12 Traits of Narcissists

Image Credit: one2punch, deviantart.com.

A client from California who is a visionary artist introduced me to this subject and its importance to all kinds of relationship dynamics. She mentioned this quote too.

“Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.” ~ Voltaire

A narcissist is the classic know-it-all. They stand at the podium displaying their ideas and themselves without self-reflection. The narcissist is entirely self-focused. In every situation, narcissists only identify with their desires.

Leaders are especially vulnerable to narcissism: CEOs, high government officials, church leaders, etc. Narcissism is more widespread than we realize.

Narcissists, at their worst, are predatory. Because their goals are all they pay attention to, every person and situation they encounter is either a stepping-stone to use to their advantage, or a hindrance to forcefully overcome.

Narcissists grab power for themselves while promoting powerlessness in those around them. They are always convinced they are doing what is right despite the harm they inflict on others.

If you have a boss, partner, friend, or family member who is a narcissist, and you have to consistently interact with them, they will eat away at your self-esteem. The result: You could lose yourself. Awareness of these behavior patterns is the first step in protecting yourself.

Characteristics of Narcissists

  1. Live by power, dominance, and control. They don’t relate; they dominate. Manipulation tactics are at the core of their relationships.
  2. Exhibit self-righteousness, and arrogant attitudes. Love attention. They’re invested in ego fortification. Letting go is not in their vocabulary.
  3. One-sided listening. They’ve got head phones on and they’re listening to their own voice. Frequently interrupt or take over conversations.
  4. Create a reality bubble around them in which they attempt to impose their perception of reality on yours. Will convince you that you’re the one that’s crazy.
  5. Prefer Power-Over to Power-With relationships. Develop unequal partnerships that lack reciprocity. Parent/child relationships are common.
  6. Use unpredictable behavior to control others. Use chaos to exert control. Irrational. They make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells.
  7. Insist you go to counseling first. After all, you are the one with the majority of the problems.
  8. Brain wired more like a reptile than mammal. Lack a moral compass. Aggressive.
  9. Lack of empathy. Berate others rather than offer support. Demands rather than asks; pushy.
  10. Spiritually anemic with a parasitical nature. Feed off others; energy vampire.
  11. Put up an impenetrable wall. Difficult to reach, hardened interior, like a fossil. Overprotects with layers of armor.
  12. Since counseling is a two-way conversation, and narcissists indulge in monologues, they don’t respond well to traditional therapy.

Do these characteristics remind you of a family member, a boss, or community leader? Read on.

How To Deal With Narcissists

  1. Set good boundaries. Expect to reset your boundaries. Repeat.
  2. Don’t engage with them, which is how they get energy.
  3. Observe and document their behavior. This helps you identify patterns, preserves your self-esteem, and protects you in legal situations.
  4. If necessary, keep your distance.

Book Recommendations

Stop Walking on Eggshells by by Paul Mason & Randi Kreger

Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward & Donna Frazier

Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited by Sam Vaknin

Disarming The Narcissist by Wendy Terrie Behary

Video Recommendation

Gary Klein LCSW, speaks with Eric K. Johnson on Cluster B Personality Disorders

A good discussion on identifying personality disorders.

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