The first thing to realize about a narcissist: narcissism is a trait, not a disorder. It’s something that’s learned - you are not born a narcissist. As Dr. Bruce Lipton discovered in his groundbreaking research over twenty years ago, our genes only mean we have a predisposition for a particular ailment. Still, it takes the environment (in the case of the narcissist, the childhood environment) to activate that gene.
Therefore, narcissism is the result of a horrific childhood and perfectly imperfect parenting. It’s a maladaptive coping mechanism and a disorder of self-esteem. That is why narcissists are massively insecure and have an insistent need for validation. They lack empathy but are great at pretending they have it. Narcissists love the game, and they love winning with manipulation. They will adapt, form to the environment, and suck everything they can out of you. You are an emotional supply for a narcissist.
Remember: everything with a narcissist is crazy-making. You are constantly confused, and the narcissist causes the confusion. They will isolate you, and your self-worth will decrease. They will take credit for knowing everything about you and accuse you of behaviors they exhibit. I’m going to walk you through the key 13 traits that create the crazy-making experience.
- They’re charming. They’ll compliment you, and you’ll have an immediate emotional connection. But, the truth is: they don’t think you’re unique. It’s a smokescreen put up due to their low self-esteem. If they believe you are amazing, it feeds them and makes them feel better. They want to elevate you and make you have value, so when they conquer you, they have power. The charm is to elevate you then strip you.
- They talk about themselves constantly. They’ll rarely ask questions about you or attempt to learn more about you. Remember, we all have some narcissism in us - it’s a spectrum. What we are talking about is the far end of the spectrum. A narcissist will never see these traits, like constantly talking about themselves, and admit them.
- You’ll feel crazy and confused almost all the time. They’ll accuse you of things that they do. I spent hours with my first wife, figuring out what she wanted and how to fix it. Then, the second I got it narrowed down, we’d start all over again. She was belittling me, criticizing me, and I would walk away confused and debased.
- They’ll ignore your needs and wants. If you start talking about your life and problems, they’ll get bored, so everything must be brought back to them, their story, and their lives.
- They constantly need their ego stroked. If you are familiar with love languages - keep an eye out for someone whose love language is words of affirmation. If you like words of affirmation, I’m not saying you’re a narcissist. It is just a common trait of narcissists.
- They tend to have very few long-term friends. It’s difficult for narcissists to maintain friends. It’s hard for people to stay around others who are incredibly self-absorbed. Often they will be sarcastic. They’ll have demeaning names for you and mean one-liners. They criticize all you do, shrugging it off as sarcasm and telling you not to be sensitive.
- They feel entitled to respect and immediate compliance. They’re terrible to waiters and waitresses and will give you inappropriate opinions and declare it “the truth.”
- They resent the success of others, a common trait in many people, even myself. I’m passionate about the field I work in, and I see myself resenting others when I see their success from superficial teachings. That is just a sign of my low self-esteem. What they teach is fine. I am the problem. While my view self-absorbed, I am aware and can own it and work on healing it. A narcissist can not see or admit that to themselves.
- They’re moody. They’re very passive-aggressive, being kind one minute then mean the next. Their opinions can change because they want the approval of other people. Sometimes they will humiliate you when they change their opinion in front of you, making you feel dumb. You never really know who they are because it’s constantly evolving, so they keep power.
- They’re hypersensitive to criticism. The second you give them any feedback or solution, they feel threatened and insulted. They become massively upset at any suggestion that’s contrary to what they are or say.
- They’re very manipulative. They’ll promise to go to therapy to get you to stay, then find a reason not to go. They might threaten to harm themselves to make you stay. They’ll want to stay friends after a breakup. All classic manipulation tactics.
- They’ll accuse you of something random. Usually, it’s the exact behaviors they’re doing. They’ll call you manipulative, mean, controlling, selfish. It’s all projections.
- They gaslight. Gaslighting is a form of brainwashing where a person convinces you you’re crazy for not seeing something they claim to see. Then, you start questioning yourself and try to find a way for agreement and become gaslit. What are the signs you are gaslit? You don’t feel like the person you used to be; you feel more anxious and less confident, you wonder if you’re too sensitive, you feel like everything you do is wrong, you always think it’s your fault when things go wrong, you apologize for things most of the time, you sense something’s wrong in the relationship but can’t put your finger on it, you’ll question if your response to them is appropriate. Finally, you make excuses for their behavior to protect them.
A question I often get is, “how do you outsmart a narcissist?” The only way is to become one. I wouldn’t recommend that. Think of the consequences. You have to get out and run. The most important step is to accept that you can never have a relationship with a narcissist.
If they go to therapy, they will use it as manipulation against you. Couples Therapy is a show on Hulu that will show you how narcissists use therapy as manipulation - even the therapist in the show buys into a narcissist’s tricks!
You can’t win with a narcissist. You must set firm boundaries, stick with them, and remove all contact and face reality, they will most likely never change.
Enjoy The Journey 🕺🏼
If you would like to learn more, check out the video:
Narcissism is a defense mechanism borne out of low self-esteem and based on power. The chances of them giving it up are slim to none. But, you can never let your guard down with them and, it would be best if you faced reality: they will never change.
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