The term “narcissist” is often used loosely these days, with many people labelling their friends, parents, exes and others as narcissistic individuals. However, not everyone who displays certain traits can be categorised as a narcissist. Cheating or being confident, for example, does not automatically make a person a narcissist. It is essential to differentiate between someone who is negative and someone who is toxic with narcissistic behaviour.
Loving oneself is crucial for inner happiness, although it can be challenging to learn. However, most narcissistic individuals do not genuinely love themselves deep down. They are often insecure and hurt individuals who fulfil their needs by draining others emotionally, unaware that this destructive behaviour is detrimental to their own well-being and the well-being of those around them.
Narcissistic personality disorder falls on a spectrum, ranging from highly toxic and dangerous individuals to those who can be managed with careful interactions. Not all narcissistic people are cheaters, but they all tend to lie. Manipulative individuals may not necessarily be narcissists, and they may not necessarily harm others to achieve their goals. They are still people it would be wise to avoid. Some successful people are narcissists, while others are not.
There are various types of narcissists, and once you become more open to others, you will notice the similarities in their treatment of people.
A narcissist is essentially a con artist, selling a dream only to deliver a living nightmare.
Here are some common signs of narcissistic behaviour that can help you identify whether you are dealing with one:
- Narcissists never admit to being wrong, constantly shifting blame onto others. They refuse to accept their mistakes, downplay them, or completely deny them. They project their faults onto others and never take responsibility for their actions. They repeat their destructive behaviour without learning from their mistakes. When challenged or criticised, they react with anger, denial, blame-shifting, or they simply walk away, giving you the silent treatment or sulking.
- Narcissists frequently lie or exaggerate their accomplishments. They may either boast about their success or blame their failures on external circumstances. Some lie so frequently that they start believing their own lies. Genuine people can also lie or make mistakes, but not to the same extent.
- Some believe that narcissists wear a false mask to hide their true selves. However, I think that the face they present to the world is who they indeed are – manipulative and deceitful. They act nice only to meet their own needs or to establish a sense of entitlement for the future. Any help or kindness they offer is purely for manipulation purposes. When things don’t go their way, they become envious and seek to break people down. While some may not actively seek revenge, most engage in smear campaigns against those who have escaped their influence.
- Narcissists thrive on drama and negativity. They provoke arguments, manipulate people, spread gossip, and create conflict wherever they go. While genuine people can also experience mood swings, narcissistic individuals deliberately seek out drama and negativity to make themselves feel better. Those around them end up walking on eggshells to avoid their explosive behaviour, trying to please them and prevent them from unleashing their wrath.
- Narcissists exert control over others and use them for their own needs. They can be extremely controlling, using tactics like intimidation, threats, pity plays, and silent treatments. They don’t care about the impact their behaviour has on others; they only care about maintaining control. The best response to dealing with a narcissist is often no contact, but if that’s not possible, limited communication and focusing on oneself can help.
- Narcissists are masters of manipulation, skilled at turning any disagreement into a massive argument. They divert conversations from the original topic, making others blame themselves for their bad behaviour. They gaslight others to create self-doubt and self-blame. They can be charming and convincing, and anyone who opposes them will find themselves at the receiving end of a smear campaign, isolated from others who side with the narcissist.
- They idealise, devalue, and discard people. They initially strive to win others over by presenting themselves as admirable individuals. However, if they feel like control is slipping away, they will devalue others until they regain control. This cycle of idealisation, devaluation, and eventual discarding changes constantly, and they discard people when they no longer meet their needs. Envy often drives them to destroy others.
- Narcissists can rationalise anything and distort others’ reality, using lies, gaslighting, provoking, and blame-shifting. They make others doubt themselves, making them question their own realities. Trust your own intuition, and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- They often ruin special occasions, finding ways to spoil birthdays, holidays, weddings, or funerals, whether it’s their own or someone else’s. They provoke arguments, bring up past grievances, or fail to show empathy. Narcissists lack empathy and only care about themselves. Surround yourself with people who support you through both the good and bad times.
- Narcissists believe they know everything and refuse to consider others’ perspectives or opinions. They think they are always right.
- Rules do not apply to them, but they apply to everyone else. They believe they are above others and may even manipulate authorities or courts to get their way. They think they can do as they please while expecting others to submit to their desires.
Narcissists have a problem deep within themselves, and they are not interested in changing themselves because they do not see any faults within them. They will continue this pattern throughout their lives, often worsening with age. Remember that whatever they do to you is not your fault but a reflection of their own issues. They want you to believe that you are the problem and that you need to change to please them. Focus on your own happiness and well-being. You cannot change or help them; the best thing you can do is walk away. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who uplift you.
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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.