All human beings can show some traits of being narcissistic. Most of us have knowingly or unknowingly dealt with a narcissistic. However, those with narcissistic personality disorder have an extremely inflated sense of self-importance. These people can be draining since they need a lot of admiration and have a disregard for other people’s feelings.
Keep reading to learn more about narcissistic abuse syndrome. Also, find out how you can destroy the weapons of people with narcissism.
What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?
Narcissism has become a popular subject of discussion in media, movies, and novels. It’s a condition where someone has excessive self-admiration or self-interest. They feel entitled to anything they desire and react very negatively to criticism.
Dealing with a narcissist can lead to a lowered self-esteem, anxiety, and (in some cases) PTSD. Sometimes we may be way too deep in a relationship with someone before realizing too late that we are dealing with a narcissist. Usually, the qualities that attracted you to a narcissistic person are the same ones that will drive you insane.
Unfortunately, misunderstanding of the condition has led to many people labeling any selfish or arrogant behavior as narcissism. This is not always the case. Some seemingly “narcissistic” people may just be in the wrong relationship or socially inept. A narcissistic personality disorder is a genuine medical condition that needs a diagnosis by a psychiatrist or mental health professional.
How to Spot Someone With Narcissism
But certain personality traits could alert you that someone is a Narcissist. Psychologists have even identified9 official criteria for NPD. When someone meets at least 5 of these they may have NPD.
Here are some of the red flags to look out for:
- Extremely high sense of self-importance
- Fantasies of unlimited success
- Feeling of being “special”
- Only wanting to interact with other exemplary people
- High sense of entitlement
- Great need for admiration
- Exploitative behavior (such as excessive lies or flattery to get their way)
- Shamelessly taking advantage of others for their gain
- Lack empathy for other people’s pain or problems
- Hates criticism
People with narcissism usually also display traits of psychopathy and Machiavellian behaviors (Machiavellianism). This makes them aggressive, opportunistic, and callous with a lack of remorse for any wrongdoing. A relationship with a narcissist can leave you feeling used, manipulated, and drained.
Psychologists have identified two types of Narcissists: vulnerable and grandiose. The vulnerable narcissist has a weak inner core. They tend to project high self-esteem to mask this.
The grandiose narcissistic believe they are better than other people. These individuals may even have genius tendencies. In this case, grandiose narcissists tend to be more agreeable and extroverted.
On the other hand, vulnerable narcissists are less agreeable and less emotionally stable. They also have higher tendencies of psychopathy and Machiavellianism.
Narcissistic Abuse & the Biggest Danger of People with Narcissism Disorder
Narcissistic abuse occurs when someone with NPD uses you as a source of validation or to get their needs met. A narcissistic abuser will demand that their victim dedicate time and money. They even expect someone’s entire life to please them.
A narcissist may also isolate their victim and prevent them from meeting friends and family. They may lie to them and cause them to question reality (gaslighting). The abuser can get angry and abusive if the victim doesn’t give them enough admiration and attention.
Narcissists want unconditional love and attention from their victims. However, they are unwilling to provide the same. Narcissistic abuse can make a victim prone to anxiety and depression.
A narcissist may also resort to physical or psychological domestic abuse if the victim fails to meet their needs. Many of us are unaware that we may be suffering from narcissistic abuse syndrome. This is because there isn’t a lot of research or data on it.
What Are the Preferred Weapons of People With Narcissism?
There are certain tools that narcissists use to manipulate people and get their way. If you can identify them early on, you may escape becoming a victim of this type of abuse. Keep reading to find out what some of those tools are.
Love bombing is the act of lavishing someone with love, gifts, and attention to manipulate them. A narcissist may call you several times in a day telling you how much they love you.
They may also send you flowers and expensive gifts. The effect of love bombing is that the target lowers their boundaries. This would cause them to give the person with narcissism what they desire.
If narcissists don’t get their way, they love to give people the silent treatment. This is very effective that makes the loved one distressed. They’ll react negatively to not receiving the attention or love they are addicted to getting from the narcissist.
Narcissists are very self-absorbed and don’t recognize other people’s individuality and needs. They feel entitled to anything they desire even if the item belongs to someone else. This is why they tend to cross people’s boundaries.
