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Recognizing, Treating, and Coping With Narcissism

I stumbled into an unfortunate relationship with a man who exhibited all the classic NPD symptoms. It took me a year to break free.

Narcissus was so entranced with himself he wasted his life. Do you love someone like Narcissus?

Narcissus was so entranced with himself he wasted his life. Do you love someone like Narcissus?

Help for Your Mental Health

Despite working as a certified drug and alcohol counselor for several years, I had never treated a narcissist. While I'd noticed certain narcissistic traits in some people, it wasn't until I stumbled into an unfortunate relationship with a man who exhibited all the classic symptoms of narcissism that I understood how this disorder could affect a relationship deeply.

Fortunately, I was able to get away from that relationship in about a year—though it proved costly to my finances and self-esteem. It took several years before I fully healed from the emotional damage I had experienced. Many people don't have the luxury of escaping. The narcissist in their lives may be a parent or sibling. It may be a spouse who controls the purse strings and emotionally abuses them until their self-esteem is nothing more than tattered shreds of a once-healthy ego.

That's why, for my 100th HubPages article, I'm tackling a tough topic to help others pinpoint whether their loved one has a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), how to cope with narcissism in their lives, and what the experts have to say about treating it.

Does Narcissistic Personality Disorder develop during a toddler's years? Some experts think so.

Does Narcissistic Personality Disorder develop during a toddler's years? Some experts think so.

Diagnosing Narcissism

It has been said that we are in an "age of entitlement" that has created an epidemic of narcissists in our society. University of Michigan professor Sara Konrath's studies appear to validate the claim.

One line of thinking claims that over-coddling and controlling parents contribute to the personality disorder. Others believe that toddlers whose emotional growth is traumatized right around the time most children learn to have empathy are more prone. A third line of thought is that narcissists are born egomaniacs.

While I am not an expert on the precise mechanics of how narcissists develop, the signs and symptoms are reasonably simple to pinpoint once they are suspected. Although there is a free online test available for people interested in discovering if they may have NPD, it's unlikely that a person with NPD will willingly take the test for a loved one or acknowledge its results if it does indicate the possibility of NPD. Narcissists aren't willing to fess up in therapy if they can avoid it. People with NPD aren't stupid! They know it's not politically correct to acknowledge that they feel superior to others, believe it's perfectly okay to manipulate everyone else, and have no empathy in the process.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Revision IV (DSM-IV), identifies nine characteristics of NPD. The presence of five or more of these characteristics is indicative of the disorder, but because everyone has some narcissistic traits, it can be easy to think another person is narcissistic when they don't actually meet the full criteria.

Informal Identification of Narcissism

Narcissists tend to avoid therapeutic relationships, except when they want to manipulate someone into taking on blame and avoid responsibility for damage in the relationship. As soon as a therapist probes their contributions to problems, a person with NPD becomes angry and stops valuing the therapist. He or she may stalk from the room in a rage.

However, by gently asking these questions (which are highlighted in the video below) in an innocent manner and at different times, without being judgmental about your loved one's answers, you can suss out whether he or she has five or more characteristics of NPD:

  • "Do people often fail to appreciate your special talents or accomplishments?"
  • "Have people told you that you have too high an opinion of yourself?"
  • "Do you think a lot about the power, fame, or recognition that will be yours someday?"
  • "When you have a problem, do you almost always insist on seeing the top person?"
  • "Is it important that people pay attention to you or admire you in some way?"
  • "Do you feel you deserve special treatment?"
  • "Do you often expect others to do what you ask without question because of who you are?"
  • "Do you often find it necessary to step on a few toes to get what you want?"
  • "Would you say that you're not really interested in others' problems or feelings?"
  • "Are you often envious of others?"
  • "Do you find that there are very few people that are really worth your time and attention?"

If you're not a mental health professional and you want to ask these questions, taken from the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV Axis II Personality Disorders, avoid any hint of a reaction at the answers you hear! Narcissists are extremely prone to rage at any implication of criticism. You should never use these answers to prove a point to anyone but yourself - and you most certainly should not disagree with a narcissist's beliefs on any of these issues.

In a moment, I'll talk about how to cope with narcissism. First, this 47-minutes video documentary provides an excellent review of narcissistic traits, and how dangerous they can be for those around them.

Why Do Narcissists Behave the Way They Do?

Narcissists literally feel shattered by criticism, as if it negates their very existence. When they perceive it, even comments that are designed to be helpful, they feel they must reassert themselves in the world. To achieve this, they must find ways to validate their poorly formed egos by finding something that's now called "narcissistic supply."

