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How do you spot a narcissist?

(20 Posts)
iMemoo Tue 05-Jul-11 19:15:28

I've been read lots of threads on here, particularly the stately home ones and people often talk about someone being a narcissist. What is somebody with a narcissistic personality like?

I ask because I have always had a difficult relationship with my mother and believe she is responsible for a lot of my ishoos. Her treatment of me certainly contributed to me having an incredibly low self esteem which inturn has contributed to a lot of my MH problems.

So, is any one able to describe a narcissist to me?

Booandpops Tue 05-Jul-11 22:11:07

Watching with interest

RidinOnAPig Tue 05-Jul-11 22:13:59

Just asked a similar question here, will be watching both.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 05-Jul-11 22:20:59

Try this iMemoo.
And this.

Dinkiedoo Thu 07-Jul-11 18:38:15

a narcissist is someone who thinks they can do no wrong and thinks they are flawless in very way

TheNorthWitch Thu 07-Jul-11 20:47:59

Narcissists can be very charming when you first meet them. Not always in a slimy flashy way - they can also play the self deprecating nice guy/girl, helpful, courteous, liberal etc. Watch out for someone mirroring you - throw a few wrong answers in there to test them out. We respond to people that we think are like us and who have similar values and the narcs know this.

Take your time in getting to know someone and don't be swayed by superficial impressions. Narcs are very good at ticking the boxes and impression management. They will hide behind a good job, relationship, groups of friends that they keep sweet, community work, religion etc. Pay attention to your gut - if it's not happy for some reason, even if everything looks good on the surface, then be very careful. Don't ignore WTF??? moments/comments. He might have aspergers, she might be very stressed or they just might be a narc whose mask slipped.

They present a false picture which is hard work and as they have no real empathy they are acting out emotions so they slip up sometimes. Notice emotional responses that feel fake. A bit too much?? They are acting out what they have seen others do and they can get it wrong. They can have different personalities for different situations. We all do this to a certain extent but there should be some continuity - not like an actor switching between characters.

They have a huge sense of entitlement to everything - you are merely a bit part actor in their drama - watch out for noses being put out of joint if you are successful at something. or have more of something - they won't be happy for you. It can play out in different ways - mean with their time but entitled to yours, expect attention but give none, their problems are important but not yours, mean with their money but entitled to yours, too grand to do menial work or bother with ordinary workers (the waitress test - how do they treat them?), entitled to the best even if on low income etc.

They do not take responsibility for any mistakes - they are always right. Therefore they don't grow as a person and will keep on making the same errors. They lack insight and will repeat patterns of behaviour even after pretending to change. They lie with ease and if caught out will switch lies in midstream or get defensive and angry to head you off if they can't think of something.

Basically IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM! If you have self esteem issues be careful as narcs are takers and those who feel unworthy for whatever reasons are givers. Look after yourself - be selfish - do your own thing - guard your own space - know your own mind. Learn about your vulnerabilities and hot buttons (guilt etc.) as narcs will play on them to get what they want. Make sure you have good boundaries.

There's loads of info online, books on amazon - read up on them so you have a better chance of spotting them and steering clear. Do your homework - they will be doing their homework on YOU after all!

electra Fri 08-Jul-11 09:33:37

This sounds like my mother. Although it seems to be becoming popular (and inappropriate imo) to diagnose others with personality disorders which are actually very complex.

My mother's behaviour has confused me for my entire life. She's like the person described above. ALWAYS right, thinks she's wonderful. Has often seemed jealous of me if my life is happy - even though at other times she's expressed a desire for me to be happy and for things to work out. She's nice and helpful about half the time and awful the other half. She expects me to be sympathetic about her problems but doesn't have time for mine. She thinks she's a kind of mother Theresa character and this is how she portrays herself - like a martyr. She loves that. She blames me for things that are her responsibility and frequently twists and misrepresents the truth.

It's fucking exhausting in all honesty. My dad is worse though

fastweb Fri 08-Jul-11 10:15:15

I've ordered this book, because I strongly suspect my mother has HPD.

It covers the major personality disorders.

It is still to arrive so I can't comment on how good it is, but it came highly recommended from forums who focus on people trying to live with families that feature PDs.

It might be worth a look if it sounds like it could be useful to you.

