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Narcissists Who Cry: The Other Side of the Ego


Have you ever noticed that when you have gotten very sick or hospitalized, the person you thought was your friend never asked or called? When the same situation had previously happened to them, you were there for them.

Many of you have been in a relationship or been a friend with someone who was an extreme narcissist. These types of relationships are filled with drama unless you totally please the narcissist, which is impossible. The typical extreme narcissists are full of themselves and are overtly pompous. I would like to focus on a kind of extreme narcissist that most people fail to recognize. First, let me explain what extreme narcissism is all about.

133 Comments to
Narcissists Who Cry: The Other Side of the Ego

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  1. We used to refer to people like this as Psychic Vampires. These are the people that are so obsessed with getting all of the attention that they literally drain the people around them of energy to the point that they either submit and descend into darkness or begin to be viciously vindictive to the psychic vampire.

    • The author of this article is describing my former husband exactly. And I actually believe he is incurable/untreatable, precisely because he reflexively believes that his injury (often imagined) is more important than anything else in the world, and because he refuses to take responsibility EVER for predicaments that he himself creates. His parents actually are the source of this — they are/were extremely controlling and yet are quite emotionally detached. It has created a very manipulative, nasty extreme egotistical victimized narcissist of a son. Yuck.

      • I can’t help but wonder if you were one of my soon-to-be ex-husband’s previous wives. I was number 4. What I just read is exactly what I have been through.

    • So true, I have a co-worker who does just that. Not only is her behavior draining it also causes me great stress.

  2. This is a very good article and now I’ve a cleared understanding of narcissistic disorder. Though I’ve not really worked with any patients suffering from it yet, I did spot someone with this sort of traits and after reading this, I confirm it. Thanks for sharing and they’re very valuable information for me as a therapist.

    • “now I’ve a cleared understanding”, “I did spot someone with this sort of traits”, “they’re very valuable information”?!?! Do you seriously believe that anyone would BELIEVE that you’re a therapist? If this were somehow true then I have completely lost my faith in the mental health profession and you are an embarrassment to it. I personally find it hard to fathom that you have an education beyond the second grade.

  3. I’m a little puzzled about how this article is responsibly helping people. It is troublingly contemptuous in tone – the author seems to be reveling in his superior non-narcissistic status. I’m not saying let people run you around because that helps no one, but I think an approach that included empathy and self-knowledge would be more useful.
    The short statement on how narcissists are created is frankly just a statement of thinly veiled contempt: “excessive pampering”, “arrogant child who lacks a healthy dose of gratitude and humility. It describes the proverbial brat that no one likes.”

    For a really good and truly useful description of how parental abuse creates narcissists and the pain of being trapped in a narcissistic personality, see “Characterological Transformation : The Hard Work Miracle” by Stepnen M. Johnson.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking! I worry I might be a narcissist, because I think about myself a lot and always have, and I felt a twinge of shame as I read this article. Haven’t we all figured out, especially those of us in the psych field, that this was of thinking helps no one and harms many? Narcissists can treat people terribly, but that doesn’t mean we should categorically dismiss them as human beings in need of empathy and understanding. I hope I never have the misfortune of visiting a shrink who talks about the mentally ill like this.

      • You have to understand that usually a narcissist does not know they are and it is very, very difficult to talk to one who doesn’t see they have issues in life. The one I know doesn’t see it, doesn’t get it and never will and will never seek help! It is almost like a drunk person who doesn’t get it until they hit rock bottom. Narcissistic people wear down those around them with their demanding and dominating ways and eventually erode the confidence of anyone they are living with who is the slightest bit sympathetic with any of their demands for attention. Unless you have walked a mile in the shoes of someone who has lived with a narcissist it is impossible to judge what they are like. Whilst we want to have sympathy and empathy for these people it is hard to do this unless they see a psychiatrist who can also have input into their lives and who can also help the people in their family to learn ways of being with these people.

    • thank you. this article could be seen as even more harmful than narcissists themselves.
      If we are not generating compassion, we are destroying it; and compassion and awareness are the only way forward.
      Dividing people into any category is contributing to the chaos of this world.

      • NO! We have to protect ourselves from the narcissist damage they inflict on us.

      • Normally I would agree with you, but having been the target of abuse from two narcs (one mother, one ex boyfriend) and having my conscience exploited through what I now see as a classic manipulation tactic (bestowing false guilt) I would say I wholeheartedly no. We are not talking about another person with an understanding of other people existing and having feelings/needs/thoughts of their own and a right to those things.

        They will exploit your empathy. This kept me stuck in a cycle of abuse that lasted for a long long time. Obviously this does not mean don´t be empathetic with people! That´s a beautiful part of you! Just be careful only to dish it out to those who deserve your trust and kindness. You have to protect yourself and these people are not looking out for you, they just want to control you.

    • You can feel internal empathy for these people. Any exhibited external empathy will be manipulated and used against you. This is a major part of this type of personality disorder.

      • I strongly agree! This feeds their sickness!

      • Also agreed w/ Gwammadee, that empathy and compassion are important, but the problem is that the Narcissist always just exploits those otherwise noble gifts. And especially with their remarkable ‘antennae’ for others weaknesses and dreams, they will simply use your ‘caring’ against you. Also, rare is the individual who is “enlightened” enough to be totally “immune” to emotional manipulation (except for maybe the more spiritually ‘grandiose’ among us… lol)!
        BTW, great article and excellent point re: the “Victim” as another frequent narcissistic persona, though one we do often overlook, frequently expecting the more typically egotistical and grandiose type of Narcissist, than the “poor me” type.
        And yes, in fairness serious narcissists never asked for their condition, and shouldn’t be simply demonized, and they do deserve some (very cautious) compassion. But nevertheless, just like dealing with criminals, sociopaths, psychopaths, or any of the other “bad actors” and empathy-challenged types, we still need to remain aware of the denizens (and the risks) prowling around today’s modern human jungle.

    • Actually, this article is very helpful for the people who have to deal with narcissists. So if you don’t find it helpful, try and consider the fact that it wasn’t written for your benefit.

    • Spoken like a true enabler who as they are being manipulated by the clever narcissist they think that they are too smart and clever to be manipulated . Without such enablers the narcissist would be totally starved and frustrated .

    • Well put. My thoughts exactly.

      • @ a human, thank you for the tip on “Characterological Transformation: The Hard Work Miracle, by Stephen M. Johnson”. Additionally, my previous comment; “Well put, my thoughts exactly” was in reply to your comment only but wasn’t entered correctly…by this site, apparently…to make that clear.

  4. You mentioned:extreme narcissists are created is when a child receives a significant emotional wound or a series of them … This can happen when the parents, as narcissists themselves, are emotionally disconnected from their child.

    It’s all right to get away from always blaming the parents. That significant emotional wound or series can come from death of a parent, divorce, and some of the horrible things that can go wrong in childhood, no matter how loving the parents.

  5. Most of the article is interesting, but I have a problem with the opening example. It is possible to be a supportive, giving friend without expressing it in precisely the same way or with the same priorities as you would: perhaps that person has issues with hospitals or doesn’t know what to say or do about a physical illness that saddens or frightens them, but would cheerfully pay your rent or grocery bill if you needed it, or coach you through a difficult time at work or school when you might not feel emotionally or experientially equipped to do the same for them.

    I have been through the hospital and serious illness scenario, and found that I received incredible support from unexpected places (acquaintances, distant relatives, and colleagues who had either “done this before” and were familiar with medical routine, or who were part of an organized group where some more confident individuals could organize help and provide set answers to the “what do I do/say?” part), and that other close friends temporarily seemed to disappear, but often found other ways to stay in the loop and even help, and who remained as giving and reliably empathetic as ever in other types of crisis before and after.

    Sometimes avoidance is an indication that people are MORE sensitive to your pain, not less.

    Also, narcissists are perfectly capable of making pious (and annoying) hospital visits or doing other charitable acts because it is “the proper thing to do” and bolsters their self-image, regardless of the lack of genuine underlying empathy. “Doing one’s duty” (and loudly condemning others for not doing so in precisely the same way they would) can be just another element of the perpetual victim routine.

    • Oh, Izzy, I can’t agree with you more on both counts.Your description is another version of extreme narcissists roaming our planet and just as annoying.While I was hospitalised two times for brain surgery, my favorite aunt (my Godmother) was no where to be found. I later found out she could stand to come and see me for two reasons. One, she couldn’t stand to see me in pain and all hooked up to equipment. Second, she had a hard time feeling so helpless over the whole situations.However, she made it up to me in various other ways, such as driving over a hundred miles both ways to visit me while recuperating. She’d always be at the clinic whenever I drove the same distance for follow-up visits & take me & my Mom to lunch.Not just narcissists, avoid hospitals. And, by adding this statement in an article about ways narcissistic people can be spotted, could not be the furthest from the truth.

  6. To most people, it doesn’t matter how a narcissist develops, what matters is how that person effects other people. My sister was friends with a narcissist for 15 years. The woman used her all the time and turned on her when she was too busy to see her all the time. Finally, she started talking cruelly about her to her children, even to the point of saying she didn’t like her grandchildren. My sister then took the final stand and cut her off. Her life is now one of less drama.

  7. I agree with the above commentator who described the tone of this writer as “contemptuous”. There is no possible way to completely avoid narcissists in life. There are narcissists who fall into various levels of gray. It is not black and white. I agree that it is essential to recognize the trait when encountered. The label becomes rather global which is in itself rather grandiose. There are those who are elected to the highest positions of power and authority this country, politics, business, clergy etc…. based on their ability to manipulate others effectively as functional narcissists. The two examples are accurate only in their over- simplification. Labeling is itself a form of contempt. It is true that when one becomes engaged with a narcissist one must learn how to recognize the patterns, disengage and recognize where their need to have this kind of relationship stems from. Attempting to get love from a narcissist and failing repeatedly, and painfully, needs to be recognized and dealt with. Every narcissist seems to have willing participants in this dance. To recognize ones own attraction to narcissists, one must have a fuller understanding. Books which I found to be most helpful are “Trapped in the Mirror-Adult Children of Narcissists in their struggle for Self”- by Elan Golomb. PhD. and “Unholy Hungers-Encountering the Psychic Vampire in Ourselves and Others”- by Barbara E. Hort


  8. To “a human”:
    Thanks for your input. It is not my purpose to have contempt for any human (no pun intended). My point is that extreme narcissists are not safe persons and if you deal with them, you WILL get hurt. The purpose of my article is to point out what one form of narcissism looks like: ego in the form of playing the victim.

    To “Dee from Canada”:
    I agree that a child’s wounds can come from many other circumstances such as death of a loved one, divorce of parents, etc. I often treat children, adolescents, and adults that have carried these wounds all their lives.

    To “Izzy”:
    I totally agree that we must be careful not to prejudge individuals either as non-loving because they don’t visit us in the hospital or even for using such a visit to look good. I needed to give one kind of possible scenario as an initial hook to my article where, I hopefully, explain in more detail other dynamics to look for in extreme narcissist. Thanks for your input! :)

    To “Carole”:
    Bravo to your sister for finally cutting off a highly toxic person!… When she stopped her relationship with an extreme narcissist who used her.

