The A – Z’s of Everyday Malignant Narcissists
There’s so much written about Narcissistic Personality disorder and narcissism these days that it’s hard to sort through what we, as survivors of this abuse know to be true about malignant narcissism and how it impacts us.
Let’s re-examine what we’ve learned by having been abused by one or two of them.
A – Amoral. Narcissists are unscrupulous in their conduct towards others. More than merely disloyal and exploitative, they are the con men and women of the human race whose malicious behavior arises against anyone who gets in the way of getting what they want.
B – Boastful. Narcissists get their feelings of worth from outside sources of supply; other people. A narc will regale others, ad nauseum, with all the “blessings” in life which others are to infer comes from them being such “great people”: money, cars, homes, celebrity lifestyle, expensive vacations, worldly trips, admiration and compliments from others. They’re just not able to be silent and quietly enjoy what they have, because not hyping themselves won’t get them your attention.
C – Charming. “Charm” is defined as the power or quality of giving delight or arousing the admiration of others.One of the early manipulative traits narcissists use to draw people in is charm. By pretending to be whatever they know will ingratiate themselves to you, they’ll pull out all the stops to be that magical person. They initially try to appear agreeable, open, loving, attentive, well dressed, physically appealing, self-assured and entertaining. Because charm is just another manipulative tactic to woo people, once the narcissist feels they’ve secured your attention and confident that you aren’t going to abandon them, the charm mask will slip and they’ll begin to show you their true, darker, selfish nature.
D – Deceptive. The level of lying done by a narcissist reaches pathological proportions. We are not exaggerating when we say that narcissists lie about EVERYTHING. They lie about who they are, what they feel, what their motives are, what dark thoughts and feelings they really have about themselves and others. They lie about their accomplishments, they exaggerate, embellish, stretch and twist the truth and do not live within the context of reality. Their very existence is based on delusions and lies. Once you know you’re dealing with a narcissist, your best premise is to always remember if a narcissist’s mouth is moving, you can be certain, they are lying.
E- Entitled. Narcs view themselves as superior and deserving of receiving “all star” treatment. “Don’t you know who I am?” is an expression of the narcissists entitlement when someone rebuffs their demands to be put first or treated as special. They view themselves as celebrities who come before lowly peons like you and me. They don’t just reserve this “I come first” mentality to those they encounter in public, but within their families and closer relationships too. Last piece of chicken? Of course, they should be the first asked if they want it. Everyone in the family defers to the narcissists supreme reign as king or queen; stand back and be prepared to be blasted if you dare think you come before a narcissist in any slight way. A sense of entitlement is established and upheld by the belief that the narcissist is the center of the universe, and if the universe doesn’t meet their needs and desires, all hell will break loose.
F – Fake. Fake fake fake. Anyone who really knows a narcissist is incensed by the way the narcissist is so two faced. They present a masked (socially acceptable) version of themselves to the public but behind closed doors? Narcissists are dark, needy, brooding, unpleasant, insatiable, rageful, angry, insecure, jealous, possessive, fault finding, perfectionistic, cheating, lying, monsters. There is NO correlation of the masked fake version of themselves to the dark monsters who abuse those closest to them. One way to keep yourself from being manipulated into the fake version of that the narcissists wants you to believe, is to take your time getting to know who someone based upon their actions. Dig into their histories to determine if they’ve got a line of former targets (all narcissists do) who are telling a very different story from the public version they present.
G – Grandiose. “Grandiose” means, “Having an unrealistic sense of superiority, a view of oneself as better than others” that prompts narcissists to view others with contempt & see them as inferior. Grandiosity can be expressed in an unrealistic overvaluation of talents and abilities; preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited beauty, power, wealth or success; and a belief in unrealistic superiority and uniqueness and that they can only relate to and be catered to by other superior people: celebrities, best doctors, schools or accomplished friends.
