If you’re searching online for information about Narcissists, Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Narcissistic parents, being a Child of Narcissists, an ACoN – Adult Child of Narcissists, being in a relationship with a Narcissist, being a Victim of a Narcissist, How to Play the Narcissist’s Game and maybe win, How to Piss a Narcissist Off (which is one of the most popular search terms in my stats), or any other variation on the theme, you will be inundated with results.
The subject of Narcissism is trending, a Hot Topic.
The internet is bursting with information about it, from professionals, experts in the field, and from people like me who are sharing their experiences and working their way through them publicly.
Why share your private story publicly?
If your particular Narcissist has managed to isolate you and surround you with people who are on their side, then the chances are that there is no one with whom you can discuss your situation. The times that you have tried to perhaps open other people’s eyes to what is going on have been met with disdain, disbelief, and dismissal. Maybe you’ve even been accused of being crazy, until you begin to wonder if it is true. You may well feel like you are going crazy, that’s what living in the reality created by a Narcissist can do to a sane mind.
So speaking up and out about your experience is a necessary part of breaking free from the prison of silence of your isolation.
Doing it on the internet can be the best place to do it. You can be anonymous if you choose, you can share things with millions of strangers which you would never share with those in your offline life, and doing it publicly allows you to connect with others who relate to your experience, can share their experience with you too, and can offer support and encouragement.
The internet’s good side is a wonderful community.
There is also a not so good side to it. A land filled with people wearing the mask of anonymity who get their kicks out of being nasty to others in one form or another.
Someone the other day left a comment on one of my Narcissism posts accusing me of being a Narcissist.
The accusation of ‘Narcissist’ is very popular, and you don’t need any qualifications, expertise or proof to use it.
The comment was silly, just someone amusing themselves, however they did have a serious point. I could indeed be a Narcissist. If I had NPD, would I know it? Not only would I probably not know, I’d probably be very adamant that I didn’t have NPD. Chances are I might even be very certain that everyone except me was a Narcissist, and I might even blog about it. I might even consider myself to be an expert on NPD… if I was a Narcissist there would be no ‘might’ about it, no doubt, Narcissists do not know how to doubt themselves, they don’t self-reflect they self-project, and I’d probably think everyone else who wrote about NPD did not know what they were talking about.
For me in particular, being the child of Narcissists (according to me), the issue of whether I am also a Narcissist is always there. Be it a question which I ask myself or which others wonder about me.
Being the child of Narcissists is in some ways like being the child of smokers, alcoholics, or actors. A child learns about being human from those who surround it in its formative years, it absorbs the behaviours, mannerisms, and influence of those in its immediate environment. When you’re exposed to something on a regular basis, you pick it up by osmosis.
However there are other aspects which come to bear upon who you become as you grow up, and we are always in the process of becoming, evolving, changing.
Recently while reading an article about growing up in a Narcissistic Family, I wandered down to the comments section and spotted a question by a mother asking – Am I the one with NPD or is it my daughter who is the Narcissist? I was intrigued by the question, partly because it appeared to be from someone who genuinely was open to perspectives on the matter, who wanted feedback, and was aware of the possibility that the problems which they were having with their adult child might be due to their own behaviour.
But as I read further, as people replied to this comment trying to be helpful and considerate towards the commenter, the mother went from being one who seemed to want to solve a problem, to one who simply wanted sympathy and support for their view of the situation – which was that they were a wonderful mother who had been cursed with a Narcissist for a child. Her words grew more and more critical of her daughter, listing her daughter’s faults, flaws, bad deeds, and crimes against the mother, interspersed with more and more complimentary words towards herself, some completely random and out of context, and others all about how much she had sacrificed and done for her daughter even though she didn’t have to do any of it, all proof that she was a perfect mother with a deeply flawed child.
I have to confess that I wasn’t reading it with impartiality because at some point this mother reminded me of my mother, and the sort of thing she would say about herself and about me. In fact for a second I wondered if it was my mother. It wasn’t but it could have been.
This mother’s adult child had, like me, gone No Contact with their parent. The mother could not understand nor accept this. She wanted to break the barrier and impose her version of reality on her daughter without any respect or regard for her daughter’s version of reality or view. She admitted to hounding the daughter, stalking her on social media, looking for a way to re-establish contact, even though the daughter had made it clear that she did not want contact. She termed all of her own behaviour as being the reasonable actions of a distraught parent of an unreasonable child.
Now I could be completely wrong about this mother and her daughter. I don’t know them or their story. I simply read a small snippet of it… and it stirred my own story which at the moment is quite vivid in my mind due to recent events.