The phrase "narcissistic supply" refers to the way narcissists bolster their fragile egos by creating pain in others. They have created a fantasy version of the world in which they are special, powerful, and talented, and they must prove their perceptions again and again. To do so, they must cast others as "weak," "stupid," or worthless. Their behaviors reflect this attitude.

At first, their targets are put on a pedestal and treated as if they're one of the few people worthy of his or her attention, but as soon as the narcissist perceives any flaw or weakness in their target, that person is criticized, demeaned, humiliated, or physically abused. People with NPD will lie, manipulate, cheat, assassinate a target's reputation, career, or life, and feel no compassion whatsoever. Indeed, their abilities to feel are limited to just a few emotions - anger, depression when they don't get their way, and satisfaction (not happiness) when they do.

Coping with Narcissism

Rational thought and logic are a narcissist's greatest enemy. To get along with a person with NPD, it's necessary to put critical thinking skills away in a safe place - out of sight and out of mind.

Trying to reason with a narcissist is impossible. Questioning someone with NPD is like lighting a stick of dynamite—the more you try to use reason, the greater the chance of an explosion. Remember that criticism is the very trigger that prompts their behavior!

There is ultimately just one way to protect yourself from a narcissist. Escape.

However, that's not easy to do with someone who's willing to spread rumors about you, devastate you financially, or hurt you or other loved ones without a moment's regret. What you can do, however, is use their own methods to prevent rational thinking from provoking arguments.

  • Become an expert at changing the subject. When someone with NPD criticizes you, do not respond directly, but instead find another topic and ask a question about it. For example, if your NPD spouse asks, "Why did you do that?" you can reply with a question about his or her day that will get them talking about something else. "Hi, dear, how did your meeting go this afternoon?" Getting her talking about what's important to her (which is herself!) the narcissist may forget they were unhappy with something in the first place.
  • If you cannot change the subject, respond with a simple, "Okay" to whatever the narcissist says. You're merely confirming that you've heard it, but due to his belief that others automatically accept his influence, he'll go away happy.
  • Avoid eye contact and showing emotion when you're under attack. The narcissist sees emotion as weakness, and eyes often betray how we feel. By refusing to fuel the narcissistic supply that reinforces that superiority complex, we deny the narcissist satisfaction of his goals.
  • Use their egos to your own ends. For instance, when I was escaping my NPD relationship, I bought a house that required more work than I could perform. The man in question worked in construction, so I acted like he was the only person who could fix the plumbing so I could move. Even though we'd broken up, and he refused to perform tasks he'd previously said he would, he did some work that enabled me to get moved out of his house. He got the adoration he craved, and I got what I wanted - away from him.

While using these tactics, hopefully you're planning your own escape. Fight fire with fire to ensure your safety. Being transparent puts you at risk, so don't be afraid to protect yourself or your family by any means necessary - lying or trickery to get your spouse's name off the deed to your home or to establish an individual bank account, or claiming you're going to the store when you're headed for your divorce attorney's office may be necessary to protect yourself from utter destruction when you leave. A narcissist will not relinquish control willingly and may go into a rage if you assert yourself. False accusations and murder aren't outside of his or her possible reactions, so do whatever it takes.

Treatment for Narcissism

In the DSM-IV, the American Psychiatric Association defines a personality disorder as "an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that differs markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment. Personality disorders are a long-standing and maladaptive pattern of perceiving and responding to other people and to stressful circumstances."

People with NPD tend to avoid treatment. After all, it indicates they're not the capable, superior being they believe themselves to be. However, they may have a condition that prompts them to seek treatment, such as depression, or they may be forced into therapy by a loved one. Individual counseling can help them stabilize or improve the "presenting problem," but the jury is out on whether treatment of personality disorders is effective. The very definition of a personality disorder indicates that the patient's inner experiences are unlikely to change - they are part of the patient's character.

With NPD, the personality is more resistant to change than other personality disorders. With some personality disorders, patients are able to respond well to rational confrontation, but a narcissist's ways of seeing the world inherently dehumanizes the therapist who attempts to point out flawed thinking.

Although narcissistic patients are being seen in record numbers over the last few years, there has been little opportunity to study or develop effective treatments. Mild success has been reported with individual therapy after lengthy treatment that continues for a period of several years, but such cases are few and far between.

In other words, until more effective treatments are developed, a person's basic personality traits are likely to remain essentially the same.


If you are currently in any type of relationship with a person who has NPD, I empathize with you. I encourage you to use evasion and accept a non-confrontational role until you can get away from the destruction zone.