H – Hateful and contemptuous. A narcissist hates many things, even though on the surface they claim to be about “love”. They have no concept of Love. Their main emotion is envy that stems from their shame and insecurity. They want and envy what they can’t have; such as an easy going personality, natural self esteem, the free admiration of others without manipulating for it, etc. They want what good people have, without having to possess the integrity to obtain it. They want to FORCE and TRICK others into admiring them rather than do the hard work of living a principled and moral life which tends to come with the respect of others.
I – I I I , Me me me. Self Absorption. It REALLY IS all about the narcissist and please don’t forget this, even when they are doing something apparently nice for you; always look for the strings attached which brings the behavior full circle back to what really matters: THE NARCISSIST. They live in a delusional psychological make up where they are the CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE and others orbit around them providing ample supply. This belief is true regardless of the type of relationship: social, familial, work, or societal in general.
J – Jeckyll and Hyde. The two faces of the narcissist as witnessed by those they abuse. The public face is the acceptable, masked, false self that the narcissist believes and wants everyone else to believe is their true self. When the mask slips their other, abusive face, the real narcissist emerges to put the target back in their inferior place, subservient to the narcissist. These two faces of the narcissist is what keeps targets confused by cognitive dissonance because we want so much to deny that the narcissist who says they love us could be so cold and cruel.
L – Lack of Empathy. The lack of empathy exhibited by a narcissist is one of the most remarkable and scary traits they possess. It’s what makes them inhumane. Until we met a true malignant narcissist, we didn’t know the harmful and painful impact of lack of empathy on others. Empathy is the cornerstone of humanity. So the narcissist’s lack of empathy is what allows them to prey on their own species without conscience or remorse. A narcissists lack of empathy will allow them to cheat on you, lie about you, steal from you, abuse you, and use you without having any bad feelings for doing so. Another E word associated with lack of empathy would be Evil. Many targets express how close to evil they have felt as a result of being in the company of a narcissist even after they are no longer in physical contact.
M – Mean and menacing. (Sadistic) Narcissists are highly critical of others. Lacking senses of humor they mistake demeaning others with put downs and insults as humor. On the surface they know it’s socially appropriate to be kind to others, so they’ll dabble in kindness as flattery on the surface, but pay attention to how they really speak to or of others; as eventually, this caustic unkindness will be turned towards you. They believe themselves superior, and treat all those inferior to them with sadistic contempt. They’ll be those who will take a picture of someone in public just to make fun of how “fat or ugly” they are. (Read: the narcissist is superior in looks) or they’ll make fun of a person who stutters. Since they thrive on chaos and drama, they will menace others for the pure folly of it, just to prove they have the power and superiority to affect people’s emotions. They’ll point to the person’s reaction and blame them for being so easily ruffled; never questioning their own sadistic intent for enjoying ruffling someone up in the first place.
N – Never wrong. Narcissists just do not take responsibility, especially for their flaws or things they do to other people. Admitting that their behavior was imperfect is beyond them, so at best, ANY conversation where you try to hold the narcissist accountable for consequences as a result of doing something that hurt your feelings will be a complete disaster ending in YOUR feeling to blame, shamed, or wrong for feeling the way you did in the first place. They DON’T BUDGE. Every attempt to discuss your feelings will be twisted and turned back on you leaving you feeling confused and that the problem is unresolved . This will lead to your frustration rising to the boiling point and then the narcissist will use anything you do out of your frustration with them being irresponsible as evidence that you really are to blame for all the problems. You just can’t expect fairness, resolution or mutuality from a narcissist who see themselves as infallible.
O – Obtuse. Boy they have no clue how the world really operates, who they really are, how people really feel about them and what they really do to others. Their delusions are beyond them. The reality they create is one that is fictional casting themselves in a heroic role and all others as servants created to do their bidding. To say they don’t live in the land the rest of us live in, is an understatement. They simply refuse to deal with reality in any sense of the word. As a result, they can be easily manipulated via ego stroking and playing into their narcissistic delusions.
