Surprising 11 Ways To Spot A Narcissist Early On In Any Type Of Relationship

When your friend is being egotistical or self-centered, it’s easy to call them a narcissist, but there’s a difference between being self-absorbed and having full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If you’re having a hard time deciphering between the two, you’ll want to know the ways to spot a narcissist early on. Although they often can be charming and likable, someone with the mental disorder could head up hurting you during the course of knowing them, unlike your friend who just likes to post a lot of selfies.

“A narcissist’s personality is centered around getting his or her self-esteem needs met,” says psychotherapist and psychology professor Joanne Bagshaw, PhD over email. “Although they present themselves as very secure, even grandiose, really they have very low self-esteem. Who they’re friends with, the car they drive, their lifestyle, the clothes they wear, where they live, the hobbies their children are into, etc, are all reflections of and an effort to feel good about themselves.”

Narcissists comprise up to 6.2 percent of the population, but it often seems like more because they’re frequently found in highly visible positions of power, leadership, or celebrity, according to Ellen Hendriksen, PhD in an article for Quick and Dirty Tips. If you suspect you may have run into a few narcissists in your life, you might want to pay attention to these 11 ways to spot a narcissist early on.

1. They Love To Talk About Themselves

A classic sign of a narcissist is someone who only likes to discuss themselves. “[They can be] very social and charismatic, but the conversation always seems to come back around to be focused on them,” says mental health therapist Tara Dixon, PLPC over email.

2. They Lack Empathy

Narcissists have no problem playing games, toying with people’s emotions, or stepping on others’ toes to get what they need for themselves. They don’t care about the thoughts or feelings of others, especially when they conflict with their own, according to BPD Central.

3. They Feel Entitled

Narcissistic people have a sense of entitlement that is unrealistic and often undeserved, according to Psychology Today. “They also demand special treatment and have to interact with the best doctors, lawyers, accountants that are usually the head of an organization,” says professor of psychiatry Scott Carroll, MD over email.

4. They’re Obsessed With Success

Well want to be successful, but narcissists are obsessed with their fantasy of success an unhealthy amount, according to Psych Central. Everything they do, including who they are friends with, are just stepping stones to this success.

5. They’re Emotionally Fragile

Despite their outer appearance of seeming self-confident, many narcissists are actually very emotionally fragile. “They repress or suppress emotions that make them uncomfortable, especially if they feel ashamed, abandoned, or rejected,” says psychotherapist Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW over email.

6. They Can’t Take Criticism

Because they are so sensitive to negative emotions, they have an extremely hard time taking criticism. Pointing out their flaws blows their cover that they are perfect, which narcissists can’t handle. “Full of shame, they can’t acknowledge their flaws, but frequently have no problem being critical of other people and expecting their opinions to be taken as the truth,” says Koenig.

7. They Put Blame On Others

Narcissists have an unwillingness to admit mistakes, according to Psychology Today. Because of this, they tend to blame others when things go wrong, and they get upset if you try to attribute a problem to them.

8. They Have Little Sense Of Humor

Don’t expect a narcissist to laugh at a playful joke about them. “They have little sense of humor about their shortcomings,” says Koenig. “They become highly insulted or enraged when their tiniest flaws are exposed.”

9. They Think The Rules Don’t Apply To Them

“A narcissist tends to break rules and ignore boundaries to make life self-centered,” says relationship expert April Masini over email. “Narcissists truly believe that rules that impede them are wrong. They don’t see the bigger picture or the greater good because it’s all about them.”

10. They’re Materialistic

“In order to match their self-importance, they must also look the part,” says Dixon. “Narcissists are often known for liking name brand or high-end products. Their visual appearance must match their status.”

11. They Name Drop

“Classically, people with NPD drop names and claim to have friendships and connections to famous and powerful people,” says Carroll. “In reality, they only shook the person’s hand in a reception line and the famous person would have no clue who they are.”

If you or someone else believes they may be suffering from a mental health or personality disorder, they should seek professional assessment and treatment from a licensed mental health professional.



What it’s like to date a real narcissist

It will feel like love - but people with NPD are incapable of real love.

Once upon a time, I had a terrible relationship. I dated a man who adored me one day, gaslighted me the next, and was cold to me on the third. And then the pattern would repeat itself. Eventually it ended, and I was left reeling. What on Earth did it all mean?

I figured it out, completely by accident, when I stumbled upon a post about narcissistic abuse. “Narcissistic abuse?” I thought. “That’s a real thing?”

But when I read the post, I realised it was, because there was my relationship, in black and white.

I’d suspected the man I was dating was a narcissist – as in, someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, not just a person with narcissistic tendencies. What I didn’t understand was the pattern of behaviour that narcs engage in with their partners.

A person with NPD needs constant admiration to boost his* pathologically fragile sense of self. This admiration, this adulation, is referred to in forums as “narcissistic supply”.

The primary source of a narc’s supply is his partner (he will also need secondary sources of supply: adoring friends, admiring staff, acolytes, and so on) and he will choose a partner of as high status as possible, whether in looks, money, success, fame or contacts. If it sounds cold and calculating, it is. A person with NPD is incapable of real love.

But it looks like love, at least initially. Narcs idealise you, love-bomb you with affection and praise and feigned empathy. They use words like “adore” and “soulmate” and “forever” to secure your adulation.

And then they suddenly withdraw their intimacy, leaving you frightened and destabilised. This “devalue” phase happens when your admiration fails to give them the boost they need, which is inevitable, because nothing can boost them.

If you assert yourself, they will become enraged. Devalue phases can involve both subtle and explicit abuse. The moments when they need a top up of supply (perhaps work is going badly, or they’ve been rejected elsewhere) are when they are at their most dangerous.

Eventually, the narc will discard you, generally with shocking coldness. Narcissists are never alone for long if they can help it, and usually have a new woman lined up before they’ve left the old.

But they will often return to love-bomb old partners when they need more supply. If you’re married to a narc, they may devalue, abuse, discard and idealise you over and over again in a cycle that can span decades.

Narcs reel us in because they are brilliant at seduction. They are charismatic, because they have to be. They are masters of feigned empathy and love. But it is empathy and love that can be withdrawn at a moment’s notice, and it is this intermittent reinforcement that is the key. Just as people get hooked on playing poker machines by getting coins at random times, so too do partners of narcs get hooked by the random bursts of intimacy.

