What Is Narcissism and How Can You Spot a Narcissist

Many of you may have heard of narcissists or narcissistic behavior and may ask, “What is narcissism?”, “How can I spot a narcissist?” or, “How can I avoid a narcissist?”

When you know what to look for, you may realize you’re either living with a narcissist, working with one, or may have a parent who exhibited narcissistic behaviors.

Narcissism in not gender specific and although it is not always easy to spot a narcissist, here are a few instances where you may have been dealing with a narcissist and didn’t know it:

If you

• have worked with a demanding boss who made you feel inadequate

• were raised by a domineering parent who had to be right about everything

• dated someone who demanded lots of emotional maintenance but rarely reciprocated

• had family members who challenged and criticized incessantly

• were friends with someone who seemed to require you walk on eggshells around them,

you were more than likely dealing with a narcissist.

Lori Hoeck, of Think Like a Black Belt, and I have written “The Narcissist: A User’s Guide ” to help you understand why a narcissist would be seeking to prey upon you. We’ve gathered stories that illustrate the bewildering ways a narcissist will manipulate circumstances to blame you for everything and make you believe it. You’ll be able to see how a narcissist will use your weak points and words against you for control in the relationship. But more importantly, this e-book is going to help you fight your way out of a harmful situation.

Most people enter adulthood with a fair amount of naïveté. Seeking love and acceptance, they may put up with bad behavior from others. Many will seek approval from their peers or look for an authoritative mentor. Some will think they can change a difficult person with loving kindness. All of these circumstances can be more dangerous than a run-of-the-mill encounter might first suggest. They all signify potential for exploitation to a narcissist.

Narcissists can present themselves in almost any venue. Their method of building themselves up at the expense of others is, paradoxically, rooted in their own low self-esteem. Somewhere, at a very young age, a narcissist begins to think that he or she is inferior to others. That inferiority complex morphs into an ever-increasing need to validate themselves. They do this by putting you down. The lower you are in the pecking order, the higher they can be by comparison. If you buy into the false scenario they’ve constructed, they’ll continue. The process depletes you and feeds them. They are emotional vampires.

The more Lori and I observed and studied narcissistic behavior, the more we realized how prevalent it is. Even if you’ve never dealt with a narcissist, chances are you may know someone who has, or who is currently battling this toxic dynamic. Curiously, though, there are few resources to obtain help, and many of those are more suitable for medical professionals, psychotherapists and counselors.

We know our concise User’s Guide, which turns the tables on the toxic dynamic, can provide needed information and hope.

Defending against a narcissist and leaving the relationship may be the most difficult things someone may face. The most important thing we can do for someone who is involved in a narcissistic relationship is offer support and a respite from the dysfunction. The Narcissist: A User’s Guide provides encouragement, strategies and tips that can be implemented to neutralize and, ultimately, negate a narcissist’s influence.

Click on the link to buy your copy of The Narcissist – A User Guide

The Narcissist: A User’s Guide is on Facebook here and on Squidoo here.

This post was written by Betsy Wuebker, author of “Passing Thru” (the blog) and co-author of “The Narcissist” (the ebook)

UPDATE: Betsy has returned to write a second guest post about narcissists and the narcissistic behavior and how we’re witnessing more of it on social networking sites. The post is titled, Facebook – The New Playground for Narcissists.

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16 Responses to What Is Narcissism and How Can You Spot a Narcissist

  1. Lori Hoeck says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Thank you so much for letting us use this platform to get the word out about narcissists. So many people tell Betsy and me, “I sure wish I’d had this information years ago!”

    And thank you for ALL your Soc. Med. support and encouragement!

  2. Hi Lori,

    It’s my pleasure. The book is absolutely fabulous. Thank you and Betsy for all the hard work you’ve put into it and for enlightening all of us.

  3. Pingback: Dealing with Critical People | What's It Take Blog

  4. Manhattan says:

    I think the best thing to do with a narcissist is just to beat them in something right away, to prove they’re not all that great. Otherwise their ego will just keep building as time goes on.