    To “Annapurna”:
    Yes, extreme narcissists come in all colors and grays. I also agree with you that there is no way to avoid narcissists in our lives. My main point is that we need to be especially on the alert for the extreme ones. Those are the ones that can create the most damage in relationships. Everybody has narcissism. Too little means a low self-esteem, too much means “I am God!” and then there is a level of reasonable narcissism that gives you healthy self-care. So, I agree that the label is not “black and white” across the board. I do, however, believe the label is most appropriate with those who are extremely selfish and manipulating of others. I appreciate your contribution.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

    • Dr. Samuel Lopez De Victoria:

      Thank you for your comments and knowledge of narcissism. After an unfortunate five years with an extreme narcissist, and much needed counseling on my part after that journey, I’m finally able to be me and enjoy my life. Everything you mentioned on manipulating emotions, as I’m very caring, was true. He used my concern and caring for others against me, as he always needed attention and was would go into a rage when I expressed my concern for others or their situations. It was all about him and his world and I was allowed to feel anything for anyone, whether it was a parent, family member or friend; it threatened him. If I didn’t give him attention 24/7 and be at his beck and call, the most horrible rath came from his mouth and was projected on me for what I wasn’t doing for him, but I could always seem to do for others. This is only one aspect of our relationship. It turned into something very ugly, threatening and scary. I’m very fortunate to be out of that relationship, but it took a long time to realize what he was doing to me and the why of it all. Today, I can spot narcissists after a couple of conversations with them as I “listen” now to what they are saying and my emotions don’t kick in as they normally would. It takes a long time to get to know people when they play games and use the good in you and twist it to be something bad. Thank you for your writing. The sun is shining where I am now.

    • Avoiding ANY human being is not helpful at all, and a reflection of the avoider’s smallness.
      Healthy boundaries are loving for all humans involved.
      I disagree with the language of this article, and I too hope that no therapist would ever speak this way about people with mental illness.

      • Actually, avoiding them is only not good for the narcissist, because then who will they get their supply from? Avoiding them is very good and healthy for the people who have to deal with them.

      • The extremes, Ted Bundy, Jim Jones and Charles Manson should have been avoided. Those who slander others, harm others mental health, deplete finances, and leave to find another sucker, should be avoided as well.

  9. @Izzy: Thanks for saying that. I am one of the people who always feels at a loss for words in the face of severe illness or death… and what is it that there is left to say, really? …, but feel that people expect me to say something, preferably cheerful. And I can’t, and end up making the other person feel probably even more miserable – so I usually just do all the ‘practical’ stuff for people, or find help and advice for them by involving someone ‘qualified’. It’s funny how it’s always labelled as being ‘cold’ or ‘heartless’. I’m not, well, not inside I mean, I just don’t know what to say… Not bringing flowers and a cheesy get-well card to a friend’s bedside doesn’t mean I am a narcissist. (Though writing so much about myself probably does. 😉 )

    Anyway, Dr. Lopez, don’t you think that narcissists are more than just a plight for the rest of mankind? Judging by what you wrote, it seems like a very lonely, incredibly sad way to live your life. And to think that these people did nothing of their own choosing to be that way, I feel that you are putting the blame too squarely on them.
    I know people like that, but I don’t remove myself entirely from their lives – I just don’t dignify their every demand. If they get mad, tough. I apologise if I hurt them, but I won’t change my opinion on the matter. But if push came to shove, would I leave them high and dry because they’d do the same to me? That’s a funny interpretation of morality and ethics; one I think I cannot subscribe to.
    And yes, I agree with the comments above, your article sounded condescending at times… (I, for one, would be scared to go into a therapist’s practice after reading an article like this by him/her.)

  10. Oh, ok. Just ignore that last comment, will you? 😉

  11. Hannah,

    I have a funny feeling that you and I agree at the core. It is impossible to cut yourself off everyone or every narcissist. My motive is to provide some of the signs of a person who will end up hurting you. You may feel like you need to “love” them and therefore be exposed to them hurting you. That is a personal choice. In general, extended exposure to manipulators and controlling folks like extreme narcissists will end up biting us hard. I only mean the article as a general guide to this kind of manipulator and create awareness for protection. Thanks for your good observations and input!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://wwwDrSam.tv

  12. My own conjecture is that a complete absence of narcissism would not be low self-esteem. I’ve had low self-esteem in past and it’s just a different way of wanting to be good enough for other people (and feeling you have failed). Narcissism and low self-esteem are thus two sides of the same coin, no? Putting labels on yourself that never quite fit or are difficult to maintain in the long-term.

    Maybe an absence of narcissism would move you more in the direction of the Dalai Lama, or Ghandhi type personality. Even they are still human of course, but they are probably not as narcisstic as the rest of us, and they certainly don’t have low self-esteem!


  13. Sarah,

    I think you are right if you define “narcissism” as being totally ego. Then there is a second view. Metaphorically speaking, if you see ego as some type of creature that takes the show when you cross a line or threshold of self-care then it might be different.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://wwwDrSam.tv

  14. Everything that is written about this subject includes blaming the parents for the disorder. I feel I am one of those parents and now the child is grown up the pain he/she inflicts is sometimes very deep. So, should one, the responsible party, (not necessarily guilty since one knew no better than what was the thing to do, according to the “specialist” wave of the time. Selfsteem, selfsteem and more selfsteem, and we parents did as we were told by those who “knew”. Are we then to run away from what we did so we do not get hurt? If we did the harm in the first place it sounds somewhat preposterous to quit the ship when “what went round comes around”. Should there not be more specific advise to cope with the situation rather than inadvertently create feelings of frustration, resentment and the like towards the narcissist who is now hurting us?
    None of the above refers to you personally, Mr López I’d like to add, since as I said before, everyone is giving the same advice.

    On the other hand narcissism is much written about but how much research has been done? What goes on in the brain of these people? Where can one find such research? I haven’t found it. As far as I have seen very little is known about this problem and so treatment outcomes are rather doubtful at least for the “everyday narcissist” who doesn’t end up in really serious trouble and although perverse (even with the therapist) appears to lead

    I really look forward to reading more about this subject.

  15. Maria,

    As parents, we try our best. I have adult children of my own. There are many things I would have changed in how I raised them. Most of those things I would change in me. We have to forgive ourselves and be able to move on knowing that our heart was good.

    On curing narcissism, it all depends. First an extreme narcissist needs to admit he/she is one. Second, he/she needs to get help from competent clinicians who know how to work with it (most don’t in my opinion).

    If they are the kind of narcissist that was birthed from emotional traumas then those defense mechanisms, false beliefs, and wounds can all be healed via many great modalities of treatment.

    If the narcissist became one through excessive pampering then it is an issue of going back to those places where he/she accepted the lie that he/she was God as imprinted by the parents. At those places there needs to be an effective reframe that changes the belief of their “omnipotence.”

    I hope you find this helpful.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  16. sure ill stay away from extreme narcissists.. but what about when the extreme narcissist is your father, whom you live with? how does a young adult shield herself from her own father from day to day? he does all the things you mentioned in your article and more.

  17. Jay,

    That’s a tough one!

    When you say a young adult, I imagine that you are 18 or older. My recommendation? If you have to live with an extreme narcissist father:

    1. Get strong healthy boundaries.

    2. Politely communicate and enforce those boundaries with your father.

    3. If he disrespects your boundaries then…

    a. Stay out of his way and avoid, as much as possible, any significant interplay that would give him access to your life greatly. Be “busy.”

    OR

    b. Move out!

    Hope this helped some.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  18. Dr. Sam,
    Narcissistic Personality Disorder is being removed from the new version of the DSM. Does this indicate narcissism is no longer considered abnormal behavior?

    • Thanks to the Kardashians its now the new normal.


  19. S,

    If you find any documentation on NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) being considered to be taken out of the next DSM, let us know through a post and share with us any web link.

    I personally think that would be a grave mistake to take it out. Society is full of NPD’s in many forms. If it is true, I wonder if NPD’s were on the deciding committee? :)

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  20. Dr. Sam,
    …I want to seek some help (for myself…I am in pain from the emptiness, and I cry for those who have suffered).

    When I read:
    “Be polite. Recognize their pain and no more. Don’t be pulled into their web of emotional manipulation. Stay away from extreme narcissists”

    I hear:
    “Leper! Leper!” ???

    Narcissists are not necessarily consciously malicious, are they? Please correct if I am wrong, but NP’s, because of their “disease”, simply can’t feel what they are doing, or about to do, to other people. People should be warned of this kind of condition (facts of life), which is what many NPD sites do, but should not there be an acknowledgment that there is a lessened moral culpability. Don’t we treat people with disabilities today in a different way than when we used to cry leper? I find the rhetoric around this disorder disconcerting and I daresay depressing. Almost a catch-22: Does one come out as being a bastard narcisist, or just continue being a bastard and hope for the best? It could lead to a living hell on earth.

    Looking at S’s comment, is it a disorder if everyone has a bit of it? How much is too much anyway? Isn’t it a necessary survival trait? After all, they advise on airplanes to put your own oxygen mask on first…before your own child’s!

    Can it be traced to a brain function disorder or neural disorder (like depression) and treated with medication? A lack of some neurotransmitter or something? Apparently nobody knows its etiology. All we have are a bunch of behavioural symptoms.

    With this kind of logic about, I don’t know who to turn to. Might the cure be worse than the disease? Is there any research on NPD causes …a medication waiting in the wings?

    Help please. (Male, 59)
    PS. If this is seen as a narcissistic rant then so be it, I’m sorry. I sensed in this column some kind of compasssion that I haven’t found yet elsewhere.

    • V_Australia, your whole comment feels very off. How much is too much?? Whenever I hear someone say something like that, I know I’m listening to a person who is trying to twist things and pretend they’re being asked something totally unreasonable. Too much is when other people get hurt by your behavior. Your comment is one long cry for pity and is exactly the behavior this article talks about.

      You say you came here looking for compassion. Why are you searching the internet looking for ‘compassion’, rather than treatment? And why would you think it’s appropriate to look for compassion in an article that is written to help the victims of narcissistic abuse? And where is your compassion for the victims of narcissism?

      No, narcissists do not deserve an ‘acknowledgement of lesser moral culpability’. What exactly are you suggesting here? That people should offer themselves up on a plate for vicious, lifelong abuse (and narcissistic abuse is vicious) because otherwise they might make the poor narcissist feel bad? And they can never hold the narcissist accountable because it’s so unfair on the poor narcissist to be expected to display moral behavior?

      Your comment doesn’t come across as a rant, it comes across as the narcissistic pity play. The very fact that you’re attempting to guilt and shame people for staying out of abusive situations is just so strange and messed up. Use your time to find ways to take responsibility for yourself and get help for your narcissism, instead of searching for people who’ll buy into your pity story.

  21. Dr. Samuel,

    Thank you for the article… although some of the critical response from the readers may have helped shed more light to the topic, I still enjoyed the sharpness of your argument.
    A healthy interaction with others requires wisdom and much personal growth. It really is a sort of art the ability to help/assist another human being in a way that is constructive to both. 25 years of work with very dysfunctional individuals/communities have given me much to think about. At the end of the day we are all somehow touched by the dysfunction of our/the ego and all the disaster that it brings to our lives. In some the ego takes over completely. I agree with you completely : “Stay away from these extreme narcissists”. The ego will not stop… it doesn’t know how…


  22. Australia and Been There,

    For many extreme narcissist, life is a delusion… self-delusion of grandeur. Being extremely selfish can come with its own deception. The ego is like a drug. Some may realize they are that way consciously and some may not. I find that the subconscious mind seeks to please each of us. If we send it the messages that “I am God” it will be trained to play with us that game. It will tell us, “Yes, you are Divine!” For that egotist, that is what “normal” looks like.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  23. I can’t disprove a tautology.
    But my remorse is genuine.

