How to Recognize a Narcissist
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
There are several various aspects of Narcissistic Personality Disorder which need to be brought to the attention of the general public.
It can be quite disturbing to know that there is a large group of people out there who may very well be victims of narcissistic abuse for the rest of their lives if they never get a chance to truly figure out quite what the problem is, therefore it's absolutely vital to be able to recognize the signs.
Primarily, a narcissist or someone inflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is someone who is constantly stuck in first-person mode.
That is, they remain stuck in their own world view as a young child would when getting carried away or lost in something so much that they find themselves engrossed in it.
In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), this is referred to as meta positioning. The main focus of attention is always kept completely and constantly on the self and there are many signs and signals that give this away if you know what to look out for.
However, these clues do need to be consistent and repetitive over a long period of time and therefore it can take many years to fully determine if somebody is a narcissist or not.
Essentially, when it comes to mental and emotional health and wellbeing, being able to access first-person, second-person and third-person meta positioning is necessary in order to live a normal, healthy, functional lifestyle.
Without it, a person is unable to relate to the needs and emotions of others and therefore cannot go on to learn true genuine love of another.
If you are in a relationship with someone who has NPD then it's highly likely that you already recognize that there is a problem. You could even be at the point where you're beginning to consider that the problem might be you... or you may have been persuaded into this belief but at the back of your mind and deep down inside you just know for a fact that it isn't you.
If you are in this situation then it's likely that the relationship has gone on for at least a few years.
One vital clue to look out for in these types of relationships is that the narcissist will often exploit the fact that they took you into their lives and 'saved' you and they will act as though you owe them the world for it.
In fact, they may act like you owe them the rest of your life and that you're forever indebted to them - they have you imprisoned and you are now their slave - something which you did not see coming and which happened gradually and subliminally over the years.
By the time you started to realize it, it was too late. Tell the narcissist that you're not willing to be manipulated and it's likely that they'll tell you there's no relationship then; if your relationship has gone on this far then the narcissist will most likely make it pretty clear that everything is about them whilst your needs are disregarded.
Continue to question or complain about this behaviour and you will eventually be discarded as though you are nothing. You are no longer useful to the narcissist.
Another one of the most prominent clues to look out for in narcissistic relationships is self-centeredness; this is not the same as selfishness.
Self-centeredness strongly characterizes Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In relationships and when referring to their children, house or belongings narcissists will very commonly use the words "I", "me" and "mine" and will rarely refer to anything as "we", "us" or '"our" even though there may be another person involved. However, this is only a clue if they actually do this all or most of the time over the course of several years.
It's a pattern which will emerge over time. In conversations, some narcissists may also interrupt people when reminded of a memory from their past in order to shift the focus of attention on to them and, if they a cerebral narcissist, they may go into finer detail in order to show off their intelligence (cerebral narcissism).
They don't think about how what you discuss applies to you but rather, cannot help but think about how it affects them.
Malignant narcissism is also characterized by pathological lying. A lot of people inflicted with NPD will use alcohol as an excuse and may only act narcissistic when they are drunk - this is usually a typical sign of a covert narcissist.
Covert narcissism is much more difficult to prove, to recognize and to deal with and can be incredibly dangerous. Covert narcissists present an angel-like innocent persona to everybody around them yet very cleverly control the people closest to them, behind the scenes outside of people's awareness.
They ostracize their victims, spreading subtle lies mixed with truths among their friends and family members, planting the idea that it's their victim who may have psychological problems.
Accuse the narcissist of doing anything wrong such as cheating on you, lying to you or perhaps flirting with other people or even sucking up all of your finances without your permission (even if it happened right in front of you or have irrefutable evidence) and they will tell you that you imagined it, it was all in your head.
You're the crazy one for even letting the idea cross your mind. They will then convince their family and friends that you have been making ridiculous and outlandish allegations and that you are paranoid but in reality they are taking your original suspicions and allegations and intentionally blowing them up into something outlandish in order to influence people's opinions of you as a defense for their own behaviour.
This itself is enough to cause you to distance yourself from the narcissist both mentally and emotionally and can result in you appearing to become rather self-absorbed yourself, which is what makes the disorder so infectious and helps the narcissist to convince others that you are the problem.
Unfortunately, whereas the victim distances themselves from the narcissist mentally and emotionally, the narcissist makes it impossible for them to do so physically and so they can never quite escape the abuse..
Narcissists are the type of people who will patronize, antagonize, insult, deride, ostracize and put down their chosen victims when in private (usually the people who are easiest to exploit and who are least likely to blow their cover).
At this level, narcissists undermine the people around them whilst placing themselves up on a pedestal in order to make themselves feel above everyone else. This can also be considered to be a form of contempt and hatred which they have developed for the world around them, often due to their own negative subjective experiences.
At their very core, narcissists literally do feel hatred and contempt for everything and everyone around them, although this is rarely ever indicated in their external behavior. Narcissists are masters of disguise.
The False Self
The NPD is obsessed, not with their self, but with the false self they obsessively portray and what others perceive them as. This sometimes results in them being easily influenced and taken advantage of. However, in private narcissists can be extremely verbally abusive, often towards their own children.
Ask a narcissist who they are and ask them to describe themselves and rather than describing their personality, they will explain the components that make up their lives (their possessions, career, hobbies and interests rather than their emotions, values and beliefs).
The narcissist believes that they are never wrong and they hate it when they are. To an NPD everyone else is wrong, they're right (even if they're wrong). Narcissists will go as far as to distort the evidence in their favor to make it look like they know what they're talking about and to back up their statements. Narcissists are completely lacking in empathy and can only relate to their own emotional needs.
There are plenty of clues to look out for, but the sore fact of the matter is that there are thousands of people out there dealing with narcissists who have never heard of the disorder or even the word. It's spreading at a fast rate throughout society and can, potentially, be quite dangerous but it's important that the disorder becomes more widely recognized.
However, we are all narcissistic to a degree and so it's also important to remember that just because somebody may have displayed these tendencies a few times, it does not mean that they are a a narcissist - official diagnosis can take many years, even over a decade in some cases.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2010 Marc Hubs