If you are afraid that your NPD partner, family member, or friend is going to hurt you, call 9-1-1. Find a safe place to go. Stash money as you're able. But above all, plan to get away.

Best wishes!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Archibald Angel on April 15, 2020:

By far, the best and most comprehensive post I’ve read on the subject yet, or watched thus far.

Thank you!

jellygator (author) from USA on January 02, 2017:

Hi NovaEmpath. I am sorry you're going through this! Evasion and non-confrontation are two techniques that can help you get through this difficult time. Would it be possible to set up a way for him to see the children where you don't have to be present?

NovaEmpath on December 30, 2016:

Wow this article really give meaning to many of the terms used to describe Narcissistic Behaviour. Supply is more than admiration adulation and sexual intimacy. The Narcissist is trying to bolster their fragile ego by bringing us down to their level. I can now understand why the person would want negative attention while still trying to avoid narcissistic injury. Thank you, but how do you sink this knowledge into your heart while the Narcissist is staying in contact to see his children. I particularly find it difficult to sleep and his constant hoovering is causing me great pain.

jellygator (author) from USA on May 23, 2015:

Wow, that's a heckuva compliment! Thank you, Taranwanderer!

jellygator (author) from USA on April 29, 2015:

Very true, NewJerusalem!

victor from India on April 17, 2015:

The most appreciable suggestion is changing the topic -- which is more important to the victim. But, those who can fuel narcissism can really survive with narcissists quite comfortably! Narcissists always try to get the things they want in the way they want them. It takes wisdom to go on with such people.

jellygator (author) from USA on December 24, 2014:

Oh, Nicole, I'm sorry to hear that you're going through all this! I'm glad you've gotten away to some degree, though. I don't know of any specific links for rebuilding your own self-image and life, but I do have a couple of suggestions:

1. Minimize contact whenever possible. If you can limit your communication to e-mail, for instance, or to weekends if it's normally every day, it'll make it easier to separate the "me" from what used to be a "we." (Even though, in this case, the "we" usually meant him....!)

2. Practice daily affirmations. I have a hub on this topic that you may find helpful. Sometimes people feel silly when they practice them, but it's not any sillier than letting all those echoes from him speak to you, right? And the results are the fastest, best way to rebuild.

3. Use the techniques you saw in this article to evade whenever you DO have to communicate.

I wish you the best. I hope you'll remind yourself that you survived the worst, and that as hard as things may be sometimes, your future is brighter yet.

Nicole on December 22, 2014:

I left a narcissist which is also paired with PTSD. What a nightmare the 6 years was. It's still a pretty fresh break so all the things I have read here are replaying in my head. Sex was a must 3 days tops of no sex and I didn't love him or I was cheating. No money at all. I was pretty much a stay home Mom I worked part time but I hated it because after doing my make up for work I was asked who I was doing it for. The things I did wrong NEVER went away but the things he got away with... The rug I was standing on was a mountain! I felt like I was going insane because if I went to him with a problem with something I left the argument like I was in the wrong and needed forgiveness. Such a hard illness to endure. Such a hard thing to mentally leave when you have 4 children nowhere to go and most of your family views him as a saint. You have to rebuild your whole person. I am also now in a custody case with this man.... Talk about the devil. I was wondering if anyone has any links to help with the mental rebuild while still having to communicate with the narcissist?

jellygator (author) from USA on December 15, 2014:

Perhaps, but I don't think we know enough to say for certain!

shamelabboush on December 14, 2014:

I think parents, society, school...etc are the culprits behind this problem. sometimes they encourage someone and make him-her thinks they are beyond courages, beautiful, handsome, so it all starts here.

jellygator (author) from USA on September 10, 2014:

Thank you, Liz. Yes, I can't imagine that you had a good experience with a narcissist, not for long anyway!

liz on September 07, 2014:

Wow! Wat a wonderful post.. I have been laughing really hard at all the comments here... I have dated a narcissist before and sure definitely know how that feels... It was quite an horrible experience.... I left him and never looked back.."Lol.. Thank God ve got my sanity back.

jellygator (author) from USA on June 01, 2014:

Wow, Mac! Sorry to hear that you have had such a challenge to cope with. The brief time I was involved with a narcissist showed me how challenging it can be, and he wasn't full blown. I sincerely hope you learn to spot them early on so you can keep them out of your life!

Wendy Golden from New York on May 31, 2014:

This was a very useful hub, and thank you for including the video. I started studying narcissism years ago when I realized that both of my parents and my deceased grandmother have/had NPD.