The pattern of narcissistic abuse is extremely specific: idealise, devalue, discard. There are abusive partners who are not narcissists: men who have violent tempers who explode when angry or drunk, and who are genuinely repentant, but then repeat the cycle. People with NPD can feign repentance to ensure further supply, but it is an act. They are unable to feel empathy or remorse.

The greatest challenge of being subject to narcissistic abuse is finding a therapist who can deal with it. Therapists can see bruises, they can hear of emotional abuse, and they can work with a client to manage their trauma.

But therapists cannot diagnose a woman’s partner with NPD in absentia, so it is tricky for them to tailor therapy around narcissistic abuse. And narcs rarely if ever seek therapy for their NPD, and even if they did, it is the most difficult of all personality disorders to treat. Furthermore, as narcs are masters of manipulation, they can appear charming and empathetic in couples’ counselling.

And so the industry relies on women diagnosing their partners, which is hugely problematic. After all, as much as I can see my relationship was a fairly textbook case of narcissistic abuse, I am aware that it is tempting to seek easy answers when a relationship breaks down.

However, until a therapist can diagnose an absent partner as having NPD, support for narcissistic abuse will remained moored in the online world. And as tempting as it is to be cynical about a “thing” that exists largely in blog posts and forums, it is real. I know that now.



Spiritual warfare as an explanation for narcissistic patterns and families


Narcissistic abusers are common in society even though not everyone uses the term “narcissist.” Many classic movies feature a war of good against evil with an antagonist who shows clear narcissistic or sociopathic traits. For example, Gollum in Lord of the Rings, or Palpatine in Star Wars. These characters are manipulative, sneaky, two-faced, and evil. They behave just like the narcissists who frustrate us in “real life.” We aren’t the first to encounter these types of people. They are all through movies, literature, stories and religion. From a scholarly point of view, we can look at the characteristics and see behavior that fits mental health diagnoses, but in popular culture, the same behaviors are explained in different ways.
***Warning, this post is going to turn religious. I come from a generic Protestant Christian background, and I’m not a typical Bible-thumper, but I do believe. The book and ideas I’m going to refer to are unusual in some churches, but gave me something to think about

Online, I have read various pages and articles about narcissists as people with a “Jezebel” spirit. I will admit, the idea of demons and spiritual warfare is a bit out there for me, but I can relate because I think they are describing the same types of people and the same types of struggle in a different way. Here is one brief webpage that compares what we call narcissism with what others call the Jezebel spirit:

In my opinion, what we might call evil is the same attitude that runs in certain personality disorders. What we might call a demon is one and the same. These are all the same cruel, disordered behaviors no matter what we call them. I have posted before that I have struggled with my Christian faith because of the horrible things that have happened to me. My narcissistic mother is religious in public, but cruel and manipulative at home. She will trash people in private but flatter them to their faces. She will lie, lie, lie to get what she wants, and people are fooled every time. I just watch with my eyes widened wondering how someone can get away with being such a manipulative two-face! And I see similar in my ex narcopath. He doesn’t play sweet and vulnerable like my mother does because he is so aggressive and dominant, but still, he can fool people into believing his lies even when there is clear evidence that he is lying. How DO they do that!?!?!? Arggh! Sometimes I literally ask myself, am I really dealing with spiritual warfare? How is it I can scream the truth, but no one hears me? How do the bullies in my life keep trampling on me? Do they have some kind of supernatural help? But then I think, “no, that is crazy talk. This can all be explained by science and psychology.” Maybe there’s really a mix here. Yes, we know how narcissism works, but maybe some of what the Bible would call evil is the same thing?

The other day, I found a book that I would not normally read. I grew up in a very average, normal Christian school that didn’t really teach the “weird” stuff. There was very little talk of demons, spirits or anything like that. No speaking in tongues, no miracles. Just day-to-day living and trying to be good. But, I picked up this book because I had read the theory of the Jezebel spirit online, and wanted to see more of what others had to say. It is called Jezebel by Bob Larson. Jezebel The writer is literally a self-described exorcist, so I read the book with a grain of salt. (No offense meant to other beliefs, but this is not normally what I would believe.) But, despite my reluctance to look for demons and exorcisms, I found that much of what the author described in spiritual terms were things I could relate to in academic terms.

For example, he describes Jezebel in terms that remind me greatly of my mother: seductive, willing to commit adultery, religious to serve her own needs, two-faced, hypocritical, looking to destroy reputations, lying, self-centered, and more. He also describes inter-generational abuse. He describes mothers who abused their children because their parents abused them. That is the cycle I am breaking in my family! To me, it is a learned bad behavior, but to Larson, it is a demon attached to the family members and “invited” in by sin. I underlined many sentences in the book–including one section about how girls whose fathers abandon them grow up not knowing how a good man should behave. (Been there, done that!) The author described so many of the struggles I have endured–abusive mother, generationally abusive family, missing deadbeat father, abusive husband….

While I’m not going to go look for an exorcist for my mother, and I don’t literally believe everything in this book, I found that it makes a lot of sense figuratively. If we think of abuse and narcissism as a “demon” to overcome, it makes much more sense. Even though I cannot relate to every word, I did get a lot out of this book, and I think it can be beneficial to read it as a parable or an example of the “evils” we deal with while trying to escape abuse. If nothing else, Christians need to be strong and bold in their faith to overcome the cycles of abuse.



Healing a narcissist is like performing a skeleton transplant.


While it’s theoretically possible to heal NPD (some psychologists like Masterson and Kohut specialize in healing narcissistic and borderline disorders and have had results), in the real world, it’s exceedingly difficult and has rarely worked. As a self-diagnosed narcissistic young man recently said to me, for a full-blown narcissist to be cured (rather than simply treated for symptoms) would be no less daunting and excruciating than undergoing a skeleton transplant. It’s a good analogy.

Full blown NPD is almost always so deeply ingrained in the personality–since early childhood in most cases–that to remove it would practically remove the person’s whole personality. Its removal could even kill them (they would be driven to suicide as the False Self gives way to the true one).

