Today in the world and in the news we hear the word narcissism quite often, but if you were to ask the general public what makes someone a narcissist would they be able to tell you?
Would they say it is someone who is full of themselves? Would they say it is someone who is arrogant and conceited and thinks they are better than everyone else?
The truth is, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is much more sinister then that…
Narcissists exist all over the world, in every social bracket, and personally destroy the lives of those around them.
In relation to intimate relationships, narcissists sweep into people’s lives full of charm and promise and leave them reeling in devastation.
Narcissists are able to lie to you without batting an eyelid – feigning their sincerity, values and monogamy, and can tell you that you are the person they have been waiting for all of their life.
The narcissist will become your ‘dream partner’ – and they will declare that their love and attention is all about you – but nothing could be further from the truth.
You believe you have met ‘the one’ – your true soul mate. In time, this person who has professed their undying love to you becomes your worst enemy – punishing you, hurting you, attacking you with any means possible and trying to turn your family, children and friends against you.
You will be shattered at how purposefully the narcissist starts destroying your life, reputation, taking your money, energy and emotional wellbeing whilst proclaiming to all and sundry that you are the disordered one.
Narcissists not only damage intimate partners, they also inflict incredible terror, pain and psychological damage on children, and create dysfunctional future generations. They continue to breed cycles of abusers and the abused. Narcissists are an incredible blight on society as a whole.
My name is Melanie Tonia Evans, I am a narcissistic abuse recovery expert, and I have decided to write this resource to help individuals identify the real and common behaviours of a narcissist, to ensure they do not meet the same fate that myself and countless people world-wide have.
Despite writing as many articles on narcissism as I have, I still receive dozens of emails each week asking – “Is this person in my life really a narcissist, or just someone who (fill in the gap)?”…
I know this confusion occurs for two main reasons:
1) Until you have encountered a narcissistic person you have no idea what the ‘crazy making’ is. Most people think they are losing their mind, because what the narcissist does doesn’t fit into any acceptable human model, and until you have experienced and understood it there is no point of reference.
2) The perverse chemical addiction to a narcissist means you are mentally, emotionally and physiologically ‘hooked’. As a result your mind tries to find all sorts of reasons and excuses to exonerate the narcissist.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) explains the symptoms of NPD as the following:
- Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
- Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
- Envies others and believes others envy him/her
- Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
- Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
- Is arrogant in attitudes and behaviour
- Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic
There is also a belief (Wikipedia also states this) that NPD affects approximately 1% of the community.
When we can understand narcissism intimately, which involves the inability to be vulnerable (admit defects) or take personal responsibility for their flaws, we can realise just how few narcissists would ever seek an NPD diagnosis or allow themselves to be exposed enough to be diagnosed.
Narcissists are the ultimate False Selves – they wear masks whenever possible, and especially to avoid scrutiny.
Therefore I believe this ‘percentage’ is quite frankly ludicrous.
This is my belief about the DSM-5 list. It explains only some of the traits of the narcissist and certainly does not explain the ‘mask’ the narcissist wears to lure you in, extract narcissistic supply from you and hide his or her true damaged, shameful and disordered self.
This list also certainly does not even come close to the accurate description of the outrageous, malicious and pathological behavior narcissists commonly act out.
There are also irregularities in the existing DSM-5 list. Point one as an example is not accurate. There are narcissists who secure accomplishments. Narcissists brag and demand recognition regardless of whether their achievements are real or not.
Many people reading the DSM-5 explanation may think “Yes, some of these apply, but this person can be so loving and wonderful. So then how can he or she be a narcissist?”
The narcissist in between narcissistic bouts (when his or her severely damaged true self appears), is a consummate chameleon and can appear as the most loving, accepting, supportive person you can imagine.
This is how narcissists get narcissistic supply (their all-consuming need for outside attention in order to emotionally survive). They have to pretend they are someone they are not.
As a result of years of assisting thousands of people recover from narcissistic abuse (and knowing their stories intimately), as well as my own recovery from two narcissistic relationships (a classic and then an altruistic narcissist), I would like to share with you my definitions of a narcissist.
