Too often, narcissism is portrayed as an overly aggressive male disorder. It is not. Females can be narcissistic as well although it might look a bit different from males. Meryl Streep in her role as Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” did an excellent job portraying a narcissistic female boss. Michelle Pfieffer did as well in playing a narcissistic mother in “White Oleander.”
Appearance. Narcissists in general believe themselves to be attractive and are usually well groomed to attract attention. While males combine their attractiveness with charm to accomplish a goal, females use it to gain superiority. Most females tend to be obsessed with their appearance sometimes resulting in numerous plastic surgeries.
Seduction. Both male and females narcissists are generally gifted in the art of seduction, but how they seduce is different. Males use their charm to entice a mate. Females use their bodies to allure a mate. This can sometimes be seen in provocative clothing. This is different from a Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). HPD’s continually wear inappropriately revealing clothing whereas a narcissist does it selectively for a specific person or to accomplish a goal.
Confidence. Narcissists cover their deep rooted insecurity with a belief that they are “special.” Males tend to be self-confident, gaining their assurance from within. Females gain their poise from comparing their superiority over others. They feel good about themselves when others are beneath their own standards of excellence.
Money. The love of money is strong for narcissists as they believe money gives them power, control, success, status, and dominance over others. Males are preoccupied with obtaining money at all cost, including stealing it from family members. Females enjoy excessively spending money. Both do their behaviors without any shame or remorse for their actions.
Fidelity. If a narcissist fails to get the attention they believe they deserve, they will seek it from outside a committed relationship. While both can be unfaithful, males tend to be serial adulterers. Females act more like black widow spiders, idealizing their mate to attract and them emasculating them. For the spouse or partner, the more they give, the more the narcissist wants. It becomes insatiable.
Children. Narcissists like to raise baby narcissists. Often they pick a favorite child and focus all of their efforts and attention on that child. The other children are left feeling inadequate, unworthy, and insecure. Males generally view children as a nuisance, frequently complaining that they, not the children, should have all the attention of their spouse or partner. Females view children as an extension of themselves, even when the child is an adult. Everything the child accomplishes is a reflection of their superior parenting.
Competition. Nothing proves supremacy quite like competition for narcissists. They love an opportunity to excel over others at work and home. While the competitiveness is frequently praised in a job, it is not amongst family. Males treat other males as rivals. This can be seen in brother/brother and parent/child relationships. Females battle with other females for dominance. This is seen in sister/sister and parent/child relationships.
This is not a complete list of differences, rather it is meant to bring awareness as to the many ways narcissism can be portrayed.
Author: Christine Hammond
Christine Hammond is the award winning author of The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
When we start the process of detangling from the web a narcissist has weaved we are so emotionally exhausted it can be very difficult to see what has actually happened, so we often look to portion out blame.
Is it them?
Is it us?
Is it everyone around us? Our circumstances? Bad timing?
Where lies the truth?
The biggest problem is found in the colour of glasses we choose to wear. Red flags are never visible whilst wearing rose-coloured tints, or any other shade for that matter.
When we are ready to seek the truth it all begins to become much clearer.
A game for one has little gain for a narcissist, as they need to plug into someone else to receive an emotional “fix.” Narcissists are detached from their emotions as there are blockages preventing movement. The only way they are capable of processing emotions is when they tap into someone else’s emotional energy.
Narcissists will likely seek out people who have large amounts of excess energy. For example, they will connect with empaths who are intuitive healers and who tend to vibrate love and healing energy. If an empath is not taking care of themselves properly, they will leak out energy at such an intense level that it can be detrimental to their own emotional well-being. Empaths are also an easy target for those looking for an easy feed.
An exchange often takes place as the narcissist is seeking admiration, validation and a desire to constantly have their ego stroked and in return they will provide whatever it is the other person is lacking. However, what the narcissist offers is only on the surface and comes with conditions that their needs are always met with priority, regardless of the effects this has on anyone else.
This can look like a fair deal, especially to the narcissist, though unfortunately it isn’t as the narcissist has a strong need to be in control. The other person then very quickly becomes the prey—the narcissist being the sharp and hungry predator.
What may seem like an equal exchange is something very different. The narcissist will feed to receive validation to such an extent that it leaves the other person totally drained and feeling worthless. Meanwhile, the narcissist rises above resting high up on their well-deserved throne where they fully believe they belong.
Narcissists are a dazzling light that fireflies cannot stay away from. They will dance around it until they have been thoroughly burned.
We are like the firefly, lingering around sifting through charred ashes hoping to find codes and clues to figure out what exactly went wrong.
We find it difficult to believe that what began as a fairy-tale ended with a far less enchanted story penned by The Brothers Grimm.
When clarity arrives we are left shell-shocked and bewildered and we frantically scramble to try to understand what drew us towards this raging fire in the first place. We look back puzzled and wondering what type of insanity caused us to stand torturing ourselves on scorching coals, refusing to step away so we could take some relief from the pain.
Unfortunately, we will find no answers from the narcissist. This is mainly because a narcissist will hold all of their cards very close to their chests. They refuse to show anyone their hand due to a fear of being exposed, as removing their masks would signal the end of their royal and majestic reign.
Narcissists have a grandiose opinion of themselves and they survive on drama. They want the to be on centre stage when the show reaches its climax so they will not want to be seen scurrying through the dark back door of the theatre house.
Therefore, we have no option but to work out the dynamics for ourselves and not concern ourselves with the details on the narcissist’s agenda. We should try to focus on what attracted us so powerfully in the first place so that we can prevent a repeat performance and more importantly take accountability for our own role.
A relationship with a narcissist is usually a steady process that has built up over time. Like an insidious drip we are slowly fed an addictive poison so by the time we resurface we are intoxicated, dazed and confused.
We have to remember that we choose to drink the elixir. It is never forced upon us. Narcissists are clever and cunning players of their complex game and they will find little pleasure if an opponent is not eager and willing to partake.
If a narcissist comes across someone who is more skilled or significantly mentally stronger than they are, the board will be flipped over, tantrums often displayed and the game ends before it has even begun.
For those that have not witnessed the timorous chameleon caught in the act of changing colours, narcissists are the most irresistible, charismatic, thoughtful, caring, passionate and lovable characters we could ever wish to meet.