But not quite. There is a tiny, atrophied but still-living seed deep inside every narcissist that never got to grow into a plant: the True Self.

.” That was around the time I became deeply interested in whether or not such a therapy–one that addressed the root causes of NPD rather than treating symptoms–could actually work, and since then I’ve have read a lot more about it and know a lot more than I did.

At that time, I came up with a series of 4 steps (based on the work of various professionals who specialize in NPD) that might be able to cure NPD in some cases:

Stage 1: The Narcissistic Crisis. A narcissist may enter therapy when their entire world falls apart and they have lost their primary (or all of their) sources of narcissistic supply. Like an addict without a fix, he will be in pain and may submit to therapy at that point–anything to diminish the pain of loss. The therapist must not offer the patient any narcissistic supply during this time! They must simply listen and make the narcissist feel safe enough to open up and talk.

Stage 2: Cold therapy/cold empathy. The therapist must continue to not give the narcissist any supply while not enraging them either. It’s a delicate balance and the narcissist is likely to project their anger and frustrations onto the therapist who is refusing them supply. Working from the rage and frustration, the therapist can guide the narcissist to think about the reasons why they feel so much rage, and start to address the trauma and hurt behind the rage. This may take a very long time and the narcissist is likely to leave therapy. Another reason the therapist must not give the narcissist any supply is because once the narcissist gets supply, like a drug addict, they may feel good enough to leave therapy.

Stage 3: Reparenting. The therapist takes the place of the mother who abused/rejected the narcissist as a child. Physical contact may be necessary and a waiver can be signed to allow limited nonsexual touching. At this point the narcissist will be in great pain and will internalize the unconditional support/maternal “love” the therapist will be giving, mostly through listening and not judging one way or the other. The therapist must remain empathetic and at the same time detached enough to not allow the narcissist to try to manipulate them (which they will be trying to do).

Stage 4: Retraining and Internalizing the Conscience. When the painful emotions from the past are addressed and released, the therapist can start the recovering narcissist in an intensive brain-retraining program in pro-social behaviors and developing a conscience, just as a young child would. This would probably require institutionalization in a very restrictive setting, such as a hospital or high security rehab center. The narcissist would need to “earn back” privileges by having none to begin with. They would be forced to ask permission to do anything at all, and rewarded and punished for bad or good behaviors. At the same time they would attend classes on empathy and given opportunities to practice and eventually internalize this new brain connection.

I have no idea if such a program would actually work, but in the best case scenario, I think it could. Most narcissists won’t stick it out though, so maybe it could be instituted on narcissistic prisoners, who cannot leave prison, or those in mental hospitals (depressed narcissists are often hospitalized).



The Narcissist’s “Healing Cell”
I remember years ago (unfortunately I can’t remember the source, so if anyone knows please tell me!) I came across an article regarding a person’s theory about how a narcissist could heal.

Knowing what I know now I agree…

It goes like this…

The solution:

Solitary confinement with no possibility of contact with the outside world, or the gaining of narcissistic supply.

Then, a committed effort to meet and release the original emotional traumas.

Then, stimulation and re-learning of empathy, compassion, connection to life and others, and integrity. Effectively re-parenting where these brain pathways left off, in order to catch them up to present time.

Truly – what narcissist is going to go through that? What facility is there to have that happen?

Additionally there would have to be every method possible to stop the narcissist committing suicide, because if narcissistic supply was removed, the narcissist would not want to live.

Please note I am not stating this is the case for people with mere ego issues or even narcissistic tendencies.

I believe everyone – co-dependents, and even ‘normal’ people all have varying degrees of survival mechanisms which are creating them to be not aligned in the true harmony of Who They Are.

All of these fears emenate from inner wounds that we closed down inside of us and tried to protect.

I have worked with thousands of people with confronting and releasing inner wounds, as well as confronting and releasing my own inner wounds, and I know the courage and commitment it takes to face them, to let them go and be free of them.

And I know that the people who decide to do this, need to commit to dropping all addiction (avoidance techniques) to be willing to be with and meet their pain in order to finally deal with it, and be liberated from it.

That’s what personal evolution and growth is all about.

Quick fixes, opting out, and self-avoidance just doesn’t cut it!

I have seen people who have had enough of living a life through their inner wounds, absolutely make the decision enough is enough and do the work.

Interestingly, I have been receiving many more than normal emails from people claiming to be narcissists who have had enough of the pain, and want to heal.

I refer all of these people onto the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. Their healing is identical to the healing for co-dependents. It is ALL about healing the traumas of abuse, and releasing fear, pain and survival programs.

These people may be in narcissistic injury and will discredit the Program later, or maybe the pain has become greater than the False Self – and maybe they are not fully NPD.

It is individuals suffering with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) who I believe are incapable of doing this.

My definition of NPD is when a person has crossed the line into malicious, pathological, and conscienceless behaviour.

Evans goes on to explain why therapies that only address the narcissist’s behaviors (like CBT) don’t really work because they never even get close to addressing and releasing the original trauma that caused the NPD.

The most effective therapy for someone with NPD would be pretty much the same trauma therapy that works on people with other trauma-based disorders such as C-PTSD and PTSD–because NPD *is* trauma-based. But she also admits that a narcissist sticking out such a program for the duration (and it can take years) is highly unlikely. They are most likely to flee therapy during the painful process of retrieving memories and releasing painful emotions, because narcissism is all about masking painful emotions. She explains it this way:

It’s sad, and it’s tragic because narcissists are the product of abuse, sometimes bad genetics, and often cruel violence, abandonment or pathological engulfment.

They did not ‘choose’ logically to kill off their True Self and live a pathological life – being more and more taken over by a painful, empty, angry , demanding and never appeased False Self.

However, we have to realise the truth.

There is no helping someone who won’t (or can’t) help themselves.

Being attached to a narcissist is not like being attached to a helpless person such as a quadraplegic. I totally understand the devotion people have when they sacrifice their lives to lovingly assist others.

The narcissist, however, as this helpless to ‘get better’ person is viscious, calculating and he or she will abuse you all the way to your demise. THAT is why you need to stop trying to fix this person.

Whilst the False Self is on guard there is no breaking through to a narcissist, and no getting them to work on these deep inner wounds – which are EXACTLY what they have been avoiding, deflecting and projecting on to other people their entire life.

