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Red Flags: What are the signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

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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:

 

1 Self-centeredness

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.

 

7  Arrogance

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.

Why?

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,

Narcissism is imitating by being.  It is method acting all the time.

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:

http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/narcissist-behaviours.htm.

 

She also has an online radio show one episode of which featured the common language used by the narcissist.

The Language of the Narcissist

Listen to internet radio with Empowered Love Radio on Blog Talk Radio

 

 

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.

Photo Credit: VeRoNiK@ GR via Photopin cc

 

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissus admiring his reflection as Echo looks on.

Echo and Narcissus (1903) by John William Waterhouse

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a condition wherein a person is pathologically self-centered and has no empathy towards others.

NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disordered) individuals or narcissists could not empathize because they could not connect.

They could not put themselves in another person’s shoes because they are too self-focused to do so.

The only time they put their attention onto others is when they are manipulating or convincing others to do their bidding;

when they are wooing others to their favor;

when they are managing other people’s perception about them.

Narcissists build an image of themselves as charming, likeable, personable, charismatic.

Some create an image of themselves as being unable to hurt a fly, as the typical boy-next-door, as a reliable individual or a person who has integrity and is altruistic.

All of these are merely impressions narcissists want to leave on you and which they exert constant effort to maintain. These images are all false.

It is these false images that move, breathe and interact with others. NPD individuals literally go through life through their false selves.

This false self consists mostly of mannerisms, attitudes, statements, actions collected from the environment and organized with the intent to build up a favorable identity.

Whatever identity narcissists choose, its purpose is to pull others towards them or to win others over.

Similar to a mask, this identity is a mere disguise, pretense. This put-on identity is similar to a costume worn for a show or an actor playing a character.

Every flourish of the hand a narcissist makes, any head movement, every stomp of their feet is an act.

Anything narcissists say comes from a script they memorized in their head which their false self decided they must say and do in order to function in the world; in order to blend in; in order to draw others to their cause.

 

Narcissists are good mimics

Similar to 4-year olds, narcissists build their false self by mimicking statements or mirroring beliefs, actions they see from others.

They impress onto their false self what they think people will like, admire, appreciate. They then pretend this false self is who they are.

In reality, what’s really inside them is an empty shell and a bottomless hollow emptiness no one and nothing could ever fill – not even themselves.

No amount of love, affection or care could fill this bottomless pit thus their constant need to acquire and to keep someone close to them – physically or otherwise.

This is why narcissists can’t let go. In turn, they choose partners who can’t say “No.”

 

NPD individuals could not comprehend intimacy.

They may know intimacy’s dictionary definition but they are unable to experience it.

They may know in their head what it looks like, but they don’t know how it feels.

Narcissists could only memorize events not assimilate it. They memorize the dates, the time, the circumstance because that is what they can only grasp. They are unable to experience the feeling of that event no matter how hard they try or pretend to.

 

Narcissists are confined inside a glass box.

Narcissists could touch you but they cannot feel you. They could kiss you but they cannot experience you.

They can say “I love you” but they cannot LOVE you.

 

Narcissists could never get enough

Nothing is enough, narcissists always need more, they always want more. When narcissists say “I couldn’t get enough of you,” it’s because they literally cannot get enough of you because no matter how hard they try, they cannot experience you – they do not know how to.

NPD individuals are constantly frustrated because they cannot get what they already have – thus their rage.

Imagine a pillow inside a bubble wrap. You know the color of the pillow, its size, its shape, you may have an idea of how soft or hard it is but you can’t feel the pillow or experience it.

You are unable to authentically know how it is to lay on the pillow so you settle instead to understand in your mind what you think the pillow feels like based on what you can see.

This is how narcissists `experience’ people and their immediate environment. Narcissists themselves are inside a bubble wrap so no amount of effort could tear down or break the bubble wrap or glass box they are in.

Inside the bubble wrap or glass box is an empty shell; a bottomless pit that needs constant filling via acquiring people’s attention, affection, reaction, presence.

Yet no matter how much more narcissists get, they simply cannot have enough.  For narcissists, nothing is ever enough –  thus their addiction for relationships and stimulation.

They could only be temporarily satiated but this lasts briefly. Once narcissists see the bottomless pit staring back at them, once they realize they are empty, they scour to fill themselves and get their fix once again.

They may be in a loving relationship but they cannot sense the depth of it.  They can only simulate the actions most people associate with love.

They can pretend to be in love and ACT loving, but they cannot actually BE loving or feel love, thus their rage.

They can look loving or appear loving with the intent to make people think they are loving.

(This is why you’re confused on why he is mean to you in the privacy of          your room but everyone else thinks he is a nice person.)

They rage towards others and they rage towards themselves. They are unable to experience joy – which in turn makes them project their frustration onto people.

 

Narcissists are in constant fear

Narcissists have the tremendous fear of feeling empty and alone. They are also in constant terror of being discovered for their deceit; and for their false selves to be exposed.

Thus, they are always on the lookout for people/individuals who will help build the identity they want to be known for.

They also use people to fill their emptiness (a mission no one in the world could accomplish, no matter how hard someone tries – even if that someone dies).

So narcissists flit from one person to another making sure that someone fills their feelings of lack and that someone empties herself out for the narcissist’s sake.

Once that person empties herself out, he moves onto another one, and another, and another with no care or concern for other people’s welfare.

Narcissists constantly work to maintain the image they want people to perceive about them. They are extremely sensitive to social rules/norms, technicalities and even legalities that they make a concerted effort to maintain an appearance of `goodness.’

They do not have the motive or the intent to be good. They are merely concerned to be thought of or be seen as `good.’

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There is no intimacy with narcissists

Narcissists do not know intimacy but they are experts in aping this. They are proficient in acting out / pretending to be intimate when actually, all they are doing is using this as a guise to extract supply.

They need to do this in order to get others to stay with them / be with them / to supply their wants and needs.

Narcissists could only know proximity not intimacy. They could only equate closeness by being physically near or being emotionally obsessed/hooked on someone or being mentally in someone’s head.

They need to be in contact with you in any manner or form. Thus they are boundary violators.

They have a constant need to be physically near you or emotionally/mentally haunt you.

That is why most narcissists constantly need to know where you always are, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it; why you’re not thinking of him; why you should always think of him.

They are afraid to lose their connection with you not because they deem you special, it’s because you are their fix.

It is not him connecting with you, it is him obsessing over you because he knows – even if he already has you – he can’t authentically BE with you.

 


 

 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder explained my experience up to the minutest detail. It made sense of my confusion.

Everything fell into place when I learned everything about NPD that I felt all the questions I had about the relationship I was in were answered. The puzzle was finally solved.

For a thorough description of narcissism from a self-professed narcissist, go to http://samvak.tripod.com/faq76.html and http://samvak.tripod.com/npdglance.html

The site ‘The Last Psychiatrist’ is where I learned how Narcissistic Personality Disordered individuals only feel shame, not guilt or authentic remorse.

Melanie Tonia Evans’ website offers a comprehensive list as well as descriptions of what a narcissist says and do http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/narcissist-behaviours.htm, http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/narcissism-understood.htm

 

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