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4 Ways to Spot a Narcissist

Recognize these behavioral patterns and communicate your needs and wants in an assertive, not passive or aggressive manner.

Open Facebook, Twitter, or surf the net and you are bound to found hundreds of articles about narcissists — how to recognize them, how you have been a victim of one, or how to rid them from your life. The information abounds because this particular character trait is among the most toxic.

Freud was the first to discuss them in his essay On Narcissism (1914). You may be familiar with the origin of the term. It comes from Greek mythology where Narcissus was a hunter who was known for his beauty. Ironically, he disdained those who loved him. An arch revival, Nemesis (now you know from where that term arose!), lured Narcissus to a pool, where he could view his own reflection in the water. As the story goes, Narcissus fell in love with the reflection not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, some versions have Narcissus falling into the water attempting to embrace it, while others have him paralyzed by its beauty and staring at it until he died.

Jack Nicholson, as the Joker in the 1989 version of Batman, wickedly exemplifies this character trait. When his love interest says to him, “You look fine.” He snidely retorts, “I didn’t ask.”

The truth is that all of us possess particular character traits that typically arise from childhood programming and household culture.

But as we grow, what defines us and our ability to live happily and peacefully with others is how our character manifests itself in our behavior.

For those narcissists out there, unfortunately, they have not shed the negative programming that helped to create them.

This is sad; however, it becomes sadder if you are the victim of one, or even sadder if you feel emboldened to try to change them. You see, no one can be responsible for reshaping another’s character unless they initiate it. And a narcissist, most often will not.

So, it is important to recognize certain behavioral patterns that will help you identify if you are within the web of a narcissist. As it stands, there are only four rather sneaky patterns.

1. Manipulation

Manipulation is the Narcissist’s way of bringing you around to his/her way of seeing the world or get what they want. It often means knocking you down, causing you to doubt yourself, making you feel bad. A man might make a comment to his significant other as, “I love you so much and would do anything for you. That’s why I planned a trip to Vegas with my buddies, so you can get a break from my high maintenance!” A mother may say to their older child, “The doctor told me the reason your sister is giving us such a tough time is that she needs to spend time with her older sister.” Illness is a rather useful tool of manipulation. You might here a narcissist say, “Really, you’re going to leave me alone while I’m in so much pain?” 


2. Seduction

The lure of a narcissist is so great that often the victim feels lucky to be in their midst. The “if/then” technique is used to perfection. I first realized this after the attacks on 9/11. The terrorists and their supporters used the reasoning that if the West was more righteous, then they would not have to do what they did. That’s like a narcissistic husband saying to his wife, “If you only brought me my slippers and pipe when I came home instead of nagging me, then I wouldn’t yell at you so much.” The art of seduction is blaming or shaming the victim so that he or she understands love is only around the corner if certain conditions are met.

3. Lies

When manipulation and seduction don’t work, there’s always lies. Nothing works better than fudging the truth in order to get someone to do or believe in what you want them to. You might hear a narcissist tell you that ““I tried every restaurant and none had availability.” Or one might sometimes lie by leaving out an important detail (a so-called lie of omission). Like the mother in the manipulation example above. What she was leaving out is that the doctor explained the child was acting out for the love, attention, and affection of her parents. Spending time with her sister might also be helpful, but only if the sister is okay with it.

4. Drama

This is a way that a narcissist can redirect the focus back to them. Everything becomes a major catastrophe. When the narcissist creates drama, he or she is really saying, “Hello…aren’t you forgetting someone around here…me?” You leave your socks on the floor and your girlfriend may lean down to pick them up, and then grasp her back exclaiming, “Ugh! My back!!” Drama replaces communication, reason, and practicality. That’s because, if one implements any of these it will blow the narcissist’s cover. You might hear a narcissist pace around the home crying out, “Why me? Why do these things always have to happen to me?”

Final note

The only way for a narcissist to improve his or her ways is by introspection and self-honesty. However, this is very difficult without the help of a trained professional. So, if you think you are going to rehabilitate your friendly neighborhood narcissist, think again. I suggest you be careful when forging a long-term relationship with one, and if you are already involved with one, don’t be a doormat. Recognize these behavioral patterns and communicate your needs and wants in an assertive, not passive or aggressive manner.

