Narcissism traits are derived from the large ego, the self centeredness and the arrogance of the individual.
Narcissus, in ancient Greek mythology was a handsome youth who was disdainful of those who loved him. As punishment, one of the gods caused him to fall in love with his reflection in a pool of water and he faded away and died as a result of unrequited love.
Those who have narcissist personality disorder have the added issue of not having empathy for others. They do not feel compassion or consideration for others and do not experience guilt or remorse. In effect, they have no conscience. This can be difficult to understand for those who do have a conscience.
They have no inner policeman to stop them from doing wrong. Yes, they do know right from wrong. They know when they are doing wrong according to the norms of society. They just don’t care!There is no guilt or potential regret or shame or any other emotional reason for them to not do evil and cruel things.
These two things, the lack of empathy and the self absorption, are a deadly combination. It means the malignant narcissist is selfish and wants everything for him or herself, and they literally don't care what they do to others to get it.
Let's have a look at some narcissism traits in different contexts that arise from this duo of lack of compassion and wanting to be the center of attention.
- Initially a narcissist can be loving, caring and seem like the ideal partner. Then there is a change to this demanding, critical monster who wants to be first in everything.
- The narcissist initially has excuses for why things are not working out for them, bad luck, taken advantage of by others, etc.
- Pretty soon, everything becomes your fault.
- The narcissist demands your attention at all times. They will sulk, get annoyed or even show rage if they don't get what they want.
- They will criticize your friends, family and others around you, slowly but surely isolating you from your support network. This means more and more of your life revolves around them.
- You become dependent on them, for everything...
- Your mood is linked to theirs. You have to tread carefully so as not to upset them.
- You end up paying for things, even though they seem to have money or they lie about not having any.
- They lie a lot! Even when you know it's a lie, they seem to have no shame or embarrassment about doing it.
- They deny doing or saying things or may say they don't remember.
- They have a great memory for things you said or did to hurt them!
- And they are hurt and offended by the smallest of things. This is called narcissistic injury.
- When slighted like this there may be hell to pay with their temper tantrums and even violence. This is the narcissistic rage part.
- You realize that you are frequently defending the narcissist to friends and family, sometimes because you don't want to admit you may have made a mistake, or maybe you feel you would be betraying the narcissist if you did not.
- If you try and explain the poor treatment you are receiving, your friends and family hardly believe you because they think the narcissist is such a nice person. They may even think you are crazy one.
- Sometimes you feel like you are actually going crazy, with no way out of the horrible situation.
Read more about abusive relationship signs.
- Again the person initially was friendly, helpful, seemed full of confidence and willing to learn
- You start hearing strange and conflicting stories about the person
- This person seems to know a lot about you and you tell them lots of things or you find yourself doing things for them
- You realize they are spreading gossip, sometimes nasty and vicious stories
- People typically love or hate this person, it's almost like there are 2 camps, who talk about 2 different persons, a Jekyll and Hyde character.
- This person is determined to climb the corporate ladder and is very friendly not only with his boss but with his boss as well
- It turns out that this person is not such a good worker after all, missing deadlines, etc.
- But it's never their fault, they blame someone else in the office
- They manage to steal others ideas but it's very difficult to prove it without seeming that you are the one telling tales
- This person is stealing things
- They are liars
- Things are beginning to deteriorate in the office and it's difficult to pinpoint why
- People have been fired or left because of the narcissist
- If anyone confronts the narcissist, they will deny, blame others or get so angry it's often easier to back down
- Other typical narcissism traits include making promises that they never keep
- They get others to do their work, by manipulation, coercion, blackmail or by tricking them. Then they blame them if there is a problem!
- They like to be the center of attention and often hijack meetings or conversations to boast and brag about themselves.
- Narcissism in the workplace can be difficult to deal with but the sooner you take steps the better.
- Narcissistic parents typically put their needs ahead of their kids
- They may try and control every aspect of the child's life. It seems that they are concerned and loving parents, always attentive to the child, but a closer look shows that there is excessive attention to detail and even micromanaging of the child's activities.
- Or they may totally ignore the children, the narcissist giving the children the message that they wish they had never been born, that they are a nuisance and in the way.
- Sometimes there is a combination of both!
- Children of narcissistic parents may have no privacy, the parents reading their diaries, entering the bedroom unannounced, taking the child's clothes and giving them to others etc.
- Parents can be downright nasty and abusive to the kids, putting them down if they try to assert themselves, telling them they are not as good as others,
- Other forms of emotional abuse include alternating criticism with compliments which creates dependency, and using fear and guilt to control the kids. They may treat the child as their therapist and the child has to listen to their problems, including problems with the spouse.
- A narcissistic parent may pit the children against each other, using this to control and dominate everyone concerned.
- One of the classic narcissism traits is for the parent to take credit for the child's successes but blame the child for the mistakes of the child AND the parent. Remember the narcissist wants to be the center of attention and to be seen as superior so they will use the child in whatever way to achieve this. Often they will force a child to study a lot or to be brilliant on the sports field so that it reflects well on themselves.
- The narcissistic parent may also ignore the successes of the child. The child who has learnt to do well to get the approval of the parent is obviously upset and may try even harder the next time. This alternating of praise with ignoring achievements causes a lot of confusion and dependence in the kids and is a particularly cruel way to keep them under the control of the parent.
- Narcissistic parents may increase the abuse and manipulation when the child reaches 7 years, when they begin to be able to reason and at puberty when the child wants to be more independent.
- Adult children of narcissists have particular issues they often need to deal with to undo the abuse they have suffered
- Narcissistic symptoms generally start in childhood and any siblings will suffer most.
- The narcissist has no difficulty hurting siblings and they denying it. The hurt can be emotional or physical.
- Narcissistic siblings will frequently demean and humiliate brothers and sisters, even in front of others.
- Siblings often report that the narcissist always wanted them dead.
- The narcissist will make siblings feel inferior or worthless, competing to win at all costs.
- They may befriend their siblings one minute, only to tear them down the next.
- The narcissists may make themselves out to be the good boy or girl with the parents, who mistakenly take their side against other siblings.
- They make the siblings feel responsible and never take the blame for anything.
- Narcissists will want to take the lead and often cause power battles, splitting groups into different factions.
- They will want all attention on them.
- They won't tolerate criticism, attacking anyone who has opinions that differ from their own.
- Narcissists will typically divert group conversation topics to themselves, their achievements, their abilities, their... whatever!
- Destructive cults are typically lead by manipulators with many narcissism traits.
Is there someone you know who has some of these narcissism traits?
If the answer is yes, it would be a good idea to investigate further. You may need to take steps to protect yourself. Remember, narcissists have no empathy so they will take whatever they want from those around them. And they will not feel bad in any way for any damage they do.
Learn more about malignant narcissism, the culture of narcissism and what you can do if you think you might be dealing with a narcissist...
Return from Narcissism Traits to What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?