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Here lies an uncomfortable truth. Narcissists win. They seemingly win all the time, at almost everything. Many of them are highly successful people, at least when it comes to achieving material things, and, in fact, all of their nefarious narcissistic traits seem to help them more than hurt. Of course, when they win, they look awesome. Sure, it’s carefully manufactured, but that illusion often shines so bright, it becomes difficult to comprehend that it’s not real, even for those of us who know better.

For those of us who have been abused by them, this is a devastating reality. As much as we’d like the karma police to do their job, it seems the narcissist never experiences what should be inevitable consequences of their hurtful actions. Here we are with all of our human empathy, morals, and values, and there they are, throwing people like us under the bus on a daily basis, not only getting away with it, but winning at it. So much winning.

One of the reasons why narcissists win is because they were the ones who made it a competition in the first place. Normal people consider those they are in a relationship with as a companion or an equal. In the mind of a narcissist, even the most benign relationship is something to conquer. Friends, family, and lovers are seen as opponents. Co-workers, bosses, and employees are all competition. Heck, even the check out clerk is someone a narcissist tries to dominate. Oftentimes, others are not even aware they have been pitted against the narcissist until it’s too late. By the time someone clues in to the game, the narcissist has already smeared the other person’s credibility to others and is making off with whatever esteem, fame, money, or glory they were after. Narcissists declare themselves winners and everyone else losers before their so-called losers even realize they were a pawn.

For those of us who were once aligned with a narcissist, losing to them especially hurts. It hurts because most of us were looking for love or friendship, not competition. Many of us are mirror opposites of the narcissist, which is what made us prey to begin with. Because we are hurt and angry that they got away with it, we are pegged as “jealous” over things we never envied in the first place. Because we are the caring, compassionate ones, we are pegged as “bitter” when we are double-crossed by someone who intended to do harm. And yes, perhaps we do find ourselves feeling envy or bitterness as a result of the situation, but those feelings don’t belong to us. They were projected onto us by someone who actively sought to destroy us for their own personal gain.

I tend to be a cheerleader for just about anybody, but there are a few narcissists on this earth I deeply wish would fall flat on their face, literally and metaphorically. Those people have lied, stolen, and cheated their way to success. But here’s the thing. If I focus on the unfairness of it all, the narcissist continues to win by stealing my peace. Here’s what I remind myself in order to get my peace back.

It’s not a competition. Sure, maybe they made it one, but it’s up to me whether I choose to play. I don’t need to get sucked in to their game.

It’s only an illusion. Narcissists work really hard at appearing to be bigger and better than they are, and it often does work out in their favor. However, the narcissist’s definition of success does not need to be mine. I get to choose how to define my life, and I choose quality relationships and authenticity as core values I treasure that the narcissist will never have.

Their achievement is not my loss. Perhaps I once was the yin to their yang, but I no longer need to be compared to or defined by what they do. I choose to be identified through my own choices, qualities, and actions.

I am enough. I have my own unique set of gifts and challenges. I am capable of many things. I am already whole. I am not dependent on the opinions of others. I am free to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

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