  24. I ENJOYED READING THIS.. IT DID NOT SEEM LIKE HOMEWORK.

    THANK YOU PRO. YOUR AN AWESOME AND WISE PROFESSOR. :)

    XOXO
    T.Z

  25. “The more I pressed them about their lack of being forthcoming and failing at their own promise of commitment to the friendship, the more vehement they became at avoiding disclosure of their warts to me”.

    Therapist, heal thyself.


  26. Echo, you are a very funny person. I’ll give you the benefit of doubt that you are not a spammer, troll, or trying to flame me, etc.

    For your information, I continue on a life-long journey of healing in my life. I have a long way to go and the path is awesome! How about you, Echo? Are you finding healing yourself? :)

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  27. Wow. The reaction to this fine article is astounding. I suspect you all agree at the core. I didn’t find the article condescending. It’s true that overly pampering a child can create a false sense of entitlement/narcissism as can early injury, which makes a person unable to bond with another and love in a genuine way while desperately needing love they never received from a parent.

    As someone who has to been seriously injured by a narcissist, i subscribe to the response of just cutting them off. They are vampires and will confound your life in many ways. Who has time for that. If you are stuck dealing with them, due to circumstances beyond your control, then you have to play the dance.

    I must say that before I became ensnared by a narcissist, I was a very kind person who only wanted the best for others. I Liked helping others. Now I am scarred — but perhaps this is for the greater good. I am now skeptical of others and less likely to give the benefit of the doubt. If I spot any inconsistencies or issues up front, I address them, and if possible, detach from the relationship. I have always valued good character, but now I a stickler and try to ensure only people of good character surround me — and immoral people are phased out.

    People who are all ego are draining and will never help you when the chips are down. However, they can be useful if you can use them to get what you want by helping them get what they want/feeding their ego, etc. They will never have your generous nature.

    At the same time, when you achieve your goal, you no longer have to cater to them as they have no loyalty to you. It’s interesting to watch them lash out and slander after they no longer get their way and have your undying loyalty and support.

  28. Lucy, wow I experienced just about exactly what you described of the narcissist that you had dealt with. I dated a guy for 7 months, and as soon as I started to realize that something about him was off, and I started to stick up for myself and not pamper his every need and desire and didnt praise him non stop, then things got bad and he started to turn on me. He looked down on me, degraded me, made me feel low as a person, made me feel useless, but then he would switch back and suck me back in by being charming to me and being sweet and affectionate. I think he just did that to get me right back to where he wanted me and to get me back under his control. He seemed to know exactly what to say and just what to do to suck me back in. And it always seemed to be that if I wasn’t in full support of his every wish, then he lashed out and started to blame me for problems in the relationship. Everything was my fault! I was sick of being blamed for all these things that I never did. I did however always end up apologizing if something was my fault and i would also apologize and take the blame for what he did. I let him go ahead and put all the blame on me. I couldn’t handle it anymore and I finally got out of the relationship. That was the most traumatic time I have been through. I was and still am emotionally drained, I feel like I now have all these issues that I didn’t have before, I feel sucked dry, I feel like I’m messed up in the head and I’m now starting to think that everything was all my fault in the relationship. I’m starting to listen to his lies that he kept putting in my head when we were together. I feel like I’m the bad person for walking away. I think “well if I would had just done more, or been nicer, or praised him more, etc, then maybe things couldve worked out”. But there was literally nothing more I could do but get out. I couldn’t handle living under that stress. I cried at least twice a week if not more because I couldn’t handle it, but I stuck it out longer to try to make it work because I didn’t want to give up and quit. I cut off all communication from him in September 2010, then we reconnected over the phone around Christmas 2010. Which I still don’t know why we did. We got together and started to fall back right where we left off, I was happy for a while because I thought things had changed with him, then I started to realize and remember again how he made me feel horrible as a person, and I saw that nothing had truly changed, so I had to cut it off again. I feel like I went back because he has this power and control over me and this way of luring me back in because he knows just what to say to win me back. And it’s sick! It’s ruining my life and I am an emotional wreck because of it. How do I deal with the pain and after math of breaking away from him again, and how do I stay away? I know he is dangerous to be around, my family and friends all see it in him. I have to admit that he is very good at what he does and how he plays this sick game, and he is very good at manipulating to get what he wants from people, and it is sick! Just being around him this second time around for a few weeks has already got me running for my life to get away from him! I want to learn to stay away and not get sucked back in by his sick control and manipulation. I do believe that he is cold hearted and can’t truly feel anything for others. Just from his actions and some of the things he has said and done to me, it is evident that he has no true empathy or compassion on anyone, and most likely doesnt know how to truly love someone. Yes my tone in writing this may be with some anger, but I am very saddened and frustrated that I went through this and experienced such a traumatic thing. I don’t wish this experience on anyone, so from personal experience I totally agree with Dr. Sam in warning people to STAY AWAY FROM LETTING AN EXTREME NARCISSIST GET CLOSE TO YOU! It’s definitely for your own good and well-being! I feel like after coming out of this relationship that I am not healthy as a result of it, and I want to get back to being healthy and stable and strong. I tried to stand up for myself and fight against his power over me, but I just wasn’t strong enough and couldn’t handle it.

    • You are not alone. i am just getting out of a 3 times divorced “gentleman. just let go and try to go on with your life because he will never revert to you once he was “discovered”.

  29. Dear Dr. Sam,

    The article is so true to what I experienced with being in a relationship with what i believe to be an extreme narcissist. I was crying as I read the above article because I was just what I experienced and felt. Even from the start of the article that says these relationships are filled with drama unless the narcissist is getting everything they want, that is so true to what I went through. I started to think that he was the girl in the relationship because things were so dramatic and overdone for no reason, he was a drama queen. I was so shocked to see what I thought was a man, yet acting like what reminded me of a teenage boy or a child. I had a question about one of the things you said in the article. You said that they cannot have any god over them being god of themselves. My ex claimed to be a strong follower of Christ, and he had made some comments before that I thought were a little strange, he said that he was God’s favorite and that he wanted to be the closest to God that anyone has ever been before. It seemed as if he would almost view himself as Saviour of humanity and god’s gift to humanity, and that he was being god instead of letting god be the god of his life yet he was claiming that he followed after gods guidance and direction for his life. His demeanor was not that of a humble man, but one of wanting glory and honor shown to him for the works that god has done in his life, and wanting to be praised for being gods hand picked special favorite person. It was as if he believed that god needed him to fulfill things on this earth. He seemed to look down on others and was such a know it all and thought he knew almost everything about the bible and god. He claimed to have these wild and off the wall stories of crazy things that God has done specifically for him in his life over the years. After reading that part in the article it just makes me think that maybe his fascination with god stems from him reaching out for that sense of grandioseness so that he can continue in this state of mind to where he views himself as the best, the greatest, the know it all, and so that he doesn’t have to lower himself down to be humbled, and therefore doesn’t have to face himself? It was almost as if he himself wanted to be worshipped as a guru or spiritual advisor or be god. I would ask him questions about the bible and god and he would sometimes tell me that I just wouldn’t be able to understand it and that there is just so much more for me to learn that I have no idea about yet! I don’t remember Jesus telling people in the bible that they just wouldnt get it or understand, I remember him saying that even a child could understand. My ex would make it sound like he had the secrets to the bible and to god and that he alone understands it and that other people won’t, and that people should come to him to gain that knowledge and insight into spiritual things. That to me sounds like a demeaning personality and one who was looking down on me with no respect. It’s just crazy how that whole article pretty much completely described my ex-boyfriend.

  30. Lexa – it sounds like you were with a man who is not only narcissistic, but delusional. He was being spiritually abusive toward you and trying to be the God in your life as well. Trust me, stay away from this person and seek the God of your own understanding – he is narcissistic and wants to be treated as a God like he must have been treated when he was younger. Try to figure out what you get out of being with a person like this.

    I was with a man who was extremely narcissistic – his mother spoiled him when he was younger. He was the surrogate husband and she would belittle his step father in front of him, as his step father abused his mother in front of him as well. Then his mother would cry to her son and take sides with him – treat him as if he were royalty. He eventually became a young man and turned against his mother, took the step father’s side. Unfortunately – he treated me with abuse the same as his step father treated his mother.

    He expected the same from me – to treat him as a God while he verbally abused me. It was really sick. Because I didn’t figure it out right away – and thought I COULD CHANGE HIS BEHAVIOR – I stayed too long and got sucked in. A year later, I am just starting to heal. And this relationship only lasted a year and a half.

    Take it as a learning experience – study all you can about sociopathic people and stay away from them. My biggest problem is I was very NAIVE. Now I am sadder but wiser…

    In your healing process – I suggest you do what I did – do VERY NICE THINGS FOR YOURSELF – and treat yourself well mentally. Then you won’t accept anything less from any man.

    Thank you Dr. De Victoria for these great articles. I was reading the Amazon posts on the book Quiverfull – and came across your wise comment. Thank you for that. There are many narcissistic people in the church who are not lead by grace and expect perfection from members – who are then too shamed to come forth and learn what true healing is about.

  31. Thanks, Lexa and Michelle. Been there, too, and tried again, and ended up the same. Still reeling from the loss, hurt, confusion and it’s almost been a year.

  32. This describes my partner. When she does wrong and that is pointed out to her she threatens to end the affair,and it’s now been three years and two kids. We have planned our marriage several times and had to shelve plans or delay because she accuses me of not loving her enough, or some other excuse. We are currently going through counselling and I doubt if that is working on her.

  33. This article is an absolute disgrace. It feeds in to the human fear of being exploited and creates chasms between people who should be looking out for one another. It is very easy to pick up on elements of mental disorders in people in society – we have them all to one degree or another. In my humble opinion this article is emotive and derogatory in the way it deals with what must be a very distressing situation for any human being to be Living through. Keep up the prejudice and you’ll be as much a narcissist as those you disdain.

    • You apparently have never encountered a narcissist – they will destroy your very soul.
      It is correct to stay away from these people – they twist and distort everything they can to justify themselves.
      They are the most unhappy people in the world.
      I write to you because I am a happy, caring person who fell victim to a narcissist. This person
      tried to destroy my very soul because they were envious that I was happy with myself. I am so glad that God gave me the wisdom to realize what was happening and the strength to get away from this person.

      • correct … it has taken me 55 years to realise that my mother is an extreme narcissist .
        she destroys everything she comes in jcontact with unless she is the centre of attention. pure evil.
        to understand is to protect oneself . thank you

      • Dear Happy. You are so right. A narcissist will destroy your soul and when they have finished will delete you. I was told I was making him unhappy (after three years of my caring and love). Then I found out he had recalled his ex divorced wife back two days before and no longer needed my supply which was diminishing. They like to get back to a relationship that was – in the past – a good source of narcisstic supply. They cleverly dish out some more sexual excitement and flattery. That person fell into the trap again and has my pity.I would not resume a relationship with him no matter how attractive he would try to make himself. I know it would not last and abuse would not be long in forthcoming again. This took me some time to realize and only after a lot of help.

      • If you’ve never had the experience of knowing an extreme Narcissist, then it’s easy to criticize this description. But it is the truth.

        In the case of the extreme ones, hanging around trying to make things work really never ends well. They are toxic, and they WILL get you.

        I have an aunt who is this person. She was so awful all during my childhood, that as a young adult and new mother, I refused to allow her any contact with my children. It was a good move.

        After the children were older, I began to feel sorry that she had no one who could be around her or who liked her much; so I tried to re-establish a relationship. I thought that as a middle aged woman, I could handle her dysfunction. I thought wrong. It was with great shame and defeat that I cut her out of my life. I don’t like that I couldn’t ignore the abuse long enough to help her out. But I couldn’t.