According to the video, I now realize that my father has full blown NPD - he has all of the symptoms. Which explains why dealing with him has always been such a nightmare.

It has not been easy dealing with narcissists for all of my life. Thanks to a return to therapy, I"m hoping to avoid any future relationships with narcissists. Voted up, thank you.

jellygator (author) from USA on October 06, 2013:

That does sound like the kind of thing that could traumatize a person, Heather! I'm glad you've escaped. The mental health field hasn't advanced to a point where NPD is divided into many finer categories, but I agree that there can be differences. I had a wonderful video linked here, but it was removed by YouTube - perhaps it violated copyright laws, I don't know. But in any case, it was a documentary piece that discussed the differences between people who have a couple of the traits vs. many of them. I think you're definitely right about this.

Heather Mcdougall on October 05, 2013:

I've come to the conclusion that NPD is a spectrum, much like autism. Some people have it a bit and others like my ex-husband are have totally malignant NPD. There are 9 diagnostic categories, 5 of which mean that you have a malignanat NPD'er in your family. My husband met all 9 and then some extra weirdo stuff and at least 7 chronic OCD's.

A monster !! His false persona was the opposite extreme to the point ot creepyness and unbelievability - Mr. Buddhist, I-love -everybody, vegitarian/vegan save the friggin' world. Not everyone was fooled by it because it was so exxtreme and people found him creepy and weird. Well, there was just so much to hide wasn't there?

Wouldn't work for 13 years of our marriage, miser to extremes, and chronic hoarder, invading every room in the house (my house) he could possibly get away with. (He sold his house and hoarded the money).

Mere words can never really encapsulate the endless pain, suffering, humiliation,l destruction of self, utter humilation, slavery in shackles and whipped every day, whilst being character assassinated to your face, that life is with these malignant people.

jellygator (author) from USA on June 07, 2013:

Best wishes to you, dghbrh. It's not easy dealing with someone with NPD!

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on June 07, 2013:


From the hub of Escobana ....i have been directed to this wonderful hub....its an informative hub and will help many in life...I have friends and relative with NPD but not in a very red alert zone with this knowledge of NPD, I am ready to handle it proper way...Thanks to Escobana for her I am reading hub of yours.............Thanks to your for sharing this one. Take care and God bless you(happy to follow you as well)....shared and votes ++++++++


Cat from New York on April 19, 2013:


Oh my goodness no! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was defending myself to you. I was just relating to you and the being accused of wanting a Fairy Tale. No, no, no, I've very much enjoyed this article and conversation. You haven't offended me at all, I was just trying to suggest that it's a shame that people who are already struggling in a relationship or struggling to leave one, are subject to other's unfair criticism.

You're probably right, but it's kind of hard being told to leave someone that you know you should leave... it makes me feel like I look foolish (which I no doubt have been).

Thank you so much for your advice and support! I appreciate it so much! HUGS BACK!!! :-)


jellygator (author) from USA on April 18, 2013:

OH, I hope you don't think I was knocking you!!!

It *is* unfair to have to defend your actions when you're doing the right thing, but I hope you'll refuse to keep things like that secret ever again! There are people who care about you and while it might stop 'em from passing the ketchup, the reality is that most of them will offer advice - NOT jump off the deep end and go about getting some sort of vigilante justice. They'll offer their support and encouragement. Of course, they'll also be saying "LEAVE HIM!" before you're ready to hear THAT!

This is also true for the narcissist partner. If you act like you're happy all the time, then it's hard for friends to see your pain when you finally acknowledge it because it means that they've been wrong "all that time." Go ahead and talk to one or two people you trust and who love you. I think you'll find that they don't see you as a failure if they actually understand what's happening, and if/when the time comes for you to move on, they can be good allies against the people who are critical. HUGS!!

Cat from New York on April 18, 2013:


Honestly, I think it's unfair. It took me 9 years to leave an abusive 10 year relationship that I had kids in. I kept the abuse to myself because it is shameful and it is easier to keep the peace at family functions; "Hey, dad guess what? He beat the crap out of me last night?" Do you think they'd be passing ketchup to each other at barbeque after that?

Anyway, when I finally got the courage to leave, almost my entire family and other people, knocked me for "breaking up a family". Everyone assumed that I was wanting to run away with another man or I just chose to walk out of a relationship because of boredom or something. It's pretty crappy that you have to defend yourself to such things when you're already going through some pretty heavy emotional trauma.