Before I do, it is important to realise that there are people who can be self-absorbed, and even selfish who do not have NPD. These people may even have superiority complexes, exaggerate their accomplishments and credentials and fail to have sufficient empathy for others in need.
This could make a person painful to be around, and disappointing to have a relationship with, but it certainly does NOT define the horrendous destruction and tragedies which narcissists create for the non-narcissistic human community.
The Trademarks of a Narcissist
There are, in my opinion, absolute trademarks for an individual with NPD, trademarks which need to understood and circulated.
These behaviours cross the line from human to inhumane and in my opinion (because I have never heard or witnessed one reported case of ‘it working out ‘or ‘he / she got better’ with a person who displays some, many or all of these behaviours) means this person has NPD – and therefore is malicious and untreatable, and intensely dangerous and destructive to others.
It is very important to understand that upon meeting the narcissist and even the first weeks, or months with this person the following behaviour will not be evident – however commonly there will be ‘red flags’. There will be events like exes making contact with you, stories that don’t feel ‘quite right’, or strange reactions, accusations, put downs, insecure comments, or signs of taking umbrage that leave you feeling ‘weird’ ‘wrong’ or even intensely unsafe.
Too many people have rationalised away these ‘signs’ and paid gravely for it later.
The following behaviours constitute an individual who will put you at severe risk emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially and often times sexually and physically – and if you hang on to a relationship with this person, you could be taken all the way to your demise as a result of the narcissistic cycles of idealise then devalue and discard.
When you see the list of these extremely common narcissistic behaviours you will understand why they are so destructive.
If you are being abused by a narcissist, I understand you may think that you are the only person who is experiencing this insanity and tormenting behaviour. However when you read the stories of countless others, you would realise just how common and stock standard these narcissistic behaviors are.
NPD Behaviour is:
- Pathological lying.
- Taking umbrage at slights that healthy mature adults just don’t get upset about.
- Being ‘loving’ and ‘adoring’ one moment and detesting, attacking, or threatening you with breakups the next. These ‘you are the love of my life / I’d be better off without you’ cycles are often sudden, unexpected and without warning.
- Uses the identified emotional wound of the victim against him, or her. For example if the victim has a fear of abandonment the narcissist will continually threaten and / or perform abandonment. If granting other women or men attention creates emotional pain, the narcissist will ‘flaunt’ that behaviour regularly. If being distrusted and accused of adultery creates a painful reaction, the narcissist will deliver accusations regularly. This is followed by the narcissist denying all responsibility and blaming the other person as ‘the cause of him or her leaving’, or labelling his or her victim as ‘jealous, insecure and paranoid’, or ‘flirting purposefully and deserving distrust’.
- Nil ability to be vulnerable, real, honest or discuss problems rationally when feeling emotionally upset.
- Intense harbouring about what you did or didn’t do in the past which ‘insulted’ the narcissist. The harbouring continues to re-emerge no matter how many times you apologise or believe the issue was previously resolved.
- Propensity to lash out and punish horrifically with minimal provocation – delivering behaviour that is a complete mismatch for the perceived injury the narcissist believed he or she received.
- Smear campaigns created against the person who the narcissist has damaged, containing fabricated and misleading evidence.
- Using abuse by proxy getting other people and organisations to attack the victim on the narcissist’s behalf, fuelled by smear campaigns.
- Nil ability to be accountable for horrendous malicious, pathological or outrageous behaviour.
- Nil ability to be appropriately remorseful and fix the damage of the horrendous behaviour inflicted on the victim.
- Nil ability to have empathy for the victim or for people connected to the victim – such as the victim’s children or family.
- Accuses others, especially intimate partner for all the things that the narcissist thinks, says and does.
- High level of entitlement to money, resources, recognition, sex and / or attention.
- Excessive and outrageous spending habits coupled with loose and poor money management. Takes financial risks and gambles which create stress for the narcissist and his or her partner / family.