To meet the inner wounds is equal to annihilation for a narcissist – it just can’t be done.

Sam Vaknin describes it as the narcissist intuitively knowing that he or she does not have the inner resources to deal with the onslaught of these inner wounds. His belief is that a narcissist would risk a complete psychotic and catatonic breakdown if he or she did face these wounds.

Knowing what I know about energy healing – I do know it is possible in theory for a narcissist to energetically claim and clear wounds and re-connect back to the Source of wellbeing that all of us are connected to at some level…even narcissists.

It would be excruciating and gruelling, and incredibly painful – but (I believe) it could be done.

However, here is the sticking point.

The narcissist is addicted to narcissistic supply worse than a heroin addict is addicted to heroin. The narcissist literally feels like he or she would disappear into oblivion if not getting an energy supply (attention) from the outside. The narcissist has ‘killed off’ his or her connection to being an energy Source from ‘self’.

What this means is: the narcissist when feeling any emotional low (frequent) will frenetically need to get a ‘hit’ to try to offset the pain.

Deep inner healing and personal transformation for anyone is all about being with the pain and resisting these urges to self-avoid – and dealing directly with the pain instead.

The narcissist’s False Self is its own entity which has taken over the narcissist.

The False Self has all the reasons, all the excuses, and all the justifications to make what the narcissist does as ‘okay’.

It’s like a devil on the narcissist’s shoulder talking him or her into the most outrageous reactions and acts possible. Many narcissists (Sam Vaknin agrees) report that whilst doing these acts – it is like an out of body experience – it is like the False Self has completely taken over – and the narcissist is watching from the side lines unable to stop it happening.

That takes ‘knee jerk reaction’ to a whole new level.

So, is the False Self going to consistently go to a healing space over and over again, go within and leave alone the outside world and narcissistic supply in order to face and release deep inner traumatic wounds?

The answer is FIRMLY “No”…

What I have observed is that it is only narcissists in deep narcissistic injury ( life has hit SO hard), and are literally on their knees, who will dedicate time to inner healing. The reason is because when life kicks someone that hard – the ego is temporarily too injured to operate.

Life can be a HUGE humbler in the face of shocking catastrophe.

However, the narcissist’s brain has been established and hard wired onto obtaining narcissistic supply for most of their life.

Therefore as soon as a therapist grants the narcissist enough attention (narcissistic supply) for the False Self to reinstate itself again, those brain pathways start firing again, and the narcissist’s humility is incredibly short-lived.

He or she is back to the grandiose, entitled conscienceless version of hunting narcissistic supply – and on the story goes…

So the prospect of someone with NPD being healed (at least for those at mid-spectrum and above) does look pretty bleak, even though in theory (and in very rare cases) they could be.

Dr. James Masterson has apparently had some success though. I’m currently reading his book “The Search for the Real Self” (which I’ll be reviewing at a later point). In the book are two case studies of two men named Walter and Frank, both who suffered from NPD. Both were cured of their disorder using psychoanalytic techniques. Particularly moving was Frank’s story, because his narcissism was more severe and it took over five years of incredibly painful and intensive therapy for him to be healed of NPD and begin to experience actual emotions of empathy and love. I think the fact that this disorder was ever healed at all to be very hopeful.

But never, ever try to fix a narcissist yourself. You can’t.



The Other Side of Narcissism

You’ve most probably read the horror stories about what it’s like to be in a relationship with a narcissist, being a narcissist’s child or being friends with a narcissist.

Image result for The Other Side of Narcissism

People with narcissistic personality disorder think that they are deeply important and special. They constantly need admiration and flattery to feel good about themselves. They sometimes also struggle to look at others as anything more than just extensions of themselves, which often times can lead to control issues and abuse.
However, narcissistic personality disorder is unconnected from the trait of narcissism. People with full blown narcissistic personality disorder are not common which if estimated can range from less than one percent to 6.2 percent of the total population, but we all display narcissistic traits and behaviors one way or the other from time to time. Depending on how much control you have over the trait, this may not be as bad as everyone thinks.
According to experts, narcissism is a sequence and where you are on the series determines whether you can use it to reach for your goals, or whether you use it as a means to manipulate the people around you. This personality disorder often happens with substance use, mood and anxiety disorders and other personality disorders. Living with people who have NPD can be a serious setback and require intense professional intervention.

However, on the other side of that spectrum, narcissism can exhibit itself in simple self-confidence or boastfulness. W. Keith Campbell, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia and author of the book The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement, calls this trait a tool in our toolbox that can help us nail that job interview, pick someone up at a bar or win that new leadership position at work.

Campbell told HuffPost that in this modern society, there are times when you have to brag or toot your own horn. If you can use it, it can be helpful, but only in some areas



Narcissists Faced With Their Narcissism


“At the name of {narcissism} each one of the children felt something jump…inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”

Ah, forgive me for paraphrasing the great C. S. Lewis from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. But that’s how it is when you first learn about “narcissism,” isn’t it? You either feel liberated…or angry.

That moment came and went for my Family-of-Origin this week when they finally found my website and blogs. Oh, it took them ages to find it. Their uncharacteristic lack of curiosity was most vexing.

But they finally found it. The word spread like wildfire. They spent hours on the site. I hoped against hope that light might glimmer. That “narcissism” might be to them as it was to me…a “delightful strain of music.” A candle flickering at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

So I spoon-fed them the delightfully liberating truth about narcissism in my articles, often quoting their own gossip about each other as evidence. Yes, I’m sure it was mortifying. As mortifying as the “weird” life they forced me to lead, the abuses I bore, the secrets I kept.

 But they refused to take the hint. Hint, did I say? More like a frickin’ sledgehammer!

Like the dwarves seated in what they imagine is a dark barn in Lewis’ The Last Battle, my relatives preferto remain in the darkness of narcissism, striking out at me but too terrified to risk peeking out to see the meadow of healing surrounding them.

“You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”

That’s that. Did my duty. Conscience is clear.

I’m now officially an orphan…and it feels frickin’ amazing! It’s as if someone took a sponge and washed away the last thirty years. I’m free for the first time in my life and the sensation is intoxicating!

