Part of recovery is discovering about the narcissist personality disorder and learning everything you’ve been through. However, this, at some point, has most of us questioning if we are the narcissist or not, so how can we tell?
Is it a case that we are all, on some level narcissists? Is it a case of healthy narcissism and destructive narcissism?
Most of us can have a trait or two, or we can at some point in our lives have acted narcissistic, which is what makes us doubt ourselves; you do need at least five of the characteristics to be on the disorder, also when we are around negative, narcissistic people, their toxic energy can rub off on us, this does not make you have the disorder, just become aware of the people you have in your life. Someone once said you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If there’s any truth to that or not, it isn’t the point, but negativity breeds negativity; when around narcissists, you can unwittingly protect yourself with their tricks. When we hang around toxic people, we can not pull them up, as all they’ll ever do is weigh us down.
It’s far easier to pull others down and far easier to be dragged down than it is to lift ourselves up.
The main things that define someone as having the disorder are a lack of Empathy. Towards others, I say lack as they have some empathetic skills, they can think empathetically, cognitive empathy, this is when a narcissist will observe you being loving and kind. Mirror it back to you. They can observe how you react to certain things, so they can play the Victim to get you to put yourself in their shoes and want to help them. They use our empathy against us to help themselves. They have the empathy to care about getting their own needs met. They just lack genuine empathy in caring for those around them or the needs of those around them, so if you can feel for others, or you can put yourself in another’s shoes. You are not a destructive narcissist.
Another Characteristic is a sense of entitlement, so if you only feel entitled to have what you’ve earned, you are allowed to earn and achieve things in a positive, helpful way. We can serve others to receive if you like cutting hair, you cut hair to receive payment, so you can then pay someone to provide you food, if you enjoy driving a lorry, you deliver goods, in order to get paid so you can pay someone to cut your hair etc., give and take, if you’ve earned what you have in healthy ways, without manipulating others then you are not a narcissist. Narcissistic people like to take shortcuts, which many people do; only those with the disorder will take down anyone who stands in their way; they’ll exploit others to get their own needs met, without care for who they’ve hurt.
Exploitation, a narcissist uses and exploits others to get their own needs met, to gain an advantage over others, they will mistreat others to advantage their own gains, so if you don’t go around taking advantage of others without a care for how this would make them feel, you are not a narcissist.
Jealous and envious. When they move straight on, it’s normal to feel pangs of jealousy when you’ve been through the Illusion of the manipulative Idealisation Stage With A Narcissist. Where they are Mirroring us and creating that Fake Future within our minds when they’re Gaslighting us with “You’re crazy, You’re Jealous.” It’s easy to take their opinions of us on as our own opinions of us. If you don’t seek to destroy all others, if you have or are going through a stage of wanting Revenge And Karma On The Narcissist after everything they put you through, this is also a normal human emotional reaction. It will pass, as most likely you would feel bad if you saw someone else in pain; it’s ok to be slightly pleased if you hear karma visited them, it’s called Justice, and it feels good when justice is served; it’s ok also to feel sorry for them, it’s your life, so long as you find your happiness, and live with good intentions, there’s no wrong way or right way in how you feel, or what you do, in any given moment.
When someone is going somewhere we would love to visit, we can be jealous, yet healthy narcissism means we are happy for those who are going. So we can hear of another person’s achievement and think. ”wow, I wish I was doing that.” yet be pleased for them and wish them well. Narcissists are Jealous and envious, with malicious intent to destroy, meaning they don’t think the other person deserves what that person has worked for, and the narcissist feels that person has stolen from them. Hence, the narcissist often seeks to ruin that person’s achievements in many manipulative harmful ways. If you don’t desire to destroy others, Many people can and do go through the woe is me, Victim mindset because we’ve been through trauma. That alone doesn’t make us a narcissist.
Requires excessive attention, connecting with others to feel heard and validated is normal, and wanting closure is normal. It’s just sometimes we have to have that radical acceptance that things didn’t work out in the way we wanted or the way it was sold to us, that having it out with them, hoping they’ll understand, apologise to us, see the pain they caused, deliver on their promises, isn’t closure. The closure is letting them go, leaving them and their toxic behaviour in the past, and moving on to our future. We must learn we are in charge of our happiness and creating our dreams, which are not easy for granted, especially when they come at you with toxic Smear Campaigns. A narcissist wants attention to feel important, to feel in control and to feel special. So if you don’t go seeking attention to make yourself feel better and make others feel worse, you’re not a narcissist.
A belief they are special, it’s ok to feel special about yourself, to care for your looks, to be kind, to be humble, to reach back and help others, to do it because you care for those around you. It’s ok to feel good about yourself for doing so; you are special, a narcissist; however, you only ever do anything for anyone else to meet a need of their own. They feel like they are above and better than all others, they don’t reflect and question their own behaviour, and they blame everyone else, so if you blame yourself, through their toxic Blame Shifting, if you can reflect, you are not a narcissist.
Grandiosity? The narcissist charm is used to manipulate those around them for their own gain. A narcissist often feels great rage if criticised, and this isn’t genuine confidence; what they actually are is arrogant, which can at first come across as confidence.
Inner confidence is knowing who you are and who you want to be, so the toxic words of others no longer impact your life. Knowing you define yourself, looking at constructive criticism, yet not worrying about the judgement from others, this is your life for you, not for others to bring you down. You define who you are.
We can learn to love ourselves, yet not use that love to destroy others; use it to build others up.
We can be confident within ourselves, which is a must to feel more fulfilled, yet we don’t want, need or feel better than others. We believe everyone is unique, which is healthy narcissism.