        It helps to read articles such as this and see other people find it just as damaging as I.

    • Disgusted? Apparently, this article is too close to home for you. I believe you feel this could have been written about you and are in complete denial. I was a psych major in college and have come across several narcissists over the years. The author is spot on with this vile disorder and I intend to purchase his book today, as well as giving my roommate notice in a way I’ve become accustomed to in the last year. I have never been so generous and in exchange received nothing but stress, anxiety and a guy who feels superior to the world. It’s always lovely to hear how wonderful your significant other is…… only problem, it only comes from his mouth. It would be nice to hear it from others, however, sadly that’s not the case. Btw, if I read an article and disagreed with the author, that’s okay. Let it be. When an article resonates and you’re a little smarter after reading, then the author should be commended. If I go into a boutique and the sales person is rude…. I don’t return. When treated kindly, I will go out of my way to let their superior know. I’m going to change my plans and do as much research on the subject as possible. Buying this book, is my #1 priority at the moment.

    • Well said. Well said. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This article makes me want to puke.

  34. Disgusted,

    I would ask you to look at the other posts before yours. With all due respect, they seem to disagree with you. I have done clinic, agency work, and also have my own private practice. If it weren’t for patient confidentiality laws, I could give you names of people that use their infirmity as a tool to manipulate others. In the official manual for diagnosing mental health (DSM IV) there is a term called “malingering.” If you believe I am exaggerating or misleading people I suggest you look at the definition. You can find a general description at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malingering

    I would kindly suggest that before you throw a rock, you first do a little more research on the matter.

    May your “disgust” be changed to enlightenment and blessing! :)

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  35. Thank you doctor for your insights and personal experiences. I have played the role of Narcissist Supply more than once in my life now. I know what it feels like to genuinely give of yourself to others who would use your own compassion and trusting nature against you; it feels like someone is chipping away at your soul, like you too are in danger of becoming indifferent and cold. It’s a long path to forgiveness for me for these types of persons so the fact that you want to treat them and feel there’s actually hope for them to experience what empathy and genuine concern for others feels like, is to be commended, not maligned.

    Thank you and keep you the good work!

  36. So is it safe to say that narcissist develop codependent relationships?

    • Yes, they do. “Co-” means a having a partner, a duality. Both people in the relationship are co-dependent but for different needs. And the things with narcissists is that they are never, and I do mean never, going to be able to do without that supply or admit their co-dependency so it has to be the other dependent person who seeks treatment and has to get out of the relationship or risk losing themself.

  37. nice article–am now understanding why my mother can not worship the true God Jehovah…its because she won’t stop worshipping her narcissistic self absorbed self– People like this who were self absorbed were swept away in Noah’s flood because they took no note of reality and were preoccupied with selfish pursuits and merriments–

  38. i disagree with the disgusted comment–i didn’t understand the attack on the truth about the reality of narcissistic traits in defense of them? It makes me wonder if the author of the comment is a narcissist defending his/her own tactics. I didn’t think the author of the article needed to be provoked and defend the article or justify it as if it was a personal attack, I kinda lost respect for the supposedly professional response to it?…but we are all imperfect humans and react to defend our ego?
    Anyway I did enjoy the coverage of the article–It was very interesting

  39. i just broke up with that kind of gentleman. with 3 divorces and so many weepings, he seemed at first as God’s designed lamb. once toegther, he never had money enough despite his one million plus villa. i ended up by paying even his son’s school.feeling bitter and angry at myself i still wonder at that kind of individuals who demand their place under the sun at the expense of others; i am also sorry that psychology dedicate the time to analyse what is so simly called egotism, egoism or whatever. forget the parents! dont give them alibis! the scavengers of our planet do not need Freud!

    • Soledad,

      We need Freud in the sense that to understand and eventually cure many of our issues we have to deal with the past. For example, finding original events where a person was traumatized and picked up limiting beliefs and negative emotions is the place to go to reframe and release the hold those have on us. I know that we have Cognitive Behaviorists that don’t believe that. My experience with the latter approach of only dealing with the present is that you end up treating only symptoms and not causes.

      Best regards,

      Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
      http://www.DrSam.tv

      • Freudian philosophy in conjunction with Cognitive Therapy is a powerful set of tools to have in the mental toolbox and can help repair a multitude of mental imbalances.

        I’ll personally be glad when the various schools of thought get over the “silver bullet” syndrome and learn to sing in harmony so we can all evolve a bit healthier.

        But the menage a trois psychiatry has started with that Narcissistic devil, BigPharma, and its brainwashed companion, the FDA, does not bode well for any of us. After all, as a species we’re several eons into the search for the religious silver bullet so mental health will have to wait in a VERY long line.

        There is no theory of everything.

  40. What do you do when you can’t avoid them? When it’s your mother and you still need her support as a college student? Her manipulation goes as far as limiting my resources and forcing me into submission.

  41. It’s taken me 37 years of my life being married to and divorced from the same narcissist 3 times to learn how dangerous they can be to your psyche. It’s not a brain disorder like Bipolar or schizophrenia, it’s a personality disorder, meaning you there’s no medical treatment like prozac or lithium. Further, these people are unable to experience feelings, so what makes us think they’d have the capacity to search their own soul and see they had a problem so they could get help?

    It didn’t help that I’m Bipolar I with psychotic features, and I finally realized I can never become stable again until I’m away from the constant, passive-aggressive abuse. All the hard work, therapy, medications, etc. are worthless when you open your eyes every morning to someone standing over you screaming about something you did wrong, or didn’t do, even if it was 20 years ago; when you break an ankle and they say “just walk around on it a couple of days, it’ll get better,” and refuse to drive you to the ER; or refuse to say anything in couples counseling besides “I’m confused,” even when asked what they’re confused about – until you confront them and they look you in the eye with a smug sneer and say “I have no respect for you, you haven’t earned it – until you do, I have no intention of trying.” When you spend weeks working to make their 60th birthday special because their mother never ever had a party for them (it’s just another day!), cooking an elaborate meal with wine, champagne, candles, flaming dessert; staging the dining room like a French bistro and even dressing in character; and search the internet for months to locate a gift of something they’ve wanted all your married life. But on yours, they insult and vilify you all day then take you out for a nice dinner, but continue the abuse all the way there and back in the car, and when you decide to ignore it and enjoy your dinner and have a nice time, they won’t look at you or respond to any attempt you make at conversation as if you weren’t there. But they’re a hero because they took you out, you’re an ingrate for complaining (and they’re the victim). And it gets worse with time, the verbal abuse gets peppered with physical threats, beating the dog, hitting you with the refrigerator door “accidentally” and coincidentally stepping in front of you to use the sink while you’re standing there – I could go on and on, but this is exactly what I mean. And if you complain, everyone, even your family and kids take their part because THEY’RE the victim having spent their life putting up with YOU. You’re “twisting” everything around; you should just “suck it up;” it’s better than growing “old and ugly” alone. You have it so good; a nice house, someone to pay the bills, you can’t make it on your own, etc. And when I finally got some support from a domestic violence hotline, joined a group of women who shared the same story, and actually believed me, I hardened my resolve to leave and found a place to go. But packing up, now I feel horrible and guilty; they’ll be all alone, I feel bad because they’ll be lonely and sad and I’m hurting them, we’ve been together since teenagers, etc. It’s like they inject you with a slow-acting poison that you can’t get out of your system, you have to go through withdrawals, but even one drop again and you’re completely hooked again – I should leave the country and would if I had the resources, never to be seen or heard from again. Not like anyone cares. This is what being involved with a narcissist does to you. I used to be a professional, educated, smart, attractive, successful – now I’m beaten – unemployed, sick and weak, 93 pounds of skin and bone, heart problems, rapid cycling for the past 2-1/2 years non-stop. A nightmare.

  42. Anna. We are the same age and I can identify with you. A narcissist is a dangerous person but we can feel tremendously sorry for him. That is because we are not one! He will never – I repeat – never – feel sorry for you. I have done so much research on this and it has helped but it is a long road and agonizing! Humans have to feel empathy for the survival of our species. Without it we are doomed. A narcissist can be pitied because he is not truly human. Be brave and escape so you can breathe. I know a lot of people can take their side and you take the blame. This can be devastating. But remember. You know best. There are so many nice people out there. And you can be cured. He can’t – especially by you because you have been a big source of supply and he will never look on you as being anything else even after you cease to be one. I went down to almost what you have but am rising up again. I never thought I could but death is the alternative and who wants that! Especially for such a monster. Think about it. Your life is much more important than to you than the narcissist in your life. You only get one life and you are very lucky if you only get one narcissist in your life. They are – unfortunately – pretty common

  43. This is only my belief and I may be wrong but I think if a narcissist has proclaimed himself cured then he was never a true narcissist. If there was a chink there somewhere that let the light in then he could not have been. I believe a true narcissist has no chinks – no openings. It is a closed personality with no possible avenue that another can penetrate. If it happened that a true narcissist let this guard down for even an instant he would probably die of terror or go insane but he would not be cured. He would preferably sink back again before any revelation was experienced anyway. If you feel you have been cured think yourself so lucky that you were not a true narcissist but just someone with a severe disorder who had some cracks somewhere to let the light in. A true narcissist, I believe, has not the slightest crack. Their world is a dark place TOTALLY contained within. If they could be cured then there would be no such thing as TRUE narcissism. I would welcome others opinion on this – especially those who may have felt they have cured one! Jan

  44. If you come in contact with someone who has been in an extreme narcissist relationship give that unfortunate person as much empathy compassion and love as you can muster. They have given this out in extreme dozes and have emtied their hearts in frustrated attempts to help another to find and return love. They are not suffering from self pity or going mad. They may not be even suffering from depression – although it resembles that. That is why anti- depressants do not always help but may even hinder recovery. Help this person to make them aware of the extent of their ex (hopefully) partner’s narcissism traits and how it has affected them and how it will affect their recovery. This knowledge can be the way to get over it.Let them explore the hurts and insults and abuse and send all that blame back where it belongs. This is a case of NOT TAKING ANY BLAME! It is not a two way thing. The narcissist is to blame intirely. He or she will not ever accept it so there will not be any remorse so you can blame all you like and feel FREE perfectly legitimatly! Jan

  45. Well I’ve been wondering for some time now what exactly is the issue with my boss…. She has everyone at work convinced she is the nicest person, but she’s had this crush on me and I’ve seen a side of her that completely made me question how i was so blind in the first place… She would constantly try and plant thoughts in my head about how my boyfriend was horrible and I should be treated like a princess… and luckily for me I don’t fall for bs that often and constantly making comments about how happy she was when we were working together or if we had a long drive to one of the stores. It made me uncomfortable but didn’t say anything. I kind of felt bad for her in a way cause she seemed naive and trusting and got stomped on a lot by both supervisors and subordinates so I always tried to help her cause up to this point it would always seem she was bending over backwards to help someone out and was a good person that just wanted to do good for every. WOW I had no clue what I had gotten myself into by trying to be there for her and to try and find a way to help her stand up for herself, since she didn’t really have any friends through work and her home life sounded awful and her significant other constantly guilt tripping her into staying in a horrible situation. Well all I guess I can really say is they prey on those with good intentions, try and drive a wedge between the person of interest and every single person in their life. They try make you think that you are a role model to them cause you are trying to help them learn to be stronger and not take abuse from others while in the mean time they are trying to seduce your boyfriend so the blame can be pushed on him taking advantage of her insecurity. In actuality he just wanted to say a nice thing to try and boost her confidence. Next thing I know, she’s saying she is such a bad friend for falling for his BS and bashing him again and saying I’m worth so much more than him looking elsewhere when the person he is with is so great. This makes me so uncomfortable. She knows I’m straight and is on this mission to make me see how we should be together… Anytime she starts to feel like I’m on to her manipulation she throws comments such as “well, I really hope if something bad happened and we weren’t friends anymore, it wouldn’t interfere with you being able to work under me” then basically a comment like how I’m so wonderful she doesn’t know what she would do with out me in her life. I’m not stupid. I know that is “leave me and I’ll make work hell for you til I fire you” she comes on even stronger, still getting denied. Then its why don’t I mean as much to you as you mean to me. So I’m conflicted dying to tell her to grow up cause she’s a decade older than I am and she’s very immature for her age. I then think about bad economy, no job market. Say something nice so you don’t lose your job.

