"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." – Wikipedia
Narcissus, central antagonist of a Greek fable, was a demigod that drowned in a river staring at an image of his unimaginable fineness. But unlike Narcissus, whose vanity inevitably only hurt himself, narcissists, the raging arseholes he is monikered after, bring a trail of calamity in their wake.
Not helping is the STEREOTYPING of narcissists. Narcissists are constantly stereotyped as being successful and popular people completely unaware of and/or uncaring about the damage their self-absorption wreaks. And from the perspective of an empath, seeing narcissists as one way and one way only is a fallacy and leads them into a trap. Because while they are aware of one form of narcissist, other forms of narcissists are able to slide in and make life hell for the empath and all around them.
Take me, for instance. I come from a family of narcissists. My older brother is a tasteful, caring, and a powerful person. He is good-looking and relatively successful. But he is also a narcissist because he has an inflated sense of his own importance and he is self-indulgent about it. He has way too much confidence because of mass approval.
Me? I'm charismatic, exciting, and a vital person. But I am only mildly attractive in comparison to his raging good looks and I am not successful at all yet. Yet I am a narcissist because I have exhibited traits of being needy and spectacularly insecure. I have way too many hang-ups, which makes me competitive and jealous of others.
And like all narcissists, we act like the world revolves around our immediate environment, are only travelling in the same direction in different ways, have subtle ways of bringing ourselves up and denigrating others, and tend to go for what we want, to hell with anyone else's feelings or our own personal growth.
So if I'm a narcissist, why write this? It's very simple—I want to see good people win. And the only way they can do it is if somebody like me steps up and gives them the tools they need to insulate themselves against fuckery. So without further ado, let's begin.
Early Signs of Narcissism to Watch Out For
1) Lots of I’s
Did you notice the amount of Is and references to myself that I have made in this article so far? Yeah, that's your first red flag. Anybody who references themselves that much, I'm sorry to say, has narcissistic tendencies. It takes very, very special circumstances for it to not be the case.
2) Overly Negative Image of Others
Really watch out for anybody who will be thoroughly open about any negativity going on in other people's lives. It's human nature to point out flaws we see in one another, it's what we do. But ask yourself — why does this person feel so comfortable talking to you about somebody else's personal shit unless they were looking for advice on how to help that person? At most, this person you're talking to will offer the other person are "don't judge them too harshly, they can't help it" or "I'm really concerned about them," to make themselves look civil? I call bullshit.
That's not to say the narcissist that is more openly involved in dark PR doesn't exist, but the "I'm so great, they're so bad" tactic being so much more directly engaged tends to be the forte of more mediocre and stupid narcissists.
3) Overly Positive Image of Self
Old-fashioned narcissist meant openly disparaging your enemies and openly bragging about yourself a la Donald Trump. Disparaging enemies and bragging about self are central tenets for narcissistic tactics certainly, but the variations of tactics are more complex than we are told.
Having an overly positive view of yourself doesn't actually mean thinking of yourself as perfect at all times. A narcissist can balance out their bitchiness when it comes to others by opening up about their own flaws. Showing that kind of honesty, self-awareness, and humility will make their actual arrogance either easier to conceal or easier to tolerate.
"See how honest I am? See how real I am? See how vulnerable I am?" There are narcissists who still use beauty, status, wealth and/or demographic prowess to celebrate themselves, and that might always be the case, but at this point in time, it's seen as tacky and common. Even virtue signalling is less tolerable than simply showing people they have serious flaws as pre-emptive manipulation for when people call out their abuse later.
The difference between somebody who is genuinely self-awareness and somebody who is a narcissist, is that the narcissist will counter any argument against their destructive behaviour with, "at least I KNOW what I am/I can't help it/I don't mean to," just to cover their arses.
4) Extreme Niceness or Extreme Nastiness
Watch out for anybody that is overly attentive/eager to you, or, conversely, overly critical/aloof — both are seeking attention from people and have by now found their way to get it successfully. Be careful of anybody who laughs a little too frequently with you or at your expense and conversely, be careful of anybody who doesn't smile at all or have a sense of humour about themselves at all. These are not people, these are cartoon characters. Issa narcissist.
5) Overidentification with Born Status
This is to do with a preoccupation with other people's perceptions, and either bucking them, playing up to them or both in order to manipulate people or throw them off.