P – Projection. One of the narcissist’s most used defense mechanism whereby they blame their un-owned feelings, traits, behaviors, words, motives, character disorder, flaws, hatred, fault, etc. onto those around them and then systematically shame them for “being” so. Their identity disturbance blurs boundaries & makes it difficult for them to tell where they leave off and others begin. (which is what targets are left to deal with in recovery – trying to separate our identities from the narcissist’s projected flawed identity). Projection is yet another indication of the narcissist’s departure from reality. Don’t give a Personality Disordered person power over your self-image.
R – Rallying the Troops. Narcissists are always prepped for battle. Their aim is to win power over others and to win attention for being perceived as the false self they create. Yet, Narcissists never act alone. They can never BE alone, despite all their fanfare that they’re independent or self sustaining. Narcissists NEED OTHER PEOPLE TO SURVIVE. The narcissists keep a pocket of sycophantic pawns and aggressive army men & women ready to do battle for their hero. If it’s attention they need, they rally their fan clubs, if they need to bury a detractor, they’ll rally the same fan club to fight their battles, if they need business opportunities for themselves or targets they’re manipulating, they’ll rally their rolodex and call in all those who owe them favors. If they want to prove to you that you’re wrong, unloving, abusive, etc. they’ll rally those who will play dirty to stay in the narcs good graces; even to the point of pawning your own allies or enemies to use against you to WIN the battle of public opinion through a carefully planned smear campaign. I’ve seen a narcissist promote a former targets enemies and business competition, financially just to send the target the message that they weren’t special or unique to the narcissist at all; that they are the makers and breakers of careers and the former target better not forget it.
S – Shaming. Inside all narcissists is a great well of shame. Shame, that they spend their entire lives trying to deny. Shame is the reason they create a false self in the first place. Not wanting to feel the intense pain of their own shame is the reason they project their flaws onto others. The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you ARE something bad. Narcissists want us to believe that we are bad, because they believe THEY are bad. Many times with the narcissist, we get a feeling that we can’t do anything right, are unlovable and damaged. When we finally break free from our narcissistic abusers, we are left with a lot of displaced shame from verbal abuse that we need to work through with boundary and identity work.
T -Triangulation. Narcissists pit people against each other to gain an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other. They do it to win, to control and maintain power, for pure folly and to passive-aggressively communicate information about others without having to engage them directly or responsibly. Triangulation is the cornerstone of narcissistic dysfunctional relationships because narcissists are so underhanded and manipulative with others.
U – Unremorseful. Until we meet a narcissist, we won’t understand the depth of pain inflicted on us when someone not only refuses to take responsibility for their harmful behavior but when they lack the empathy necessary to show remorse towards our hurt. Before you accept this reality of the narcissist, many targets have gone out of their way to get the narcissist to apologize or feel bad for what they did. The sooner you realize that this will NEVER happen in any meaningful or real way, the sooner you will be on your way to overcoming narcissistic abuse. Not one narcissist, even narc parents, who we all believe love their children and would be devastated to know they hurt us, are capable of culpability and remorse. Please don’t hold your breath. There’s no “better side” to the narcissist. They don’t wake up and develop a conscience. The path of least resistance for the narcissist and their ego to take is to deny deny deny, blame blame blame, and then pretend that you are dead. You don’t need an apology or acceptance of responsibility for a narcissist to move on or even to forgive them. You may want one, but realize that wanting one will set you up for failure and further hurt. Learning to accept the apology we never got, is one of the most courageous and realistic acts we do as targets in recovery. Narcissistic personality disorder is a fixed, incurable mental disorder. Nothing you could say, do, wish, beg for, or ask of them, will EVER change that.