- Prone to superficiality and materialism. A need to ‘show off’ and enough is never enough.
- Pathological and / or compulsive adultery without using sexual protection which puts possible multiple partners at risk
- The ability to pathologically lie and feign ‘love and commitment’ to ‘outside’ sexual partners to garnish narcissistic supply and / or punish current partner.
- The ability to keep previous partners hooked and sexually active during devalue and discard cycles whilst sourcing and romancing new sources of narcissistic supply. (Narcissists will generally avoid being single at any cost).
- Previous partners are kept on the narcissist’s hook with open ended comments such as ‘Never say never’ so when discarded, the narcissist has the option to revisit if sources of narcissistic supply get low – or if he or she wants to act out revenge on the current partner.
- Performs smear campaign about and amongst multiple sexual partners, regarding why the narcissist despises, discredits or wants nothing to do with the ‘other’ sexual partners, so that they will not suspect or find out the truth.
- ‘Apologies’ ‘empathy’ ‘accountability’ or ‘make up’ behaviour (if any) is long overdue, and only generally after escalation of more horrendous pathological and / or adulterous behaviour, threats and smear campaigns (discovered and undiscovered). This ‘remorse’ is not consistent and contains fabricated ‘make-up’ promises which are generally undelivered. Restoration is temporary, and leads to repeat cycles of nil accountability, nil remorse, nil empathy and repeat horrendous behaviour.
- Intense anger, rage and projection (and often total discard) if confronted with the truth – that the narcissist’s issues come from unhealed childhood wounds which the narcissist is unwilling to face and deal with.
How the Narcissist Argues
One of the most sure-fire ways to know you are with a narcissist is identifying how a narcissist argues. To say a narcissist fights dirty, with no conscience and out of bounds twisted behaviour is an understatement.
If you feel like you are trying to have a conversation with an angry, insane, malicious five year old child, and this ‘conversation’ feels like you are losing your grip on reality because a good smattering of the tactics below are being used – you can be 100% sure it is with a narcissist.
Because it is ONLY people with narcissistic personality disorder who EVER communicate like this.
The list of the arsenal the narcissist holds and uses when arguing with you is this:
- Avoidance: Refusing to recognise or acknowledge the incident as real or important to you.
- Excuses: Making up stories or reasons for the behaviour that are not genuine or valid excuses.
- Accusations: Blaming someone else for the wrongdoing.
- False Apology: Saying a ‘sorry’ that is not a genuine apology, and expecting you to accept it.
- Ignorance: Claiming you never said that, that was never discussed, or the narcissist never said that.
- Confusion: Creating antics over trivial points in the conversation to shift and confuse the focus.
- Projection: Stating ‘what you did wrong’ regarding the particular topic by using ammunition from the past that has nothing to do with the present incident.
- Using Allies: Quoting people real or imagined to back their ‘story’ of excuses, or to discredit you.
- Shutting down: Unwilling to have the conversation or abandoning the scene to avoid scrutiny.
- Shifting Focus: Responding with displeasure to your body language or the tone of your voice to steer the conversation away from the wrongdoing.
- Persecution: Stating how bad your accusations are, and what a terrible person you are to accuse them.
- Denial: Stating that it was incidents in your past, and your fears and insecurities which causes you to make these accusations.
- Discrediting: Stating that you are such a negative person and always look for the ‘conspiracy theory’ in your conversations.
- Threatening: Citing abandonment or punishment if you continue with the accusation.
- Entitlement: Demanding that you recognise the positive things they have done for you, and that it’s unfair for you to focus on the negatives.
- Lying: Stating they did grant explanation, reassurance, or did do the credible thing when these actions were not forthcoming.
- Condemnation: Continuing the story of “I did do the right thing” and then being incensed at you for calling them a liar.
- Justification: Stating ‘I did it’ because of your behaviour and because you make me do these things.
- Triggering: Using a maiming comment related or unrelated to incite you to anger and shift blame.
- Competition: Stating all the things that they are not happy about with you, as a ‘tit for tat’ retaliation, rather than addressing the issue at hand.
