Have you had someone say very nice things about you and instead of it making you feel “good’, you feel really uncomfortable and even feel like throwing up?
There’s a name for it. Toxic nicenesss.
It starts with a flattering compliment, usually telling you what a great individual you are, how different you are from anyone else and how much honoured they are to know you. If you fall for that bait, it’s followed by something else equally flatteringly nice like “I can’t believe others can’t see what a wonderful person you are”, “I can make you more famous” or in my case, “you are really helping so many people and ought to be recognized for it”.
If you fall for that too, they know they got you by the throat, literally.
Next, they’ll sneak in a “small request” in between more compliments and niceties. They may even promise to do something for you. It may seem like no strings attached, but the manipulation is clear. “If you grant me this “little” request”, I’ll sower you with more “niceness””.
If you fall for that, next will be another “little” request and more compliments and niceties. And before you know it, you are doing everything the other person wants you to do — which was the original intention.
The compliments and niceties weren’t about you, it was all about them — and what they want from you!
Toxic niceness is a manipulative tactic employed by insecure, controlling and devious men and women, and if you are insecure yourself and can easily be manipulated, you may find yourself in the complete control of a narcissist manipulator — or in a cult of sorts.
The person using toxic niceness can’t come up straight and ask you for what they want because they think or know that if they do, they’ll be turned down — for whatever reason. So they first butter you up with “niceness” because compliments and flattery appeal to the ego.
The ego wants to feel special, toxic nice people know it — and use it to get what they want.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel “special” in some way or other, but if the compliments seem a little over the top, or if after you say “thank you” to one compliment, more keep coming and you start feeling like someone “wants something”, you are right. They do, and using toxic niceness to manipulate you.
Like with all mind games, the best antidote for toxic niceness is telling the person directly that you know what they are trying to do, and don’t like it. Of course, they’ll try and deny it, and most narcissists will even fake anger and try to point the finger back at you. But calling him or her out will make him or her think twice before trying toxic niceness on you again.
Take away: If your ex’s sudden “nicessness” is too good to be true, they’re faking it.