Have you ever met someone who believes the entire universe revolves around them? While the behavior, on the surface, is annoying to deal with, it may actually be a red flag that they’re suffering with narcissism.
Psychologically speaking, narcissism is defined as selfishness; a narcissist is unable to hold empathy for others in their lives, which makes having genuine relationships and connections (even with their children) nearly impossible. They also have a very strong need for admiration, which is often why someone may think the world revolves around them; in believing their own self-importance, the narcissist is able to manipulate and control others. If someone you know exhibits these traits, it may be a sign they’re narcissistic:
1. They lie and distort facts to suit their own narrative. A narcissist creates their own narrative (i.e. I’m the victim) and will do everything they can to sustain that narrative. This is why a narcissist will gaslight you, try to create self-doubt, and never apologize for their actions, because they truly don’t believe their actions were wrong, and they especially don’t understand why you may have had your feelings hurt as a result of it.
2. They will put friends and family down behind their back. Because a narcissist is unable to make genuine connections with anyone, they have no problem talking smack behind anyone’s back, especially if doing so paints them out to be the victim. The narcissist is generally more focused on receiving sympathy from the outside world and those around them than they are genuinely resolving any underlying issues or having a genuine relationship. Because of this, they have no problem spinning tales to victimize themselves, which often involves lying about someone else’s actions to make them look bad (and not the narcissist) at all costs.
3. They act differently in public than they do in private. Have you ever met someone and realized that something was off but no one else seemed to notice? This is because a narcissist is very concerned with upholding their own public image. They also do this to create doubt. For example, if the victim of a narcissist tries to come forward, those who have only seen the narcissist’s positive (and even supportive) behavior will immediately discard what you say as the truth. This is why changing facts to fit the narrative they create is so commonly attached to narcissistic behavior.
4. They’re control freaks. Over everything. They can’t stand to not be in control of not only their own behavior, but of those around them as well. They have a very hard time detaching themselves from other people’s lives, believing that they should still have ownership or, at the very least, a say in how someone else goes about living.
5. They are emotionally distant and lack sympathy for others. They see everything in black and white as opposed to shades of gray. This can cause you to feel unheard and make you question whether or not you’re genuinely important to the narcissist.
6. They’re self-centered, particularly when it comes to identifying and supporting someone else’s needs. You’re rarely ever able to lean on a narcissist for support during a time of need. More so, the narcissist doesn’t know why you need them in the first place, as your struggles aren’t a product of their reality.
7. They have a superiority complex (and always have a tendency to believe they’re right). This is why they will never apologize to you and even if they do, it’s usually not genuine as much as it is a manipulation tactic to get what they want (i.e. “If I apologize for this, then I’ll be able to get what I want later on”).
8. They use emotions to control people, both good and bad. The narcissist isn’t really capable of having a genuine relationship with anyone, even their own family. So they will often use emotions to control everyone around them. This is why in many sibling relationships, one child may feel protective of their narcissistic parent because they are the recipient of support and praise, whereas the other one seems like the black sheep of the family when they try to break out of being on a constant guilt trip for never being good enough. You will never be good enough for a narcissist. They don’t even know what they want; all they know is that they can’t control you and it drives them crazy.
9. They are very easily wounded. If you talk to a narcissist, they will always be the victim of someone else’s words and actions. They rarely paint themselves as the aggressor, even though nine out of 10 times, they actually are.
10. Evidence means nothing to a narcissist. You can stockpile information and keep a list of every wrongdoing they’ve done and it still won’t matter. Narcissists function on emotion, not logic. Remember, you can’t have a logical conversation with someone who’s not logical.
11. When you break away from the narcissistic relationship, they will invent stories about you to rally people against you. They punish those they can’t control, but don’t worry—people DO see through their manipulative behavior, even if it doesn’t seem like it. A narcissist’s hold on everyone around them can’t—and doesn’t—last forever.
12. They are terrible listeners. A narcissist will tell you that you can talk to them about what’s bothering you, but they don’t really mean it. After you finish a conversation with a narcissist, you’ll quickly realize how everything you said went in one ear and out the other. They very rarely digest information because facts stand to destroy their narrative and that’s the only thing they have that keeps their identity intact.
13. They will gaslight you. Gaslighting is a tactic narcissists use to manipulate facts and create self-doubt and confusion in the person who threatens to disrupt their narrative. An example is when you confront a narcissist about something they did and they respond with, “That didn’t happen” or “You’re remembering it wrong.” These words are meant to make you doubt your own perception, which in turn allows the narcissist to cast blame on you rather than themselves. This is why the hours after talking with a narcissist can make you feel victimized because you rescued them in the conversation, oftentimes without even realizing it.
14. They are hypocrites. For example, a narcissist may blame you for not calling enough, when in reality, they never do the same. A narcissist will blame you for the same actions he or she does (that you don’t blame them for).
15. They don’t handle criticism well. Not that everyone does, but a narcissist in particular will respond with irate anger and rage. While this is very difficult to deal with on the surface, the reason behind the narcissist’s explosive behavior is a deep-seated fear of not being important. A narcissist subconsciously hides behind their own insecurities that they are not special enough, or perhaps not even loved enough, which triggers their need to create their own narrative of grandiosity. When you confront a narcissistic person about their behavior, they react with anger because you’re confronting them with “facts” that they believe confirm their biggest fears and insecurities. In reality, the narcissist IS an important person in your life. They ARE special and they ARE loved, but it’s difficult for you to make the narcissist believe that if they don’t recognize it themselves.