How does a narcissist test boundaries? They may snoop around your things and feel no remorse for invading your privacy. They might also take credit for work you’ve done to appear more favorable to the boss.
Some narcissists are very good at gaslighting and/or making others question their sense of reality. The manipulation makes you doubtful of your own sanity. This is a severe form of abuse and may cause anxiety and low self-esteem in the victim.
How to Destroy the Weapons of People With Narcissism
You may be able to cut off a narcissistic friend but it’s way harder to cut ties with a relative or colleague. In these cases, you’ll need to learn how to successfully deal with the person. Check out these ways to defeat narcissistic weapons.
See Them for Who They Are
There is a famous saying by Maya Angelou that goes “When people show you who they areâ”€ believe them”. Narcissists are often not able to maintain their perfect act forever. Their mask will slip when they don’t know you are looking.
You might catch that perfect new coworker lying to a colleague. Maybe your new date will speak rudely to a waiter. Perhaps they treat you like a king or queen but are mean to their relatives.
Other people may be the target of their venom. Yet if you stick around long enough they may turn on you. See who they are, accept who they are and decide if you want to have them in your life.
Cultivate a Strong Sense of Self
The first weapon you must have to defend yourself against narcissists is a strong sense of self. Spend at least an hour daily by yourself. Use this time for activities like meditating and learning who you are.
Nurture unshakeable self-love that will ensure you always put your needs first. Put effort into preventing people from taking advantage of you. Discover your strengths and positive traits and affirm yourself.
Having a strong inner core will prevent you from falling for a narcissist’s fake charms. You won’t stand for any negative criticism thrown your way.
Set Firm Boundaries
People with narcissism disorder always want their way. They’ll walk all over you to get what they want. It’s important to have firm boundaries around the treatment you expect from others to protect yourself.
On top of this, have clear consequences for those that cross your boundaries. For example, you could have a narcissistic colleague that blames you for their mistakes. Make it clear who oversees what tasks and put it in writing.
If the colleague doesn’t deliver their part, make your supervisor aware of the problem. Let’s say you agreed to meet with a friend with narcissism at a certain time. If they’re late, leave after 5 minutes.
Some people have cut off communications with a narcissist but get harrassed. If this happens, get a restraining order on them. Block their number or even get a new phone line to prevent them from reaching you.
Keep Records of Interactions and Speak Out for Yourself
Narcissists can be very cunning and may gaslight you. They can convince others to think you’re the problem. For instance, a narcissistic colleague may turn all your team members against you by spreading lies about your behavior.
They may then provoke you into having an emotional reaction in front of everyone. You have to make a narcissist aware that you are on to their game. This is so they’ll stop targeting you. Maintain your calm and state what is true to counter their lies.
It’s also important to keep records of every interaction you have with the narcissist. You’ll be to pull out proof when needed. At work, only communicate with someone with narcissism in writing.
What if a narcissistic boss asks you to do a task? Try to get the request in writing so that you can refer to it if they change the instruction. For example, you can email them to confirm what the task and the instructions are.
If you have a narcissistic spouse, write down interactions that you have. Later on, if they try to gaslight you, go back to your writings and confirm what happened.
As you know by now, narcissists hate criticism or embarrassment. A narcissist will never forgive you for putting them down and exposing their façade to others. If you can, avoid interactions with narcissists altogether.
For colleagues, try to keep your distance and avoid confrontation with them. A narcissist might decide to make you the target of their abuse. Stand up for yourself but stay ahead of them by using the tactics mentioned.
Allow Natural Consequences
One of the best lessons a narcissist can get is to face the natural consequences of their actions. For instance, if your narcissistic friend goes into debt don’t bail them out. Declaring bankruptcy may open their eyes to their delusions of grandeur.
If a neighbor reports your spouse for physical abuse, try not to stick up for them. Allow the law to take its course. These types of harsh lessons can be most beneficial.
Don’t Accept Blame
Narcissists have a keen talent for manipulation. They’re good at making people feel guilty for their negative behavior. An abuser may blame a victim for making them angry because they refused to do what the abuser wanted.
Don’t accept the blame for a narcissist’s negative behavior. The narcissist may never admit that they hurt you or made a mistake. But you need to remember what happened and place the blame where it belongs.