For more info on how to do this download my FREE eBook.

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Charles F. Glassman

Dr. Charles F. Glassman, aka Coach MD, is a medical doctor, thought leader, & author who has learned that true holistic care arises when we balance mind, body, & spirit.

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Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member

Great article !
It is like playing with fire to get involved with a Narcissistic person. Usually you do not even understand what the term means until you are deeply involved with the narcissistic relationship.
They tend to prey on the kind hearted , empathetic people that want to help them or that feel that if they love them enough they can change them. It quickly turns into the empath feeling that they have failed them or are not good enough in some aspect. The person that gets involved or brainwashed by them starts believing that they are unable to please them or make them happy and satisfied.
The narcissist is so charming in between the bankruptcy of the others self that they are very hard to let go of. The other person starts to believe that they indeed need the narcissist and can almost get addicted to the drama that surrounds the narcissist.
… I started thinking a little too much about a relationship that almost killed me in my early twenties… You never forget the narcissist or the relationship if you are lucky enough to break free from their spell.
Thank you Dr.Charles for these warning signs!
Everyone should beware of narcissistic behavior.

StaceyCurran
Member

Completely agree with everything you said Melissa

Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member

Yes, Stacey… much love 💕

Jho
Guest
Jho

Yes.. Melissa…all you have discussed here are exactly what i have experienced from my married life.. The only thing that happenned to me is that …I was not able to get rid of him just because of our daighter…i dont want her Future to be affected. But it is rather a big mistake i should bave left earlier…in order to avoid all tbose sufferi gs that happened in my life in the past.

Meredethmann
Member

Often they are so charming, charismatic, so you don’t even know it until after you are “‘ hooked”

Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member

Agree!

Sue Smith
Member

So true!

Noelle
Member

Absolutely. And they charm everyone around you so that if you complain, everyone jumps to their defense. Its deep and it is sick.

Jho
Guest
Jho

Yes…thats true…they are really very charismatic and charming……and when you share his bad treatments of you and intentions…. no one will gonna believe you….you end up looking bad to them…..very frustrating. So I ended up to just keep silent and keep everything with in myself…!!!

Cheryl
Guest
Cheryl

Narcissism I feel is a chronic. DONT EVER THINK YOU CAN CHANGE THEM. My advice is Pray and make an escape with your life . And then you go get some spiritual, emotional, mental and physical help.

Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member

Yes. Cheryl ❤️

Joyce Haanappel
Guest
Joyce Haanappel

I have been a wife of a narcissist and I am nearly the end of a longtime divorce. He doesn’t understand all the reasons I am divorcing him for. He can only think of one reason, that I have been unfaithful to him! I have never laid an eye or finger on another man, not even a thought. Also thought that he would change eventually, because he grew also into this personality. Disillusional or can’t see the problem or knowbest. They are up till their neck in problems and still won’t LOOK into the obvious solution. I thought I could live with him and all would go better but it just doesn’t. My divorce was the best decision ever and never felt more free and loved by family and friends than now. Get rid of toxic people while you still can.

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

I know exactly what u mean. I’m in the same situation minus the divorce part. I also have to deal with his daughter (my stepdaughter), whom I’ve tried to help for 30+yrs. I keep trying but my own daughter kept telling me over the years, “mom, she will never change”. I didn’t want to believe that. I kept thinking all the things she told me were true. But, come to find put way to late and $10,000+ later, I finally saw the light. No more help, especially after she threatened to kill me 2 yrs ago.

