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Narcissists Who Cry: The Other Side of the Ego

By Samuel López De Victoria, Ph.D.

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.

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. i didn’t know the author knew my mother! Small world ;)

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. BTW, where is the Solution?

  17. 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)

  18. 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?

  19. 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!

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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)

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

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