We are in shock that we have met someone who seems to tick every box and meet all needs and desires.
And narcissists are in their element when we are caught like a rabbit in their headlights, astounded by their magnificence and in awe at their sexual prowess and unfailing charm.
Realistically, the narcissist is simply role-playing. They read us instantly and they quickly work out exactly what it is we are hoping to receive from them.
We want someone strong and independent and they will show us these traits. If we want a sensitive, deep and introverted type, they have the ability to quickly put on that mask instead. They are masters at deception and they play a quickly changing manipulative game.
The narcissist is fully in control at this stage and they intend to keep it this way. If they are successful in bewitching us we are then led directly to their lair. Once we are spellbound and falling head over heels, that is where the real magic takes place. We are basically a prop, however a willing one.
Now, if we were to suddenly open our eyes, take off our tinted glasses and remove the narcissist’s masks we would see everything play out just as clearly as though we were sitting in the audience watching people step into their character roles.
We are looking to the narcissist to meet our needs. We are projecting on them all the things we want and they are delivering what it is we are hoping for. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement in these beginning stages.
We ask—the narcissist delivers.
We begin to enter co-dependency. We place our happiness, hopes and dreams into the hands of a narcissist and they are then free to put them into a pot and stir them all up. However, not before they add to the mix all their own hopes and dreams, which, unfortunately do not mirror our own.
The narcissist thinks only of themselves and will work extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure that their life plays out exactly as they have envisaged in their mind. Someone who is not a narcissist will not be thinking only of themselves, they will be thinking of both people involved in the relationship. The balance is out, the scales will immediately tip.
The spill out from the tip is what takes place continuously throughout the relationship. Nothing is ever steady and the scales will always be manically swaying. Every time the scales turn erratic, if we try to jump out and onto safety, the narcissist will steady things once again by feeding us what we want to hear. We stay. Things balance out, but only temporarily. Soon enough, the narcissist tips the scales once again in their own favour. Repeat, repeat and repeat.
Until one day, the narcissist has taken all that they need so we are rendered useless, emotionally beaten and no longer worthy of the superior narcissists company. They will find it very easy to walk away like a bloodthirsty vampire moving on to bleed their next victim dry.
Or, the other more preferable option—we open our eyes.
We stop looking to others to provide what we need and feed ourselves large enough doses of love, self-worth, independence and happiness. This will mean that when we are faced with a narcissist, we will not be looking to them to keep us fulfilled and alive, as realistically all they deliver is nothing more than a quick injection of junk food with very little nourishment.
When we are hungry, we are weak and we accept less.
We begin to starve.
We are weakened further.
It is a painful, but very simple truth.
Author: Alex Myles
Source: Elephant Journal
*(I am not a psychologist, I have experience with this situation and I am sharing from that and my own research. I have approached this from a woman perspective, as that is what I am and what I have been dealing with myself. If you are a man in this situation, your experience is no less valid and you are still a victim of abuse. I am in the process of writing an article from a mans POV, however I do need your help, as I have not experienced a female narcissist in my own life.
It’s been said that narcissism is one of the most difficult mental disorders to diagnose, for a few reasons; first, Narcissists tend to believe there is nothing wrong with them, so they do not admit to having problems and don’t seek help in the first place. Second, they are masters at appearing normal to the therapist. Often, if a couple is in therapy, the narcissist can put on such a great show that their partner ends up looking like they are the problem, and the therapist, if not knowledgeable about narcissism, will not see the real issue.
Therapists can be manipulated to further abuse the victim, “proving” the narcissists accusations of their partner not doing enough and reinforcing the thought that the victim needs to do more. The victim may try and explain the behaviors of the narcissist and why it’s damaging the relationship, but the abuse is often so subtle it’s hard to verbalize and pinpoint how and why the marriage is deteriorating. It is far easier to think that you are causing the issues and if you change your behavior everything will return to “normal” (i.e. the happy honeymoon phase of your relationship).
Compounding the problem is the fact that the diagnostic definition of Narcissism is fairly subjective. And for victims of a narcissist, who have been brainwashed into thinking their relationship is fine and THEY are the problem, they may not be able to see their partners behaviors clearly identified in the following definition.
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievement).
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
- Requires excessive admiration.
- Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).
- Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
- Show arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
further information HERE
1. He’s a charmer
Narcissists will do everything they can to woo you. You may think you have found the perfect prince charming. They want to “win” you, and so, in their minds, “own” you. They will complement you excessively, take you on wonderful dates, and buy you lots of gifts.
The flattery they lay on is thick, and if you’re aware, you will notice it right away. Unfortunately, if you’re caught up in the romance you may miss the manipulation that comes along with it. (As I did). Ask anyone who has ever been with a narcissist, they will tell you all the red flags were there. They will also tell you that they could see these red flags, but they dismissed them or rationalized the narcissist’s bad or questionable behavior away. The narcissist is relying on you to do this, which is part of why they’re trying so hard to romance you. Your instincts are there to protect you! If a guy seems “off,” he is!
2. He moves fast.
Narcissists have to move quickly in a relationship, plowing over your natural resistance with over the top romance. This makes you much more easily manipulated, as you’re naturally a bit off balance. Also, as you go deeper into the relationship, you reveal more of yourself to him, and trust him more (Never noticing the tidbits he tells you about himself are small and or incomplete, because he is such a great listener!). That then allows him to destroy you emotionally when he stops paying attention to you or starts abusing you. Once he’s got you hooked, he knows it will be hard, if not impossible for you to escape.
3. He will let you do all the talking.
A narcissist will let you pour your heart out to him (and if you’re reluctant he will pout, prod, and beg you to tell him ALL about yourself). He will gladly listen to your entire life story, so that he can learn how to exploit your points of weakness and so that you will see him as a comfort and — again — trust him.
Honestly, he sees it not so much as listening or communicating, but as gathering facts he can use against you later, and as building up your trust in him. That said, his listening skills are not the greatest (mainly nodding) as his natural self-centeredness is almost impossible for him to overcome. He may frequently may interrupt to bring the conversation back to some mundane aspect of himself, this is a red flag!
