This is a word that is used a lot…but honestly its something that we do see a lot of in our society, even though the clinical diagnoses of Narrcistic personality disorder is considered rare by the DNSM. The Clinical diagnose of a naricisst is:
A disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of self-importance.Narcissistic personality disorder is found more commonly in men. The cause is unknown but likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.Symptoms include an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement.The disorder needs to be diagnosed by a professional. Treatment involves talk therapy.
However, most of the time it goes un diagnosed. Talk therapy can help but it can not be cured and there is not imaging or testing as of yet to confirm it. Covert Narcissism or everyday narcissism is something that most of us have had to deal with in our lives. It seems that, even though there is no research I could find, but just from personal experience that Narcissists have an ability to sense the kind of people that they can come to, the kind of people that want to help and will care without thinking about themselves, that will keep forgiving bad behavior. Sometimes it seems paradoxical because so many times when you speak with someone they will say that they too indeed know a narcissist and they did this list of things to them, they were taken advantage of…and then it turns out that they, themselves are the ones displaying narcissistic tendencies. And if you’re like me, you do feel guilty when they use their sometimes unconscious talents on you. You think that maybe you might be the one in the wrong….maybe you’re even being selfish.
This is not you’re fault. This is something that they do. Confusion, gas lighting, making you doubt your very sanity is something that serves them well.
So first of all, what are some signs you are dealing with a narccisisit? We live in a world where it feels like everyone is very into themselves but there is another layer when it comes to narcissism.
This is one that is particularly disturbing because it can have huge effects on the victim for a long period of time including doubting their own feelings or knowledge. It is something that I have experienced first hand so I do have to state my bias. Gaslighting is the act of making someone doubt themselves, often loose trust of their own perception, identify and self worth. The term comes from a 1944 movie in which a husband tries to convince his wife that she is insane for having her own thoughts. Often these are not big things at first but are calculated and marginalized. It can be as cliche as being told “How could you possibly believe I would cheat on you!?” When you find naked photos on a phone. Or as simple as being told that you didn’t buy beer, when you know you did and have the recipt but its magically not there.
Easy ways to identify this include:
- You no longer feel like yourself/ feel less confident in yourself
- You often wonder if you are being too sensitive
- You feel like everything you do is wrong…because they have told you it is before
- You apologize often
- You make excuses for their behavior.
Frequent Exaggeration or down right lies
Dominations and control over others while Boosting themselves up is a two sided coin of the Narcist. Often they will distort facts and go so far as to down right lie about things like creditenials, talents and experiences to boost themselves up while putting others down, with constant criticism, false accusations and character assinantions to raise their own worth on a double edge sword. This is something that I actually have become pretty good at sniffing out because there is something strange about people that are always the victim for no reason. It becomes pretty easy to identify once you know what you’re looking for.
Easy ways to Identify this include:
- They do “Too much”
- They are always the victim
- Something feels wrong but you cant put your finger on what
Exaggerated Sense of Self
This seems obvious but it is important because it does define a lot of these behaviors like the inability to admit flaws and the outward lies that are told about themselves. These traits as sited by many doctors come from earlier trauma that resulted in creation of a “False self” which in many cases they believe. This is where the idea that they don’t even know they’re lying comes from (Though that is an over simplification since many do indeed know when they are lying). Now there is nothing wrong with telling people about ones self but narcists do it just for themselves and often wont ask a follow up question about the person that they are talking to. It really is this second part that is important. As you’re talking you must ask youself, did they ask about you? Are they interested in what you’re saying or do they make it about themselves.
Easy ways to identify this include:
- They NEED compliments
- They dont have any long term friends
- Will not compromise
Rarely Admit Flaws/ Become Hyper Aggressive
Criticism is something that we all have a difficult time taking but Narcists have a thinner skin and can take it worse then most. They rarely admit their own flaws and negative behavior, lashing out, making excuses, throwing temper tantrums and even doubling down on a lie or bad behavior. Silent treatments are often another form of manipulation that is likely to be employed. “An offense is the best defense” can also be something that is employed resulting in aggressive behavior over something that has not even been recognized yet.
Easy Ways to Identify this:
- Are constantly ready to attack
- Will turn cold when asked follow up questions
- Doubling down on crazy stories
Emotional invalidation or coercion
Narcists and gaslights often feel the most powerful when they are spreading negative emotions and making their victims doubt their own emotions. It keeps the people around them unsure and off balance. They regularly invalidate others thoughts, feelings or priorities, making it seem like theirs are the ones of true value and that others exist just to hurt them, showing little and even no remorse. They often blame the other person for the pain they cause with things like blaming them for bringing it up. They often also have major mood swings and are prone to emotional drama that can seemingly come out of the blue…and often comes when attention is not focused on them. They also become agitated when you disagree with their views or show any independent thought or opinion. They are also extremely fond of using blaming, guilt and victimhood as tools of emotional manipulation.
Easy ways to Identify this:
- Love bombing (Hot to cold behavior)
- Lack of empathy
- Pick on people (“Its just for fun. Dont be so sensitive”)
Rule Breaking/ Boundary Violation
This comes out of a presumed entitlement that so many narcists have that tend to undervalue or dehumanize their victims. This sounds extreme but when it comes to every day narcists, the signs are often more sublet and include things as simple as chronic undertipping, cutting in lines, personal space intrusion, breaking appointments, breaking promises, and burrowing items without asking or returning them. It seems simple enough and innocent enough but when these things happen repeatedly it can show a clear disregard for other people.
Easy Ways to Identify this:
- Thinks they are above the rules
- Does not respect other peoples emotions/ boundaries
- Lack of respect for other peoples time
So what do you do if you are in a relationship, plutonic or not, with a narcissist. The truth is this, as harsh as it is. narcist’s need to feel special…more then that, like they are the MOST special and will never be satisfied in a relationship because….well because nothing will ever be special enough. Because of this the other person in the relationship becomes part of that bore and part of that failure to them. It will often result in emotional abuse. While physical abuse can happen with narcist’s, not all every day ones do.
Still as an adult….and actually even more as a child, being in a relationship where you are constantly critiqued, gaslite and put down isn’t healthy as because there is no pill or cure (And even if there was its not like narcists believe something is wrong with them to take it) most professionals will tell you to Get The F**K out. Build a support network of friends and family who will remind you that you do deserve better, prepare yourself because no doubt this will fall into the “Not admitting wrong doing” category and there will be some lashing out.
On a personal note….get yourself a therapist. If you have been around someone like this long term it can really do a number on you and it can take years to build self esteem back.