Have you felt it? Do you know what it’s like?

My context is gone. I feel reborn. Decades of mind control have fallen away. I’m not the person they tried to make me, the vices they projected onto me, the shame they downloaded into me. I’m ME! I may go get my nose pierced and dye my hair hot pink with utter disregard for what “they” would think and what “they” would say and how “they” would judge me.

I look around my home with new eyes. My eyes. No more clairvoyance. No more fear. No more vicarious judgmentalism.

I hug my husband with more ardor and treasure my friends with more enjoyment.

I feel even happier than the day I burned up my High School diploma from the misery they called “homeschool.”

The books are right, you know. The books about narcissistic parents. Should’ve believed them! But no, I just couldn’t quite believe my sweetie-poo-pie mother would have the audacity to shame me, order me about and SHOUT in typing a message to me today.

I’m amazed that in her sixties, she still can’t get off her abusive Mommy’s titty, cut the apron strings,see through the manipulative crocodile tears and lies and brainwashing, stop being played for a sap and refuse to obey Mommy/Brother’s orders. I’m flabbergasted that she’s chosen to show empathy to the mother who’s caused her untold pain over extending empathy (rather than accusations) to herabused daughter she claimed to “love” and “adore” and the only person to ever help her heal from anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia. I’m incredulous she apparently doesn’t want to learn and heal from decades of being the victim (and sometimes perpetrator) of narcissistic abuse, after her previous excitement when I taught her about codependence. Quite disappointed in her really.

And I just couldn’t quite believe I never had proper parenting, proper love. Now, I believe it!

If you’re in this boat too, well, believe it. Narcissists aren’t normal parents and they really can’t love you properly either. If you’re No Contact, stop hoping for that miracle reconciliation. Ain’t happenin, Honey. Sorry to say it, but all the books are right. The “cracks” of anger and cruelty in your family’s otherwise “perfect” persona are the truth. Believe the cracks…not the persona.

But it’s okay. Freedom is more delicious than love, especially a toxic love.

Truth is my drug, and I am so addicted. The creative juices are flowing and must not be quelled for narcissism is an epidemic and millions need healing. They shall not be quelled, for I refuse to shut up. And they cannot be quelled, for the First Amendment right to Free Speech finally belongs to me along with my other long-withheld God-given rights: Life! Liberty! And the Pursuit of Happiness!




Five Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head


Five Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head by Shahida Arabi

In popular culture, the term “narcissistic” is thrown about quite loosely, usually referring to vanity and self-absorption. This reduces narcissism to a common quality that everyone possesses and downplays the symptoms demonstrated by people with the actual disorder. While narcissism does exist on a spectrum, narcissism as a full-fledged personality disorder is quite different.

People who meet the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those who have traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder  can operate in extremely manipulative ways within the context of intimate relationships due to their deceitfulness, lack of empathy and their tendency to be interpersonally exploitative. Although I will be focusing on narcissistic abusers in this post, due to the overlap of symptoms in these two disorders, this post can potentially apply to interactions with those who have ASPD to an extent.

It’s important in any kind of relationship that we learn to identify the red flags when interacting with people who display malignant narcissism and/or antisocial traits, so we can better protect ourselves from exploitation and abuse, set boundaries, and make informed decisions about who we keep in our lives. Understanding the nature of these toxic interactions and how they affect us has an enormous impact on our ability to engage in self-care.

Watch out for the following covert manipulation tactics when you’re dating someone or in a relationship.

1. The Idealization-Devaluation-Discard Phase

Narcissists and those with antisocial traits tend to subject romantic partners throughthree phases within a relationship. The idealization phase (which often happens most strongly during the early stages of dating or a relationship) consists of putting you on a pedestal, making you the center of his/her world, being in contact with you frequently, and showering you with flattery and praise. You are convinced that the narcissist can’t live without you and that you’ve met your soulmate. Be wary of: constant texting, shallow flattery and wanting to be around you at all times. This is a technique known as “lovebombing” and it is how most victims get sucked in: they are tired of the “games” people play with each other in communication and are flattered by the constant attention they get from the narcissist. You may be fooled into thinking that this means a narcissist is truly interested in you, when in fact, he or she is interested in making you dependent on their constant praise and attention.

The devaluation phase is subsequent to this idealization phase, and this is when you’re left wondering why you were so abruptly thrust off the pedestal. The narcissist will suddenly start to blow hot and cold, criticizing you, covertly and overtly putting you down, comparing you to others, emotionally withdrawing from you and giving you the silent treatment when you’ve failed to meet their “standards.” Since the “hot” aspect of this phase relies on intermittent reinforcement in which the narcissist gives you inconsistent spurts of the idealization phase throughout, you become convinced that perhaps you are at fault and you can “control” the narcissist’s reactions.

Even though the narcissist can be quite possessive and jealous over you, since he or she views you as an object and a source of narcissistic supply, the narcissist is prone to projecting this same behavior onto you. The narcissist makes you seem like the needy one as you react to his or her withdrawal and withholding patterns even though the expectations of frequent contact were established early on in the relationship by the narcissist himself.

You are mislead into thinking that if you just learn not to be so “needy,” “clingy,” or “jealous,”  the narcissist will reward you with the loving behavior he or she demonstrated in the beginning. The narcissist may use these and other similar words to gaslight victims when they react normally to being provoked. It’s a way to maintain control over your legitimate emotional reactions to their stonewalling, emotional withdrawal and inconsistency.

Unfortunately, it is during the devaluation phase that a narcissist’s true self shows itself. You have to understand that the man or woman in the beginning of the relationship never truly existed. The true colors are only now beginning to show, so it will be a struggle as you attempt to reconcile the image that the narcissist presented to you with his or her current behavior.

During the discard phase, the narcissist abandons his or her victim in the most horrific, demeaning way possible to convince the victim that he or she is worthless. This could range from: leaving the victim for another lover, humiliating the victim in public, being physically aggressive and a whole range of other demeaning behaviors to communicate to the victim that he or she is no longer important.

