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Narcissism 101: What Is A Narcissist?

Updated on September 22, 2019
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The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.

Narcissists are people who can come across very selfishly in the general sense of the word. They can seem self-absorbed, vain and arrogant. They can seem mean, rude and callous. They can be very needy, helpless and clingy. They may be all of these things at different times, or more one than the other. They are often very immature. The one thing they all have in common is that they are totally focused on themselves. Whether they are raging at you, ignoring you, crying desperately on your shoulder, proclaiming their undying love or insisting they can "help" you solve all of your problems, you eventually notice that they are very controlling of you, your time and the situation in general.

You eventually notice everything is about them - always. You notice that you don't feel heard, or that what you want and how you feel don't really seem to matter - even though they may insist that it does. You notice this person's behavior does not match their words, and that they don't really seem to be who they claim they are. You notice they don't really seem to have a stable sense of identity, as if who they are changes based on what's going on or who is around. You notice their thinking seems to make no sense and that they often believe things that aren't true. You notice that communication is very difficult with this person and there may be many misunderstandings, things taken out of context or illogical arguments involved, to where things cannot ever be discussed or resolved.

You see that they seem to be having a large amount of emotional difficulty, either because they are too emotional or not emotional enough. They may be unable to understand other people's emotions or their own. They may get offended or hurt really easily, and/or their reactions to things may seem extreme - either because they wildly overreact or because they wildly underreact. You notice many double standards in their thought processes and an inability to understand that they are ever doing anything wrong or that consequences apply to them. Or, you notice that this person immediately takes the blame for everything and uses that to manipulate others. You notice this person seems to have a role that they are always playing out, such as the victim or the hero, and most of their narrative revolves around creating situations where they can do so. You notice this person has odd beliefs or thinks things that make no sense, such as that they can do things they have no training for or that they won't be harmed by dangerous behavior. You notice that facts or proof don't seem to matter to this person, and that they will continue to believe things even when they are blatantly proven false. You notice that you are having the same discussions or arguments with this person over and over again. You notice they seem to have a terrible memory, or that they often insist things occured differently than they did. They may use a lot of colorful, emotional language but really give no details when speaking, even if they are asked repeatedly.

You notice that this person seems to assume they know what others are thinking, how they are feeling or what their motives are and then reacts to these assumptions as if they are facts - often without ever even asking. You notice that all of their beliefs about other people seem to center around themselves and how others feel about them, either positively or negatively. You notice they believe themselves to be the reason others do things or don't do them, as if they are the only thing that matters to anyone. You notice that in all situations, the only thing that matters to this person is how they will be affected. They seem to feel entitled to behave however they like, or that they are somehow special and deserve more than others or what is fair. You notice this person cannot take no for an answer and that when you cannot do something for them, they react very badly. You notice that any empathy they do have is superficial and does not extend to the times when they feel they are being slighted or short-changed. You notice that they seem to believe people are against them, or that people have feelings about them that they don't have. You notice they accuse you of saying and doing things you did not say or do. You notice they blame other people for everything and take no accountability for their actions at all. You notice they seem to feel picked on, attacked and targeted very easily, and that they get upset over very minor things. You notice that they seem to be projecting their feelings or behaviors onto you, accusing you of things that make no sense. You notice that one day something is OK and the next day it is not OK. You notice their feelings for you (and for everything) are unstable, and that they can change in a second..

You see that they do not understand the difference between "want" and "need," and that the importance they place on their role in things is overblown. You see that this person seems unable to grasp basic concepts like manners, respect, consideration and basic decency. They seem unable to understand that others are human beings with feelings, who make mistakes, that get tired, who have flaws. You notice they cannot win unless someone else loses (or vice-versa), and that they seem to have no identity or emotional life of their own. You notice they don't seem to see differences in types of relationships; such as that a spouse should be more important emotionally than a stranger. They don't seem to understand what's appropriate and may attempt to get very close with people very quickly, even if they don't know them very well at all. You notice they don't seem to understand boundaries or what is inappropriate to say or do in different situations. You notice they drain you, and seem to cause problems for no reason. Their emotions can swing wildly and be way out of proportion to the situation, especially their anger. Their behavior can be reckless, impulsive, emotional and dangerous, as if they don't understand the consequences of what they are doing. Or as if they don't care.

And finally, you notice that no matter how many times you explain things to this person, they never seem to understand.

Looking for more answers?

Visit The Little Shaman on YouTube.

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    • profile image

      Chanda 

      11 days ago

      Hello, how do I know for certain, that someone is a narcissist & he said, he had a mean, cold parent.... suffered depression a lot, at one time has had suicidal tendencies....how do I know maybe he hasn’t just been really hurt as a child? My gut feeling says get away....I did that ASAP. We’ve never had an argument....in the past 12 months.... I’m basing it on his actions never match his words...never. This leaves me empty? I’ve never called him out.... I’ve just been observing.

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