    Sorry for the Novel,
    If this sounds like anything happening to you… RUN… It gets really annoying… and was completely confused as to why i was appalled when she said there is nothing wrong with circling an ex’s house or neighborhood or logging on to their or mutual friends social site to stalk them… She’s very well liked at work. Only manipulating 1 subordinate at a time so they appear crazy and she has her other employees will back her 100%. people view her as very professional and find them wanting to work even harder… I never realized the uncaring, fake, self centered, vengeful monster hiding inside the caring, selfless, naive, supportive boss we all wanted to be our best for.

    • You are exactly right, once you blow their cover or don’t go along with them they will retaliate with a vengeance, I was fired when I ended the relationship with my superior. He threatened me that it would happen if I didn’t stay with him. He was true to his word. Six months later he married someone from his past. I am suing for the loss of my job. He has received a promotion. How fair is that? He has them all fooled. No job was worth the abusive treatment .

  46. I am a survivor of a narssasist, 24 years with one and I had no clue, that is till I was an empty shell, if a bus was coming towards me I wouldn’t of had the energy to get out of its way, or even wanted to get out of its way. The last 3 years being the absolute worst cruelty and demeaning degrading behaviour from him, no sex, he didn’t speak to me, grunted abuse, I was ugly, fat, crazy, I finally snapped, told him I wasn’t going to enable his crazy shit anymore, and 24 years of being together stopped in that instant. Its been 5 months, the first 3 I was in shock denial didn’t eat, sleep was hospitalised, it was like our relationship actually never happened? Was the most bizzarest feeling. By the 4th month I started feeling better and desperately wanted him and my life back, thought cos I was stronger again I could go back and do what I’d been doing, which was basically waiting and watching for what sort of mood he was in, of stroking his ego, building him up,course I was totally brainwashed, I know that now. I have run into him a few times and he makes out he doesn’t know who I am or why the hell this strange woman has approached him, he has even called the police. Thank god I know what I know about these sick sick individuals.

    • Neene, my story exactly…..its like 25 years of your life didn’t exist….so so strange…..the more you research this illness the more you realise that most narcissist are almost a clone of each other in many of thei behaviours……I believe the major conflicts in the history of the world were caused by people with NPD…..and make no mistake anyone who is unfortunate enough to be involved with one is in the battle of their lives…

  47. Appreciate this long discussion thread very much, Dr. and posters. Have just been abruptly dumped by what I now realize is a major, or perhaps extreme, narcissist. Grateful that the relationship was only an intense few months,rather than years. But am still reeling, and will need much time to recover. Spent hours on end focusing on this person, falsely believing my naturally giving, compassionate nature (which he seemed so delighted with) might “cure” him, and that my strong love could help heal his severe past hurts. My role as saint & rescuer was my undoing! Yet when I recently caught him in a compromising situation and uncovered what he didn’t wish me to discover, he immediately cut off all communications. My use to him was over. Where did that sweet, charming, wounded little boy-man go? To my shock, he became a cold-hearted withholder, and a hostile controller. So all these discussions have really helped me see the fault is not so much mine as he would have me think, but more from his own illness and shortcomings. This realization will help me recover with some self-esteem still intact. Whew. And no going back, no matter how tempted I might be, IF he should ever again try to contact me. Thanks to all.

  48. Wow. Thank you all. “the more you research this illness the more you realise that most narcissist are almost a clone of each other in many of thei behaviours” … SO TRUE. I’m speechless because prior to reading this, I would never have labeled her as a narcissist (as I previously understood it to be defined) I respect and understand the desires to shun them, and at the same time, I personally don’t agree with it in entirety. If we always shun those who are wounded, what does that say for our own morals? I’m not saying I can be her ‘savior’ nor do I wish to be so, however, if she were to reach out to me and show some sort of remorse, I would not turn her away. Although, after reading all of your comments, I am coming to the realization that remorse will likely never happen. She has currently cut off all communication with me. And strangely, I always had a sense that she was in love with someone from her past that I would never measure up to… I had no idea this is a common occurence. Since my college days, Gandhi has been my inspiration for how I want to live and in drawing upon that I find strength to keep showing love while being aware of the patterns which this article and your comments have brought to light. I can’t thank you enough. Go forward in love and be well.

  49. Carl Jung used to say that ‘Neurosis is a substitute for genuine suffering’. Narcissist in that case really suffers, it’s not made up or pretended, it’s just that they don’t always realise that it’s because of the injured ego and lack of emotional stability. On the surface it looks like they are using people, but actually all those actions are just expression of the suffering inside, a mean and hurtful expression but the suffering is genuine. It doesn’t excuse them but it explains a lot. That’s of course my humble opinion, I have worked with it in therapy and with EFT for a while and noticed that as the levels of suffering subside and are integrated the levels of narcissism are also decreasing. Of course it requires openness and ability to reflect on one’s actions.

    • huh. good quote from Jung that I had forgotten–if I ever knew it. thanks for a thought provoking comment to mull over with my morning coffee.

  50. This describes a severe, even psychotic form of narcissism. Being narcissistic comes in degrees; everyone in our culture has some narcissism.

    True narcissists are more needy of love than “normal” people. They are also guarded emotionally, insecure — this makes them seem overly self absorbed. The ol’ two edge sword.

    I know an incurable narcissist, not pleasant to be around. She will never find the love she desperately seeks — her father died when she was a child. She deserves compassion if not affection.

    I know another narcissist who is fascinating and funny, but a volatile insecurity. A difficult friendship, but incredibly rewarding.

    So, perhaps, instead of scorning them for being “brats”, perhaps try to appreciate them for being so tragically — human.

    • @Dwee… though speaking as one with no small experience with Narcissists… including parents, siblings, recognizing my own narcissistic traits, and even ending up being married to a clinically diagnosed NPD… I still struggle with finding more humane & compassionate ways of dealing with these kinda folks, who IMO are actually all too common in modern culture.
      So it would be interesting to hear any “tips” that still allow you to maintain some sort of presumably healthy relationship and boundaries with them. Although I sometimes fear that those of us still struggling with “boundary issues” of our own, might not always be the best candidates for “managing” any sort of relationship with a narcissist (…lol)!

  51. I read the article, which I found good and then all of these comments. I too found myself wondering if the very negative comments were narcissists as well mostly because I know this article will piss off a narcissist. Both of my parents wouldn’t even have read to the end this article because it’s just impossible for them to believe “this kind of person” exists OR they could comment about others in their lives who are Narcissists.

    I am 57 and my parents are 80. their marriage is constant bickering because each always has to be right. My mother is overly sickening sweet to the others in her complex so that others will love her and she can imagine all the good comments being made about her. She has a lifetime of lost friendships. She interjects herself into all her friends issues and loves to gossip. She knows she is always right in any argument and can’t imagine why people break off friendships with her and makes it all their issue. You can’t disagree with her ever. ever. Her narcissism really blossomed after my dad became a man who was always on a stage.

    My dad used to have a career where he was up on stage which just fed his ego more and more. At this point and at the age of 80 he is a very frustrating individual. If he is talking everyone else in the room has to shut up and listen to him only. He will not speak until he has the attention of everyone and will call down people who are having any kind of side conversation by staring at them until they stop speaking and listen to him like they are children and he is the only one in the room worth listening to. Like he is THEIR parent who deserves all the respect. there is a fine line between egotist and narcissist but by definition he is definitely an extreme narcissist. I have barely touched the surface with my parents.

    a friend has a narcissist dad as well and this is the perfect example of narcissist behavior I think. It was his wife’s 80th bday and he was asked to give a toast. In his toast he never ever mentioned his wife at all, his only comments were about himself. How HIS bday was in a few months and about HIS book he just wrote. Can you imagine? THAT is the extremes Dr. Sam was talking about. NOT pitiful human beings who deserve our sympathy but people who do not have a stitch of empathy in their bones.

    People whose entire lives focus on themselves only. even people who seem to give items all the time to buy love and attention. and then get to brag about how much good they do. My mom leaves candy outside her apartment for people so that people will tell her how kind she is. for the rest of us who don’t live there like her sister and her daughters, she gets to brag about how kind she is to the tenants and how much they like her. People get taken in by her and I’m sure some here will see me as an ungrateful child. the same people who hated the article I am sure. Those of us who deal with extreme narcissists will understand how difficult it is. btw, the few examples I have given are only right now examples and mild compared to what my parents general lives are like and the number of friends they have gone thru.

    I thought the article was a good one. It validated what I go thru as the daughter of two extreme narcissists. Even to the point of being afraid to write this out because if my parents were to read it – I would probably be disowned. but I’ve been disowned before so…I have been disowned for disagreeing with them. a dangerous thing to do. My mom is nearly blind now from macular degeneration and my dad doesn’t do the internet or computers but there is still that fear that somehow they will find this.

    THAT is what narcissists do to people. We walk on eggshells around them. sadly I can’t walk away from my parents. or won’t. they are 80 and have needs that are real and what kind of a child would I be if I walked away at this time in their lives. My aunt (her sister) and my sisters always talk about how difficult they are. to the point where I get tired of hearing it. It is what it is and they are at the end of their lives. We have lived with their behavior most of our lives, why stop now when they are older and might shortly be widow/ers and really will need our assistance. time will tell if they ever find a way to humility.

    BTW, my mom was sexually abused as a child by my great uncle (who also abused me) but was spoiled rotten by her parents. She was an only child for the first 8 years of her life and treated like a queen even by her own admission. When my aunt was born she had to split the attention and I think she still is affected by that. She craves attention to this day. I don’t know why my dad became such a raving narcissist. I think being on stage and being president of many clubs lauded attention on him and he just grew to love it and crave it esp now that it’s gone.

    thanks for reading this. sorry it got so long. It’s nice to be validated for a change instead of blamed for being a “pathetic human being” as my dad has very hurtfully called me when I suffered a very serious back injury and a resultant depression.

    gosh they will NOW KNOW that this is about them. yikes. scary to hit submit! They still carry too much power over me sadly even tho I live 1200 miles away. If i don’t answer their phone calls I get hell for it. I can’t even explain how hard it is being their daughter.

    • You probably won’t see this two years after your comment, but – hire people to care for your parents. It’s a short life, as you know. These people aren’t “parents.” Free yourself from them. That is the best thing you can do for them, yourself, and your loved ones. Do not bother with guilt. Guilt is a useless emotion. You are justified in being an independent adult free of your parents. See to their care if you must and with help from the entire family, but free yourself.

      • Hear hear! Ensuring that their physical needs are cared for is enough. Stop putting yourself through YOUR need to personally care for them. You don’t need to feel guilt in this situation either.

