Narcissists ARE evil. Reasonable doubt doesn’t enter this picture. While there are reasons that a narcissist acts the way he acts, those reasons do not excuse their CHOICE to act that way. A narcissist will never do anything that does not benefit himself. A narcissist makes conscious decisions; he makes the CHOICE to harm.
A narcissist truly knows he treats others badly. The reason I say that is because a narcissist, in choosing to treat another badly, makes the choice believing, in their twisted psyche, that their choice is right, good and moral. That choice will always contain projection of their own accountability for a situation onto whomever (and sometimes whatever) they find to be their nearest victim.
While sane people KNOW a narcissist treats others badly, and does it on purpose, the narcissist has no knowledge at all. All he has is a delusional belief system that tells him he is NOT treating others badly. What a narcissist believes is of no relevance. A narcissist’s mind is twisted, sick and dangerous. What a narcissist believes is a delusion; it is a construct within which there can only be one “good” person. You know who that person is.
A narcissist will always do only what is right for himself, and that action, regardless the harm done to any other individual(s), will be justified in the narcissistic mind as right.
A narcissist knows the difference between right and wrong only as it pertains to him or herself. No one else matters.
None of the above is a justification for the pure EVIL that a narcissist perpetrates on his victims.
Narcissists do not and cannot love. Narcissists do not care about you or anyone else. Narcissists are very good at hiding all of these things. Narcissists do not have relationships. With anyone. Period. Narcissists do not want the best for you or anyone other than themselves. Narcissists are the embodiment of all we have been taught is morally wrong; EVIL; and they are excellent at cloaking their behavior in the guise of goodwill and self-sacrifice.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which there is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others’ feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.
The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown. It is a personality disorder classified within cluster B by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Diagnosis is by a healthcare professional interviewing the person in question. The condition needs to be differentiated from mania and substance use disorder.
Persons with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are characterized by their persistent grandiosity, excessive need for admiration, and a personal disdain for, and lack of empathy for other people. As such, the person with NPD usually displays the behaviors of arrogance, a sense of superiority, and actively seeks to establish abusive power and control over other people. Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition different from self-confidence (a strong sense of self); people with NPD typically value themselves over other persons to the extent that they openly disregard the feelings and wishes of others, and expect to be treated as superior, regardless of their actual status or achievements. Moreover, the person with narcissistic personality disorder usually exhibits a fragile ego (Self-concept), an inability to tolerate criticism, and a tendency to belittle others in order to validate their own superiority.
People with NPD tend to exaggerate their skills and accomplishments as well as their level of intimacy with people they consider to be high-status. Their sense of superiority may cause them to monopolize conversations and to become impatient or disdainful when others talk about themselves. In the course of a conversation, they may purposefully or unknowingly disparage or devalue the other person by overemphasizing their own success. When they are aware that their statements have hurt someone else, they tend to react with contempt and to view it as a sign of weakness. When their own ego is wounded by a real or perceived criticism, their anger can be disproportionate to the situation, but typically, their actions and responses are deliberate and calculated. Despite occasional flare-ups of insecurity, their self-image is primarily stable (i.e., overinflated).
To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others’ needs and the effects of their behavior on others, and insist that others see them as they wish to be seen. Narcissistic individuals use various strategies to protect the self at the expense of others. They tend to devalue, derogate, insult and blame others, and they often respond to threatening feedback with anger and hostility. Since the fragile ego of individuals with NPD is hypersensitive to perceived criticism or defeat, they are prone to feelings of shame, humiliation and worthlessness over minor or even imagined incidents. They usually mask these feelings from others with feigned humility or by isolating themselves socially, or they may react with outbursts of rage, defiance, or by seeking revenge. The merging of the “inflated self-concept” and the “actual self” is seen in the inherent grandiosity of narcissistic personality disorder. Also inherent in this process are the defense mechanisms of denial, idealization and devaluation.
Narcissists will never tell you the truth. They live with the fear of abandonment and can’t deal with facing their own shame. Therefore, they will twist the truth, downplay their behavior, blame others and say what ever it takes to remain the victim. They are master manipulators and con-artists that don’t believe you are smart enough to figure out the depth of their disloyalty. Their needs will always be more important than telling you any truth that isn’t in their favor.
― Shannon L. Alder
Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life, such as work or school.
Those with narcissistic personality disorder often come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. They often monopolize conversations. They may belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior. They may feel a sense of entitlement — and when they don’t receive special treatment, they may become impatient or angry. They may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.