4. He will seduce you.
Any boundaries you have set up are merely challenges to a narcissist. Don’t want to sleep together yet? He will take it as a personal victory when he ends up “changing your mind” in just a few days. Have friends you’re not ready for him to meet? He will bug and cajole you until you set up a date. Anytime you say no, they will find a way to change your mind, and do it in such a way you think it was actually your idea. Narcissistic men, in particular love to use intense sex as a means of hooking their targets, and they tend to have lots of it.
Once he knows he has you hooked, either you have moved in together, married, or by some other means, his behavior will change. At least that is how it will appear to you. The charming man you fell in love with, the one who who worshiped you, will fade away, or worse, you will wake up one day and he will have become an entirely different person. In reality, he is just no longer wearing the mask and is showing his true self to you. The next stage of your relationship will look something like this:
(A narc wont suddenly stop his seductions once your married, cheating repeatedly is another sign of narcissism. He just wont be seducing you anymore~ 25 Signs Your Husband is Cheating)
Married to a Narcissist
5. He doesn’t care about your feelings, thoughts or ideas.
Anything you say in relation to yourself will be dismissed, ignored, or made fun of. Your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs are all irrelevant to him, as he sees himself as the final word on you and your life. Your life is there to revolve around him. His attitude is “What I want, feel, think or believe is all that matters, so I don’t bother taking seriously what you say, especially when it differs from my thoughts or preferences.” This attitude can be so extreme he may not even later recall you ever said anything at all.
6. Everything is always all about him
When you’re married to a narcissist, everything is about him, his wants, needs, and desires. Everything will be planned according to his schedule and wishes. If he doesn’t want to go out that night, you won’t, if he does, you will. And if you don’t want to go, he will go without you and later start a big fight about it.
Conversations will be about him, about his day, his work, his hobbies, his friends. If you try to interject about your own life, he will make that about him as well, by giving you advice on how you should have behaved in a situation (even if there was no problems) or by mocking or dismissing the events. Pretty soon you will stop telling him about yourself, because the conversations go so poorly. It’s easier to keep the conversations about him.
I barely tell him anything now about my day. Just general stuff so he doesn’t feel I’m hiding anything. Over the years, before I really understood what was going on in my marriage, I tried to communicate more, remember stories of my day, etc. because he always told me I didn’t talk to him. Last time I tried to talk to him about my day, he picked up his phone and started playing on Facebook and TOTALLY IGNORED me. I know better than to tell him anything important to me now. In fact, I tend to put off asking him for anything as I know he will try and sabotage “helping me out” if I give him too much time.
7. He doesn’t live by anyone else’s rules
Narcissists feel that they are special and above others, so rules don’t apply to them. Standard social graces are optional, and he is entitled to judge everyone else on how they live. Even, or maybe especially, expectations of the relationship by a partner are dismissed and the relationship becomes molded to the narcissists needs and desires, with the needs and desires of the partner being completely ignored. However, for himself, he is allowed anything his heart desires and expects to be treated like a king with no consequences.
8. He doesn’t want to hear about your issues
A narcissist will get upset or irritated if you start talking to them about your issues or concerns, especially if your concerns are over their behavior. Do not expect to be able to have a “talk” with a narcissist if there is something bothering you about your relationship. Anything you say will be taken as a personal attack and they will fight you aggressively over it. Indeed, you may end up apologizing when in fact he was the one out of line.
Even if they don’t take it personally, narcs have no ability to empathize with another person and so cannot understand why you’re upset. They will likely ignore your feelings since it has nothing to do with them and you will end up hurt twice and confused as to why your partner has emotionally abandoned you.
9. When you guys argue, it’s always your fault
No matter what he has done, it comes back to being your fault. If he’s flirting with another woman, is because you were ignoring him. He will never admit blame or accept responsibility for his actions or the pain he has inflicted on you. BUT, you must apologize for distressing him even in the slightest of ways. He is quick to blame you for any foul mood or upset he may encounter. I can probably count on two hands the number of times the words I’m sorry have crossed his lips in the last 12 years of our relationship. And none of those were genuine apologies, it was just another attempt to mollify and control me.
10. If he’s angry, it’s also your fault
This is a common tactic of abusers, “You made me mad. I’m only mad because you … !” He accepts no responsibility for controlling his own temper or actions taken when angry, In fact, he blames the whole thing on you and the way you made him feel. You may come away resolving to be a better wife/girlfriend to save the relationship, after all, you’re the one breaking it! This is another way he controls you and manipulates you into staying under his thumb and accepting his abuse.
11. Narcissists need to put you down to build themselves up.
When you are married to a narcissist (or dating), they will not treat you like an equal partner. In fact, that is the opposite of what they want. What they really want is someone to control, an object, not a human with emotions and feelings. They won’t like it if you’re not performing (bringing in enough income, taking care of the house and/or children up to their standards, or generally not living up to whatever productive role they have assigned to you in their life), but they will hate it even more if you’re better than them.
Narc’s are extremely competitive and need to be the best at whatever they do. They will make you feel like you’re a child and they the parent in whatever you’re doing, even if you really do know more than they do on the subject or are indeed better at it than they are. They are extremely arrogant and cannot admit to not being the best at something.
Anything you accomplish will be diminished or ignored, and anything he accomplishes will be praised and talked about FOREVER. Especially in situations where you are actually more proficient than he is.
12. You constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells
One of the most frequent complaints when you’re married to a narcissist is the feeling of walking on eggshells. Anything you say or do could start a fight or be taken as an insult. Anything you don’t say could be taken the same way, so time spent together is constantly anxiety inducing for the partner of a narcissist. You feel as though you might be attacked at any moment with accusations of how you haven’t met their expectations, or have disappointed them in some way. Common “communications” include the use of aggression to express anger and rage, which may also show up as physical abuse at the extreme end.
I have gotten to the point of not accepting ANY emotion from him as genuine. Rage or “happiness”. I don’t relax in his presence, because he could change on a whim. Also, even when he’s happy, he still manages to shoot little barbs and put downs at me, especially in the company of his family or friends. Being with him is exhausting.