    • Oh how my heart goes out to you. I believe my father was a narcissist and my sister is definitely one. We live in different countries. Both parents are gone now. I’ve been on the receiving end of this cycle of abuse all my life. I was researching sociopathy for a book I’m writing on criminal sociopaths and came across a passing reference to narcissistic behaviour that described my sister. Now I’ve found this article and what a revelation it is. Here’s a tiny example: when her child was ill, her response was ‘Why is this happening to me?’ If you take her to task over anything at all, she will twist the logic of the argument and attack until you are provoked and then she becomes the hurt party, and then it becomes all about how awful you are being to her. And she can be hurt on an Olympic scale. Then more vicious personal attacks follow. I made the mistake of telling her how low I was feeling last winter when I was going through a series of operations. We were discussing my concerns about my own family when she sent an email, completely out of the blue, telling me what a horrible mother and sister I am. It shattered me. My daughters assured me her accusations were not true. It was only recently that I discovered this is a tactic that a narcissist will use to make it all about them. She couldn’t bear that all my attention and concerns were with my own family at that time. I learned many years ago not to give her ammunition she could use to hurt me, but I slipped on this occasion. She’s now developed a scattergun approach, throwing insults that spray across all areas of my life until she hits a target: my relationship with my children (which is good, but she looks for cracks), my life’s ambitions, my broken marriages (surprise). I’m so very, very tired of it.

  52. How do you REALLY get out from a relationship with a narcissistic person? I am aware that the effects of such a relationship last longer and deeper in your general behavior, but I am still wondering which is the best approach with an extreme narcissistic partner, after you officially got out. Should I totally ignore him? (I fear this will turn him into an animal) Should I block every attempt of his to get in contact with me? (What if I miss his threat that something bad is going to happen to me in the next days, this keeping me off guard?). I am officially out, but I am tired of looking back over my shoulder and I would like to know which is the most efficient attitude I should have towards his harassment…thank you!

    • First and foremost, if you’re being threatened, stalked, or believe you are in physical danger from that person, go in person to your police department or call their non-emergency line and explain your situation. They will advise you on any possible next steps involving restraining orders or other actions.

      Next, do NOT communicate with that person. Though you might be afraid of the consequences, you must realize that every time you give your former partner *any* kind of attention or acknowledgement, for any reason, it is feeding his obsession and desire to own you. Narcissists do not recognize other individuals’ rights to live life undisturbed. He probably feels that you owe him, and he will pursue you in every weird way he can. He’s probably already tried using avenues of soliciting pity through illness or injury. When soliciting pity no longer works, he will solicit fear. If you give him your fear, you feed him, and he will not stop.

      The answer is to ignore everything coming from him. If he calls you, do not take the calls, but log them for evidence. If he writes you email or letters, collect and save them for evidence. Do NOT respond, not even to say “Stop contacting me.”

      Again, talk to the police. They’ll likely tell you to do the same thing regarding collecting evidence. If you’re serious about keeping this person out of your life, it begins with you not giving into fear and not giving in to the narcissist.

  53. Today, I found out at 55 years old what I have been living with. Narcissism. Realize today, my husband was raised the way you state and I continued to be his wife that way, but when I did not I would get beat up, verbal abuse, after 15 years we had a daughter and then he was jealous, and things got worse, then I left and for 2 years he stalked me I learned today, i should have left and never gave him anything, he ended up killing himself, but not before he told our 6 year old daughter, I told him too. Yes, I ended up raising her to be narscissist, I am to blame, and as she got older and her behavior reminded me of him, I drank, binge drinking. So now she is 30 and I am 55 never got into a another relationship because my #1 was her. She is 30 5 years ago i got sick and tired of being 6 and tired from her telling me things were the way they were because I drank she some pot everynight after work, she has been with the same man for 8 years, yes her puppy like I use to be, anyway, for 5 years I have not drank, we live 800 miles away, I can take so much then when I can’t she hates me and then the abuse follows, then the nice birthday card comes, then the abuse, then the nice mothers day comes, then the abuse. Now today she hates me really bad, she said I crossed the line because I said I noticed that her finance was changing in his behavior. Now I am dead to her.

  54. wow i hate to admit this but this article somewhat describes my personality…

  55. There are so many narcissistic people in the world that it’s hard to not be around them, or work for them!

    But isn’t saying that a person who has some misfortune, illness, etc is always RESPONSIBLE for what happens to them considered a narcissistic view as well? That’s what you hear in the new age movement – that we are the complete masters of our destiny. Wrong! (Tell that to a parent who had a child hit by a drunk driver – your child somehow ‘wanted’ it to happen)

    While some people who have obstacles in their lives are milking it for all its worth, there are people who genuinely are struggling – through no fault of their own and need support – not a holier than thou attitude like ‘boy, I’m glad I’m not that person, and I don’t want to hear their problems.’
    THAT attitude could be considered pretty self absorbed also.

    I know plenty of people who want you to hear their problems, but YOUR problems are ’emotionally draining.’
    I also know kids who were from ‘perfect families’ who now struggle with all kinds of emotional problems. Of course anyone who knew the family would say that the child was mixed up because how could the ‘perfect family’ have caused the problems?

  56. What if a narc just happens to be the father of your child? We split before our son was even born. He is now ten years old and has severe behavioral problems, some of which was caused by my lack of parenting skills. So sue me, I was a teenager, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing! Lol. I certainly didn’t have a clue what a narc even was at the time, but I sensed something was off about his dad, so I decided to break things off and focus on bettering myself as a person. I guess he wasn’t too keen on that idea and became a stalker immediately after our split, so I was forced to move out of state. Over the past ten years, I’ve been through alot, but I always tried being a good mother and for the most part, I’ve been doing a good job. Had a few slip UPS, but nothing major. My son had already had behavioral problems, and as minor as these slip UPS were, it still was enough to contribute even further to his behavior. So anyway, he started asking about his dad three months ago. Finally located his dad to see if he wanted to be in his Childs life because I figured after ten years you would think a person would be different…..better really. Right? WRONG! He only acted like he was ready to grow up and be a father to his son, but in actuality, it was all an act. He even said he was ready out loud! Over the course of two Weeks and a mere three visits (his dad was always making petty excuses for not even trying), I quickly learned he did not have any intention of being in his sons life. He just wanted me and used my son as an excuse to accomplish that. He thinks he is the perfect man without any flaws. He thinks he has authority over everyone, even law enforcement. He would brag non stop about how he had the best of everything, even money, which by the way, was NON EXISTENT. I wasn’t after money, I’m just saying. He made outrageous claims about how he was such a good person and how everything bad that happens to him is always someone elses fault somehow. He really believes everyone owes him something. He is delirious and he is downright disgusting. He is a compulsive liar and a con artist who cares only about himself and material things. Anyway, the third visit was by far the worst visit because I actually confronted him without sugar coating anything about his recent behavior. I was done being nice about it. To my knowledge, every single one of his exes had been brainwashed by him and did not dare stand up for themselves. I heard it through a credible grapevine. Apparently I am the only woman who he couldn’t push around or brainwash and he could not stand it. I don’t think he expected me to fight back, verbally. Once I fought back, he flipped out. I told him to go away and leave me and my son alone. He would try to bully me into doing what he wanted me to do. One minute he is calm and civil, and the next he was going into a fit of rage. Oh yeah, I forgot he was king of the world. My bad. And omg, the texting drove me crazy! I didn’t tell him, but I was sure thinking it. Fifty texts a day, none of which I replied to after I told him to get lost and get professional help. Text messages containing threats and insults were back to back to back. After he was done being a pompous idiot, two seconds later he was back to being his version of nice. Acting as if nothing ever occurred. Amnesia? I think not. Brain damage? Probably. Anyway, he continued to try and harass me about what a whore, stupid cunt, bitch I was. He was constantly telling me to watch my back because he has friends who are cops and he would have me arrested for not complying to his demands. Whatever dude. Lie after lie after lie! But the question now is why do narcissists, like him, brag about money or material things they supposedly have, send dumb pictures of stacks of money fanned out, say the other person effed up and is missing out on that money, say they are good parents who has the best things money can buy and then when their child needs something. Keyword NEED, they are somehow all of a sudden broke? Saying they can’t afford it right now. That they have to buy this and that before anything else they don’t even need! Uh okay, you can send pictures through texts of money, but you can’t take care of your child because you wanna look like a baller, so to speak? God forbid people know you are a below average person. I don’t know if anyone is interested, but would someone be willing to email me so I can let them read the texts this lunatic sends me at random times? I just need someone to talk to.

  57. i didn’t know the author knew my mother! Small world 😉

  58. You have described someone I used to know and it unfortunately took 12 years for me to break away. Everything you’ve described is to a T and I wish I knew this years ago and I would have gone the other direction! I was only 20 years old at the time and needed a lot of therapy to gain what this person striped from me. This person paid for daily ‘compliments’ phone calls through the telephone company. They were very manipulative, deceptive and sickeningly vein giving me reminders on how ‘lucky’ I was to have them in their life, but how mis-matched we were in looks. This person didn’t require sexual satisfaction with another human, as they were completely satisfied with them-self. We all need a certain amount of ‘self love’ but when someone has too much, it’s not possible for them to truly love another person… maybe their money, or something else they can extract!

  59. This is my mother. It was one ‘crisis’ after another. It also applies to the ex I’m finally free of. I spent a lot of time and energy on their various ‘problems’. The ex knew how to play her. When he finally GOT IT, that I was done, he started a smear campaign. He insinuated and told outright lies. She didn’t stand up for me. She took THAT ball and ran with it. Not REALLY much different from my childhood. I had children’s services at my door. She didn’t call them. She convinced a couple of my siblings. I had one nightmare after another and just when I thought it had settled, here she came again. They will definitely lie, twist words, what ever is needed, to get revenge. I rarely have contact with family now. I’ve grieved and I’m still grieving. I don’t look at family as those in my family tree anymore. Trust is gone and honestly, I have little respect for most of them. I have friends I trust.

    I watch now for certain signs. When someone ASKS me for help, I’ll start by listening. When someone EXPECTS me help them, solve their problems,etc… it’s not that hard to spot once you’ve lived with it. That’s the sign I look for first. The other is when they go out of their way to PROVE they’re in crisis. It’s ALL talk and nothing to back it up. As good as they are, sooner or later, there’s an inconsistency.

  60. Recently I’ve been struggling to help a new boy at my school make friends. He believes I am the only one who cares about him, even though I know at least a few people who do like him. From this article, I can’t tell if he’s really a bad narcissist or not, but he does have the vibe of not understanding how people feel (about him or otherwise). I want to help him. I don’t want to run away.
    I’m not one to abandon anyone for any reason. I realize some situations require one to break away, but I doubt this is an extreme case. It may just be regular teen angst. So for everyone out there with friends with issues, or to those who simply recognize lost souls, don’t ignore it. Be there for them. Don’t jump the gun fearing he or she is an extreme narcissist. It’s impossible to know until you get to know them. This world is drowning in sketpticism, but as long as we continue to believe in something, anything, greater than ourselves, we can stay afloat.