I probably should not do this, but I am open to feedback (although not all types of feedback, I am very human)… and the article is excellent, especially for those of us who grew up in a Narcissistic family – The Narcissistic Family Portrait by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. [Update: This link leads to an error page, here is a new link for the same article – The Narcissistic Family Tree]
I haven’t written about NPD for a while, at least not like I used to. There are several reasons for this. One of them being that I’ve become more aware of how many people with NPD are writing about NPD. Something I read a while back disturbed me… so I retreated into silence, mostly because I was worried what I might say and the consequences of it. If you’ve had a relationship with a Narcissist, you’ll know that fear and how it works. I’m also dealing with the consequences of the main Narcissists in my life which has taken a lot of focus away from other things. I am however putting into practice everything I’ve learned about dealing with Narcissists. It’s working, but it takes a lot of energy, patience, and self-control.
Sometimes I think (when I’m in a more negative frame of mind) that the rise in public awareness of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is more of a problem than the disorder itself. With so many people diagnosing others with it, discussing it, and discussing ways to deal with people who are Narcissists, things have become more complicated rather than less complicated.
Especially now that more Narcissists are writing about Narcissism and Narcissists.
If you want to know how to spot an online Narcissist, I have yet to find any article which tops this one – Online Narcississm: Writers with NPD by Thomas Swan.
CZBZ of The Narcissistic Continuum is also a great source of information for spotting online Narcissists and she relates a deeply personal experience of Narcissists in Forums in this superb post – Part Two Online Narcissists: A case study called PuppyGate. She is very well-versed in the way of the Narcissist, and she learned it the hard way, the way that most of us, unfortunately or maybe fortunately (I’m never sure), seem to have to learn about those with NPD.
For those of you who don’t think that Narcissists ever ‘Play the Victim’… I guess you’ve never met one who does… but when they do, they do it better than real victims, because they play to an audience, and every word and action they use is designed to elicit the sympathy and loyalty of the audience. The audience has been enlisted as heroes to save the Narcissist in distress. Your reward for rallying to their support and rescuing them?… usually you get to victimise their ‘evil villain’ of the moment and you get to help them destroy that person who has for ‘plausible’ reasons been dehumanised. In other words, this person has said ‘No’ to the Narcissist and no one says ‘No’ to a Narcissist, so they need to be destroyed and wiped off the face of the internet and the Earth.
What better way to destroy someone who has annoyed the Narcissist than for the Narcissist to claim they are a victim of a Narcissist and then ask all of us who’ve also been victims of Narcissists to help them to destroy this ‘evil’ person who is a non-person now that they’ve been identified as that super villain known as a Narcissist. Why question the victim and their claims. Let’s just all fight the monster together. Because that monster represents all the monsters in our lives who’ve made us feel powerless, who’ve turned our goodness into badness, who’ve frustrated us, made us homicidal when all we wanted to be was compassionate, who’ve taken advantage of our giving nature and used our empathy and sympathy against us.
Narcissists like to be a part of what is popular, trending, a Hot Topic, what everyone is talking about and paying attention to, and then they take it over and become Captains of the Popular Ship.
They tend to see themselves as experts in the matter, know more than anyone else about the subject, and dismiss or steamroll over others – especially if those others are getting the attention which the Narcissists want for themselves. They also tend to be very certain about what they are saying… which can be viewed by the unsuspecting eye as confidence and expertise. It’s all very black and white to them. And they make it black and white for us too. It’s their way or their way, no other way exists.
Things are getting very confusing – confusion is Narcissistic territory. As long as we’re confused, they have control over us. They can pretend to clear our fog of confusion… yet what they’re actually doing is using it against us and to their advantage.
Putting a label on something can help to clear the confusion. It can turn the unknown into the known. Knowing that someone who has been making your life difficult is a Narcissist can bring what was blurry into sharp focus. Then by researching the subject you can learn how to process what has happened and find ways of dealing with NPD and those who have it, and help yourself to heal your trauma.
But what if the information which you are using to heal yourself comes from someone who is a Narcissist?
Narcissists accuse others of being Narcissists all the time. Narcissists also claim to be victims of Narcissists, which is not necessarily a false claim as birds of a feather often flock together.
Narcissists often partner up. They share many of the same goals, and often share a similar version of reality. If they fall in love with each other, the union can be similar to those portrayed by Hollywood. A meeting of two charismatic beings which emanates the kind of energy that seems magical, fated, and supernatural. While they are caught up in their love for each other everything is blissful. Perfect love. When things go wrong and they fall out of love, the drama is intense.