13. Your partner is obsessed with control
I have noticed in my relationship that anytime that he feels like control is slipping away (I have a bank account he has no access to for my school loan, for instance), his anger will surge and we have a big problem. This does not have to be the subject of the argument. In the case of my school account, I have no ability to add him to the account, even if he were to ask. So he will direct his anger in another direction and lash out at me for something else.
Narcissists expect that they are the center of the universe and so should be able to control the outcome of any situation. They expect to have people respond exactly as they want.
This can show up in something as small as the guests at a party not responding in the way the narcissist expects, or by you requesting his presence at an event he doesn’t want to go to. While these might be events you or I might not even register, or would accept without another thought as part of a give and take relationship, the narcissist can experience this as a huge loss of control and take it as a personal insult.
This controlling may also show up in your finances. Having a partner who manages your joint finances, tells you how things are financially and shares access your joint funds is a common relationship scenario. However, you’ll notice that when your married to a narcissist, he may insist on controlling all the finances without letting you have access to them, may not communicate where the money is going, and might fly into a rage if you spend even $5 more than you/he expected. This behavior is considered financial abuse and is another form of domestic violence. He uses your lack of available funds to further trap you in the relationship.
14. Your partner never hesitates to confront you or others in social situations where he feels he has been wronged
The narcissist’s first response is to confront, attack, blame and criticize. They never take any real responsibility for their actions or complaints you may have against them, instead turning the criticism back on you and making you the source of the problem, i.e. I only do this because you do that or that’s nothing compared to this bad thing YOU have done. There is often no filter on their thoughts, and they will not hesitate to make a scene in a public setting or with friends and family. It can feel like you’re watching a toddler throw a tantrum, yet everyone stands around and no-one knows what to do.
Now that I know his pattern and can see his behavior objectively (part of the time) it’s almost comical the lengths he will go to in his temper tantrums, and the horrible self-centered things that come out of his mouth. I believe narcs are never more of who they truly are than when they are in the grip of their rage. Pay attention to what they say in the heat of anger, it’s probably the most honest they will ever be with you.
15. Your partner is unable to feel empathy for you and has great difficulty appreciating the feelings and needs of others
While being married to a narcissist, I have repeatedly been shocked and disgusted by the comments he makes in passing concerning other people who have had something bad happen to them or have made a bad choice. He constantly puts down “fat” (anyone over the ideal weight) people, “dumb” people, and anyone who attracts his attention for being “less” than himself. Watching the news is usually pretty disgusting, because of his comments. He has NO ability to even slightly imagine how he might feel in that situation. There is NO empathy for anyone, strangers, family, spouse, or children. I often have to try and make him stop with the children as he is punishing them for having feelings he doesn’t agree with. Yelling at your kid for crying does not help the problem!
In your relationship, you may feel like discussions are all about your partner’s feelings, but very little, if any, acknowledgement is made of your feelings. You may frequently be left feeling frustrated and misunderstood by your partner and that your needs have not been taken into account. (I spent many years thinking if I could just get him to understand how he was making me feel, he would stop. There were many wasted tears trying to talk to him about how he was hurting me, and many nights going to bed so confused because my attempts to talk turned into a huge fight and an inquisition of all the things I was doing that “hurt” him). You’ve probably also spent a lot of time trying to calm and acknowledge your partner’s feelings and make sure their needs are met.
16. Everything depends on them
When you’re married to a narcissist, you cannot make plans unless he wants to, you cannot hang out with your friends unless he is okay with it, and basically everything you do depends on his opinion of it. One of the biggest signs you’re with a narcissist is if everything in your relationship depends on him and his opinion of things. Look at your relationship objectively and see if you are allowed to take the lead on anything, or if it all is reliant on his opinions. If he gives you a hard time or the cold shoulder for having a girls night (or if you have stopped having them altogether because its simpler to just stay home), if you can’t make any plans without checking to see if he wants to, if he puts off, stalls, or makes you late to events you want to participate in, you may have a narcissist on your hands.
17. Constantly Needs Your Attention
Narcs believe the world is all about them, your world especially should put his needs first. They will constantly be requiring your attention, even after the arrival of a new baby and above the requirements of the children and yourself. Having a headache will not be an acceptable “get out of sex” card, and no matter how busy you are, you should be sure to get his laundry, ironing, lunch, whatever, all ready for him.
Complements are mandatory, and you will need to keep them coming to him all the time. My narcissist recently started texting me selfies expecting complements, during the day. And the fact that I have not complemented his recently more muscled arms has been the subject of a fight or two. They seem insecure, but in reality, they just want praise and for you to be admiring them and ignoring everyone else.
18. He Puts Himself First
When you’re married to a narcissist, he will put himself first, before any of your needs, before your kid’s needs, before any financial obligations or work requirements. Before any saving or preparing for your future or getting out of debt. His needs, wants, and image are his first priorities and everything else comes second. He will spend money on things for himself and not pay the electric bill. He will be buying himself a new hat, or shirt, or recreational drug, and tell you “we don’t have enough money” for diapers or groceries. He believes he is more important than you, and that he deserves to treat himself because he works “so hard” for hismoney. Any money you contribute to the family will also be considered his.
Any needs you have that you bring to his attention, he will ignore, blow off, and/or be annoyed by. I have been told over and over again that all he hears from me is “I want, I want, I want”. When in reality I was telling him that we needed groceries, or that I needed new jeans because my one pair ripped, or that I needed something like glasses because it has been 4+ years. While he is spending thousands of dollars on tattoos (seriously).
When they come and turn off the water, gas, or cable because he hasn’t paid the bill, he will be annoyed that they could do something like that, not upset that you’re now without water or heat until he pays the bill.
19. You feel as though there is a dark cloud in your home.
This is probably number one for me. As an empath, I tend to pick up on others feelings. I can’t even put a solid name to it, but it feels as though there is a darkness in my home when he is here. Anytime I did/do something he doesn’t particularly like, it grows and takes over the entire atmosphere of the house. The disapproval is almost tangible, even when he says nothing. There is never acceptance or intimacy here.