  61. Everything I read describes my sister-in-law to a tee. She has no empathy for anyone else, thinks her non-famous parents are very special, and milked a head injury her daughter had for sympathy. I agree that extreme narcissists should be avoided if possible. Just yesterday she responded to the question of are you better off than four years ago with a diatribe about how her engineer husband was laid off for a few months in 2008 but is working now. She was called self absorbed by another poster and came back defensively with the same old crap. Frankly my spouse was laid off too and she was cold as ice about that.
    She has been coexecutor of her parents will and seems to feel like her need to grieve is more important than all the money she is wasting keeping their condo. When my spouse expressed disappointment with her handling of things she hurled blame because we live far away and removed access to her incessant fb posts about the condo and her so so special father and mother.
    I think she would cheat, lie, or steal as long as she can justify it to her narcissistic self. She also plays social games on facebook by blocking folks she becomes angry at. Some people have accused her of talking behind their backs.
    Her daughter recently had a bike injury while riding without a helmet. Things were really dire, oh it will take a long time maybe nine months. Then after three weeks and new glasses for her daughter it seems like she was healed.
    We have decided to have limited contact and are much happier and healthier for it.
    If the draining sucking feeling you have after contact with extreme narcissists isn’t enough, this article should tell you what you need to do … stay clear of extreme narcissists.

  62. A comprehensive article and illuminating responses to writers.
    Once I had to work with – actually supervise – an extremely narcissistic person in a job that required sensitivity to others, and ability to work as part of a team. This individual caused massive disruption, demolished the “team” as different coworkers were played off one another, and engaged in at least 3 activities that were on the edge of legal behaviors and – oh yes, did cry when confronted about anything – because this blamed any difficulties on others. It was a one-person wrecking machine! Yes it’s an illness, but – when extreme – it is dangerous – and may not be one that can be safely handled in all settings.

  63. I have read almost all of the comments and have to take a breather before I read any more. It has been an emotional experience finally putting some sense to what happened to my life. I feel like I was a beautiful and intellegent girl who could have lived a much happier life with accomplishment had I not married a narcissist. I did want to make a comment since this personality disorder is such a destructive one. Alex you helped my understanding of the whole disorder with your quote from Jung “Neurosis is a substitute for genuine suffering’. I lived or tried to live with a narcissist for 24 years. I guess I always knew he was suffering and tried to help him at my own expense. Caring for him drained the life out of me. The reason Samuel the author of “Narcissists who Cry” advises you to get away is because a narcissist cannot be healed by a caring person. That caring person will be destroyed and the narcissist will destroy all he or she cares about too. We had two children, a nice home and on the surface everything appeared wonderful. No one knew the hell I was living. The subtle demeaning comments turned into physical abuse. For 24 years I endured his treatment and the treatment from his sister (another narcissist) and his Mother (another narcissist). After I caught myself thinking of suicide I again tried to heal the marriage through more counseling. The counselor called off the sessions and took me aside and said in good conscience he could not hold the sessions any longer because they were merely bashing sessions for my husbnd to ridicule me. I then started seeing the therapist secretly alone for 5 years until I became stong enough to file for divorce. I was annihilated in the divorce process, was given 24 hours to leave my home and lost primary custody of both of my children. That was 17 years ago. Now if you are reading this and trying to get out of a narcissitic relationship pay attention and think about what you might have to deal with eventually. I am alive and that is the triumph. I had a career for 15 years. I own my own home and it is paid for. My physical health has been restored. I saved myself from his prisoner of war camp. However, now comes that sad part, my daughter is a narcissist who will not talk to me and my son has a severe mental illnes and is totally disabled. Now you can understand why my psyeudonym is “Lives lost”. My X narcissistic husband has been married 3 times since I left him and he still calls me names, ruins my relationships with my kids and hangs up on me. So I spent a life time trying to help his suffering and he has continued to hurt me and the children I love so dearly. So run away backwards before more people get hurt beside yourself. I still pity him but regret he has caused more suffering to perpetuate by emotionally harming his own children. Let Jesus fix these people. We are only human. I am glad to see there are so many kind people who commented but this disorder cannot be cured unless the narcissist wants it to be cured. They don’t know any different. They do not want to admit anything. They are in their own delusional world and cannot see themselves. Even an empty life and repeated losses does not teach them anything. They are just another life that will be lost.

  64. I wish it was so easy to just avoid them and be done with it. Unfortunately my dad is exactly this type of narcissist, and my mom and me are looking to move out ASAP. He’s become impossible to live with, since we no longer provide him with his much needed narcissistic supply. I especially worry about the emotional toll it has taken on my mom, with his emotional, and verbal abuse, and refusal to take responsibility for anything. I’ve been reading up on this disorder recently, and it’s just nice to see that we’re not the only ones in this situation. If there’s anyone else out there who has to live with a narcissist, just know that it’s no use trying to ever be good enough for them, and that no matter what they say, don’t let them convince you that you are the source of their misery! If they don’t want to accept that you are a human being with emotional needs of your own, it doesn’t make you a bad person just because you don’t always blindly take “their side”. I still love my dad, and accept him, but I don’t let him manipulate me into feeling bad for him anymore. I only hope that someday he realizes he needs to take responsibility for the decisions he makes in life, and how he treats others.

  65. Dr phil is close here but there are some
    Problems…the examples aren’t really clear…

    Jealousy and a demand for wordly things causes the dominant type to be narcissistic…a demand for prestige, money and romance.
    This is the type that usually slanders – the dominant type.

    The dependent type is the other. The dependent is the immature clingy helpless type who Neve grows up unless they recover.

    Dominant vs dependent.l, as outlined in AAs 12&12.

    Everyone has some of this in them, and everyone can have both types.

    Can you see it in yourSELF is the question. Do you have the awareness is the question.

  66. BTW, where is the Solution?

  67. Narcissists will perpetually prove to be the “black holes” of ego. Easily one of the most untreatable personality disorders. They employ such pervasive defense mechanisms so as to split from their painful realities. So well-honed are they at creating this suspension of disbelief that the narcissist only appears to function in an alternate “me-focused” universe.

    Pertinent to a narcissist in relationship, is inevitably a good old-fashioned codependent ….. someone who the narcissist grooms to systematically feed his ego. Of course, the void can never be filled in the narcissist and the devastation unfolds in relationship after relationship, ad infinitum.

    Sarah Zipfel

    “…..By most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.”-(Jeffrey Kluger)

  68. This sounds like my mother and elder brother. They both play the victim game and expect everyone to pity them and thus favour them over anyone. Funny, because i was diagnosed as BPD. Which poses the question, are borderlines created by narcissists?

  69. This is my father described to the “T”. I have an extremely difficult relationship with him after taking a stand of my own life. I have become the black sheep of the family. Unfortunately, the rest of my family still caters to him because they feel guilty or just don’t want to hear him complain; as there are always consequences when you don’t comply to his wants.

    Life was always difficult for me living with my father alone, and I was subjected to years of emotional abuse. At least I can now protect my own children, and give them a better life than I endured.

    For those who suffer at the hands of a narcissist, be strong!

  70. It has taken me 60 years to figure out that my mother is a narcissist. She is what i have learned is a covert narcissist. My father was emotionally unavailable. I am wounded and handicapped from a life time of emotional abuse being raised in this family and ostracized by narcissistic mother and siblings. It turns out that my siblings are narcissistic and the golden child boy is, i believe, actually, a sociopath. The whole scenario is just unraveling now and every day i learn more. I am finally able to see where my persistent low self esteem comes from. Why i have been bullied at work and why i have only been attracted to narcissistic or emotionally unavailable men. I am an open, caring empathetic person . . . .i have been unable to see that other people are not like me and this is why i have been taken advantage of ALL THE TIME. This understanding that i have gained in the past few weeks is putting the pieces of the puzzle together for the first time in my life. Providing me with the answers that make perfect sense where nothing else ever has in my life long search for what is wrong with me. I am intelligent, i am determined, i am persistent . . .i could not explain all my failures, i could not explain why i have been scapegoated by my own family and finally completely ostracized. Of course i am not healed. I still tend to blame myself fist, for everything, So when i read this article i think maybe i am that “oh poor me” kind of narcissist. I think i will have to make an appointment with the Dr. . . .well that all by itself is something a narcissist woudnt do . . .right?

  71. I read the article on Narcissistic personalities a few weeks ago and realised that my first marriage had been to a man with these personality traits. I then turned to reading more from books and now feel as if a blanket has been lifted from my head 50 years later. For 50+ years, I blamed myself for the situation I put my children through. I had low self-esteem and got caught in a Narcissist’s web. My advice to anyone who finds this web-site is look closely before forming a relationship if you see “red flags”. Once you have children, you are tied to this person for the rest of your life to some degree. If you do get out alive – you will certainly not get out unscathed – nor will your children.

  72. I vouch for the described behaviour having experienced over 44 years of living with what I’ve finally been able to label as an extreme narcissist, our entire family were severely damaged by his twisted expressions of his psychological disfunction, we all at some point tried to make excuses for him, but until I learned about NPD, I had thought he had Borderline Personality Disorder, needless to say that was an incomplete diagnosis! We have experienced sexual, psychological, physical and spiritual abuse at his hands.I personally have experienced his best efforts at narcissistic revenge and my only personal solution was to get out as the provocation had got to the point that I could no longer live with him and be the human I want to be. My mother got to that point almost three years ago and when she got ill she used it as an escape, a way out of a nasty situation that had worn her down that final time too many. She’s no longer with us and we have been unable to properly grieve her passing as we are fully aware she gave into the illness to escape the abusive husband. Everyone deserves some measure of compassion, even extreme narcissists, but until THEY acknowledge their real problems and earnestly seek healing for themselves IMHO they are not fit to be lived with, and should never be put in any position of authority!

  73. Well, I just had to comment that the little red monster in the Luv Me t-shirt looks very familiar. I got quite a chuckle when I really needed it. Thank You doc!

    This article isn’t about you and your pain, dear monster. It’s for us non’s who are struggling to cope with you little red monster types and your constant, demanding neediness. It is a great burden on us emotionally and physically to cater to this personality type.

    When you get sick, the little red monster is sick too, even much more sicker than you are. If you have a cold, they have pneumonia. If the little red monster gets gas, we have to go to the ER because he thinks he is having a heart attack.

    If you go to the hospital (even to have a baby) they don’t care. In fact I would dare say they are jealous of the attention a new mother gets at the hospital. The first child, he picked a scream fight with me on the way home from the hospital. The second child, he dropped me off like a sack of potatoes and went back to his shop and then attended a meeting. The third child, he was doped up on pain meds because he’d rather be with his girlfriend on the side than see his new baby and his wife.

    On the other side of the coin, when he got sick the whole world had to come to an abrupt halt. The “moaning” is quite accurate to describe the little red monster. I feel sorry for caregivers that have to tend to them. One time, a nurse actually commented out loud about this behavior, and it ticked off the little red monster so he made himself throw up to prove how sick he was. He will throw up violently and make a mess of the whole room to make sure he gets noticed. He’s really quite talented.

    Again, thanks for this article.

  74. Thanks for this great article. I have been wondering for quite some time now why my narcissistic ex dumped me. Because of all the manipulation, I actually started to think it was my fault. After reading this article I realized that he didn’t want me anymore because after he admitted all his lies and played victim of parents who didn’t love him, I only offered him good advice most of the time and refuse to agree with his attitude of sulking about something that happened when he was a kid. So he saw that as retaliation because I stopped reacting the way he wanted me to. I remember one of the last things he said to me was “love is not enough”. Because in his twisted mind, love is defined by me waiting on him all the time and being at his beck and call. Still it hurts to have been dumped but I know someday I will be thankful I didnt marry him. (Was going to meet my parents to tell them we are getting married)

  75. The invisible narcissists are called inverted narcissists, these people make people into narcissists. Entire society is constructed by narcissists, even the president is narcissist, and the biggest narcissist is the author of this blog.