Yes, I'm sure that I could be a better partner as well, in any relationship, but at least I'm willing to grow, change, compromise, etc.

I'm happy that you finally got to a good place and you probably appreciate it all the more because of where you've been before you got here.


jellygator (author) from USA on April 18, 2013:

Your comment to Debbie made me chuckle. I can't tell you the number of times I heard that I "wanted a fairy tale" and that I was unrealistic!

I can honestly say that if I hadn't changed me in some ways, the fairy tale probably would have stayed out of reach, but by learning how to be a great partner AND not accept poor treatment, I've found my Prince Charming. Going into our fourth year is every bit as exciting and affectionate as our earliest months together.

Cat from New York on April 18, 2013:


Maybe it's the ugly truth, but I'd rather have that than a pretty lie. Thanks a lot, sharing your experience and expertise means a lot.


Thanks to you as well. I feel like women are criticized for leaving relationships or viewed as having unrealistic expectations or dreaming of Prince Charming and Fairy Tales. Simple happiness is all I want.

Thanks ladies!


Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on April 18, 2013:

Jellygator, I have to agree with you...leaving an abusive relationship is not a failure at all! It is a sign of strength and wisdom, therefore a success!

jellygator (author) from USA on April 18, 2013:

Cant, in my opinion, it's a tragedy to see vibrant people turn into shadows because of a partner's narcissism. It *is* far worse to live with than many physically abusive relationships. (A number of physically abusive relationships involve narcissists, too.)

Even though it's understandable that we feel like we've "failed" if we give up on another long term relationship, it truly is NOT a failure! It's ok to keep searching until you find someone that treats you well and makes you look forward to each day together. I have a long list of those "failures" - I am on my third marriage - and I'm so glad that I have been able to leave, learn, and grow. It has helped shaped me into a person who learned what to avoid and what to look for.... which resulted in finding a relationship that is better and happier than I could have imagined. You can have that, too, but it won't happen with a narcissist.

Cat from New York on April 17, 2013:


Wow, thanks so much!

You're entire first paragraph is exactly "a day in my life". Honestly, not knowing that this was potentially a disorder problem (though I knew he must have some major psychological issues), I have damaged myself mentally to an unhealthy extreme. It was through this relationship that I found myself becoming bulimic. I've have become a very small, fearful person and I was a very outspoken, class-clown kind of character. I doubt my words and my self-worth all the time. I'm guessing that an otherwise healthy person could really damage themselves in a relationship with someone suffering from NPD? I've known this relationship has been very unhealthy for me for years, but a part of me thought that I could improve it, either through my own actions or "helping him". I thought knowing what his issue was would help me find the right solution, but I feel like you're saying these people are really just about unlovable? I don't mean to sound cold, but I spent ten years in a phyically abusive relationship which I had kids in and I have gone out of my way to make this one work because I didn't want another failure on my plate. The physically abusive relationship took a decade away from my life, but daily living was easier than this one. Is this something that I should consider walking away from? I've given him 5 years and I don't want to hit 27 years and look back saying... "I should have left".

Thanks so much for taking the time and sharing your experience.


Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on April 17, 2013:

A note to Cat-I was married to a narcissist for 27 years and for most of those years I continually questioned myself...what am I doing wrong? Why are my normal responses not working? Why is everything I say misinterpreted? Why are my needs not heard? Am I supposed to stay quiet and simply meet his needs (everything seemed to go fine as long as I did this), or should I be able to speak up for and ask for what I need in the relationship?

Later as I became a counselor I began to understand his behavior and I realized that there was nothing I could do (nor anything a psychologist or counselor could do) that would change him, and it was up to me to decide if I could endure the rest of my life in such a relationship.

In my case the marriage was sexually abusive as well (part of the Narcissism) and I finally decided I could not continue. I never planned on being divorced, but I didn't realize what I was getting into when I married him at 20.

I'm grateful for articles such as this one, so that hopefully some who are in a relationship with a narcissist will seriously consider whether or not it's a good idea to stay, knowing that most of the giving will be on their side with very little "getting" in return. Tough questions to consider.

jellygator (author) from USA on April 17, 2013:

Please do! :)

Cat from New York on April 17, 2013:


You're right, I can't imagine coping with narcissism would be easy for anyone, but knowing what you're dealing with can make all the difference in the world. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. If any miracles happen... I'll be sure to let you know! :-)

jellygator (author) from USA on April 17, 2013:

Thank you, Can't! That's high praise, indeed!

I hope things work out for you as you'd like them to. Coping with narcissism is no easy task!