Are you Dating a Narcissist? Quiz
I started writing this article thinking it would be fairly easy. I have lived been married to a narcissist for years, I KNOW, I should be able to share pretty easily. But I couldn’t even finish it in one sitting because it became too hard. This is the life I have been living, the complete dismissal of myself as a human being, with rights and needs, and a personality that makes me special. I have been put down and dismissed for my talents and interests, I have been stripped of my anonymity and publicly embarrassed by him, on purpose. I have had friends turned against me, or my schedule manipulated so we just lost touch. I have been isolated and marginalized, all for him to take the credit for my continued accomplishments.
And yet, it took me 11 years and college psychology classes to realize how disordered my relationship is. It’s taken me a year and a half to even begin to gather myself together and start the process of leaving. You build your entire life on an idea, and finding out it’s all been a lie is not something you can absorb in a day. I still have moments when I am dazed, not really sure if it’s me that’s crazy or him. And I still have moments when his cruelty tears me to pieces, even though I expect it now. I can’t imagine now how much worse it is for a woman who is being physically abused as well.
But I want to follow all this up with, it’s not too late. We can still have a good, happy life. We can even still find love and actually get the real true marriage we dreamed about when we were planning our first wedding. We were trapped by evil in disguise, tricked into marrying someone who used us, but now we know better. Now we can see them, and we know they’re out there. As long as were careful, and work on healing ourselves, it won’t happen again.
We have to learn how to stand on our own two feet again, learn how to support ourselves, learn how to set and uphold our own boundaries. We need to learn its ok to say something is not ok. We need to learn that we don’t have to do everything. We need to learn that we are important! Flaws and all. And that it’s ok to mess up sometimes, because a normal person won’t crucify you for a simple mistake. We need to learn how to trust again, trust ourselves as well as another person, and how to identify someone who is worthy of our trust.
If you have read this list and are identifying your own relationship here, start by finding and reading everything you can on narcissism. Do not react prematurely. A Narcissist is a terrible foe, and if you don’t fully know what you’re up against, you will not be able to defend yourself. Do not make the mistake of thinking leaving will be just a matter of taking your half and leaving, be prepared to defend what is yours, legally. I will continue to offer advice and resources here, and hopefully we can both be free, soon!
Source: Narcissists Wife
You’ve likely encountered a narcissist or two in your life. Perhaps a former lover could never put your needs first. Or maybe you’ve worked with someone who just couldn’t stop promoting his accomplishments long enough to do any work. Whether your encounters are professional or personal, there are telltale signs that you’re dealing with a narcissistic person. And when you are, establish healthy boundaries and keep an emotional distance.[caption id="attachment_1799" align="aligncenter" width="468" class=" "] Image by © Elisa Lazo de Valdez/Corbis[/caption]
1. They make it clear they know everything.
Narcissists don’t hesitate to educate lawyers about the legal system or enlighten doctors about medicine. After all, they know more about everything than anyone else, and they’re not afraid to show it. In fact, they can be expected to argue, educate, and inform you about virtually every topic you bring up in conversation: “Here’s where you got that wrong. “That’s what most people think, but that’s not actually true.” They don’t shy away from disagreements or opportunities to tutor others about their way of thinking.
2. They insist on being the exception to the rule.
Rules are for people who aren’t smart enough to make good decisions on their own, the narcissist believes, but they know they’re exceptional. And so the usual rules, laws, or policies don’t apply to them. They’re often good at manipulating others to bend the rules for them, reinforcing their belief that they shouldn’t have to succumb to the same regulations as everyone else.
3. They project an image of superiority.
Narcissists care greatly about their image. They want to make sure they appear wealthy, popular, and elite. They’re often materialistic and greatly enjoy name dropping, as associating themselves with the hottest brand or famous friends makes them feel important.
4. They make a great first impression, but quickly wear out their welcome.
Narcissists’ charming personalities tend to win them favor with new people—at first. They may come across as confident, exciting—maybe the most endearing and engaging person in the room. But over time, their selfish tendencies cause people to run the other way.
5. They boost their egos by implying others are inferior.
Not only do narcissists need to establish how superior they are; they also tend to imply that everyone else is less intelligent, experienced, or likeable. No matter how much training or education someone else has had, the narcissist is he or she is the real expert.
6. They assume everyone adores them.
The narcissist truly believes that everyone from former co-workers to past lovers holds them in high regard—and assumes that anyone who doesn’t like them must be jealous. But while they can be very sensitive to criticism, outwardly they try to dismiss any negative comments about their personality or performance, and may try to punish anyone who dare express an unfavorable opinion about them.
7. They put their own feelings ahead of other people’s needs.
A lack of empathy is the most telling characteristic of the narcissist. They don’t care what other people need or how they feel. Everything they do centers around what they want and need. They don’t care what type of pain they inflict on others. While fundamentally unsupportive and manipulative, they can fake empathy when it helps them look better. But they lack a genuine desire to put anyone else’s needs above their own desires.
Author: Amy Morin
Source: Psychology Today
Narcissism is a very common problem nowadays, and the truth is that we are all narcissistic to a certain extent – however, there is a big difference between people who are aware of their potential, and those who take it a mile further and “fall in love” with themselves. The pathological narcissist is a person who has an idealized self-image, and who is constantly trying to project that on those who surround him. Having said that, here are some of the main signs that you might be a narcissist:
1 . You Always Try To Project A False Image
Narcissists know themselves better than anybody else, and they have a very hard time accepting their failures or the things they perceive to be less than perfect. This is why they are trying to create and project a false image of themselves, one that is very difficult to maintain in the long run. A narcissist will always try to impress those that surround him, and he tries to make himself look like some sort of a trophy, on all levels. It is not uncommon for narcissists to use various people or objects to try and maintain a certain status or impression – both of which are often exaggerated to a great extent. Narcissists always feel and act superior to those around them.
2. A Narcissistic Person Always Has A Grandiose Personality
This is by far the most obvious sign that you are either a narcissist, or that you are dealing with one in your personal or professional life. Narcissists often regard themselves as heroes or saviors, they try to stand out from the rest and they have a highly exaggerated feeling of self-importance. Narcissists think very highly of themselves and they often get upset when other people do not share the same feeling.