Nicki
Guest
Nicki

I spent 10 years of my life with a narcissist, it was “one hell of a ride”. I loved him so much, I know we had spent many past lifetimes together in different roles. I thought I could change him, he had a very traumatic childhood and everything stemmed from this. He had such a beautiful heart and was very expressive, however most of the time he locked his heart up, he had learned very early to protect himself from the hurt of his childhood. During the tumultuous, intense emotional and mental ride, I realised that I was starting to become like him. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had to get the Police to remove him, to this day he acts as though he is the victim……I still care for him and always will we had such a huge attraction, like I said it spanned many lifetimes. In one of those lifetimes we were so in love, in another I died giving birth to his child, in another he deceived me…..I am now free, on the mend and finding myself again. But I”m ok, I learnt so much…. A psychic said to me that she admired my courage because “he” was very controlling. She also said during the reading that he was “the devil card”, and I must not allow him to come back into my life…..she also said he had honest feelings for me and that he did make some changes for me….however she also said ” he is too broken to be fixed” or “he does not have the will to change”…..I really should write a book about this relationship…..

Cheryl Mcrae
Guest
Cheryl Mcrae

I really don’t have a circle right now because of dealing with a narcissist . I’ve been away from this behavior for 2 yrs. Thank GOD. But one of the traits of a narcissist is to stream line and discourage your relationships outside of his circle. So when I left this person I didn’t have a man or woman really in reach to cry to or talk to. And this made me turn solely to JESUS. And a year later I was led to my Pastor.
I’m trying to build friendships right now. I just believe and know that GOD has some remarkable people that want my friendship and will support
me as a true friends should.

Jho
Guest
Jho

Thank you for giving us a clear insight of this unpredictable behavior…I am a victim and it takes me long years of married life dealing with my husband with this kind of behavior until now. No matter what I do to improve our family life It is hard to please him and you are still bad and he creats a lot of drama to get your attention. He finally realized what he is doing now that he hss no more strength…he is getting older…and one day he told me I surrender …finally he get tired coz he doesnt see any negative responses from me …I have to hide the impact with myself for what he is doing …In some instances if he see me that I am in good mood in any days …he will try to destroy that feeling for any reason he thinks about….IT IS REALLY HARD TO DEAL WITH SOMEBODY WHO IS WITH THIS KIND OF BEHAVIORAL ISSUES.. IT IS A CYCLE THAT OCCURS EVERY NOW AND THEN…

Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member

💓💓💓

Lorna Penner
Guest
Lorna Penner

ITS VERY TRUE,,MY X-HUSBAND WAS A NARCIST,,AND HE WAS PLANNING A MURDER ON ME,,BUT OUR FAMILY DOCTOR PICKED UP ON IT AND HE ALLOWED ME TO SEE THE FULL PICTURE…I WAS POSITIONED TO SEE ONLY HALF OF THE PICTURE BUT HE POSITIONED ME SO I COULD SEE THE WHOLE PICTURE–THEN THERE WAS A DIVORC E SHORTLY AFTER. HE NEVER OPENED HIS MOUTH WITHOUT LIIYING,,,AND VERY MANIPULATIVE–HE HAS SINCE DIED. MY FRIENDS ARE MOSTLY AT THE CHURCH BUT EVEN THEM YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL.

Linda Gerrity
Guest
Linda Gerrity

Been married to a narcissist for 37 years. Didn’t understand the problem until I saw a therapist last year. Wish I’d known this earlier in the marriage but I was so nieve I probably wouldn’t believe it. I am learning to stick up for myself and refuse to take his crap. But you need to be on constant patrol because after so many years you fall into a pattern. 3affairs each lasting years with his full denial and lies. Because I am in my 60s with no retirement since I took care of the kids and any time we needed funds it seemed it was my 401 that suffered I’ve decided it’s best to stay put. Wish I could go back in time. And no there is no way I would ever marry this guy over again. Thanks for reading

lindafletcher
Member

I was married 35 yrs to a controlling & manipulative Narcissist. During that time, I did not know that he was a Narcissist. It was not until I found out he had betrayed me & was cheating on me leaving me a broken & emotional mess that I learned about Narcissism. It may take me a long time to recover from all of the abuse, but I will recover as a stronger person.

Jo Davis
Member

Oh yes! Great article! Shared at Lift A Sister Up, titled “Are you one and you just don’t know it?” It happens! Well done and thank you!!!

shawn
Guest
shawn

Dont know if I agree with your characterization of a narcissist. To me Mr Wonderful (Kevin O’Leary in Shark Tank) exemplifies this trait.
A relative is an extreme version of a narcissist; it is hard to put up with his antics. He spends a couple of hours getting ready; spend hours in the gym; has large mirrors in the bathroom; is generally significantly late to family events; would turn radio to his channel even when hitching a ride with me; insists on his preferred eating. He thinks he is all that and its his way or the highway. So his wife left him soon after the marriage.
In my perception, he typifies this trait. However, I don’t see much of what you wrote above in him.