Emotional Vampires

SingOut Fri 08-Jul-11 12:29:39

Thanks for that fastweb, that book looks like a good read. I think I may order it too.

TeachMySelfBalance Fri 08-Jul-11 14:32:50

Hi iMemoo,
I agree with electra about diagnosing others-best left to the professionals. However, I do think it is ok to think about the dynamics with others and develop a vocabulary to try to make sense of it all. So I feel my conclusions are still just an opinion and of course may be a bit off base.

I think my middle sister is narcissistic. Here is an example of something she did. Middle sister very generously declared (as our father did before he died-so she is being as great as father or perhaps taking over father's role? Superiority) that if she wins the lottery she will divide it equally in three parts. When she had her will drawn up, she had the attorney create two trust funds-one for me and one for Oldest sister. This is where the lottery money will it wouldn't be a direct gift (as father declared)-she would have control over it. Translate that into control over us-in the present (we'd better be good girls for this anticipation-kind of degrading in itself) and control for the future (she has stipulations on the money). Note the grandiose expectation to win the lottery in such real terms as to have trusts drawn up beforehand.

When she told me this (on the phone but I could still sense her air of superiority in her voice) I was at a loss for words. So after thanking her, I said, "Didn't the attorney think this was a little wierd?" And she just breezily said "Oh yes, she asked me if I really thought I was going to win and I just said 'well, it could happen'".

I think this is an example of a WTF? moment that TheNorthWitch described above.

Thank you, TheNorthWitch, for typing out the description. It always helps to review.

PipinJo Fri 08-Jul-11 18:38:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

droves Sun 17-Jul-11 16:52:21


sundayrose10 Sun 17-Jul-11 17:11:48

TheNorthWitch covered it 100 per cent. Once you learn about narcs, it's like a light switch moment. It'e easier to walk away as you know it's not you...all their emotions are FAKE.

Count yourself lucky if you have never encountered such a person. The roller coaster destruction they bring in you life is mind blowing. Shudders

beatenbyayellowteacup Sun 17-Jul-11 17:53:49

I'll give you some practical examples from an ex:

1. He had to contradict me constantly just to have the final say (if I proved him wrong, he just shut his mouth and changed the subject)

2. We were in Germany and it was snowing. We were drinking Gluhwein outside.

Him: It's snowing on my jacket

Me: obviously sucked in too much at this point, looking at his jacket Oh, yes it is. Then realised it was also snowing on my jacket, actually, just as much as it was on his; surprising, given that I was standing next to him

Me: It's snowing on mine too.

Him: Yes but mine is blah blah blah, a really good one etc

SirSugar Sun 17-Jul-11 22:27:35

life in their orbit turns into a fucking nightmare

garlicbutter Mon 18-Jul-11 01:19:58

PippinJo, some of those Amazon reviews for "Narcissism: Denial of the True Self" are so very, very narcissistic! grin

I've timed my middle sister talking about herself: Up to 25 minutes sober; almost 2 hours drunk - uninterrupted. If I try to draw her away from her favourite subject, she 'listens' until my first pause for breath, then goes right on talking about herself.

I dropped my GBF after listening to a 15-minute voicemail from him, in which every sentence began with "I".

Here's a link to Sam Vaknin's stream on YouTube (thanks, MmeO.) Vaknin is a diagnosed NPD sufferer, who has made a career of informing others about the condition. There are three or four videos about early warning signs.

moonferret Mon 18-Jul-11 01:32:34

It might help to look at Wikipedia's article here

There's a box at the bottom showing the differences between "healthy narcissism" and "destructive narcissism".

MizzyTizzy Mon 18-Jul-11 08:56:23

I only have a short reply to this question and nothing to back it up other than personal experience.

A Narc' will be the only one in the room trying unsuccessfully to suppress a smirk when your life goes tits up for any reason.

garlicbutter Mon 18-Jul-11 13:00:47

Very good point, Tizzy!
... Unless you have the misfortune to be in the room with my family, in which case 80% of them will be doing strange twisty things with their mouths.

MizzyTizzy Mon 18-Jul-11 13:31:03

Yup me too garlicbutter! Much like this -> confused

OP only wanted to spot one thought it best not to scare her too much.

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