3. You Get Pleasure When You Put Other People Down
This is one of the most annoying and bothersome character traits of a genuine narcissist. People who suffer from narcissistic disorder never hesitate when they have a chance to put other people down intentionally, only to give themselves higher value. They love the spotlight and they are constantly looking for admiration and appreciation, which means that they can go to extreme lengths to achieve that.
Narcissist may be the only people capable of tolerating narcissists.
Picture a narcissist. Who comes to mind? Is it your narcissistic boss, the mean girls from high school, the parent preening in yoga pants at drop-off, a political candidate, a frenemy on the outside of your circle, one of your child’s classmates? When you get the image in mind, you can’t help but think, gosh, who would be friends with this person? That’s the question of a paper(link is external) in the March issue of the journal Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin. Really, what kind of person is besties with a narcissist?
It’s an interesting question for many reasons, one of which is the fact that the members of a friend circle don’t tend to share personalities. Previous research(link is external) shows that best friends tend to be as different from each other and they are from a randomly chosen stranger. “The reason that people initiate friendships are manifold,” writes the paper, and these many reasons result in best friends that pair an introvert with an extravert, a crank with an optimist, or any other combination of seemingly mismatched personalities.
Is that true even when a narcissist makes friends?
To find out, the researchers from Humbolt University in Germany gathered 290 pairs of best friends and hit them with personality tests – a widely used test of the Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness,neuroticism) and also a common test of what is called the “dark triad” of personality traits, namely narcissism, psychopathology and Machiavellianism (the last one is a person’s tendency to use cunning to control others). In this big stew of numbers, the researchers were able to ask if personalities – good and bad – tended to clump together between best friends.
Of course, there were pairs with very similar personalities, but there were also pairs in which the friends were very different from each other and so overall it was nearly a wash: The personalities of best friends were only slightly more similar to each other than they were to a randomly chosen stranger. (This goes against my intuition…and maybe yours, too?)
Now let’s look at narcissists. Unlike people pulled randomly from this sample, the Big Five personality traits of someone who scored high in narcissism were likely to be very similar to the personality traits of his or her best friend. This was almost doubly true when both best friends scored high in narcissism. In the (lovely…) case of a narcissist paired with a narcissist, Big Five personality traits tended to be extremely similar; the more a pair’s narcissism pushed toward the top of the scale, the more similar were their personalities.
Yes, narcissists are friends with versions of themselves. And when both friends are narcissists, the pull of shared personality is powerful. (This was true whether the pair was made up of female, male or female/male best friend pairs.)
My first thought was that the reason for this similarity must be that narcissists consider themselves perfect and so seek out “perfect” friends who share their own “perfect” personality. But that’s not the only explanation. Maybe, the authors suggest, the reason that narcissists end up being friends with people like themselves is that these same-personality friends are the only ones who can stand them.
The authors write that, “There is evidence that narcissists are even more tolerant of others’ narcissistic traits (e.g., bossy aggressive, arrogant, selfish) when they possess these characteristics themselves… based on their positive self-view and tendency to be less repelled by narcissistic traits.”
Personally, I can’t think of a whole lot scarier than the power couple composed of a pair of personality-aligned narcissists. But maybe in addition to fearing the power of best-friend narcissists, we could also find some pity? It may not be that narcissists seek themselves, but that they can’t help but be stuck with themselves.
How to Manipulate a Narcissist ~
This isn’t the post I started out writing. In fact, I began by writing a several hundred word tirade about how the Narc is acting like the poor hurt puppy in this relationship and how dare he, after all hes done. Then, I had to take kid one to school and came home again, a little mellowed out. The Narc apologized (hah) and I got to doing some research. I found my answer from others who have lived with Narcs longer than even I have, children of narcissistic parents (my heart goes out to you all! Mine included… ).
Turns out, I really am the perfect narcissistic supply. And even as I have the strength, empathy, and forgiveness innate to my personality that make me a perfect target, these traits are actually a double edged sword. Once the Narc no longer can control my emotions, I can use them to cut him down.
A Narcissist survives by eliciting a reaction form you, usually sadness or anger. He solidifies his sense of control over you when you lose control. This is actually not their primary preference, he would prefer you adore him, though he does not deserve it, and defer to him in all things, including your thoughts and feelings. He believes he can tell you how to think and feel and control your reactions to life and himself, and in that he confirms, in his mind, his god-like status. Do not forget, these actions are not based on logical thought processes, or even conscious thought processes, but on deeply embedded personality traits.
(WARNING: YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE NARCISSIST. This is not intended to try and help you make him into the man you once thought he was. That is NOT possible. His world revolves around himself and you cannot force him to change his orbit. These insights are ONLY meant to help you manage your life and control your situation while you make your plans to leave. Staying will not benefit you!)
So, my natural reaction to my continued learning about narcissism and how its affected him and seeing the games he has been playing with me is this:
How To Manipulate a Narcissist: Method One
I do not mirror for him any longer, meaning, I do not reflect his moods back to him, I do not react to his rages (mostly, sometimes he does go too far and then I coldly and calmly point out that hes full of crap and here is the proof of why hes lying and then he changes his tune), and I do not let him make me his emotional puppet anymore. In fact, that is now his primary complaint about me, and what he’s whining to me about almost daily, that I don’t love him anymore and what can he do to make me love him again? Obviously, he sees my tears, emotional outbursts, reactions to his anger, and attempts at making up (i.e. trying to get him out of giving me the silent treatment), as love. I can only conclude from this that he is (of course) feeding off my emotions because he is incapable of producing any real ones of his own.
I see him for what he really is. And I think somehow he can tell. I am no longer impressed by his stories, and I no longer flatter him endlessly about why hes so good at his job, how hes does so well with money, and “what can I do to help”. In fact, I am telling him “no” when he asks me to do something he could easily do on his own and calling him out on his crap when he complains that he cant do something like make a simple phone call because he has to work, and hes so busy with his job that he just cant do it. (Never mind that I also work and yet, since I am still at the house most mornings he expects me to do everything for the house as well, and take care of a 14mo old).
Now, for some people this will not solve your problems with the narcissist, indeed, I think this may actually end up being the spark that lights the fire under our divorce. He will probably go find someone else to adore him and then play the poor victim in our separation, saying I just stopped loving him and no matter what he tried, and he tried SO HARD, I would not give him another chance.