2. Gaslighting.

Most abusive relationships contain a certain amount of gaslighting, a technique narcissists use to convince you that your perception of the abuse is inaccurate. During the devaluation and discard phases, the narcissist will often remark upon your emotional instability, your “issues,” and displace blame of his/her abuse as your fault. Frequent use of phrases such as “You provoked me,” “You’re too sensitive,” “I never said that,” or “You’re taking things too seriously” after the narcissists’ abusive outbursts are common and are used to gaslight you into thinking that the abuse is indeed your fault or that it never even took place.

Narcissists are masters of making you doubt yourself and the abuse. This is why victims so often suffer from ruminations after the ending of a relationship with a narcissist, because the emotional invalidation they received from the narcissist made them feel powerless in their agency and perceptions. This self-doubt enables them to stay within abusive relationships even when it’s clear that the relationship is a toxic one, because they are led to mistrust their own instincts and interpretations of events.

3. Smear campaigns.

Narcissists keep harems because they love to have their egos stroked and they need constant validation from the outside world to feed their need for excessive admiration and confirm their grandiose sense of self-importance. They are clever chameleons who are also people-pleasers, morphing into whatever personality suits them in situations with different types of people. It is no surprise, then, that the narcissist begins a smear campaign against you not too long after the discard phase, in order to paint you as the unstable one, and that this is usually successful with the narcissist’s support network which also tends to consist of other narcissists, people-pleasers, empaths, as well as people who are easily charmed.

This smear campaign accomplishes three things: 1) it depicts you as the abuser or unstable person and deflects your accusations of abuse, 2) it provokes you, thus proving your instability to others when trying to argue his or her depiction of you, and 3) serves as a hoovering technique in which the narcissist seeks to pull you back into the trauma of the relationship as you struggle to reconcile the rumors about you with who you actually are by speaking out against the accusations. The only way to not get pulled into this tactic is by going full No Contact with both the narcissist and his or her harem.

4. Triangulation.

Healthy relationships thrive on security; unhealthy ones are filled with provocation, uncertainty and infidelity. Narcissists like to manufacture love triangles and bring in the opinions of others to validate their point of view. They do this to an excessive extent in order to play puppeteer to your emotions. In the book Psychopath Free by Peace, the method of triangulation is discussed as a popular way the narcissist maintains control over your emotions. Triangulation consists of bringing the presence of another person into the dynamic of the relationship, whether it be an ex-lover, a current mistress, a relative, or a complete stranger.

This triangulation can take place over social media, in person, or even through the narcissist’s own verbal accounts of the other woman or man. The narcissist relies on jealousy as a powerful emotion that can cause you to compete for his or her affections, so provocative statements like “I wish you’d be more like her,” or “He wants me back into his life, I don’t know what to do” are designed to trigger the abuse victim into competing and feeling insecure about his or her position in the narcissist’s life.

Unlike healthy relationships where jealousy is communicated and dealt with in a productive manner, the narcissist will belittle your feelings and continue inappropriate flirtations and affairs without a second thought. Triangulation is the way the narcissist maintains control and keeps you in check – you’re so busy competing for his or her attention that you’re less likely to be focusing on the red flags within the relationship or looking for ways to get out of the relationship.

5. The false self and the true self.

The narcissist hides behind the armor of a “false self,” a construct of qualities and traits that he or she usually presents to the outside world. Due to this armor, you are unlikely to comprehend the full extent of a narcissist’s inhumanity and lack of empathy until you are in the discard phase. This can make it difficult to pinpoint who the narcissistic abuser truly is – the sweet, charming and seemingly remorseful person that appears shortly after the abuse, or the abusive partner who ridicules, invalidates and belittles you on a daily basis? You suffer a great deal of cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile the illusion the narcissist first presented to you with the tormenting behaviors he or she subjects you to. In order to cope with this cognitive dissonance, you might blame yourself for his or her abusive behavior and attempt to “improve” yourself when you have done nothing wrong, just to uphold your belief in the narcissist’s false self during the devaluation phase.

During the discard phase, the narcissist reveals the true self – the genuinely abusive and abrasive personality beneath the shallow veneer rears its ugly head and you get a glimpse of the cruelty that was lurking within all along. You bear witness to his or her cold, callous indifference as you are discarded. You might think this is only a momentary lapse into inhumanity, but actually, it is as close you will ever get to seeing the narcissist’s true self.

The manipulative, conniving charm that existed in the beginning is no more – instead, it is replaced by the genuine contempt that the narcissist felt for you all along. See, narcissists don’t truly feel empathy or love for others – so during the discard phase, they feel absolutely nothing for you except the excitement of having exhausted another source of supply. You were just another source of supply, so do not fool yourself into thinking that the magical connection that existed in the beginning was in any way real. It was an illusion, much like the identity of the narcissist was an illusion.

It is time to pick up the pieces, go No Contact, heal, and move forward. You were not only a victim of narcissistic abuse, but a survivor.  Owning this dual status as both victim and survivor permits you to own your agency after the abuse and to live the life you were meant to lead – one filled with self-care, self-love, respect, and compassion.



What kind of narcissist are YOU? Take the test

What kind of narcissist are YOU? Take the test that reveals if you’re a sufferer as experts reveal there are three forms of the disorder

  • Narcissism as personality trait has two forms: vulnerable and grandiose
  • A more extreme type of narcissism is classified as psychological disorder
  • This is known as narcissistic personality disorder, more common in men
  • Narcissists have ‘inflated, grandiose self-image,’ and can act selfishly

It’s more than likely you know someone who’s obsessed with their own image.

A quick scroll through social media can reveal the narcissists in a constant stream of selfies; you might even be one.

Narcissists think they’re better, smarter, and more important than the people around them – and they want to be treated as such, experts say.

A new TEDEd video breaks down the different types of narcissism, from the obvious to the not-so obvious, and explains how these traits almost always take a turn for the dark side.

Scroll down for video 

It’s more than likely you know someone who’s obsessed with their own image. A scroll through social media can reveal narcissists in a constant stream of selfies; you might even be one. Narcissists think they’re better, smarter, more important than the people around them, and they want to be treated as such, experts say

It’s more than likely you know someone who’s obsessed with their own image. A scroll through social media can reveal narcissists in a constant stream of selfies; you might even be one. Narcissists think they’re better, smarter, more important than the people around them, and they want to be treated as such, experts say

Psychologists define narcissism as an ‘inflated, grandiose self-image,’ and it has persevered through the centuries as a personality trait and, in extreme cases, a psychological disorder.