Narcissists often prefer the drama to the bliss because then they don’t have to share centre stage. And they get to play their favourite role in their favourite story – The Hero versus The Villain. The storyline usually draws a large audience and captivates them. It’s like one of those plays where the actors mingle with the audience and draw them into the drama. The audience participates by cheering the hero on, supporting him or her, and booing the villain, attacking him or her.
Getting other people involved in their drama is a specialty of Narcissists, it is a source of food for them, and supplies them with the energy, attention, and feelings of superiority and importance which they crave and need to keep going.
All of this is something which you will find if you come across the website or blog of a Narcissist who is sharing their experience of being in a relationship with a Narcissist and claiming to be the victim of a Narcissist.
There are other things you will also find therein.
The language and expression of a Narcissist has a distinctive signature.
Male Narcissists tend to be aggressive, extremely confident, and their language is designed for powerful impact. They are the classic Alpha Male and they brandish their maleness with style. They are the Man that all men want to be. They also tend to be misogynistic. They hate women, the hate can be subtle or overt or both. They have a knack for tapping into the frustrations of gender interactions. They play upon the frustrations men feel towards women, and the way other women feel towards women. Women will find them as fascinating as men. Men will often admire them for standing up to women and feminism and so on. And women will often try to please them to become one of those special females which they don’t hate. A misogynist hates all females, but a man with NPD will use your vanity that he doesn’t consider you one of those females he hates to use you… often against other females. They aim to seduce you, whoever you are, whatever gender you are. Sex is power to them and they are superior to everyone regardless of gender.
Female Narcissists tend to be alluring, confident with their power, and their language is designed to seduce both male and females. They use their sex as power. They can be feminists or sirens, or both and so much more. They often blur sexual lines and gender roles in a way which is mesmerising. They flaunt their femininity to the max. They are what women long to be. They also tend to be misandrists. They hate men. They don’t particularly like women either. They see other women as competition for the men who are their pawns, their knights in shining armor to their damsel in distress if they’re playing that part. They will often say something along the lines of – women don’t like me because men like me. However women give good sympathy. So they play upon the way women feel about men, their fears and hopes, and gender frustrations to win them over. They aim to seduce you, whoever you are, whatever gender you are. Sex is power to them and they are superior to everyone regardless of gender.
There is a certainty about them and their claims which has no doubt to it. Since most of us struggle with doubt and all its variations for all of our lives, someone without doubt taps into our desire to be invincible in some way. We wish we could be as confident as they are… we don’t realise the price we have to pay for our wish to come true.
They will come across as being very confident that they are a victim of a Narcissist and that the other person is a Narcissist – and their Narcissist will not just a regular Narcissist, low on the spectrum of the disorder, but they will probably be the worst one ever, off the high end of the spectrum. They are also very sure that they are not to blame for anything and that the Narcissist is to blame for everything.
This taps into our rage, which we often keep suppressed even when we are bold enough to admit to it… we’re always a bit diffident of the power of our anger, fearful of what it might do to us and others if we set it free. So they use our fears to lure us in and give us a safe way to express it… one which may save us from the consequences of unleashing such a powerful emotion. They want that power for themselves, to use it for their own intentions.
Most victims of Narcissists have a lot of self doubt and often blame themselves for what the Narcissist has done to them. A portion of the blame does indeed belong to the victim, this blame can be turned into personal power which can be used to heal and eventually move on. We need to accept that our behaviour may have made us vulnerable to a Narcissist. Perhaps we wear rose-coloured glasses, which isn’t a bad thing unless you’re wearing them while looking at a Narcissist. Sometimes our strengths make us weak, at least where Narcissists are concerned. But we can adjust our vision… as long as we don’t let another Narcissist adjust it for us.
But a portion of the blame also belongs to the Narcissist. And learning to give to the Narcissist what belongs to them, even if they will never accept it, is a necessary part of the healing process.
There is also a portion of the blame which belongs to society – we live in a Narcissistic Society which encourages the Narcissistic side in all of us.
We can all be Narcissistic. Narcissism is a phase of human development. It is natural and healthy. Being Narcissistic and being a Narcissist, having NPD, are very different things. Most people who are Narcissistic, will not be Narcissistic all the time. Narcissists, those with NPD, are Narcissistic all the time.
No one knows how to suffer and profit from their suffering like a Narcissist.
If you’re reading a blog powered by a Narcissist, pay attention to their language, and what they’re seeking from you as theneed you more than you need them… this can be a tempting feeling. This person needs you.