Ironically, with my Narc, my using this behavior has resulted in the rather unexpected result of him backing off with the anger and rages. He seems to be going back to trying to be charming and lure me back in. Situations where he would normally rage at me until I caved in, he is backing off and “apologizing” (I use quotation marks because its not a true apology), and though he usually follows up with reasons why he is hurt by my actions, it’s better than the anger.
Basically, in a way, I am giving him exactly what he needs to make his out all about him and let him play “poor little me” (incidentally, that is exactly the tactic he used in telling me about his girlfriend before me). And hopefully, then he will not fight me for a divorce, because honestly, who wants to live with someone who has no feelings? (The irony of that statement has not escaped me). So for me, I feel this is my best option and much easier to stomach than the other method, which I tried first, and was much to hard for me to deal with because I am simply not that good of an actress.
How To Manipulate a Narcissist: Method Two
The second method of manipulating a narcissist is pretty much the exact opposite of the first. Mirror everything positive back to him. Tell him how much you admire him, shower him with praise and affection. Build him up so high he cant even breathe because the air is so thin. Do everything he could ever think the perfect supply would do. Plan your escape in the background, and leave when hes least expecting it.
I would say this method is probably most dangerous for you, simply because it is in our nature to love our partner. We want that to be real, we want that to be forever. And to go through your days being so two faced goes against everything we have inside us as authentic, deep feelers. Narcs are very attracted to empaths, and I think, from my own personal experience, that attempting to live so falsely, is highly damaging to our psyche. In addition, we have already been forced by this monster to live our lives in a total act to the outside world, telling our friends and family we are happy, when in reality we are desperately unhappy and have not been able to understand why, until we learned of narcissism.
So I am taking the more self protective route, and planning as quickly as I can to get my things together, my life in order, my finances set up, and documents in place, so that when this all boils over, I am ready.
Based on everything that is known about human nature, that has ever been recorded, chance are: you’ve encountered a narcissist in your life. According to recent research, narcissism is actually running rampant these days. To go ahead and complicate matters, narcissist aren’t all created equally. In our lives we will not only encounter many different individual narcissists, we will encounter many different kinds.
Thankfully, many of these narcissists are easy to spot, and even easier to ignore. I mean, that’s the main goal of the narcissist to be noticed, right? To stand up, and say “hey – look at me!” There are even levels of narcissism that are totally normal, healthy, and functional. There is something to be said about taking pride in who you are and what you do – to an extent. Pride is not an automatic diagnosis of a personality disorder. Hell, I am a narcissist to an extent, I have to be to write for a living.
The type of narcissist that I want to talk about today is one that flies so far under the radar of our lives that we don’t even see them. They sneak into our brains and wreak havoc on levels that we don’t even understand. The “quiet narcissist” is the brain ninja that creates self-doubt, self-loathing, and spreads depression like curdled cream cheese on the bagels of our lives. I can almost guarantee you, you have one of these narcissists in your life and you don’t even realize it.
SO, WHAT QUALIFIES SOMEONE AS A “QUIET NARCISSIST”?
Narcissists, in general, thrive on a couple of basic principles. First off, they need you to feel bad about yourself to build themselves up. This is typically found by pointing out every flaw that you may or may not have. Even jokingly. We all have that friend that likes to make fun of us, but they get away with it because they are your friend. “If a stranger said that to me, I’d react differently,” you might think. That’s true to an extent, and a little ribbing between friends is normal. The quiet narcissist, however, makes these jokes part of who you are to them. It’s almost like they develop a “role” for you and keep you in it. Maybe you are the “lovable idiot” or the “unattractive friend”. Whatever the case may be – the quiet narcissist will put you in a cage that they see fit for you and keep you there.
Another basic aspect of the average narcissist is that they have a constant need to be right. You’ve average narcissist will usually just try to put down anything you say to make you look dumb by sheer conversational will. Narcissists are RENOWNED for their people skills, simply because attention is what they crave. Quiet narcissists accomplish this feat by engaging in passive aggressive tendencies. Things like cleaning up after you without you noticing (obviously before you’ve had a chance to do it yourself) or pointing out simple mistakes with a fixed amount of regularity. They won’t bring it up too often because that would be too upfront and obvious. The quiet narcissist will almost never mention these little things, they just do them in an attempt to make you feel helpless and looked after. Again, the goal is to break you down.
Finally, and most obviously, the quiet narcissist will project any of their own self-percieved imperfection on you. This goes back to the “flashlight” personality that no one needs in their life. Basically, by pointing out the same things that are wrong in you, that are also wrong in them, they lessen the impact of their own faults. You have a cookie, the quiet narcissist will make a passing comment about your diet plans and how you are “off the wagon again” (while they eat the same cookie). Anything to avoid not only facing their own imperfections but maintaining a false sense of dominance over you.
So How Do you Deal With the Quiet Narcissist?
The simple answers to this question might be “hit them in the head with a gardening implement” or “never speak to them again.” Again, I never condone violence, and sometimes you can’t just hack someone out of your life (relatives). So here are Things to do to EFFECTIVELY deal with quiet narcissists:
*When they poke fun at you – POKE RIGHT BACK. Use the same casual tone, light-hearted demeanor, and non-aggressive actions they use when they make fun of you – as to not appear defensive. Then, be ready for them to immediately become defensive. If there is one thing a narcissist doesn’t like, it is having the tables turned on them. The more casual you are about your comebacks, the more unsettling for the narcissist. See how quickly they quit making fun of you.
*When they do things passive-aggressively and don’t say anything about it, SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Ask why they did what they did, if anything, to defend yourself. If you left a glass on the counter and magically find it in the sink, point out to the narcissist that you were going to reuse the glass, that you are not a child, and that you know how to handle an empty glass.
*When they point out a common flaw in you, POINT IT OUT IN THEM. There is no excuse for letting someone be a hypocrite just for the sake of their own ego. Again, see how fast the narcissist quits pointing things out.
If you take these simple actions, you’ll notice an amazing thing starts to happen: you don’t have to remove the narcissist from your life – they remove themselves from yours. It’s like self-healing cancer.