Narcissists have a tendency to act selfishly, according to the lesson by W. Keith Campbell, and this can present itself in many different ways.

According to the expert, ‘it’s like a disease where the sufferers feel pretty good, but the people around them suffer.’

Political leaders or people of power may make risky or unethical decisions as a result of narcissism, while narcissistic partners could be unfaithful and dishonest.

As a personality trait, narcissism can appear in two forms: grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism.

In both forms, however, ‘the dark side of narcissism’ will ultimately show up over time.

A much more extreme type of narcissism also exists, and it’s classified as a psychological disorder.



  •  Grandiose narcissists are the most familiar type, the video explains, and these people can be extroverted, dominant, and attention-seeking.

These types of narcissists will ‘pursue attention and power,’ often showing up among political and cultural leaders, and celebrities.

This way of viewing oneself can be nurtured by upbringing, especially in situations where parent’s put their child on a pedestal.

  • Vulnerable narcissists are more reserved. People with this trait have a strong sense of entitlement, and easily feel threatened or demeaned by the actions of others.

Cold, controlling parents can have a hand in fostering this trait, the video explains.

  • Narcissistic personality disorder is a much more extreme form, and is classified as a psychological disorder.

This is more common in men, and affects just 1-2 percent of the population.

These people also feel a sense of entitlement, and seek admiration and attention, but in a way that is all-encompassing, the experts explain.

A narcissistic personality disorder can consume a person’s life.

The video points to the example of a person using their spouse of children as a means to gain attention, over caring for them.

This is known as narcissistic personality disorder.

Research has linked narcissism to genetics, but it’s still unknown which genes actually contribute to this.

Genes, environment, and cultural setting can all have a hand in fostering narcissism.

According to the expert, narcissism has been on the rise in the United States since the 1970s.

And, while social media hasn’t been proven to actually create narcissists, it does give them a new platform to garner attention and admiration.

Grandiose narcissists are the most familiar type, the video explains, and these people can be extroverted, dominant, and attention-seeking.

These types of narcissists will ‘pursue attention and power,’ often showing up among political and cultural leaders, and celebrities.

This way of viewing oneself can be nurtured by upbringing, especially in situations where parent’s put their child on a pedestal.

On the other hand, vulnerable narcissists are more reserved.

People with this trait have a strong sense of entitlement, and easily feel threatened or demeaned by the actions of others.

Cold, controlling parents can have a hand in fostering this trait, the video explains.


A book by Dr Craig Malkin – a Harvard-trained psychologist – has produced a test to determine the scale of your narcissism and whether it is something to be concerned about.

Social media hasn't been proven to  create narcissists, but gives them a new way to garner attention and admiration

Social media hasn’t been proven to create narcissists, but gives them a new platform to garner attention and admiration

On a scale of 1 to 5, indicate how much you agree or disagree with each item

Scroll down to calculate your results

1 – strongly disagree

2 – disagree

3 – neutral

4 – agree

5 – strongly agree 

1. I know there’s something special about me

2. I’m great at a lot of things compared to most people

3. I secretly believe I’m better than most people

4. I press on even in challenging tasks

5. Obstacles rarely slow me down

6. I’m self-confident, but caring

7. I feel uneasy when I’m the focus of attention

8. I find it hard to enjoy compliments

9. I don’t like to talk about myself  

The more extreme case of narcissism, called narcissistic personality disorder, affects just 1-2 percent of the population, and is only diagnosed in adults.

It’s also more commonly presented in men.

People with narcissistic personality disorder have a grandiose view of themselves, and struggle with empathy.

These people also feel a sense of entitlement, and seek admiration and attention, but in a way that is all-encompassing, the experts explain.

A narcissistic personality disorder can consume a person’s life.

The video points to the example of a person using their spouse of children as a means to gain attention, over caring for them.

While young people and children can behaved in a self-centred way, the video explains that this could be a normal part of development, so the diagnoses remains exclusive to adults.

The more extreme case of narcissism, called narcissistic personality disorder, affects just 1-2 percent of the population, and is only diagnosed in adults. It's also more commonly presented in men. These people also feel a sense of entitlement, and seek admiration and attention, but in a way that is all-encompassing

The more extreme case of narcissism, called narcissistic personality disorder, affects just 1-2 percent of the population, and is only diagnosed in adults. It’s also more commonly presented in men. These people also feel a sense of entitlement, and seek admiration and attention, but in a way that is all-encompassing

When a narcissist’s self-inflated viewpoint is challenged, a person can become aggressive and resentful.

It is possible for narcissists to become more altruistic, the video explains, and this can be done by enrolling in psychotherapy, or practicing compassion.

People who exhibit narcissistic traits can improve their behaviour by reflecting upon their own actions or practicing compassion for others.

But, becoming less self-absorbed isn’t always an easy task, the expert explains.

‘For narcissists, self-reflection is hard from an unflattering angle.


Extreme Narcissism: Add items 1–3 and enter your score here:

Healthy Narcissism: Add items 4-6 and enter your score here:

Echoism: Add items 7-9 and enter your score here:

All three scores are related to narcissism, but reflect very different patterns of behavior.

Echoism: 10 is average; 12 and up is high. High echoism means you’re worried about burdening others and rarely assert your needs.

Healthy Narcissism: 11 is average; 12 and up is high. Healthy narcissism means you’re empathic, ambitious, caring and confident.

Extreme narcissism: 9 is average; 10 is high. High scorers tend to be selfish manipulative, demanding, and often arrogant. 11 or higher could even mean you’re an extreme narcissist, though if you’re under the age 25, this could change over time.

In general, your highest score is dominant, but extreme narcissism trumps them all when it’s high. 

While the alarm bells might be ringing, Dr Malkin cautions that it’s okay to have a degree of narcissistic tendencies.

He said: ‘This test is not like others designed by psychologists to measure narcissism.

‘Most surveys start with the assumption that any narcissism is bad. If you answer ‘true’ to ‘I like looking at my body,’ or ‘I am assertive’, and your narcissism score starts to grow.’

He continued: ‘But there’s obviously nothing harmful about feeling confident about your body or being assertive.