At the same time, they have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. They may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, they may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior. Or they may feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection.
Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Exaggerating one’s achievements and talents
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
- Believing that one is superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
- Requiring constant admiration
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with one’s expectations
- Taking advantage of others to get what one wants
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy them
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of oneself that they put themselves on a pedestal and value themselves more than they value others.
Narcissism is more common than we think and to some extent we all have a narcissistic streak in us, in fact, in moderate doses it can actually be healthy, contributing to self respect, providing a little ego boost when we need it and a little gratification here and there, but for most part, most of us are stable. By contrast, too little can result in low self love and low self esteem. Too much narcissism is not healthy though it is destructive, to narcissists themselves and those who are close to them. Extreme narcissistic individuals think that the whole world revolves around them, hiding their egoistic self and self hatred with confidence and skill. Unfortunately our ignorance about extreme narcissism makes it difficult to spot the extreme male and female narcissists who sneak into our lives! So, do you think you know an extreme narcissist and what are the signs that indicate you may be dealing with one?
There are two types of extreme narcissists – overt and covert and some are easier to spot than others.
Overt narcissists are more common and much easier to spot, they externalize their arrogance, are outwardly demanding and display extreme character traits and their confrontational communication style does not go unnoticed!
Covert narcissists by contrast, are wolves in sheep’s clothing and are the most tricky and perhaps most dangerous sort so let’s focus on them. Covert narcissists are underhanded, deceptive and act behind the scenes. They pretend to be lovers, givers, altruistic, loyal and kind. These individuals are projecting to the outside world a calm and patient mirror but on the inside, they are as deeply selfish and narcissistic as overt narcissists.
Both overt and covert narcissists have grandiose fantasies, feel entitled and exploit and abuse people but the main difference between overt and covert narcissists is that unlike overt narcissists, covert narcissists know that showing or displaying their true self will get in the way of achieving the power, recognition and the self centered success they crave.
They worry a lot about their lies being found out and are very vulnerable to stress but unlike overt narcissists, they don’t believe themselves, what they want others to believe about them. Covert narcissists don’t possess the confidence levels of overt narcissists and are prone to feeling guilty about thinking they could ever be something they know they can’t. They put up emotional barriers and try their best to suppress these feelings and not expose them to the outside world. They don’t feel guilty, however, about hurting others so in that sense they are the same as overt narcissists. They are still very competitive, conscious of their actions and calculated in their actions. So how do you recognize a covert narcissist? The only sure fire way is to be close to that person from a personal angle, to have a personal relationship with them, because covert narcissists can’t hide forever from those who are personally involved with them but despite that it can take a long time before their cover is blown.
The tell tale signs to help you recognize a covert narcissist:
- Emptiness, seems to have something missing that you can’t quite put your finger on
- Stubborn, rarely apologizing unless they want something from you (see narcissistic supply)
- Ability to make you feel guilty, even when something is not your fault
- Entirely self centered; they are the center of their own universe
- Expert liars; charming, hypnotic, a master of manipulation
- Projecting their insecurities and defects onto you
- Very sensitive to constructive criticism
- Inability to form intimate relationships
- Inability to feel genuine remorse
- Blaming others for their problems
- Low emotional intelligence
- Highly materialistic
- Extreme lack of empathy
- Superficially charming
- A victim mentality.
Risk taking: Extreme narcissists often move from relationship to relationship very fast because they don’t like to be alone, needing constant attention. They are not at all risk averse and take all kinds of risks; financial, extreme sports or anything that make them feel alive and skirting with danger.
Denial: Narcissism often stems from childhood issues which I won’t go into here but a narcissist will often paint their childhood as near to perfect and if they seek help and deal with the root cause of their behaviors, then good for them but move on anyway, don’t continue to make yourself vulnerable.
Narcissists want somebody to mirror them, they need people to reflect the false image that they have of themselves, not wanting to face the fact of who they are, what they do and how cruel they are. They don’t want to acknowledge the anger and rage that exist inside of themselves.
They see people as objects; if you can make them successful, if you can make them enter a certain group of people, if you blindly and naively love them, if you have anything that can be useful to them emotionally, socially or financially in the present or the future, then you qualify as a source of supply.