Source: I Heart Intelligence
It took me years to figure out that was an empath. I always kind of assumed that I was “in tune” with other people’s emotions, but I never realized how much they really affected me. Reading about empaths for the first time, I thought, “wow, this explains a lot.” For the record: I am not one for self-diagnosis in the least. In fact, I usually dismiss any type of diagnosis, but when it came to being an empath – the shoe just fit.
For people that don’t understand what it is like to be an empath, it isn’t a matter of simply understanding how someone feels – you actually feel the emotions they are feeling. If someone tells you that their favorite cat died, you don’t just understand their grief – you feel like your favorite cat just died, even if you don’t have a cat. It can be exhausting. I take that back, it IS exhausting.
Me, being the way that I am, am hyper-aware of my empathic nature. I pay attention to the vibes I pick up off of people and work to keep them in check. As manageable as true empathy can be, I have discovered one specific situation that will bring even the strongest, most self-aware empath to their knees every single time: narcissists. As the title implies, narcissists are the empath’s kryptonite, and here is why:
The number one goal of most narcissists is manipulation. That is how they get what they want, or make you think what they want you to think. Not all narcissists have malicious intentions, it is just a control thing for them. Now when an empath and a narcissist cross paths, the empath is susceptible to this manipulation more than most. For a narcissist, this is like having a fun new toy to play with.
GUARDS ARE DOWN
As an empath, we are typically less guarded. It’s not a conscious decision, it is just how we are. That’s what makes us able to pick up on the emotional state of other people so easily because we aren’t trying to figure out if we should trust someone before getting emotionally attached, we just do. For a narcissist, this is like fighting against a boxer who has his hands in his pockets (assuming boxing shorts have pockets). All of those manipulations and controlling activities that take work for other people slide right in like unblocked punches on an empath.
BATTLE OF EGOS
Narcissism is really a product of the ego, and for the most part, Empaths are not egotistical people. Because of this, the narcissist’s ego eventually overtakes the empath’s. Essentially, a narcissist can make an empath into a narcissist over time. For the empath, they start to doubt themselves based on the manipulation of the narcissist, and they begin to feel like a victim. The victim mentality is also a product of the ego, so over time, the empath’s feelings about themselves change. It’s a fundamental shift in ego that can lead to depression.
In the end, being an empath is tough enough as it is. As an empath, you know this. Being aware of the people around us and their influences on us is the most important thing we can do to hold on to our sanity and self-worth. Empaths are special people and deserve to be treated as such. I had to learn the hard way by dating a narcissist, and I can tell you from experience: nothing tears an empath apart quite like loving a narcissist.
There’s a lot of buzz in the media these days about Empaths/Highly Sensitives and Narcissists attracting to one another. One popular theory is that Narcissists prey on Empaths and Sensitives because of their overly giving nature. While that is primarily true, there is another reason that goes even deeper, and it has to do with ego.
First, let’s consider the definition of egotistical as it relates to Narcissists in general:
- Excessively conceited or absorbed in oneself; self-centered.
- Arrogance, selfishness, greed, a sense of entitlement to whatever one wants.
Too much ego can lead to serious problems with treating people as means to ends: such people (i.e., Narcissists) feel entitled to do whatever it takes to get what he/she wants. This leads to abuses of ends/means reasoning (using other people to fulfill ego’s wants).
It’s no surprise that the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (DSM-IV) states that people with the disorder:
- have a grandiose sense of self-importance
- have a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- are interpersonally exploitative, i.e., taking advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
Empaths do possess an ego to some degree, but don’t operate solely from ego as Narcissists do. For an Empath, ego is experienced primarily in judging others and feelings of anger/resentment. These ego-driven emotions are usually incited in the Empath/HSP after witnessing acts of cruelty and hatred, interactions which they consider unfair or one-sided, and similar incidents.
Empaths operate predominately from love, humility, and giving. They have a natural capacity for healing and teaching others. However, until they learn how to responsibly use those gifts, they are often taken advantage of…not only by romantic partners, but people in general.
Many Empaths don’t realize what they are, and go through life feeling used and unfulfilled. The Empath persona encompasses several personality types and traits and can include:
(**These are the main types, and listed simply as a matter of reference)
The Magnetic Attraction
The Empath’s soul purpose is to facilitate healing in others. Unfortunately, they usually ignore their own needs in doing so. They have a propensity to feel what’s going on outside of them more so than what’s inside. In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates distress in an Empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a conflict, they will strive to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. Because of these natural tendencies, the unaware Empath often finds themselves staying in a relationship with a toxic personality for too long. Further, Empaths often have a track record of developing codependent behaviors in childhood to deal with the overwhelm of unfairness in the world and to please others, which they usually carry into their adult relationships…until a soul crises happens where they are forced into awakening.
Empaths operate from their authentic self, even if they aren’t aware they are an Empath. Essentially, they associate with the life force, healing, and the urge to create what was not there before, such as when they try to “fix” people or situations, or help others heal and awaken.
Narcissists, on the other hand, don’t have an authentic self. If they had one as a child, it was stifled by ego as a defense mechanism. Their ego demands attention to its hurts, traumas and concerns in a way that insists upon separation and control. This prevents their ability to bond with other people, and explains why their whole concept of reality consists of fulfilling the demands of their ego. Therefore, they use people without concern for the pain and trauma they cause them.
When the Empath and Narcissist enter into a relationship together, it creates a magnetic, yet vibrationally dysfunctional union because the Empath gives to the point of complete and utter exhaustion. They will give every last effort to “fix” the Narcissist and the relationship, but it never happens. The Narcissist cannot assess another’s perspective because their ego won’t allow that, thus there is no motive for the Narcissist to change. In fact, attempts to “help” the Narcissist and draw attention to their dysfunctional behaviors often make the Narcissist worse because it contradicts the cravings of their ego.
It also profoundly disorients the Empath, who is often destroyed by the relationship. However, it’s at this point that the unaware Empath experiences a soul crisis and comes to realize what they are. Though the experience with the Narcissist is painful and overwhelming, the Empath usually learns their soul lessons and undergoes an awakening, whereas the Narcissist remains the same.