Where they copy and reflect back to us our hopes, dreams, hobbies, and personalities to build that rapport, they do this on a conscious level. Mirroring is what people do on a subconscious level to build that bond with those around them, yet, usually, with two people not on the disorder, they’d stick to their beliefs. Narcissistic people do it to take us down and use us against us, we can then, through their manipulative Projection, start mirroring their toxic behaviours onto them, especially when they provoke us, and in that idealisation and with their mirroring, they’ve learned all about us, to know exactly what buttons to push to get our Reactions, so they can them Blame everything on us.
In recovery, we can think the way in which we are treating them is now narcissistic; I’m all for treating people how you want to be a treated; however, when people disrespect you, hurt you, lie to you and cheat on you, it’s ok to treat them on the level of their understanding, no not to go cheat on them, that’s to hurt another with intent to pay them back, and most narcissists wouldn’t be bothered. You’d just end up feeling worse.
Silent treatment and no contact.
The narcissist uses the Silent treatment to cause you pain; the silent treatment is psychological abuse. To get you to doubt yourself, blame yourself and do all you can to make it up to the narcissist to relieve yourself from the pain, the silent treatment is used to hurt you.
No contact is not to cause them pain, and it’s not to get them to come running and apologise. It’s not used as a punishment; it’s to kindly walk away from someone who continues to let you down and hurt you; it’s to protect yourself from the narcissist’s negative, toxic, hurtful ways.
Discard and ending the relationship.
The narcissists Discard is often done in the cruellest and sometimes calculating ways, usually when you least expect it or when you needed them the most; again, this is seemingly done to cause you as much psychological pain as possible,
When you end the relationship, as hard as it is, because often, as hurtful as they are, you care, you want to help them. You end the relationship because you know the long-term pain of staying is worse than the short-term pain of leaving; it’s not done to hurt them; it’s done to save yourself.
The narcissist hoover, when you want or take the narcissist back.
The narcissists’ Hoover or re-idolisation is done because they want something from you, not because they love or care, as they lack in genuine empathy to be able to care for you genuinely; the narcissist wants something from you.
You took them back or wanted them again due to the Trauma bond, caring for them and wanting to help them, wanting to make the relationship work.
With our human needs, in our subconscious, whatever we do at any minute of any day, it is fulfilling our own needs. Any action, emotion or feeling is driven around our human needs.
Our drive is our subconscious human needs. Love and connection, contribution, growth, uncertainty, certainty and significance. These can be met negatively, neutrality or positively.
A narcissist’s world revolves around themselves on a conscious level; they are fulfilling their needs only and always looking for the quick, easy fix, so needs are met negatively. They negatively fill their human needs, meaning they always circle around in their own inner unhappiness, never positively contributing to others, only if they have something to gain by doing so, never growing in a positive way and always circling around the Same miserable patterns of the lives they’ve created for themselves.
For people who are not on the narcissistic personality disorder spectrum, subconsciously, the world also revolves around themselves. Yet, they contribute to others positively, not knowing it’s actually fulfilling their own needs. It makes them feel good helping others, yet it’s done with good intentions and a kind heart.
So a destructive narcissist is negatively fulfilling their human needs, as it’s easier and quicker. Yet, they forever cycle around those same old patterns, never fulfilling them positively, leading an extremely unhappy negatively life.
Some people can have high levels of narcissism traits in all areas yet still have empathy. Does this make them a narcissist? That depends. They are not entirely as they are not on the spectrum, yet if they meet these needs in quick fix destructive ways, it does make them highly negative and extremely toxic. You can still be around these kinds as they are not always dangerous, so you just need to limit your time and understand where you think on a gallon level. They are only capable of thinking on a pint-sized level?
Some people are confident and take selfies, and most people lie, yet they do so to protect someone; most of us like to call these white lies and those who do often feel guilty and horrible afterwards. Someone with the disorder which lies does it to protect themselves only and only feels shame if someone finds out. They do not feel guilty.
Humans have a fight, flight, freeze or fawn mode to protect themselves; those with the narcissist personality disorder, somewhere most often due to childhood trauma, turned to Fight mode. To defend themselves, not understanding it’s only detrimental to their happiness, it becomes a way of life, and the more they protect themselves, the more they destroy others.
Those not on the disorder when around a narcissist might go into fight mode, not realising you’ve been manipulated and provoked, you may lash out at the narcissist; does this make you a narcissist? No, this makes you human, with a defensive mechanism. Some of us do manage to avoid going into flight mode if we’ve not been manipulated too much and get out fast; some freeze and stay stuck, never changing, never growing, until one day they get sick and tired of being sick and tired and leave, others fawn, unwittingly giving in to the narcissist’s demands, for fear of what will happen to them if they were to stand up to the narcissist.
Abuse is abuse, so if someone is abusive towards you. Mental or physical, you need to stay clear if they are a narcissist or not.
Some toddlers have narcissism, like some teenagers, and it’s a healthy part of growing up. Yet they are not a narcissist, and they are not on the narcissist personality disorder.
No, we are not all on the narcissist personality disorder spectrum, yet most of us carry traits of narcissism; those who do in a healthy way are not on the disorder. Those who hurt others and destroy others are abusive people we need to stay away from, whether they are on the spectrum of the disorder or not￼.
If it’s detrimental to your mental and physical health, you need to safely remove them from your life, No Contact or Grey Rock. Those who are not harmful, and you can see them for what they are. You can just limit contact.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
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The difference between a narcissists behaviour and our recovery.