone else is more special than you. Because they’re not. You’re here for a reason and your gifts, abilities and insights are needed and are very special. Imagine a world of healthy narcissists where we all supported and uplifted each other, and offered quality products and services that helped our ideal clients shine and be more and more successful.
So your encounter with a narcissistic business person could well be your catalyst to greater authenticity and expanding into more of your true self to reach more of the people you’re here to serve. Wouldn’t that be cool?
First Steps to Healing
I’ve created a meditation process to help you begin to get unstuck from these kinds of relationships and remember the higher truth of who you are. Not every part of you fell for the narcissistic business person’s tricks, only a part of you did, so this meditation will remind you of that. It’s a free thank you gift for signing up to my mailing list and you can find it here if you feel it calling you!