V – Vain. Not all narcissists are the mirror kissing variety that use just their looks to secure supply (attention) but many of them use any extension of themselves for vanity purposes, so it is worth mentioning. A narcissist’s vanity is evident in their preoccupation with self and the accoutrements of self. Whatever they feel meets the criterion to be worshipped, is where their vanity will lie. It could be in their body – muscular build, breast implants, workout routines, how they dress, the labels on their clothing, their make of sunglasses or the rims on their cars. Vanity will be evident in their relationships to their family, their spouse’s beauty, physique, clothing, jewelry or social status. Their children’s accomplishments, looks, smarts or athletic ability. Selfies come under the vanity category in that, narcissists will take photos of themselves displaying their vanity and get an addictive high out of the number of likes and comments that validate this vanity. They will boast about the parties and events they’re invited to, where they travel, who they know, anything that will project a “perfect” image of carefully coiffed hair, makeup, false eyelashes, lifestyle, relationships , social status, etc. all to exemplify that they possess what society values. A narcissist’s vanity rises to the level of pride and pushes out the possibility of the narcissist possessing even an ounce of humility.
W – Weird. Weird is a pejorative term, but what other word could we use to describe how different narcissists are from normal people? They have weird eating habits, a weird sense of time and space, they have weird thoughts and outlooks and have weird relationships to the truth, to people and to reality. In fact, its easier to list that there’s NOTHING whatsoever normal about a narcissist than it is to list out all the ways they’re odd. Had we not been manipulated by a narcissist’s purposeful charming love bombing, we’d have noticed the way we felt being in the presence of what felt so “odd” to us about a narcissist. They just FEEL OFF. Intuition is everything when not falling prey to the narcissist’s charms; just pay attention to the fact that something just feels WEIRD.
X – Xtensions (extensions) Narcissists don’t have boundaries. They view others as objects of convenience that they possess; you are not a person who exists separately with your own feelings, wants and needs. Because they possess others, their is no definitive boundary line in the narcs mind between who they are and what they want and others. It’s this object view of others that causes a narc to dictate to you, demand and order you do things believing you have to acquiesce, claiming they know you better than you know yourself, or that they know your “true” motivation for behaving, they know your thoughts, they dictate what you feel (which is really what they feel) but bottom line is, they own you and you exist to be a source of narcissistic admiration and mirroring and to act as a shame receptacle. No one in their right mind (Non brainwashed mind) would sign up for such a lowly position as to be the extension of a narcissist, but everyday innocent people are manipulated into doing just that. Understanding this disorder helps us understand AND AVOID, becoming a narcissist’s possession; I mean “lover”, “friend”, “partner” or associate. Who you are and everything you possess both internally and externally will in the narc’s mind, belong to them and will be treated as such.
Y – Yes men & women. This is who the narcissist must surround themselves with to maintain a “stable” sense of self worth. Narcissists purposefully target people who will accommodate and coddle their needs and whims. The moment a target begins to say no, or assert their independent needs and wants, conflict will arise, the narcissist will view them as a threat and they will set in motion a plan to discard them, of course securing new supply first. There are many names for the people who are willing to sacrifice themselves entirely to remain in the “blessed presence” of a narcissist: sycophants, bootlickers, “yes men and women” and flying monkeys. These are generally weak willed, willing parasitic hosts, who follow the narc’s lead, blindly kiss up to their egos, enjoy whatever celebrity the narc brings to the table and will collude with the narc to destroy former targets without consideration for truth or consequences as long as the narc continues to praise them for being good servants. These fawning sycophants of the narcissists have their own brand of karma coming for them for how they abused targets right along with the narcissist and there is no love lost here for them in our books.
Z – Zero CONTACT. The bottom line with a narcissist is that we must have ZERO CONTACT with them when we can do that, because anything else will set us up for further manipulation and harm. These are the worst of the worst of humanity. Your love, concern and care are abused by a narcissist. There is not one good reason to entertain the company of one even if they are a family member or former friend. Our circles of trust can’t contain the untrustworthy narcissist and our lives will be better for having protected that circle, by keeping a narcissist as far away from us as possible. When no contact is impossible, we advise, NO EMOTIONAL CONTACT, meaning that we must shield our emotions against the endless stream of attacks a narcissist will inflict upon you simply because you share children or must communicate with family members, coworkers or bosses. Zero influence, zero tolerance, zero reactions, and zero time spent concerning ourselves with the toxic narcissist’s schemes, tricks and betrayals.