Do they want sympathy, do they want you to feel for them, perhaps even forget about yourself and your problems because theirs are so much worse than yours.
What is the comments section of their post like, do they ignore their commenters, do they only reply to those who butter them up, do they dismiss people who challenge them, do they listen to their commenters and reply accordingly or do they talk about themselves and their problems, moving away from what is shared to what they want to share and what they want.
This isn’t always a sign that the blogger is a Narcissist.
Most victims of Narcissists suffer from varying degrees of PTSD. They may not feel comfortable engaging with others. They may be nervous and scared of the opinion of others, even if those opinions are positive and supportive. They may not be able to tell the difference between a compliment and a criticism – not unlike a Narcissist but for different reasons. Being in a relationship with a Narcissist shatters your confidence, and disrupts your ability to socialise and understand social cues and interaction. A Child of Narcissists is always wary of social situations. We’re used to being criticised and often hear compliments as a prelude to a criticism as when a Narcissist compliments you, it’s always a terrible trap. Accept a compliment from a Narcissist and you end up destroyed and in a personal version of Hell on Earth.
Pay attention to how you react and feel to their writing. Is something off, but you’re not sure what it is so you dismiss it as being your fault and not theirs. Maybe you misunderstood what they were saying. Does their writing style change – Narcissists often plagiarise the work of others, they don’t see it as stealing, they simply take what they want and it becomes theirs – but they do regularly accuse others of stealing from them.
You may also find that the NPD blogger is a part of a clique of other NPD bloggers – it has a very different feel to the support given in the community of bloggers who write about their experiences with those with NPD. It’s a clique and not a community. They’re the Popular group, superior to everyone else. Anyone who disagrees with them is out.
The problem is that when Narcissists write about Narcissists, about their experience of being in a relationship with someone with NPD, is that the people whom they are writing about are not necessarily Narcissists at all. They’re just people who managed to piss off a Narcissist, either by simply saying ‘No’ to them, by refusing to be manipulated or used by them, by rejecting them in some way, going No Contact rather than waiting to be Discarded, perhaps in every way, and who has now become the target of the wrath of a Narcissist’s wounded ego. If you piss off a Narcissist, they will obsess over how to destroy you, you can’t be allowed to exist. You can’t be a witness to their failure… they never fail. They are in control and perfect. They are a superior race.
They are not monsters, they just seem that way… don’t fight them as though they are monsters, it feeds their ego and fantasy. The mythological, supernatural, fairytale world is their territory… the human world is our territory, they are afraid of our world. It’s too ordinary, flawed, imperfect, and real for them. On our ground… they shrink in size and become nothing more than a scared, miserable and distorted child who has never had the courage or the ability to grow up.
If you’re a blogger writing about your experience of Narcissists… you will attract Narcissists to your blog. Some will attack you, some will demand your sympathy. Learn to spot the Narcissist. You’re not fighting them… you’re healing yourself. Take care of yourself.
As for whether I’m a Narcissist blogger… that’s for you to decide.
If I am, don’t bother telling me… I won’t listen and you’ll only be frustrated.
If you’re a Narcissist who wants to tell me everything I have said in my posts is wrong, and you feel the need to also enlighten those who relate to what I write, those you seem to feel the need to call stupid and expect them to appreciate this… don’t bother commenting, I won’t listen and you’ll only be frustrated.
You see… when dealing with a Narcissist, I’ve learned to behave exactly as a Narcissist behaves. If you dish it… I hope you like the taste of your own dish. And yes… I’m dishing it so I’d better like the taste of my own dish!
Update 2017 – I should really go through the links below and update them, but some things are better left as they were. However I have recently come across an excellent blog (which also has a Youtube channel for those who prefer the spoken word, and the author of the blog has written books for those who prefer books).
The author is a Narcissist – he states this in his bio, but before you run away, pause a minute, many victims of Narcissists have claimed to have found healing and help in their recovery through reading his posts (read the comments on his posts). I find his posts to be informative. In his posts he explains the Narcissist from the perspective of a Narcissist, and the Narcissist’s victims from the perspective of a Narcissist (and he gives detailed information about the different types and levels of Narcissists, including the ‘victim narcissist’) – this is often what is missing for those trying to heal themselves after Narcissistic Abuse.
He is also rather patient, compassionate, and understanding for a Narcissist. Please be respectful – do not go there to bash a Narcissist, he is not your Narcissist.
Everything below this update are old links, some are still active, and maybe one day I’ll re-check them out.