Robina fazal
Member

Nice article❤💐Sir Charles ..Narcissist persons if we faced such persons in life..we should know how to avoid them…as much possible..deal them with patience…dont try to fix them as its not at possible,They will go along how they wanna go..they think they are always right..they cant make a mistake.They are their boss…So if you supposed to live near by them..respect.care..affectinate..but not try to become their prey..dont become their pleasue.perform your day to day..duties..works around them.Give them respect and encourage them to carry on their routines..if they cause panic or disturbance for you…dont be under presser..React peacefuly and avoid them ..They are not so powerful as they seem to be…They are mostly from inner weak…and moves around themselves…if you deal them patience and carry on your own rouitnes they are helpless to make any trouble for you..if you are confident and not sensitive..take them normaly and with a happy easy note ..You can focus on your life.
Your own self..and desires…You can acheive wht you wanna achevie..These people are every where.Love yourself ..care yourself.trust in God Trust on your instincts and capabilities…your paths will be cleared and strenghten and you can lead a happy healthy life with purpose and more positive oppurtunities to do more good in life….Amen

K V Simon
Guest
K V Simon

Only the grace of God can redeem us from this wretched condition .

Angeliki Anastasia
Member

It’ s a great honor to be communicating again with You Dr. Charles!!! I loved the part where you mention that narcissism comes from the mythical character Narcissus, who was paralyzed by the beauty of his own reflection!!! With narcissists it’s Always me, myself and I!!! They can send us to our death beds if we don’t wake up from their hypnotism and smell the coffee!!! I ❤️ loved the aforementioned signs of narcissism: Manipulation, example a Mother’s illness to manipulate!!! Seduction, blaming and shaming others! Lies! Introspection and self honesty from Professionals can only change them like you mentioned Doctor Charles!!!
“Run away as fast as you Can!!! Save Yourselves, just like Sir Bryant McGill has said soooo many times!!❤️

Becky Quick
Guest
Becky Quick

Red flags!! Big red flags!!!! I have been in a relationship with someone, who has ALL these signs. I have asked him why he is this way. He’s not of course. And NEVER call him a narcissist!!! I feel sorry for him. He is going through a quite a bit of stuff right now. I care about him.. My love for him definitely has changed in the 12 years that we have been together.. At the present time, I was facing being homeless, and my daughter helped me. He IS homeless. Jobless. I am now 3 hours away from him. I don’t know what to do. Am sure there’s nothing I can do. His denial is so strong. Is there somewhere he could go for some help?????

Noelle
Member

Absolutely! I have found that narcissists seek out true empaths and use gift giving and “helpful” solutions to subtly break your spirit, manipulate you into feeling too guilty to complain, use charm to gather others in an effort to intimidate you and will accuse you of creating the drama they actually created with their character assinasination. If you even hint at exposing their tactics they will go on a shopping spree or perform acts of service only to buy everyones vote against you. If you show confidence, they are the forat to say YOU are a narcissist. The most difficult thing about a narcissist is that they honestly dont know they are one and if they do know, they will do all they can to convince you that they are not.

Janet Stripp
Guest
Janet Stripp

I have had nearly 2 years of living next door to a narcissistic personality. I have tried to expand his vision but to no avail. There are days where I feel I can’t go on with the scenarios that come with him. I am not in a financial position to up and move and now find myself constantly sick being around him . I have no idea how to change the balance of power I am not a young woman and can see no way through at present.

Noelle
Member

Great article and yes I agree everyone has some from childbirth. The real danger is that a narcissist usually accuse others of being one and try to stop others from succeeding by using shame. The DSM-IV says if you want to start a group or club find a narcissist. That statement was pointed out to me by a professor when he heard I was starting the first Human Service Club at that college. He almost stopped me from doing something good for other students. I’m grateful for my lessons in how to ignore and expose narcissist by ignoring their finger pointing.