Whether it's a male, heterosexual, wealthy, Abrahamic-worshipping upper middle-class WASP, or a female, openly sexual, relatively impoverished underclass person of colour, or anything else in between, these people attribute who they are to WHAT they are.
This was exactly what I was talking about when I was talking about demographic prowess. Not only will a narcissist quietly play up any beauty/status/"realness"/uniqueness among other communities, they will also play that up within their own communities as a way to ascertain who is most quintessential within their own culture.
Watch out for such people, because they are likely to take no responsibility for their own actions and blame the actual plight (marginalised) or imagined plight (privileged) of their demographic for those actions.
6) You Feel Nauseous or Drained
I know what you're thinking — maybe they stink or talk too much? Well, certainly bad hygiene can make people nauseous and talking ENDLESSLY can drain people, too, but what if a person smells perfectly beautiful, doesn't overload you with talk, and being around them STILL makes you sick and drags down your energy? You may be dealing with not only a narcissist, but a PSYCHOPATHIC narcissist — the very worst.
I remember being around this person I really, really liked. They had attractive hair, they smelled good, they cooked, they were generous, and they seemed to be on my side, but every time I was even near them, even if I borrowed any of their belongings, my energy was sapped and other people hanging around this individuals hot headaches just being there. It was absolutely CRAZY.
But along the way, I started to see that not only did they gaslight me, but their gaslights were motivated and just nasty. At worst, they tried to set me up to get violent so that I could be hospitalised or arrested. Luckily for me, because I'm a narcissist myself, I knew exactly how to play them. If I was a legitimate empath, I may not have been so lucky.
So again, pay attention to how you feel around them. It's important you do that.
7) Stuck On Own Perspective
We usually associated narcissism with young people because of how so obviously self-absorbed they appear to be. Appear to be. Truth be told, narcissism comes with AGE, not youth. Young people deep down are actually very real and very concerned with the world around them, and how that affects them.
Getting older is where you become more active of the world around you whilst giving a shit about it less and being caught up in your own perspectives. What do we associate with getting older: preoccupation with holding onto their own ideas and insisting other people live according to them, a rose-tinted view of themselves and dismissing anything different to themselves as garbage?
Does that not sound like a narcissist to you? Observe how they behave when others challenge their beliefs. Do they respond by asking questions like a normal person, or do they respond by dismissing it as garbage? If they do the latter, issa narcissist.
8) Obsession & Persistence
Obsession with you will be obvious. These people stay with your name in their mouths, they are constantly calling or visiting you and will do anything they can to get your attention, even if it means upsetting you. That's neediness of the highest order. That used to be my neck of the woods.
Another form of narcissism is persistence in getting what they want. I won't front, you will get nowhere without persistence and drive in this world, so that's essential to have. Where it is out of order is when you have put boundaries in place, there are things you don't want to talk about, and they will literally steamroll you until you open up. That is dangerous, domineering, and narcissistic.
How To Deal With Narcissists Early On
1) Say Next To Nothing About Yourself
You know how people are often the opposite of who they truly are? What you want to do is SHOW who you really are, without SAYING who you really are. Narcissists listen with their eyes and see with their ears — their whole understanding of life is completely upside down. So if they see you being true to yourself, but you won't tell them any of your issues, that means they always have to get their information about you second-hand from someone else, and nothing trips a person up faster than second-hand information.
2) Keep Yourself At a Comfortable Distance
As a narcissist, I am well aware of how dangerous us folk are, and I will always warn you never to get too close to one. If this person is a psychopath in particular, don't be proud — tell everyone about them as this person could put your life in danger. But if they're not a psychopath, if their narcissism isn't particularly malignant, then just keep a relative distance away from them until you need them for something. They may come in useful when it comes to dealing with the more dangerous of their kind. Narcissists like me will be more likely to help an empath than help another narcissist. Just treat us how we treat you. And if we complain about it? Then feel free to cut us off, as we have it coming.
3) The Game of Cheat: Don't Cheat (Lie) and Don't Say Cheat (Accuse Them of Lying)
Oh, Lord, the worst thing you could do in front of a narcissist is lie or admit to having lied. Even if they are the biggest liars and fakers imaginable, they will make you out to be a straight Iago in comparison to them. The Devil is always the greatest accuser, and narcissists are well-versed and well-practiced in turning other people's flaws on them, even creating some flaws out of thin air. So do not, under any circumstances, lie in front of these people if you can help it. If you're going to lie, shut up. Shut the hell up.