Why Does a Narcissist Do What They Do?
It is important to understand why narcissists behave in such cruel, calculating and malicious ways. Narcissists are severely emotionally damaged people, who decided at a young age that the internal pain of ‘You are worthless, no good, defective and unlovable’ meant that the narcissist had to ‘kill off’ his or her true self, and create a False Self as a buffer in its place.
The False Self is a pathological façade constructed to gain praise, admiration, attention and be seen as omnipotent or special compared to others.
This pathological self has no resources to feel whole or at peace, and the narcissist needs ‘energy’ from the outside world constantly reflected back to him or her to know he or she exists.
The narcissist needs attention and significance (known as Narcissistic Supply) to avoid the pain, and to gain some relief, just like a heroin addict does. A narcissist will do whatever it takes without conscience or remorse to keep feeding the False Self.
People and things are reduced to mere objects in order to provide narcissistic supply, and are punished severely and cruelly when they don’t supply it adequately.
The tragic thing is that narcissists have also been victims of victims. It is only scared and hurt people who hurt others. We can have compassion for this fact, but must firmly realise narcissists do not heal, resolve and evolve past their atrocious behaviour. They refuse to admit defects, be vulnerable or apply self-humility, which are the essential ingredients for personal growth.
If you have never experienced a narcissist, you may shake your head in disbelief that there are people who behave like these lists above – let alone be able to believe there is a huge cluster of people on this planet who live their life exclusively like this and cannot operate with integrity. Any ‘integrity’ is only feigned by a narcissist.
If you have been abused by a narcissist you certainly know what it is like to be engulfed in such a twisted disturbing world.
I really hope this has cleared up your confusion, and not only helped you identify whether or not you are with a narcissist, but also how damaging, dangerous and soul-destroying it is to be with one – if you are.
All of what I written above is not just the story of what I have experienced at the hands of narcissists, these are the identical stories (often word for word) which have happened in more people’s lives than you could even begin to imagine.
If you are reading this article and you have just realised that you may be dealing with a narcissist in your life – I know exactly what you are going through. Please sign up to my free New Life Newsletter which will give you complete access to 2 free ebooks, many articles, radio shows and videos on how to recover from narcissistic abuse. All of the content is structured in a sequence to get you real relief, answers and a roadmap to get your life back on track as soon as possible.
Spread The Message
It is my mission to spread this information on a global scale so that men and woman do not have to go through the agony and soul destroying devastation of their emotions, livelihood, wellbeing and loved ones.
By empowering this generation with this vital knowledge, we have the ability to break away from narcissists, heal and empower ourselves, and then impart the teaching to our teenagers and children – how to love and honour self, as well as identify people who are authentic and stay clear of people who aren’t.
But In order to spread this message I need your help – so please share this article with your friends, colleagues, family or anyone that will read it. You can also share this link with other abuse and narcissistic recovery groups. A powerful way of exposing this message is also to write to and put this link in news article comments where you recognise that the story is about a narcissist. More and more of those stories are becoming commonplace now.
There are many ways we can now bring this insidious disease out into the open.
Also it is very important for you to not only share this article as widely as you can – but also, if you relate to the behaviours that I have written about, to post below so that people coming to this article realise that these people are NOT rare isolated incidents, and that they have affected so many people’s lives with this identical behaviour, and do so often, as well as tragically over and over again.
Just think… together we can potentially save someone’s life and changes the lives of others for future generations.
We all have the ability to get this message out, so that when people hear about the behaviours listed above, it can become common knowledge that it means the person in question has NPD.
Only then will victims be able to realise what is happening to them, get support, break away and heal.
Until then there are far too may people blind sighted and torn apart by this horrendous mental disease.
Thank you for getting behind this mission!
Latest posts by Melanie Tonia Evans (see all)
- Narcissistic Abuse – You’re Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t - May 22, 2015
- How You Can Get Involved In Spreading The Word - May 15, 2015
- Happy Mother’s Day - May 8, 2015