Cat from New York on April 16, 2013:


My jaw hurts from how hard it hit the floor when reading this! I have been struggling for five years in a relationship that I just can't Psychology myself through. I've always prided myself with reading people and dealing with their specific personalities accordingly, yet the most intimate relationship I have is a disaster. There have been actions and behaviors that I have just been unable to understand, regardless of how I approach my thought process. Everything I read in this article explains my boyfriend, exactly. You wrote about things that I assumed were exclusive to his behavior. Even more so, according to your article, I have been approaching this matter all wrong and in doing so, making it so much worse. I honestly think that this article is going to seriously affect my life... I'm excited about tomorrow!

This was awesome! Voted up and Useful!


jellygator (author) from USA on December 19, 2012:

I'm glad she was able to come to you. Let's hope she listened! Thanks for visiting and commenting, NornsMercy!

Chace from Charlotte, NC on December 19, 2012:

I've just recently experienced this with someone, got away (thankfully), and then the person's current partner messaged me in desperation asking, "What the hell is WRONG with him??" The advice I gave her is what you said: say okay, I'm done and get faaaaaaaaaaaaar faaaaaaaaar away. Hopefully, she listened. There is NO winning with a narcissist even if you have logic and reason on your side. Voted up, useful and interesting.

jellygator (author) from USA on December 19, 2012:

Escobana, I apologize for not responding sooner. I missed the notification that you had commented!

I'm glad you were able to get out. I just read your story and I think you made a smart choice, and I felt happy to hear that you're doing well as you being a new chapter.

jellygator (author) from USA on December 19, 2012:

Thanks, Jeanne and ImKarn. I'll definitely check out your hub. too.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on December 19, 2012:

This is an excellent resource for someone in a relationship with a person that is narcissistic. You did a great job researching the subject and giving examples. Voted up!

Karen Silverman on December 19, 2012:

Wow..and wow again! I'm not going to write a novel here, but - i am going to tell you that you know whereof you speak - and you organize your thoughts to such a high degree that you can create a post of this magnitude for all to understand and learn from! My deepest respect! bravo! I know narcissism from the ground up - sadly - my father is textbook (high degree..)..

We are bringing up very few who are NOT narcissists these days - and i predicted this outcome when it became a 'crime' to discipline our own children - when 'consequences' became a lost word..and experience. i told several (whoever would that we were creating monsters - that we were creating the narcissists of the future - if not waves of criminals..

And gee - look around! Sadly...i wasn't wrong..

i agree with all you've said - there is no cure for a narcissist - they refuse to engage in such nonsensical discussions - and just get pissed off...again..

If you ever get the urge to drop by - maybe check out 'Daddy Dearest....' (lol..)

up and sharing!

Escobana from Valencia on December 19, 2012:


Some weeks ago I wrote my latest Hub, thanks to one of the best Hubs I've read here so far. Totally unaware of the topic you write about in such an excellent way, I started to read your Hub.

It was a mixture of fear and relief I felt, while reading your Hub and seeing the full documentary. I took your advice on being in a relationship with a narcissist seriously and I got out in time....before getting married.

I made sure to mention your Hub in capitals, hoping someone else might read it and decide to step out just like I did recently.

I would be honored if you link my Hub to yours:-)

Thanks again! Voted up, shared and hit some buttons!

jellygator (author) from USA on October 10, 2012:

I would say this could be consistent, yes. It's important to remember to remember that to a narcissist, criticism, questioning them, or not adhering to their belief systems *is* the flaw that knocks someone from the pedestal he's put them on in his own mind.

In a work environment, the "yes man" type of person could survive and thrive under a narcissist's command, while others would not.

Many narcissists come off as capable and talented when you meet them, but in practice, it is often later discovered that they perform at a mediocre level.

Laura on October 10, 2012:

Thank you so much for this article! I came to this page while researching NPD, as I believe my former boss has so many of the characteristics of a narcissist. I no longer work for him, but a dear friend still does, so I have been trying to find some techniques that she can use to deal with him. She is his second in command, and he treat her horribly. When he first arrived, he was so charismatic and charming - and now he is a monster.

I looked at the list of questions, and based on conversations I've had with him in the past, I know he would answer "yes" to all but one (I'm not sure if he feels envious of others).

One trait that I have seen people mention is that the narcissist will put someone on a pedestal at first, and then become abusive when they see some flaw in that person. When my boss first started, he seemed so normal, I don't think he put any of us on a pedestal. However, when we have hired new people, I have noticed that he has picked out two people that can do no wrong. He always sticks up for them, despite their complete incompetence. My friend is the one that he treats the worst. Most people he pretty much ignores. Does that fit into the characteristics of a narcissist? He hates a few people, loves a few people, and seems neutral about the rest.