Similarly, well-versed narcissists or people who are on the narcissists' side will gaslight YOU when you catch them out in an obvious lie and make it plain. So don't openly proclaim that they're lying. If you can, document everything that they say and do. If you can't record it, write down what they say about others in secret — note down dates, times, and throw in details of environment if you can. People like details, even if those details are complete lies, so if you have your details based on complete truth, you have dynamite. And a narcissist will give you PLENTY of material to be able to use later when they become stupid enough to threaten you or keep their name in your mouth.
Remember — record all your conversations with them if you can, and always tell the truth. If you can't tell the truth, refuse to be drawn and the narcissist can only speculate.
4) Play the Angel/Devil To Throw Them Off
That is, be an Angel playing Devil's Advocate. Whenever a narcissist starts talking other people's business, instead of asking them for more details on it, ask who told this person's dirty laundry and why. If they refuse to answer who did, end the conversation and bring it back round to the narcissist. They'll love that (Angel). If they do answer, ask why they felt comfortable telling you something that was told to them in confidence (Devil). Let them answer, then call it a night.
5) Never Try Them At Their Own Game
If you're dealing with a loud pitbull narcissist fronting like they have the moral high ground, then you want to be as calm as possible, and stepping on them to get to the moral high ground will be relatively easy as again — issa narcissist. When it comes to them, come back calm and come back with facts. They find it very difficult to know what to do with that and it robs them of their power.
The quieter, coquettish narcissist is a little more difficult to get around. If you come at them like a loud pitbull, then you may end up having other loud pitbulls on their side, their dicks thoroughly sucked, rallying around to tear you to pieces. This is not what you want. Yet at the same time, if you are too kind with them, you risk being sucked in by them and becoming like them yourself.
The key with the quieter, more respectable narcissist is to just remain calm and balanced. They are more likely to respect boundaries outwardly than the loud narcissist because, you know, they're not stupid. Just make them feel comfortable enough to reveal all their secrets to you, and uncomfortable enough to know that you are your own person.
This is a narcissist that knows instinctively what to do with extremes. Too people-pleasing and they suck you in, too violent and they cast you out. Be careful.
6) Maintaining Integrity to Personal Values Is Absolutely Vital
I know it's a bit rich me telling you to hold true to your own values when the last five tips were about manipulation, essentially, but it is essential that you hold true to what you feel is important. The thing must separate you from the narcissist is a real sense of self that doesn't revolve around power, pleasure, or even identity but around love and truth, and holding true to those things.
Whoever you are, and whatever you do, doing for love for others, and daring to do so honestly, should always be your core intention. You will be surprised how your real self come out when love becomes your intention. This is something a narcissist won't get or understand. I'll be real with you — a narcissist won't even understand they're a narcissist to begin with!
Ego-Stroke Break! And a Word to My Empath Friends
I only understood I was a narcissist because I was lucky enough to be so interested in psychology and so introspective that my narcissism collapsed in on itself like a neutron star, to the point where the other way around is the only place left for me to go. Not all narcissists will give it up like me, though, because they aren't aware in the first place.
Which brings me to my next problem: there are more narcissists in this world than we think, and this is not recognised because we tend to only take notice of these things when the narcissism gets to an abusive level and by then it's too late.
But the truth is, many of us blame ourselves for the world's problems and blame the world for our problems rather than taking responsibility for own our actions and reactions. We act, but we don't own it. We react, but we don't own it. Which is exactly how vulnerable people get abused, abusive people get their shine, and narcissists can run freaking riot causing people pain.
Ask yourselves: do you demand everything revolve everything around you a lot rather allowing it to revolve around you? Do you have different ways to seek shine rather than simply doing your thing?
Do you see everything in a Hollywood narrative, and see yourself as the protagonist or antagonist, rather than as a well-rounded human being? Do you see others as living breathing human beings, or as mere bit parts in your personal story?
Do you overidentify yourself with the role this world casts you in rather than allowing yourself to be a complex, rounded individual? Are you stuck in your own perspective and insist everything meet that perspective? Be honest with yourselves. The majority of you do all these things I just mentioned.
If this is you, it's time to become self-aware and understand how you can stop yourself becoming the dreaded N-word.