Fran Merkh
Member

Entwined no more, already have one narcissist, will not add another. Beautiful music though, don’t know how to deal with that.

Julia Kinandu
Member

Lovely article. Do narcissist have a big problem in forgetting the past and in forgiving another person?

Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member

They don’t know forgiveness… that would require understanding responsibilities

Sue Smith
Member

Exactly! They never see their part as a fault at all!!

Beka
Guest
Beka

They have no empathy. There will never be forgiveness and they will never be sorry.

Laurie Lankins Farley
Member

Good tips for sure! gives awareness.

D conn
Guest
D conn

I have a question
Someone please answer me
Known this man for about 10 yrs. He comes across humble gentle tender quiet.women fall all over him
We got married 3 years ago
Since married.there’s a whole different side to this man. Anger manipulates Womenizer
Roaming eyes
Lies stole money from me
I thought at one time I knew who I was
I become self doubt not good enough.he wants me to wait on him all the time.I feel like he sucks the
Life out if me.when in public he roamshis eyes at a particular type of women no where similar to me.its hurts.when I confront him he denied it and says I’m mental
What way is truth? In teaching out is it me or him.I use to be very confident womem

Ranu
Guest
Ranu

Your article opened my eyes…I was recently tagged as narcissistic and toxic by my best friend….I just couldn’t stop crying but after reading your article I feel he was correct….I am toxic and narcissistic….all the traits mentioned are correct except lies which I dont fit on it….omg how much damage I have done to our relationship …

It’s rightly said stay away from toxic people….I am also one….I am disgusting…..just figuring out how to move out of my friendship so that my friend can stay positive….I just cannot think living widout our friendship but alas I have to do now….I am so bad….just cant face myself now

I am just so bad….

chell
Member

my ex was this over all it was always about him getting what he wanted kicking off for it control freak by nature it was always his way if he didnt get what he wanted hed tell people all shorts of things get his mates to hound me when had fallen out my heart had enough o that carry on i do think its cause i was soft heated, not just my ex come across people of all walks of life who are not what they seem at first always charming outgoing lovely guess thats how sometimes get sucked in i trust in my gut well enough now im wiser than ive been before…

Vasudevan Bhattathir
Member

this article is very good and guide us to identify a Narcissist it is difficult to move and live with such people the four methods suggested will lot people in real life
this this is an excellent article thank you

Nisha KC
Guest
Nisha KC

I am dealing such person and I can’t avoid this situation. I feel if I succeed to keep tolerating this person keeping myself safe till this condition passes away I will get the advantage to be more stronger than now.

Suzan
Guest
Suzan

Very good article ,it is opened my eyes on the narcissistic people and their negative behaviours,i know the Greek mythology about narcissism, I noticed that good people could be victim to one of them ,but by the time the truth will prevail ,and their lies and drama will be discovered ,i will be assertive from now on when I am dealing with one of them ,because I don’t want to drain my energy and power .

areff ali
Guest
areff ali

please need translate to Bahasa Malaysia

Allistair October
Guest
Allistair October

Loved this article. Very, very good.

Rose Bongat
Guest
Rose Bongat

I’m still in this situation with the narcissist. Everything that’s written are all I’ve been experiencing with him.
I didn’t accept his proposal of marrying him that added to his anger with me. I wanted separation though I got fractured because of him. But he kept on using our 6 year old daughter for us to still be together.
I hope & I’m wishing soon I can find a way out of this. I really really wanted to stay away from this kind of man.

Beka
Guest
Beka

This article is very basic. Narcissists are way more insidious than this. Their main defining characteristics are no empathy and thinking only their way, cannot think another way. Do better research before posting on a super serious topic such as narcissism.

Julia Kinandu
Member

Nice article. I will surely take good care not to be a victim.

Arthur
Guest
Arthur

I believe I’am dealing with one. I can save one sole out of the two from her manipulating behaviour.

StaceyCurran
Member

Thank you for the reminders xxx

PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU
Guest
PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU

AMEN THAT’S RIGHT THANK YOU