Find a Support System
A key tactic for narcissism abuse syndrome is trying to isolate you. They know that you will be weaker and easier to manipulate without a support system. Never allow them to isolate you.
Create a supportive system of friends, family, and colleagues that affirm you and support your sense of reality. Your support system will prevent you from spiraling into low self-esteem and depression. They can negate any false statements that a narcissist makes about you.
Positive friendships and relationships can also help you see how dysfunctional a relationship with a narcissistic person is. In a healthy relationship, both parties should get their needs met. Everyone feels free to be themselves.
Consider reaching out for professional help if you need further help. Be aware of narcissistic abuse PTSD symptoms and address them accordingly.
Learn Helpful Methods for How to Handle People with Narcissism
People with narcissism are also human and still need love and social relationships. They can also add lots of fun to your love and be effective team members at work. The key to a successful relationship with them is to set firm boundaries and call them out on their behavior. If you feel that you are suffering from narcissistic abuse, seek help from a mental health professional as soon as you can. For assistance with your healing, schedule an appointment today.
This Post Has 23 Comments
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, DO NOT go into joint counseling with them. There is no such thing as a “safe place” with a third party to say anything critical to them. You will suffer backlash and they will do anything they can to discredit the third party, and prevent you from seeing them again. Just get whatever friends/family you have left to help you get out when the NPD will not be present. And please know, your safety is more important than whatever possessions you may leave behind. The NPD is most likely to get violent at the point of your leaving because 1) rejection and 2) others knowing about their behavior. Just go and be very careful.
I just want to second your comment. I have tried joint counselling with my spouse (for ‘my’ problem) and it became all about them and their suffering as a result of ‘my’ problem. As soon as we left a session we would have to go over the whole thing *immediately* so they could re-cast what was said from *their* point of view. The one time a counsellor suggested my spouse might perhaps have their own issues we never returned because, according to my spouse, the counsellor was “blaming me for everything”. I finally underwent successful counselling when I went alone, but I had to stick to my guns about it.
I am vulnerable to the type of criticism NPD’s give out, as I live with Asperger’s: my sense of self-worth is low to begin with, and I take myself at others’ evaluations – stupid, clumsy, etc.
Haha she refused any real therapy, only ‘Her’ therapist who she’s lied to for years and tries to sell her pyramid schemes… it’s ridiculous how psudeo psychology has taken over now, but it sure helps narcissist’s play the victim and feel get praise for it…. Trying to find help and support has been hit or miss, half the groups I found are run by the worst enablers who preach dangerous ‘rules’ to people at s vulnerable time. I just hope the world changes soon
I saw the warning signs early in with my ex. I always gave her the benefit of the doubt because I knew she had issues she was working on going in. I never imagined the depths of it until long after she was gone. They never planned to stay with you, they always lied, always cheated both physically and emotionally… they use you to the core and then abuse you even after they’re done and off to their new supply. They need have power and control over another person and to make you the next villain in their life because they are broken and instead of really healing they’ll do anything to hide it and keep playing the victim..
It’s mind blowing when you look back on all the lies you believed implicitly over the years. Their whole identity is lies, they need manipulation to play the victim while still having power and control over you the real victim. You’re better off not digging, you’ll make yourself sick trying to figure out what was real and what was part of their twisted games to extort or use you in whatever way they wanted. Just try to understand there’s no figuring it out, some people are just evil and will do whatever it takes to get what they want regardless of the pain and suffering they inflict, they’ll always be the victim in their own minds
Haha Katie, this sounds familiar..
my ex was lying manipulative abusive scum too! A professional fake victim, and I never imagined how sick she truly was until she sprung her trap and ruined my life. Now I doubt I ever knew a real person, they set you up and try to do as much damage as they can just to play the victim… it’s disgusting, mine abused the law, womens support for people in need, the things she posted online cost me my career and reputation.. they should be locked up but there’s no justice once you’re labeled an abuser by someone like her
This is spot on… I was kicked out of a few extremely biased and misleading groups like that before I stopped looking at them all together. I have time say though there were plenty of women who also helped me a great deal. It seems like no matter the type of narcissistic their tactics are all the same, some are just insidious and covert others are grand and obvious. But hearing my story almost word for word from women recovering from the same type of abuse helped tremendously. There’s still no real healing from it for me, but I’m learning to be grateful that I have the chance to go on and keep trying to learn to live with it. Worrying about them turns into all the ways you want to learn to be better for allowing yourself to love a person like that. We all deserve better, no one asked for this we just wanted love and a selfish broken person attached themselves to us, trying to steal our strength while Tearing us down for some sick need of theirs to pass on some inner pain they are too cowardly to face and must project onto others at all costs.
