Narcissism is excessive self-involvement to the point where it makes a person ignore the needs of those around them. The term is associated with selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and an excessive need for admiration. Although everyone may show occasional narcissistic behavior, a true narcissist is known to frequently disregard others and the feelings of others. Narcissists don’t understand the effect this behavior has on other people – nor do they care.
It’s worth noting narcissism is a trait, but it’s also sometimes part of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) – a true personality disorder. Think of narcissism as a spectrum. People who are at the highest end of the spectrum have NPD, but others with narcissistic traits can fall on the lower end of the spectrum. Narcissism is still being studied and explored. Many people with narcissistic traits, unfortunately, do not seek treatment or therapy, but it’s still easy to spot the signs of a narcissist. In this blog, we’ll cover the signs of narcissist abuse and how to get help.
Signs of a Narcissist
Narcissists have specific behavior and cycles of abuse. They often come on strong and shower you with love to reel you in. Once they’ve got you hooked, they devalue and discard you. They repeat the cycle again and again. Here are some additional signs of a narcissist:
Sense of Entitlement
People with narcissism believe they are superior to others. Because of this, they feel entitled to special treatment. They think others should be obedient to their wishes. Rules don’t apply to narcissists.
A common trait of narcissism is manipulative behavior. A narcissist will try to please you and impress you at first. However, eventually, they will show their true colors and put their own needs first – every time. Narcissists try to keep people close in order to maintain control. A pattern of manipulative behavior is known as gaslighting. It’s a repetitive set of manipulation tactics used to make someone question reality. They’ll spin things around to make others feel as if they are to blame. A narcissist may even exploit others for their own personal gain.
Types of Manipulation
- Triangulation. Attempting to drag a third person into your conflict, usually to reinforce their own opinion or stance.
- Gaslighting. Someone gaslighting you tries to get you to doubt your own perspective and reality by twisting facts or insisting things didn’t occur how you remember them.
- Hoovering. This involves attempts to reconnect or pull you back into a toxic relationship.
- Silent treatment. They intentionally ignore you to control you or make you feel isolated.
- Scapegoating. Placing all the blame on someone else they designate as a scapegoat.
- Passive aggression. Indirect blame-shifting, sabotage, and sarcasm.
Need for Admiration
A narcissist has a constant need for praise or admiration. They need to feel validation from others and will typically brag about or exaggerate their accomplishment. They crave the ego boost and admiration of others.
Signs of Narcissist Abuse Syndrome
Being in a relationship with a narcissist can have serious long-term effects on your emotional health. Although it may be hard to detect the abuse initially, it’s there. A severe effect of narcissist abuse is narcissistic abuse syndrome. Here are some signs of narcissist abuse syndrome:
- Always walking on eggshells
- Sense of mistrust
- Loss of self-worth
- Difficulty making decisions
- Feeling as if you have done something wrong
If you are a victim of narcissist abuse caused by a partner or parents, help is available. The first step is recognizing your feelings. The next step is educating yourself about narcissism and the abuse cycle. Joining a support group is a great way to connect with others who know first-hand how traumatic narcissist abuse is. Check out the I’m Loving Me Project to learn more about narcissism, the abuse and what you can do to take charge and regain control of your life.