There is a definitive cluster of behaviors present in narcissistic individuals which cuts through culture, geography, race, socio-economic status, physical attributes, educational status.
Though narcs (narcissists) wear many different masks and one might not look exactly like another, there are consistencies one could find in the behavior of an NPD individual.
Consider the below signs as relationship red flags you should pay attention to, because I didn’t.
In my experience, these are a few of the hallmarks of a person who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
A narcissist’s self-centeredness is extremely pathological it knows no bounds. Any conversation with them about a random thing, event or person would end up being about them.
If a narcissist wants sex and you’re not in the mood, this is enough to send him in a rage or provoke guilt about your `selfishness’ in depriving him of what he wants.
Any thing narcs say and do is meant to be about them / is meant to benefit their identity, their image, and fulfill their wants.
It is always about what they can get from you. They – their needs, their wants – always come first above everything and everyone else.
If you’re in a relationship where you wondered, “Why can’t he make time for me, when I do my best to make time for him?”, see if this is a consistent occurrence. If it is, the most helpful question to ask is: “Is he in pseudolove with me?” And the best question to ask yourself is, “Why am I allowing it?”
2 No empathy
Narcissists are not capable of feeling other people’s emotions. They regard others as an appendage, an extension, a tool – literally an extra hand they could will to do their bidding.
Narcissists do not see people as individuals. They see others as a pawn they can manipulate; an endless supply source they could mine; a tool or object they can use to fulfill their wants, fantasies or to help maintain / build their identity.
Thus they are unable to feel empathy as it is impossible for them to feel anything for tools, objects or an appendage. They have no regard for other people’s feelings and emotions. To narcissists, empathy is an alien concept because they can only care for their own feelings, needs, satisfaction.
3 Causes confusion
Narcissists intentionally cause confusion – it is one of the hallmarks of narcissism. Their objective is for you to lose your ability to think straight. This inability helps them to manipulate and control you better.
Confusion breeds mental and emotional exhaustion. If you’re mentally and emotionally exhausted, it is difficult for you to know what is the right and appropriate thing to do in the situation you’re in.
It therefore provides narcissists the opportunity to get the upper hand and manipulate you to do their bidding. At times, sowing confusion is something narcissists do as if by default, it is also something they enjoy doing.
4 Presents himself as a victim, `the poor one’
“Another way that the narcissist’s ego gets special attention is through the role of being a victim…the narcissist can hide behind misfortune and victimization in order to shame you into feeling and believing that they suffer more than you do.
They will say that you don’t care enough for them. They will make you feel that you have not done enough to help them. The ego wants attention, control, gain, and power over others by positioning itself as a “poor and helpless” victim. It does this; all the while it soaks up the attention and control over others.”
5 Need to attach to a person and establish a relationship quick.
NPD individuals want to attach to a person quick because they know they are putting on an act and are constantly aware that the curtain would fall on them anytime.
They therefore need to hook with someone swiftly so that person will have difficulty letting go once the pseudo-lover’s NPD behaviors emerge.
6 No accountability / Constantly blames
NPDs dislike owning up and admitting their faults. It is always someone else’s sin / misdemeanor for whatever misfortune / bad luck / negative event that is happening in their lives.
They’d rather hurt others or project onto others their own shortcomings than acknowledge something negatively true about themselves.
According to Truth Wizard EyesforLies: “People who are arrogant are not compassionate, they are often self-centered and self-serving..It should put you on alert that these people have a higher propensity to care less about others..That equates into a higher likelihood to commit offenses against others, (from) deception to much worse..”
8 Violates boundaries
Narcissists feel entitled because they see people not as individuals but as extensions, possessions and objects that are supposed to fulfill their needs and can be manipulated.
The obvious question now is, if these are a narcissist’s negative traits or if he’s really this bad, why would anyone want to be in a relationship with a narcissist?
In my experience, I even stayed with my narc-ex.
Truthfully, my codependence helped me look beyond his abuse.
I also wanted to believe that my ex was “the one” so I had to deny the truth that was staring at me right in the face.
9 It is also a fact that Narcissists are charming, suave and smooth.
My grandmother liked my narc-ex and had a soft spot for him.
My nieces and nephews adored him and always looked forward to him coming to the house during Christmas because he always had gifts for everyone.
My friends thought he was the boy-next-door type who couldn’t hurt a fly. Even a client from work who met my ex advised me that he was a “good man.”
My narc-ex was decent-looking.
He had decent friends and had a good-paying job. Looking at him from the outside, he seemed “stable.” My brother thought he came from a `good school’ and had `good breeding.’
He was nice and polite.
My narc-ex was sweet when he wanted to. A common friend claimed that my ex would always talk about how much he loved me and what his plans were for us in the future.
Our common friend also said he was asked by my ex to accompany him to look for an engagement ring for me. Our common friend even saw my ex cry when my ex learned I did not want to marry him – naturally, my narcissist-ex conveniently left out the reasons why.
My ex was also remarkably polite during times he wanted to. Before he held my hand in public during the early part of our relationship, he would always ask: “Could I hold your hand?”
When we’re crossing the street, he always went to the side where the vehicles would be coming.
When he would arrive in our house, he would knock and I would have the door open for him and beckon him to come in. Still, he would ask my permission if he could enter the house.
His seeming sweetness interspersed with his rudeness and boundary violations that I felt confused. To clear my confusion, I dismissed the bad things he did and noticed only the good things.
I lied to myself and made sure I explained away his abuses as something he didn’t mean to do; that he was just in a difficult time in his life thus his rage; that he really loved me he just allowed his bad traits to get the better of him; that he needed me to feel cared for and loved and that if I cared for him / stayed with him enough, he will change.
But the fact remains,
Psychiatrist Harvey Cleckley, M.D., describes this as a “mask of sanity.”
Every good thing I knew about my ex for all the years we were together was fiction. It was an act the whole time.
Narcissists manage to initially present themselves in a way that would fit the expectations people – or their targets – have of them. Doing so enables them to lure, blend in and capture one’s interest, if not one’s heart.
In the movie `I am Fishead,’ Paul Babiak (author of the book Snakes in Suits) describe specific characteristics of psychopaths which are similar to narcissists:
“What you see when you actually interact with them is the mask they are presenting with only a glimmer here and there of the dark side. And so, if we learn from headlines and movies that psychopaths have this dark side and we go out and look for it we’re not going to see it and we conclude they don’t really exist. But you probably met one, you just haven’t seen behind the mask.”
Relationship expert Melanie Tonia Evans, who also went through a horrendous narcissistic relationship, offers a comprehensive list as well as descriptions of what a narcissist says and do, go to:
She also has an online radio show one episode of which featured the common language used by the narcissist.
The Language of the Narcissist
If by reading this post you think, feel and sense that you are with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, please know that staying in such a relationship will not make anything better.
If you are curious to know if he will ever hurt or betray you again, ask yourself if he already has. Then, remember that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Also, ask yourself if he has owned up or if he has been authentically accountable for the hurts he inflicted. If he has not done so then or now, there is a good chance he never will.
If you think you alone can change him or by giving more of your self you will help open his mind or heart to love you more, be aware that this is `hope’ talking to your best self. If he is not loving you now, it is highly improbable for him to ever love you in the future.