I’m not sure I’d say Narcs are human and need love.
Many times people who are diagnosed with NPD have suffered childhood trauma and abuse, I say that for perspective. People who have a mental illness are human and to say otherwise is harmful and not okay. Please hold yourself accountable and stop weaponizing mental illness.
My thoughts exactly!
This is me.. I know I need more help than I can normally admit.. I ruin lives…
Hi Katie. We are sorry that you are struggling with this. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members to help.
I really don’t want to admit what I am but I do hurt people for selfish reasons
It’s ok to admit it Katie, it’s what you do with that information in the future that matters. I pushed people away myself, not on purpose or maliciously but I know I’m guilty too. Just keep trying to be better and forgive yourself I guess.,. I keep trying but I always feel so hurt and cheated
I like that you talked about how a narcissistic personality disorder is a genuine medical condition that needs diagnosis by a psychiatrist or mental health professional. I was watching a talk show last night and they discussed about cases of narcissism. I heard there are even therapy for narcissistic abuse victims, so this issue may be more common than I initially thought.
Well if I had a genuine medical condition that made me punch strangers it would be my responsibility to tie a hand behind my back before I went around people wouldn’t it? But they know they’re sick and get involved to try to pass their pain onto people who don’t matter because they can’t face the people that hurt them
People like this need treatment or judgment
Good point, I don’t think we’re doing ourselves much good trying to justify a narcissist’s abuse. A person who lies, manipulates, uses everyone around then in some way, cheats emotionally and physically, lives multiple lives and craves constant attention in any form is mentally ill yes. So are murderers and psychopaths, well a lot of them probably are, or they just feel normal emotions.
My ex narcissistic had a severe eating disorder, we were neighbors for years before we ever got together. Everything was about her issues, adjusting to her needs, her gifts were all picture of her she could use later on to lure in new supply.. I went from her everything, the love of her life to her next horror story over night. It was all planned, like the months is psychological torture after.. at the hardest time in my life already, then she flipped it all.. claimed I had the mental health issues all along, I was projecting onto her, god it’s so sick from someone like her who has studied all this and knows exactly what they’re doing.. she claimed to be the way she was because of narcissistic abuse… it might be true.. but she doesn’t see or can’t admit she is exactly what she claims destroyed to mental health, it’s something inside her she needs to try to pass in by destroying people from the inside out rather than admitting she is just like her abusers, if any of them were ever real and not just what she did to me.
Thanks Andrea. I keep trying to remind myself of the things you said but some days are easier than others. Holidays are so depressing, then I’ve had all these funerals lately. Everyone else gets to go home to their partner and some comfort, I cry softly in the way home until I can into bed and let it all out. Then I just stay in bed and wonder if the ones that have passed on are better off, they don’t hurt anymore or suffer they just get to be at peace. I wish I could have that without hurting my loved ones sigh
Yeah, narcissist is basically witch now for anyone you want to shut out of your life. The only cure is treating them with utter disregard and labeling them your abuser… don’t ever try to communicate or be honest with your partner… that’s what the main stream says now anyway
Lol Katie McMurray thanks that comment cheered me up a little
You know what was really maddening feeling how close you were in the pit of me that can see wherever it wants to. I already knew you were too far gone to ever reach even though I could walk to your shelter, why did you do that? Fine to grow for you but I was not abusive you labeled me your abuser and treated me in ways you promised so deeply you never would. Covid was weird and scary times, how could you be that way, all those ways I told you would break me as a person while everything was already so bad… it really never stops hurting, I doubt it ever will. And you know how much I need to torture myself, I have… and then some. And you’re still wrong and sick and for the ways you were to me.
Hi Katie. Thanks for sharing your story. We understand how you feel. We’ve found that therapy goes a long way in moving toward healing. Contact our Makin Wellness team today as we’d love to help you develop a plan to find joy in life again.