This can go on for a long time, until you are not useful to them anymore or you challenge them about who they truly are, worst still you expose them to the world! At this point they will discard you like an old rag, without remorse or regret; as if you never existed. They will also discredit you so that no one will ever believe that you have been their victim, if anything they will play the victim and point the finger back at you! Narcissistic supply is the thing they need to bolster their weak sense of self and they take without giving anything back. Don’t count on a narcissist to be a shoulder to cry on, unless you are providing them with a good source of narcissistic supply; it is like a drug for a them.
Someone who can hurt you has power over you and attention whether positive or negative will feed a narcissistic ego. Being aggressive or angry at a narcissist won’t change anything, the best thing to do is cease all contact with them.
Who they target and how they catch their victims?
Narcissists can target anyone including strong and independent people but their favorite source of supply is most often highly sensitive, empathetic and caring, people with low self esteem, an inability to set healthy boundaries, and with issues they too are carrying over from childhood.
Narcissists are full of charm, they will charm you to death and tell you everything you want to hear, they study you, analyze you and know all the things that you want to experience in life. They’ll tell you that you are soulmates, they’ll promise you the moon so if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
We all want to be appreciated, loved, held, thanked, praised and valued and a narcissist knows that, so to catch you, the narcissist will say the things to make you feel appreciated and appeal to your deepest desires and cravings. Narcissists are very intelligent, they have studied human behavior their whole lives and they know how to manipulate people by stirring emotions deep inside of you. When you start falling for a narcissist watch out because they can lie and at the same time look at you so sincerely; narcissists are able to fool us because they pretend to be the person we want them to be.
Narcissists have envy and resentment that causes them to attribute power and goodness to themselves, and negativity and weakness to others. They seek out friends who are worse off than them because they fear being exposed for who they really are and they want to be seen as rescuers or as deeply caring for others. Covert narcissist always seems to admire people who are as successful as they would like to be but at the same time, they envy and hate those people for being successful. They claim that they want to see you succeed but then when you do, they envy you and hate you for succeeding.
The covert narcissist dwells on how much people do not appreciate them and are self critical, putting themselves down and saying things like I am not worth anything, I will never make it etc…
Narcissist’ s controlling and manipulation techniques
Gaslighting is a subtle, underground maltreatment, that can go unnoticed by the victim until it is too late. It penetrates you but it’s difficult to identify. Gaslighting is ambiguous, diffused, it is a dangerous kind of abuse. It leave no trace and you can’t prove it. Ambient abuse is perpetrated by dropping certain hints, by disorienting, its aim is to make you doubt your own sanity so that you are always left wondering what the narcissist is thinking and feeling. Don’t waste time trying to find out their motives or try to understand why they feel or think the way they do because it leads nowhere. Just accept you are a source of supply and move on. Gaslighting over a prolonged period of time can damage the victim sense of self and self esteem for a long time.
Silent treatment is used by narcissists who withdraw when confronted and is also a form of punishment they employ when you refuse to accommodate their needs. They ignore you out of the blue for as long as it takes, until you give up your own needs and agree to do whatever the narcissist wants you to do. Until you end up apologizing even, if they were in the wrong.
Divide and conquer is an approach used to isolate their victim. They’ll find out everything about you, your past, your secrets and use them against you, making you look bad while they are seen by everyone else as a perfect, loving and caring individual.
A relationship with a narcissist involves cruel and relentless emotional abuse. Narcissists are able to do this by brainwashing their victims. They use a variety of methods of in order to obtain control over their significant other. First they “love bomb” their prey, then they threaten, degrade, shift blame, criticize, manipulate, verbally assault, dominate, blackmail, withdraw, withhold love and affection and gaslight their victims.
“Love bombing” is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. It has been used to refer to abusers in romantic relationships showering their victims with praise, gifts, and affection in the early stages of a relationship. One victim describes it as follows:
That feeling of “love” that you have is more intense than normal because the narcissist first floods you with expressions of love, and then they withhold, and then they give a little; over time this changes you- it’s a form of manipulation, control and brainwashing. There is no doubt that you have loved. But narcissists can’t love you back. What happens in these types of relationships is that you get so caught up in the feeling that you don’t listen to the alarms that go off in your head.
Narcissists degrade their victims and tear apart their self-esteem which can make resistance to their control strategies difficult. They use tactics such as sarcasm, criticizing, name calling, berating, belittling, excessive blaming, screaming, threatening and humiliation. Over time, the constant verbal and emotional attacks weaken the victims and erode their sense of self confidence and self-esteem while it makes the narcissists feel more powerful and, hence, exert further control.