  5. Yes!!!! This e-book is invaluble on so many levels. As you may have heard me mention elsewhere, (or maybe not,) I read the book only with the intention of how it could benefit my daughter but I soon learned it did apply to ME, and a relationship that wasn’t particularly healthy for me. It really freed me, and I’m so grateful.

    Oh, I wish EVERYBODY could read this!!!

    Great review of a great service. If there is such a thign as an e-book award, my vote will for sure go to this one of Lori and Betsys!

    Manhattan makes a good point, as covered in the book too.

    Thanks, Barbara!
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Jannie Gets Bold =-.

  6. I had a friend a time ago who I think he was narcissist. I thought it was something not to care much about, but I read about it and it’s a psychological disorder. Thank you for this information =)

  7. SAMMY says:

    I have been doing some research trying to find out if my ex (soon to be ex) is bpd or narcissist. They both talk of low self esteem and not sure if they can appear independent or one is a subset of the other. For probably 6 months I was convinced it was bpd, though no cutting, until today I concentrated on narcissism. I concentrated on it as I was searching reasons for idealisation and devaluation.

    After reading the above article (Malignant Optimism of the Abused), I no longer know wheteher to continue searching for answers or quit. We are in the process of divorce, court gave me kids temporarily until final divorce. My kids are boys of 7 & 8YRS. Wife abandoned home 3rd time in a 10yr marriage. First, when we were less than 2yrs married for 8 mnths. Then again after 5 yrs for 8mnths. Why 8mnths? Any reason this figure? All the time, no reasons except to say all relationships have problems. Now, 5yrs down the line, away for 1 yr today after discovering infidelity with her boss. Never admitted fault, nor repentance, just anger and insulting me, telling me I am uselesss, evil, monster etc. BPD was name I was told by my psychologist when treating me for unrelated issue. I was hijacked and in my treatment, I was concerned about my marriage hence I knew about it when explaining my situation. He mentioned it was unofficial. I also approached SADA (I am South African). They never said what was wrong but told me there were mental issues and I must bail out of marriage. When she left second time, I summonsed divorce and was cancelled on the eve of signing settlement. Even now, she initiated divorce, stopped and I continued.

    CanBPD/Narcissism be cured?
    Am I wasting my time?
    I am trying to do it for my kids.
    Will appreciate notification by e-mail when there are responses.

    Thank you all

  8. Betsy says:

    Hi Sammy – I can certainly empathize with the terrible time you are going through. It seems as though dealing with anyone who exhibits narcissistic behavior brings similar difficulties, confusion and heartache.

    I have a couple of suggestions for you. First of all, finding a label for the behavior can sidetrack you from taking action. It will never be as effective as creating a strategy to minimize the harmful influence on your children (and you as their caretaker). Difficult people deplete our energy, so conserving it by focusing on specific objectives will help you move forward.

    Secondly, you instinctively know your children deserve to see you modeling a stand-up lifestyle with healthy relationships in order to develop their own. You are deserving, too. Wishing you the best possible outcome and continued strength.

  9. Pingback: Narcissists Find New Ways to Play Online | Passing Thru

  10. Dave says:

    I think I am a narcissist because I CAN’T STAND poor grammar, especially coming from someone with their own website writing their own articles.

    Your article starts off “Many of you made heard of narcissists.”

    Really? Many of you made heard? What the hell is that? Don’t you even read over your articles before you publish them? Get a clue.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thank you for pointing out the typo. I’ve corrected it. :)

      • Karen says:

        Oh boy Barbara i’m so glad Dave hasn’t read some of my typo mistakes.
        Poor man would be insane..
        After years of abuse I think that is the only thing my X found wrong with me.
        Cheers Karen

    • Karen says:

      Maybe you are a narc or just perfect Dave….I didnt notice, nor did it bother me when you pointed it out..
      How sad I feel for you to be so rude..
      Maybe your manners need a little work..
      Kind regards Karen

  11. berks says:

    I think we won’t tolerate the people who is narcissistic behavior. It may ruin our lives. Thanks both of you Lori and Betsy for the encouragement and enlightenment.

    ici 4 dma a web developer

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