The team collected information from several hundred people around the world, of all ages, incomes, and genders to create the assessment tool called the Narcissism Spectrum Scale.

The abbreviated narcissism test is informal, not diagnostic


Parenting With Too Much Praise May Lead To Development Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissism For Parents

Mommy and Daddy’s little superstar, princess, or angel may grow up to be quite the narcissist. Overpraising a child and actively ranking her above peers or siblings is reinforcing an egotistical and entitled mindset, according to a new Ohio State University study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers revealed how parents could be raising little narcissists with each building compliment.

“Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others,” said the study’s coauthor Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University, in a press release. “That may not be good for them or for society. Rather than raising self-esteem, overvaluing practices may inadvertently raise levels of narcissism.”

Researchers searched for the origins of narcissism by studying 565 children between the ages of 7 to 11, along with their parents over the course over two years. Those who reported in the survey that they verbally reinforced to their child they were “more special than other children” or “deserve something extra in life” were considered to be overvaluing parents. Each child’s response was measured and compared to their parents’ surveys in order to pinpoint exactly why and when narcissistic behaviors developed.

“People with high self-esteem think they’re as good as others, whereas narcissists think they’re better than others,” Bushman said. “Overvaluation predicted narcissism, not self-esteem, whereas warmth predicted self-esteem, not narcissism. Some children may be more likely than others to become narcissistic when their parents overvalue them.”

A child’s self-esteem manifests throughout her upbringing differently than narcissism, which is why a parent’s compliments are key to shaping her impressionable personality. The researchers said there’s a common misconception that narcissism is just an overinflated version of self-esteem, when in fact that’s not true. Narcissists believe their own importance is ranked higher than others, have a severe need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others, according to Mayo Clinic. The only “cure” is undergoing psychotherapy to try and undo all of the damage overvaluing has done during childhood.

In the study, parents were even asked if their child was familiar with madeup items such as “Queen Alberta” and “The Tale of Benson Bunny” to see if they exhibited an overvaluation of their child’s abilities. Some claimed they actually knew the terms, while other parents were more realistic about their child’s knowledge of being familiar, for example, with “Neil Armstrong” and the book Animal Farm.

What researchers intended to highlight was that parents should make sure their children understand it’s OK to not know those terms because that allows them to grow and realize they need to work in order to become familiar with them. Learning how to lose and not be the best also encourages self-realization and growth, the researchers wrote. If parents stop telling their child she’s better than other students, they’ll stop creating a false sense of ranking. That doesn’t mean, however, they can’t improve their child’s sense of self and foster a healthy self-esteem by simply rewording certain phrases to express warmth.

“When I first started doing this research in the 1990s, I used to think my children should be treated like they were extra-special. I’m careful not to do that now,” Bushman said. “It is important to express warmth to your children because that may promote self-esteem, but overvaluing them may promote higher narcissism. Parent training interventions can, for example, teach parents to express affection and appreciation toward children without telling children that they are superior to others or entitled to privileges. Future studies should test whether this can work.”



3 Common Breakup Tactics of an Abusive Narcissist

Don’t fall prey to these underhanded and manipulative end-game tactics.

DON’T ever underestimate the breakup maneuvers of a narcissistic partner. A narcissist’s end game tactics are varied. If he still sees value in the relationship he may try to win you back so he can resume his control and abuse of you.

He may suddenly turn nice and “promise to change,” stop drinking, enter therapy or an abuser program. He may suddenly take care of the things that you have been complaining about. He may tell you “that you will be lost without him,” or “no one else will want to be with you.”


But if he believes you are permanently leaving him, he thinks you are seeing someone else or he is finished with you, you may be in for the “fight of your life.”

Be prepared for ANY of the following narcissistic behaviors if you think your relationship is ending with a narcissistic partner.

1. He Finds Another “Bedmate”

A narcissistic partner may have another relationship lined up before he dumps you and when this happens, his behavior can change dramatically and overnight. He can become extremely unpredictable, withdrawn, hostile and unfeeling and his abandonment can happen quickly and without warning.

When he makes up his mind that he wants to be with his new romantic interest, he may do outrageous things to get rid of you. And when he does dump you, there will be no apologies or expression of remorse because a narcissist does not feel guilt, shame or regret for his reprehensible actions.

2. He Does Things to Run You Off

When a narcissistic partner believes he can no longer control you or he is finished with you, he can become destructive and dangerous.

He will use minor issues to set you up for extreme verbal or physical abuse, and his increased rage will seem to come out of nowhere and for no apparent reason. He will say and do new and vicious acts against you.

He will set you up for elaborate altercations to punish you, frighten you and anger you so he can justify abusing you and deserting you, all the while, the narcissist draws satisfaction from the drama and pain he creates.

Unknown to me, my fiancé (living 100 miles away) was dating another woman. He came to town and he took me to dinner; I thought it was like any other date night. Instead, he started the worst fight of our relationship at the restaurant and then he physically assaulted me when we got back to my home.

It was the deadblow to our relationship. I found out the following week his new floozy was already living with him.

3. His Verbal Attacks Escalate to Physical Abuse

The narcissistic partner’s end game can be treacherous and scary. He may throw things and strike objects near you to terrorize you into submission and he may destroy your treasured possessions to penalize you.

He may threaten to harm your children, pets or a family member. He may file false charges against you, report you to child services or threaten to take the children away from you. He may use his physical size to intimidate you, e.g., he stands in the doorway blocking your exit during an argument.

He may make statements like, “I’ll break your neck” and then he dismisses his threats by saying he didn’t really mean it. He may threaten you bodily harm, stalk you and show up at your work or home unannounced looking for a fight.

When a woman I know broke up with her jealous, verbally abusive boyfriend, he stole her favorite clothes, jewelry and perfume so she couldn’t “look good around another man.” He terrorized her with endless threatening phone calls and texts.

He showed up at her apartment drunk late at night, pounding on her patio door and windows demanding that she let him into her apartment and when she called the police he keyed the side of her car.

He left notes on her car’s windshield at home and at work, vacillating from, “I love you. Please give me another chance” to “I’ll kill you if I ever see you with another man.” In his mind if he couldn’t have her — no one would have her.