This includes berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening, excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation. It also includes exaggerating your flaws and putting you down in public. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.
Here the abuser plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other “hot buttons” to get what they want. This could include threats to end the relationship, the “cold shoulder,” or other fear tactics.
A Narcissist believes and projects an attitude of being all-powerful and all-conquering which can convince the victim that resisting the narcissist is futile. They need to be in control of others, must have everything their way, and will resort to threats or any other methods to achieve submission. Eventually, the victim loses their self respect.
Threats If Victim Does Not Comply
Narcissists will promote feelings of anxiety and despair in their victims by making threats and using intimidation. This encourages the victim to submit to the unreasonable demands or bullying of the narcissist.
The abuser places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside (including your children) to tend to their “very important” needs. It could be a demand for constant attention, frequent sex, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person. But no matter how much you give, it’s never enough. You are subjected to constant criticizing and berating because you don’t fulfill all of this person’s needs.
Isolation deprives the victim of any social support which reduces their ability to resist. The narcissist will keep the victim unaware of what is happening (e.g. by taking total control of the family finances, making plans that are unknown to the victim, tell lies about them to others, etc). This strategy leads to the victim becoming dependent on the narcissist for validation and information. The narcissist will insist on controlling their partner’s time and physical environment to try to curb their natural behavior and feelings of independence. They may insist on their partner giving up certain hobbies, social or work activities. They may even insist their partner move away with them to a new location which further isolates the victim from their family or friends.
Total Control of Victim’s Perceptions
Abusers may convince the victims that aspects of the victim’s character or behavior are ‘wrong’ which takes the focus off what the narcissist is doing. Using isolation of the victim, the narcissist can then control what type of information and stimuli the victim has access to.
Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts are used to keep the victim unsettled and anxious. This behavior leaves the victim feeling like they are always on edge. They are always waiting for the other shoe to drop and can never know what’s expected. They remain hyper vigilant, waiting for the other person’s next rage or mood change. Living like this is extremely demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.
A narcissist may deliberately start arguments and be in continual conflict with others. They are often addicted to “drama” since it creates excitement.
The narcissist will deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. The victim knows differently but the other person will deny their perceptions, memory and sanity. That makes them begin to think they are crazy or losing their mind.
Enforcing Trivial Demands
They will make a huge commotion over trivial matters in order to condition the victim into developing a habit of being compliant.
The narcissist may provide ‘treats’ or demonstrate a kindness to encourage and motivate compliance with their demands.
In the end, the victim is brainwashed to believe their partner is somehow supremely intelligent and all powerful; the victim feels it is useless to resist them. The reality is that the narcissist is a dysfunctional, malicious and abusive individual. Narcissists and other abusers employ these techniques because these tactics are highly effective for achieving their goals of manipulation and control.
Narcissistic Abuse and the Symptoms of Narcissist Victim Syndrome
Narcissistic abuse is what a person in a relationship with someone that meets the criteria for narcissistic (NPD) or antisocial (APD) personality disorder experiences. The potentially crippling, life long effects of narcissistic abuse on a partner’s mental health form a cluster of symptoms, not yet included in the DSM, known as narcissist victim syndrome.
Narcissists and sociopaths use language in specific ways, with a specific intent to take another’s mind and will captive. The term “emotional manipulation” should be reserved for narcissistic abuse, to avoid risks of falling prey to a narcissist’s ploys to hide themselves, blame-shift and mislabel those they victimize as narcissists.
NPDs and APDs are masters of disguise, and narcissistic abuse is a form of thought control, a specific use of language, designed to emotionally manipulate another person into handing over their mind and will, and thus their thoughts, desires, agency as possessions for the narcissist’s personal gain.
NPDs and APDs use language specifically designed to get their victims to:
- Question their sanity
- Mistrust those who support them, i.e., family, parents
- Feel abandoned, as if only the narcissist cares
- Feel worthless
- Give themselves no credit for their hard work
- Doubt their ability to think or make decisions
- Disconnect from their own wants and needs
- Give in to whatever the narcissist wants
- Devalue their contributions
- Obsess on their faults or mistakes
- Ignore or make excuses for narcissist’s actions
- Spin their wheels trying to gain narcissist’s favor
- Obsess on how to make the narcissist happy
- Idealize the narcissist
In present day circumstances, these disordered personalities have advanced their methods with scientific studies on how to emotionally and mentally devastate another person, more often a partner in a couple relationship, to exist in altered mind and body states of powerlessness and helplessness — at least temporarily, until they wake up and come out of the fog.
