Contrary to popular belief, narcissism isn’t as simple as exaggerated self-love bordering on self-obsession. Narcissism is actually a serious personality disorder that- to complicate matters even more- can’t be diagnosed easily as they can easily cloak their true personalities. Having a narcissist in your life can be draining and deteriorating to your self-esteem and life in general.
Unfortunately, psychologists are of the consensus that there is no cure or treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The only way to protect yourself is to avoid narcissists in your lives, and if they already are in them- cut them off completely.
We consulted experts, psychologists, therapists, and family lawyers with professional experience dealing with narcissists.
“Spotting a narcissist can be difficult at first. Because narcissists know how to pretend to be a nice, caring, empathetic person.” says Jon Rhodes, “But it’s all an act.
- Act too Nice Trying to Impress You
“Narcissists are self-absorbed, so they leave clues. When they first meet you, they usually pull out all the stops, acting like the nicest person you could wish to meet. Sometimes too nice. And as the saying goes, if something’s too good to be true, then it usually is. Narcissists want to be liked and admired. In particular they like impressing new people. But once they’ve known you a little longer, they relax and let slip more of their narcissistic ways.” (Jon Rhodes)
- Frequently Deliver Subtle Put-Downs Dressed As Jokes
“They usually test with subtle put-downs dressed as jokes. If you complain, they tell you to lighten up, and claim they’re only joking. But they continue with the pout downs. If they cared, they’d stop. Once you accept these put-downs, they gradually increase in intensity and frequency.” (Jon Rhodes)
- Want To Talk, But Not Listen
“Narcissists also dominate conversations because they truly believe what they say is more important than what you say. They much prefer to talk than listen. And you may see their eyes glaze over whilst you talk. And give vague answers that show they weren’t really listening.” (Jon Rhodes)
- Don’t Take Responsibility
“Narcissists usually have a lot of conflict in their lives. But these conflicts are never their fault. Narcissists rarely take responsibility for their actions or admit fault. So, if someone has lots of arguments, they’re either incredibly unlucky or a narcissist.” (Jon Rhodes)
- Our Intuition Tells Us Something Is Wrong
“When you meet someone you think may be a narcissist, listen to your gut. Intuitively we often know something isn’t right about this person. But the narcissists’ nice act at the beginning can throw us off the scent. Encouraging us to ignore our intuition. If something feels wrong about someone, keep them at arm’s length, and work out why you feel this way. Eventually, they will reveal their true narcissistic self.”
Jon Rhodes is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and narcissism expert from the UK. He writes about narcissism at his blog Narcissisms.com
“There are a few kinds of narcissists and some people that may not be full-on Narcissists that have narcissist characteristics. There are covert and grandiose narcissists.” says Dana Humphrey, “In my experience, once I realized that I had a pattern of dating both kinds of narc personalities, I can now feel it.
- Contradictory Behavior
“Some red flags are saying or doing things that seem opposite. If you feel like you are being love-bombed – they are offering you a ton of praise and complimenting you on every little thing – that can be a sign. Sometimes narcs signs are very subtle and it can be challenging to pick up on it, so don’t be extra hard on yourself.” (Dana Humphrey)
- Attention and Empathy Seeking
“First of all Tinder and dating apps are a breeding ground for Narc personalities because they are often sex addicts and need narcissistic supply. What is this? Think of normal humans living on breath, food, and water and sleep and narcissists live on narcissistic supply – attention. They want your empathy and pity. If your date starts telling you their sob story – red flag. If they have no friends, also a red flag. If they talk shit about their ex, but are still friendly with them, that can mean that they have manipulated them to be on beckon call if they are in need of supply.” (Dana Humphrey)
- Talking You Down
“I find that Narcissists often know what they are looking for – for example empaths, and pretend or claim to be that kind of person. If you notice a lot of name dropping or talking about nothing, which is also known as shooting the salad this can also be a sign. If they always want to teach you or talk down to you, this can be a signal.” (Dana Humphrey)
- Narcissists Do Not Like Rejection! No Contact Is Sometimes The Only Way To Go
“In my experience, they tend to send out their flying monkeys to get information from you or take a dig at you. The only way to win with a toxic person is not to play. Escaping from a toxic relationship can feel like breaking a piece of your heart off, like a wolf chewing its leg off to escape a steel trap. Leaving isn’t easy, but it’s sometimes necessary to save yourself from dying inside.
“Gaslighting is confusing. It makes you question yourself. It can be isolating. This is why no contact is the only way with a narcissist, as usually, their main form of communication is to gaslight and manipulate you with their words.
“Once you have gone no contact with a narcissist, why would you want them to come back to you? If you give them narcissistic supply and good validation energy, they will absolutely want you around. For the most part, I believe that they would be fine continuing to suck energy from you just because you took a break! Narcissists don’t change, so be careful about this decision.” “While going no contact may help you get over your ex, the only thing that will really help you get over them is time. If you were dating for one year, you need about six months to get over them; it takes about half of the time that you were together with them to get over them. No contact is a strategy that works if you were dating a narcissist, someone with NPD, narcissistic personality disorder.
“If you are a codependent and they are a narcissist, then going greyrock or stonewall means you are setting yourself up for success from getting sucked back in or hoovered by them. If you have to co-parent, it may be more challenging to go no contact. A narcissist sees their partner as a coffee machine, something that is useful to have around, will definitely be missed if you don’t have it, however they don’t care how the coffee maker feels. They just want to use it.”
Dana Humphrey, Whitegatepr.com
“In the age of selfies, many people misuse the word narcissist, believing their neighbor’s teenage daughter who can’t stop staring at her own reflection is the epitome of the term. However, a true narcissist lacks empathy and can wreak havoc on a person’s emotional life and lead to financial ruin.” says Eric N. Klein, Esq, “ Because of this, identifying one can often be an important defense mechanism. If you come across the following five signs, you may be dealing with a narcissist:
“Someone who only shows interest in themselves. They never ask questions about others, and constantly talk about who they are, what they are doing and what they want.” (Eric N. Klein, Esq)
- Borrows and Never Returns
“A person who borrows money and other items and never gives it back. A narcissist might be so self-involved they don’t care about causing financial issues to another person, as long as they get what they want.” (Eric N. Klein, Esq)
- Always Play The Victim
“Someone who always plays the victim. A person who believes that others are obsessed with them, or that bad things are always happening to them and people want to hurt them in some way.” (Eric N. Klein, Esq)
- Believe Themselves to be The Best of Everything
“If someone believes they are the best at everything. Even when they lose a game or competition, they believe it was because the judges weren’t fair or the game was rigged.” (Eric N. Klein, Esq)
- Refuse to Admit They are Wrong
“They never make a mistake. Someone who refuses won’t admit when they have done something wrong, no matter how petty, may be suffering from narcissism.”
Eric N. Klein, Esq. kleinattorneys.com, practicing and specializing in matrimonial and family law.