His feelings towards these people is fairly constant. I happened to be one of the ones that he was neutral towards. When I did something he liked - like carry out his plans the way the wanted, or complimenting his clothing - it put him in a great mood and he rewarded me (verbal praise, letting me leave early, giving tasks to others that would normally fall to me). When I did something he did not like - suggesting a change to his plans, asked him why he wanted to do something a certain way, suggested that next time he could do things differently - he became very upset and angry. He would say that his plan was right, but I misunderstood him and carried it out wrong, move up previously established deadlines, make me stay late, etc. All in all, though, he never attacked me the way he attacks my friend, and he never let me get away with everything like he does or the ones he loves. It was dependent on my actions at the moment.

My friend, however, can do no right. Even when she sucks up to him, he treats her just badly as when she criticizes him. There was never any pedestal phase with her. His favorites, on the other had, were put on a pedestal upon the first meeting, and have never been taking off (over a year and a half later). Does this suggest something other than NPD?

Thank you again for your informative article!

jellygator (author) from USA on August 27, 2012:

I hope you don't have to live with her, Ebonny!

Ebonny from UK on August 27, 2012:

This was very informative and I am glad to know you are no longer with your tormentor! Voted up and interesting.

I have a close relative who appears to have this disorder and she is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to reason with. The sad truth is that if she wasn't related to me, elderly and dependent I would really have nothing whatsoever to do with her.

jellygator (author) from USA on August 23, 2012:

Wow! His mom was a real case, too!

Sheila Varga Szabo from Southern California on August 23, 2012:

Oh, when I watched the video, it creeped me out that the psycho-killer had a controlling, doting mother. My ex's mother ditto! She's the "victim/martyr" who uses fake illnesses to win sympathy from her boys (doesn't work on other people as much). She would constantly complain that they don't call her often enough (attention you-know-what). And get this: she would walk around bare naked (they are nudists) even up to when he was a teen-- they even forced their sons to strip down at a nude beach against their wishes. She also packed clothing for my ex when he was 19 (and we were going camping together). She made sure he brushed his teeth before he left to come visit. She even (to this day) serves him soup from the pot because, as she said, "I know how much they want and what they like."

Jellygator: I'm sure some traits are hereditary, but most is probably the upbringing. My ex grew up in communism, and it was "everyone for himself"-- the country is infamous for stealing. The sense of entitlement my ex has blows me away. He'd always say things like, "I've always wanted one of these, and my parents NEVER got it for me." And the lack of emotions-- I remember hitting my head on the car as I got inside, and he just stared at me with a blank stare. I was shocked, then said, "don't you want to ask if I'm okay?"

Oh the nightmares I lived through. Thank God he's out of this house (I had to get a temp. restraining order when I filed for divorce because he was making threats and trying to intimidate me). Now, I just need to find a way to protect my kids against him. He's (as my sister so eloquently put it) "toxic."

jellygator (author) from USA on August 23, 2012:

That reflects what I think, too. The narcissist I was involved with had a similar relationship with his mother, and a conflicted one with his father.

Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on August 23, 2012:

I think some of it is innate personality traits but that those traits may not flourish, unless the "nurture" part kicks in. In my ex's case, I think his mother idolized him and treated him like her little partner. I should have seen the signs when I first met her and she doted on him and waited on him hand-and-foot. I was too young to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy love.

jellygator (author) from USA on August 23, 2012:

I can agree with both of you, and I was lucky to have only been involved with the person briefly. I thank the heavens that I had no major joint purchases or children with him! I admire you guys for surviving, because before anyone understands what's really happening, it can be crazy-making to endure it.

Out of curiosity, do you guys have an opinion on whether it's something innate or if narcissism results from childhood learning?

Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on August 23, 2012:

I completely understand your feelings! I share some of those feelings as well.

Sheila Varga Szabo from Southern California on August 23, 2012:

I'd like to feel sorry for them, not being able to love or feel a vast array of emotions, but after the pain and suffering my ex has caused, NOPE! I'm good.

Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on August 23, 2012:

Unfortunately most narcissists are not "curable", and they can never step out of their "ME" bubble long enough to see that they've been in a bubble. Their perspective is so short-sighted that they can't see past their noses. They don't realize that yes, they are special but at the same time they're nothing special. We're all equals and they are not above anyone else. It's truly sad to think that individuals can be trapped in their own bubble. Life could be so much fuller and satisfying if they could step outside their world for a while.

jellygator (author) from USA on August 23, 2012:

I'm sorry you and your children are suffering, Wonderful. I hope you'll find some of these techniques helpful for dealing with him.