Narcissist victim syndrome
What the victim of narcissistic abuse feels and thinks about herself, life and the narcissist, in most areas, is mirrors to some or greater extent what the narcissist wants her to think, believe, feel. This is what “emotional manipulation” is, and really looks like. The term needs to be reserved for narcissistic abuse, as it is distinct from the use of language, such as guilting, threats, name calling, shaming, etc., that, while emotionally abusive, most persons use (to include victims of narcissists) to some degree, and most have experienced firsthand in childhood (these practices are unfortunately still widely considered normal in child rearing). Whereas emotional manipulation has aggressive aims to take another’s mind and will captive, emotionally abusive language (also harmful!), is rooted in automatic reactivity that is primarily defensive and protective.
This distinction is also important to disarm the tactics of narcissists who strategizes, covertly and overtly, to hide and blame-shift the labels of “narcissist” and “emotionally manipulative” onto their victims.
Narcissist victim syndrome exhibits many of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to include:
- Intrusive thoughts or memories
- Physical-emotional reactions to reminders of trauma
- Nightmares and flashbacks (feeling as if event is happening again)
- Avoidance thoughts, people or situations associated with the trauma
- Negative thoughts about self and world
- Distorted sense of blame related to trauma
- Sense of detachment or isolation from other people
- Difficulty concentrating and, or sleeping
- Hyper-vigilance, irritability, easily startled
The nature and effects of narcissistic abuse
If you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, understanding the nature of narcissistic abuse, its effects and narcissistic victim syndrome is critical to healing and restoring your ability to engage in self-care.
The main difference between an NPD and APD is a line the NPD doesn’t cross. Both exhibit no remorse for exploiting and hurting another, however, unlike a narcissist, a sociopath crosses the line from lawful to unlawful exploitation of the other, i.e., physical abuse, financial exploitation, and so on.
In their mind, those in status positions are supposed to prove they’re calloused, show no empathy. In a couple relationship, inflicting pain is regarded a ritual right by both NPDs and APDs alike, akin to hazing practices in exclusive groups for men, i.e., fraternities, secret societies, sports teams.
Both take pleasure in hurting and exploiting others for their own gain — with no remorse. No remorse comes with the territory. Remorse and empathy are for weak, inferior, low status persons.
A narcissist remains weak and fragile, and hooked on proving human love and mutual caring are phony, to the extent that he refuses to acknowledge that he’s human, and every human being is fully equipped with resources and intelligence — and that it’s impossible to control another human being, even children, without high cost to self. The human brain has mirror neurons. To the extent one feels scorn, hatred, disdain for another, one’s body produces the neurochemical states of mind and body inside themselves. It’s impossible for a human being to seek to intentionally hurt another without hurting themselves. And staying numb inside is not really living at all. It’s merely existing. Oddly, in a paradoxical way, the codependent remains similarly hooked, to being treated like a drug, to the extent that she refuses to see what can bring her out of the fog and illusions, that: the narcissist she loved willfully never had a conscience or human feelings, and willfully sought to drain the life from her heart, mind and soul.
Nothing is more important than coming out of the fog and illusions … to feel alive again.
The relationship cycle typical of extreme narcissistic abuse generally follows a pattern. Individuals in emotionally abusive relationships experience a dizzying whirlwind that includes three stages: idealization, devaluing, and discarding. This cycle can repeat numerous times, spinning a merry-go-round of emotional vertigo for those caught in such relationships.
Dealing with a narcissist
Don’t waste your time and sanity trying to understand and help a narcissist. Don’t criticize them or confront them, they will twist things around and reflect all their flaws on you, leaving you looking like you are the abuser when in fact you just had your emotional buttons pushed and your mind played with, so you acted in self defense.
So don’t play mind games or seek revenge with narcissists because they’ll win, you can’t match their cruelty. Set boundaries and don’t tell them too much about yourself so they can’t use it against you. They also fear being found out so they’ll go to any length to shut you up and unfortunately people believe them, they are so talented at faking emotions that most remain completely undetected.
No contact at all is the best way to deal with a narcissist. This information is from my research and years of personal experience dealing with and trying to understand a covert narcissist. It’s painful to accept at first and it doesn’t matter if the term “narcissist” is correct or not, all that matters is that people who behave in the ways described in this article exist and it’s in your own interest to acknowledge it, to protect your well-being and your sanity.