  76. I think this article makes good observations. However, I think using the term “extreme narcissist” is redundant. Narcissism is a disorder and is extreme by its nature. The idea of “healthy narcissism” is an abuse of the word narcissism. I can understand “healthy self-esteem,” but I think psychologists are making a mistake by conflating narcissism with anything healthy.

  77. This article gave me the term “crying narcissistic” that so aptly describes my mother. She is the victim/martyr who has played with people’s emotions as far back as I can remember. I’ll just mention the attention-getting hysterical outbursts that came out of the blue and the verbal attacks when one dared to voice their own opinion. The rest? Too numerous to list. My father was rarely at home, preferring to work instead. When he did come home, he dealt with her as little as possible. I can’t tell you how many fights THAT started.
    The minute she walked out of the house, she was a different person. Friends and neighbors thought she was the greatest, warm, compassionate and giving.

    I married a wealthy, respected man who is actually much like her. When I filed for divorce after his 3rd affair(that I knew of), my mother became enraged. She told me I was a failure, I was selfish and a liar as well. Why, there was no way that man would cheat and if he was, it was because I was a lousy wife, she declared.

    I learned she was spending a lot of time talking to my ex, who was more than happy to spread the word that my family saw me as a loser. Two peas in a pod feeding off each other.

    She told everyone she was doing all she could to help me during this tough time. The spin she could put on anything was simply incredible. In reality, she was brutally critical of everything I did and made regular phone calls and visits just to tell me so.

    It was during all of this that I had a moment of clarity. A BIG moment. I saw her behavioral patterns. I saw her manipulation. And then I told her what I saw.

    And that’s when the fight REALLY started. She was enraged, completely.

    I come from a large family who had remained pretty much neutral up until this point. But that changed when twisted lies came out of her mouth and her pity seeking behavior had my family believing I was unstable, selfish, didn’t care about my children and on and on. She was so “hurt” I wouldn’t allow her to help me. My confronting her with the truth was twisted into me unfairly and viciously attacking her. And she just knew I was doing drugs; this could be the only explanation for my behavior, which meant I would turn to stealing eventually, even from them. Never mind that I’ve never touched drugs or stolen in my life.
    Propaganda is repeating the same thing over and over until a lie is seen as truth, manipulating emotions along the way. She did it well.

    She put my new ex-husband and the last woman I caught him cheating with on the guest list for family functions because, according to her, my now ex-husband was still part of the family. So,it was only “right” that they accept his girl friend.
    But she didn’t quit there. She manipulated my children as well. And they believed her because, after all, grandma would never lie, right?? Right…..

    ALL OF THIS BECAUSE I QUIT PLAYING HER GAMES. When others speak about the revenge of a narcissist, I know it well. They are never to be underestimated.

    For 20 years, I was ostracized by my family. Communication was sporadic at best. It was my father who would contact me. He knew. He got it. It was understood no one else would ever know about those calls.
    Those years were more painful at times than I can describe. I created a new life because I had to. Counseling was my new best friend. At first, all I could do was grieve. I started to heal, a bit at a time. I learned I wasn’t such a flawed human being after all. Eventually, I set boundaries I still live by today.

    Just recently, I’ve reconnected with my entire family because they now see what I saw before. Everyone single one has been on the receiving end of her wrath at least once. My relationships with them, as well as my children, are healing slowly, one day at a time.

    I see my mother now and then at a family functions. She is “campaigning”, as I call it, trying to woo me back into her games. I don’t respond to that. I’m polite, but distant. She plays the “I’m an old lady” angle, or tries to. She wants to know all about my personal life. I tell her nothing. I only speak of very impersonal things with her. I get nasty looks when she thinks I’m not looking because I refuse to play. She has never apologized for her behavior. I don’t expect one. Because the family sees the truth, another smear campaign isn’t likely.

    My mother taught me everything I did NOT want to be. I’ll give her that.
    I’ve yet to regret confronting her. I doubt I ever will.

    • I am also going through a smear campaign right now because of my ex-husband to be. I read all you wrote and it broke my heart for you. I know how I feel with him doing this to me but I am the type of person that trusts my friends and family to know me well enough to also know what is truth and lies. I am so sorry this was done to you by your own mother and that your family turned on you. That had to be horrible. God bless you for being strong enough to deal with it all. I am lucky that I have my children and grandchildren and my healing process started as soon as I walked out. It was my 6th time of leaving and my final one. I wish you love and happiness in your life now.

  78. I am currently separated and in the middle of a divorce after 12 years of marriage to an extreme narcissist. I have been to hell and back. Words cannot explain. I cannot explain how or why I stayed as long as I did. I was an enabler to him. I allowed myself to be beaten down emotionally, verbally and mentally. I finally chose to leave when I no longer had any feelings at all left other than pity. And I was and still am very close to hate. In fact there is much hate now. I left when he decided to add me into his suicide threats. He had nothing to lose by killing me first. I listened to his threats of suicide for 12 years every time he was not getting his way or getting what he wanted. I was cheated on, drugged (he put acid in my diet coke – to make me happy). I was blamed for everything that he has done wrong and that has gone wrong since we met. I was told how I never have done anything for him. Blah, blah, blah. Now I am finally away from him and it will take years of therapy before I allow myself to be happy again. I let him break my spirit. Something no one else has ever attempted or been able to do. I allowed him to do it. I could write a book. I could tell you stories that would terrify you. But instead I am just thanking God every day of my life for giving me the strength to get away from the man whose family warned me not to marry him. So I give no sympathy to any narcissist as some of the comments seem to believe should be done. Sympathy only gives a narcissist more ammunition to betray, battle and ruin other peoples lives.

    • First, congrats on getting away! It’s a hard step to take, but it’s the most important. And sometimes it takes more than one try. But you did it!
      I can’t help but wonder if his smear campaign is his way of trying to guilt you into coming back around or, at the very least, making sure your life is miserable. Since you’re still gone, clearly it’s not working. It didn’t work for my mother or my ex either.

      When what a person says interferes with the narcissist’s “reality”, the back lash is vicious.
      Smear campaigns don’t happen unless someone is willing to listen to the garbage and pass it on. It took me awhile to figure out who was listening to my mother/ex and who wasn’t. But it sounds to me like you have a good grasp on who is supporting you. That’s good and I’m happy for you!
      I learned the hard way that explaining my reasons for the divorce and the effects of his cheating on me was twisted and turned against me. I wasted endless amounts of energy and oxygen on this. I learned to shut up, completely, with the help of a good counselor.

      I understand when you talk about the hate and/or anger. Today,I realize that anger was actually a motivator for me in the beginning. Honestly, I don’t know if I was being strong or just plain bull-headed. :) I just knew that there were certain things I could not, and would not, allow in my life any longer. As for sympathy, that’s the elixir of the narcissist’s life. And I don’t give it to them. I’ve learned how to spot one very quickly. And they know it too. And about that book, I understand very well when you say you could write one!

      What happened in my case devastated me. But, and this is a HUGE but, the longer I was away from my ex and my mother, the more I discovered ME. And I found out I wasn’t such a bad person after all. I’m hardly perfect, but as one person told me, “perfect is boring”. Should I have had to lose so much in order to gain this self-knowledge? No. But it also is what it is and life is so much better these days. :)
      Best of luck to you!

  79. I am concerned because this article is meant to be educating from a reliable psychologically based understanding. However, it is full of bias an innuendo. This article had an agenda. It was to encourage narcissisim and ego-centrism by villifying the poor and under-priviledged–even refugees–wow! If I did not know better I would think the queen of the narcissists, Ayn Rand herself, wrote this. It has no place in psychology. It is unsound and really, it is very unkind and full of hate. The narcisissists of the world tend to be the very wealthy and they are drawn to power. They may play the victim subtly, by writing articles saying they are being victimized by those who are suffering, they just can’t do enough for these people, they are guilting me, so to speak–and draw attention to themselves in various ways. Your true colors are showing and they are frightening.

    • The narcisissists of the world tend to be the very wealthy and they are drawn to power.

      You’ve completely misread this article. This article is not about wealthy vs. the poor. It’s not about money at all. Narcissism is not a rich man’s personality disorder. It crosses every societal line and affects people regardless of the bottom line in their checkbook.
      This article is about the narcissists who emotionally manipulate others into believing they, the narcissist, is the victim and/or martyr. All to get the attention they crave. That attention feeds the narcissist’s ego and those who give it to them are “supplying the narcissist”. A narcissist will lie, cheat, vilify the innocent and worse in order to be the center of attention. The write of this article isn’t vilifying the poverty stricken at all.
      SMH.

  80. I agree with some others that this article is written with contempt. And I can say that, because in reading it I felt all the contempt I have for my mother expressed in its words.
    I only wish that it was so simple and I could just cut her out of my life. But I am a caring, loving person and she is like a wounded child who has no ability for self reflection. She is now 78, wheelchair bound, and I am her sole caregiver.
    It just saddens me how much hate, anger and love I have for her. And how I wish she could change her ways for her own benefit, not even mine.
    So I read this article and completely agree with it, but at the same time know it is damaging. If you can get away from these people you absolutely should. But some of them you are tied to for life. And despite all their negative traits, there are little windows of time when for a second, they can be there as a normal human being. For a second.
    So this article does justify all my anger, but does nothing to help me understand how to humanely deal with this type of person.

  81. I just dumped a male friend i knew on the internet and facebook`this heartless Jerk had me beleavin he cared`he’s now making youtibe vidios of himshelf wearing dark sunglasses and telling the world he was the first to ever expose mortgage fraud since the 1970s he told mr lies that were so wierd and crazy it was scary`his ex wife ran away and his last girlfriend had him arrested`and was in Jail for 3 months`found out he was in jail alot`once on suside wacth`He denyed It all and said he was framed for crimes he didn’t commit`But it was posted on the internet wheb i did a search of his crimnal and mental Background`HE GOT IN A RAGE AND CALLED ME HORRABLE NAMES SAYING I WAS THE CRAZY ONE`WOW!!!!

  82. But an abused wife usually complaints all the time. And a narcissistic husband will alway turn the tables on her and accuse her of being self centered. My husband did this for 25 years until his verbal put downs, defamation of character, and stealth retaliation (he destroys property but never admits to it) weren’t enough, so he physically assaulted me, causing me to to run to an abuse center for help. Now my children are showing signs of narcissism as well, and are also destroying property.

    Unless a victim leaves a toxic relationship immediately, he or she will end up whining and complaining until the end of time, and it is the victim’s feeling of helplessness that fuels a narcissist’s abuse. I think it is important to distinguish between an narcissist and the victim of a narcissist–one who is constantly complaining and telling the narcissist that he does not care for her. This article does not make that distinction. Narcissists will defame their victim so that whenever she tries to complain to someone, no one will listen. Since no one is taking the victim seriously, the narcissist is free to abuse and abuse and abuse.

  83. This was my ex-wife. Dr. Samuel Lopez De Victoria is the first that I have read that narcissism can be cured. Every other therapist out there says that narcissism is incurable.

    The ex was always getting sick with vague complaints and demanded that I wait on her hand and foot. She constantly complained that I didn’t care for her well enough or did anything right for that matter.

    One day I gave her a “sugar pill” and she as always would get more ill as I cared for her. Her condition worsened. That woke me up, she’s just manipulating me and I completely stopped caring for her when she was ill.

    I would no longer allow her to manipulate me. She soon filed for divorce. But not after destroying my reputation as uncaring and cold.

    Of the hundreds of articles on NPD I have read, this one stands out.

    Thank you and posted on my fb.

  84. Very very enlightening. A wonderful explanation to what I experienced.

 

 

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