Sheila Varga Szabo from Southern California on August 23, 2012:

Oh boy-- it seems that we victims of NPD have much in common. Debbie: my ex can turn on the crocodile tears on command, like when he sobbed in court saying "I work so hard just to provide for my kids. I love them so much!" Meanwhile, he was withholding support payments for over a year (even though he and his girlfriend were living like kings). He tried to break up with his mistress a few times, but told the kids "I can't live by myself." Lucky for me, I'm not the one to have to live with him any more.

And yes, I've noticed that "logic" and stating facts discombobulates them, or I get the boomerang. I would ask my ex to pay me because my bank account was low, and he'd send images of a negative balance on his acct. (even though he makes so much money)-- he'd always "one up" me on pitying himself. Even if I told him how the kids are suffering because of him, he'd put the blame back on me. His reasoning: "I pay to support our kids, not to pay for the house. It's your choice to live there." So yeah-- logic, like explaining that child support pays for SHELTER goes over his head.

Pressure for sex? Oh my... talk about sex addict. He just expected me to do my "wife duties" and perform at the end of the day, regardless of how tired, stressed or emotionally disconnected we'd become. I believe he was keeping record on the calender of days that we missed having sex, so he could use it against me as a guilt trip...

Unfortunately, he's toxic to our kids, and I can't control him from damaging our kids. His emotional abuse has to end-- by all means necessary.

Thanks for your Hub-- it's been enlightening.

jellygator (author) from USA on August 01, 2012:

Thank you, RaggedEdge!

Bev G from Wales, UK on August 01, 2012:

Very comprehensive, informative and downright interesting, JellyGator.

jellygator (author) from USA on July 31, 2012:

Fortunately, I'm not a great partner candidate for NPD types and I still had some financial resources, so it wasn't as hard for me as it for many people. I can only imagine how badly things could have been if I hadn't had such a strong personality to begin with and the money to get away when I absolutely realized it wouldn't work.

Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on July 31, 2012:

JellyGator, it took great courage on your part to get away from the narcissist in your life. They have a way of making their partner feel guilty, selfish, or crazy for not being willing to continue in the relationship. Good for you!

jellygator (author) from USA on July 30, 2012:

I can honestly say that dealing with a narcissist was one of the worst experiences of my life, and escaping was a blessing. Thank you for stopping by!

Dianna Mendez on July 30, 2012:

I am more informed on this issue, I should say greatly! It seems that the best thing to do is escape. They don't seem to be able to help themselves to get better. Thanks for the education.

jellygator (author) from USA on July 29, 2012:

Oh, my, yes, they feel entitled sexually!

I also think rape and sexual abuse happens in marriages more often than we hear about. I wrote about marital rape, too, which some people don't believe is possible. It most definitely does happen, though.

Thank you for reading and commenting, Debbie. I wish you great success with your e-book. In the meantime, maybe readers will benefit from reading your article on difficult people.

Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on July 29, 2012:

JellyGator, I realized several years ago that I was married to a person with NPD. Like you said, he would not go to counseling with me or alone, until I left, when he went and wept all over the counselor's couch, saying that he could not live without me. About 8 months after our divorce, he remarried because as he stated "he could not be without a woman". Fortunately for him, he married a Latin woman who adores him and fuels his narcissism. Fortunately for me, I got out.

I'm in the process of writing an eBook about Sexual abuse in marriage. In the section on "Where does this come from", I speak about narcissism. The narcissist feels entitled, no matter what the other person wants or doesn't want.

Thanks for writing on this topic, that probably affects many more people than we realize. Many marital problems are the result of one of the partners having a NPD but that has not yet been recognized or dealt with. My best advice would be "escape", just as you stated!

Thanks for a great hub.

jellygator (author) from USA on July 28, 2012:

Thank you, everyone! Heather, it sounds like you've experienced this. While that's how I got away from one of these relationships, confrontation can be dangerous, too.

heatherdos on July 28, 2012:

I've found that truth is the narc's biggest enemy. If you can shed enough truth, you can shed the narc! Great read!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2012:

Very interesting article my friend. Great job of informing and I learned a great deal.

Sandra Busby from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA on July 28, 2012:

Very well written and very informative. Thanks for SHARING.

Caroline Marie on July 28, 2012:

Excellent article. Very informative and interesting. Thanks for sharing.