How To Spot Narcissistic People

To the victims of narcissists, the phrase 'narcissistic people' is an oxymoron. (Combination of contradictory terms, such as 'fresh-frozen' or 'deafening silence'.) They don't believe they are normal humans and prefer terms such as snakes, reptiles, evil personified, subhumans, creatures, monsters, emotional vampires and all the expletives you can imagine!

Why so? Because they have seen the true nature of the narcissist and these creatures treat others in very abusive ways that would be unthinkable for loving human beings.


What is narcissism?

Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition where the person is totally focused on themselves at the expense of everyone else. It is a personality disorder because they have no empathy, or conscience, which means they have no care or consideration for others.

This is a lethal combination because they end up controlling and taking from others and they have no guilt or remorse for how they treat the other person or for the state they will leave the other person in. You can read more about malignant narcissism or narcissistic behavior if you want more information.

For now, let's concentrate on how to spot narcissistic people before they get their claws into you!


First impressions

When you meet someone new for the first time, notice your very first feeling, and go with that!

Many victims report that in the first moment of meeting their tormentor they felt revulsion or disgust. But for whatever reason, they ignored that and gave them the benefit of the doubt. Then the narcissistic people went to work on them, captured them and took advantage of them in many ways.

So if you don't like someone from the first moment, pay attention to your instincts and be very careful. Be very slow to trust that person, no matter what others tell you. It could save you a lot of heartache.



Narcissistic people may be very charming at first. They seem friendly, helpful, kind, funny, very confident, always have something to say... but they may be a bit overboard with it too.

The stories they tell always show them in a good light, a bit too good perhaps. Or they are always talking, even when it is a bit embarrassing to listen to them, but nobody in the group says anything because it wouldn't be polite. And besides it seems that the other people in the group actually like this person.


Relationship with others

How does this new person relate to others? Are they the center of attention wherever they go?

How do others relate to them? Do other people look up to and respect this person? Do others seem to be overly enthusiastic about this person, like this person can do no wrong? Are they bordering on adoration?

Narcissistic people have a very particular effect on others and they want to be the center of attention. They want praise and admiration and they will use mind control techniques to influence those around them into giving them things and doing things for them.


Spouse and family

Just because someone has a beautiful wife and children or an intelligent husband does not mean they are not narcissistic people. Narcissists have been called chameleons because they learn how to blend into society to hide their true nature. This makes them dangerous and difficult to spot.

But how does the spouse act around them? Submissive, subdued and quiet? Or do they complain about them quietly when the narcissist is out of earshot? Does the wife defend her husband even though he behaves badly? Or is she guarded when talking about him, as if she is trying to hide something?

Do the children seem afraid of this person? Which would seem strange when the parent seems so happy and friendly.

Or are the parents overly involved with the children, micro-managing every aspect of the child's life? At first glance it seems that the parent is fantastic, taking such an interest in the child's activities, but closer inspection reveals that there is more to it than that.

My husband is verbally abusive!


Building a relationship

You have found this person who understands you, they are like you in lots of ways and they seem so attractive to you. You are happy to share personal information with them, because they have been so open with you. The term 'soul-mate' comes to mind because this person seems so perfect for you.

But you have only known them a week!

Warning bells should be ringing. This is a classic ploy of narcissistic people and psychopaths. They want to make friends fast because we trust our friends.

It really is important to slow things down and find out more about this person. What about their past, for example?

Check out the signs of an abusive boyfriend and the signs of a controlling husband.


A troubled past

Narcissists and psychopaths often have a personal history that is full of woe and sorrow, but eventually they managed to overcome the hardship and survive, much better for the experience.

The hardship is designed to elicit pity from their victims and is part of the emotional control used to manipulate and control.

Most if not all of the past history is impossible to verify because no-one around you knew the person back then. And if you dig into it, it's all made up... or rather, it's all...

Signs of a controlling friend



Narcissistic people are pathological liars. They will often mix lies with half-truths which can be difficult to pick up.

A classic routine is to admit something personal about themselves, and people think "Oh, if they admit that then they must be telling the truth' and then the narcissist follows up with a lot of lies!

If you catch someone out in a lie, be wary. 3 lies and it is wise to leave. Do not continue the relationship with that person. No matter how sorry, guilt ridden and apologetic the individual is.

Narcissists can play roles and fake emotions very well and they do not mean a word of it. Taking responsibility is inconceivable to them.


Always someone else's fault

Narcissistic people are never at fault for their mistakes, misfortune or misbehavior. They invariably have a valid reason, an excuse or a scapegoat.

When things go well, or if something good happens within 100metres of them, they are happy to take the credit for it, in one way or another.

Signs of a controlling man



Narcissistic people will not tolerate criticism in any form. Any criticism or questioning of their power or control is considered by them to be a threat. They typically respond by attacking the person rather than their arguments. In order not to be exposed, it is easier to destroy the reputation of the person than deal with the facts.

Such threats are called narcissistic injury and the narcissist will typically respond with narcissistic rage. If you are dealing with narcissistic people it's worth understanding these concepts.


Conflicting stories

At first, narcissistic people like to make a good impression with new acquaintances. They portray themselves as very likable, kind, intelligent, charismatic and so on.

Later on when they start their manipulations and the victims start to tell what the narcissist is actually doing and saying, the stories about them seem unbelievable. People find it hard to accept that such a nice person would say or do such a nasty thing.

So they start to justify it. 'Oh, she must be having a bad day,' or 'He's probably under a lot of stress at the moment' or 'Well, they must have a good reason for doing it'. And the bad behavior is dismissed.

If you hear such things about others, pay attention. There is no smoke without fire and all that. If you are the one doing the justifying and excusing, stop it! Go and investigate further. It will save a lot of hassle down the road.


What if you are already in a relationship?

Was your relationship amazing at the start but suddenly you find you are with a controlling and jealous monster?

Do you feel that leaving the relationship would be betraying your partner in some way?

Do you feel obliged in some way to stay, even though life with your controlling wife or husband is definitely not how you thought it was going to be?

Do you find yourself waiting for a few moments or hours of happiness with your partner although you have to put up with days of misery and upset?

Another typical mind control tool is having to choose between 2 options that you are offered by the manipulator. The narcissist offers you 2 options and you get to choose. It seems like you are making a free choice but the manipulator has narrowed the choices for you and whichever one you pick, you lose!

For example, after being caught out, the narcissistic might shout at their partner "So something bad happened, are you going to forgive me or not?'

It might seem like these are valid choices but they are definitely not the only choices. The narcissist knows full well that the person is going to forgive them and it seems to the victim that they have chosen to forgive so they cannot really complain about it any more.

Read more about relationships with controlling boyfriends or girlfriends and covert narcissism.


More questions

If you think you might be in a toxic relationship with narcissistic people or sociopaths/psychopaths, learn more about the signs of a toxic person and there is a more extensive checklist for abusive relationships in my book The Mind Control Manual...

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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.

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