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Characteristics of the Narcissist

Certain characteristics appear with stunning regularity among narcissists. Since narcissism is on a continuum, some will have more than others.

These characteristics apply to males and females

1. Self-centered. His needs are paramount.

2. No remorse for mistakes or misdeeds.

3. Unreliable, undependable.

4. Does not care about the consequences of his actions.

5. Projects faults on to others. High blaming behavior; never his fault.

6. Little if any conscience.

7. Insensitive to needs and feelings of others.

8. Has a good front (persona) to impress and exploit others.

9. Low stress tolerance. Easy to anger and rage.

10. People are to be manipulated for his needs.

11. Rationalizes easily. Twists conversation to his gain at other’s expense.  If trapped, keeps talking, changes the subject or gets angry.

12. Pathological lying.

13. Tremendous need to control situations, conversations, others.

14. No real values. Mostly situational.

15. Often perceived as caring and understanding and uses this to manipulate.

16. Angry, mercurial, moods.

17. Uses sex to control

18. Does not share ideas, feelings, emotions.

19. Conversation controller. Must have the first and last word.

20. Is very slow to forgive others. Hangs onto resentment.

21. Secret life. Hides money, friends, activities.

22. Likes annoying others. Likes to create chaos and disrupt for no reason.

23. Moody – switches from nice guy to anger without much provocation.

24. Repeatedly fails to honor financial obligations.

25. Seldom expresses appreciation.

26. Grandiose. Convinced he knows more than others and is correct in all he does.

27. Lacks ability to see how he comes across to others.  Defensive when confronted with his behavior.  Never his fault.

28. Can get emotional, tearful. This is about show or frustration rather than sorrow.

29. He breaks woman’s spirits to keep them dependent.

30. Needs threats, intimidations to keep others close to him.

31. Sabotages partner. Wants her to be happy only through him and to have few or no outside interests and acquaintances.

32. Highly contradictory.

33. Convincing.  Must convince people to side with him.

34. Hides his real self.  Always “on”

35. Kind only if he’s getting from you what he wants.

36. He has to be right. He has to win. He has to look good.

37. He announces, not discusses. He tells, not asks.

38. Does not discuss openly, has a hidden agenda.

39. Controls money of others but spends freely on himself.

40. Unilateral condition of, “I’m OK and justified so I don’t need to hear your position or ideas”

41. Always feels misunderstood.

42. You feel miserable with this person. He drains you.

43. Does not listen because he does not care.

44. His feelings are discussed, not the partners.

45. Is not interested in problem-solving.

46. Very good at reading people, so he can manipulate them.  Sometimes called gaslighting.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BREAKING UP WITH A NARCISSIST

Narcissism

Ann Bradley

72 Comments

  1. The stories of the crazy jealous ex’s that don’t let their partners have fun, friends, a facebook or even practice their own religion are the product of narcissistic behavior.

    I attracted narcissists. I had been in relationships with three and was friends with many more. I was asked to do favors and had been put down all in the same sentence. I put up with them because I felt like I understood the disease. I felt like they were the result of a bad upbringing and that it wasn’t their fault they were this way. Furthermore, I felt like this consumer/dog-eat-dog society brings it out in normal people and exacerbates the issues for narcissists. I thought I could help, I could show them the right way and I also felt deeply sorry for them. Then, I got beat up by two of them, two separate times. Both occasions were when I broke up with them.

    In my experience, narcissist cannot be fixed. Red flags are key.
    I think it is extremely important to review and remember this list to help avoid narcissists if you haven’t already, or haven’t experienced one yet.

    Nice guys finish last in these relationships. My current boyfriend was previously married to a narcissist. She was really funny looking, but took professional airbrushed photos of herself and stared at them all day to convinced herself otherwise. She never got a job or became educated because she believed her mother messed her up. She threatened suicide every time he tried to leave. She threw tantrums when she didn’t get what she wanted. She used him for his money, took away all of his freedoms and in the end when he had had enough, he couldn’t even tell her what was wrong with her. He told her he was gay. It was the only way out without another suicide threat. Well, when I left, I got chased down and beat. That’s what happens when you’re not careful enough with the break. (The flip-side sucks, just say you’re gay.)

    In retrospect, narcissists have been the most destructive force in my and my significant others life. What’s worse is that they’ll never know that. They’re never to blame, and their actions are always justified. For example, my boyfiend’s ex almost killed herself and their kids in the back seat trying to beat her own mother while she was driving (women are violent too). Before the police took her to jail she threatened suicide. In custody court she said it was because she was “threatened for her own safety” as she didn’t know what to do with her life or how to take care of herself. Her reason is typical narcissistic deranged reality crap. And, if someone threatens suicide so frequently and never tries or dies, they’re just trying to control or manipulate their way out of some consequence they don’t like. I’d be surprised to hear if any narcissist ever committed suicide.. ha!

    • I spent three years w/ a narc.broke up last jan.2011,it seems like theres no way to get him out of my head.The emotional games he played were incredible.The way he walked in and out of my life and my childrens life like we ment nothing.He turned the switch on and off like the switch on a wall.Every time the attention was focused anywhere but on him,there would be an issue,or the relationship would be in termoil.There were times whe he would give me the silent treatment for weeks,than I would end up being the ice breaker.I am finally getting better,but i still have urges to call him,but I am staying strong

      • Liz,
        You describe – very well! – the exact same situation I had with my sister!!! For decades! I stopped contact with her about 6-7 years ago and I still “can’t get her out of my head!” You say it so perfectly! I don’t know what the answer is, except knowing that life – NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS – is better without a manipulative narcissist in it.
        I wish you – and myself! – well!

    • I would love to chat with you about this topic- I am smack in the middle of ending this difficult relationship and could use the advise of someone who understands, please help if you can!

  2. I could attribute all but 3 of those things on the list to my ex. Classic textbook narcissist and one hell of a SOB and POS all at the same time. I literally cannot stand to be in his presence anymore and the disgust that I feel when I am around him, arms and protects me from EVER thinking about reconcilliation. I am so happy I learned about this disorder because it changed my life.

  3. after a 24 year marriage we are calling it quits. my narcissist , with a pathological gambling disorder, has taken the liberty to block me from accessing our accounts & hid my jewelry. he plans to battle asset division ( he hid it in an LLC) and demands i sue him hoping to drain the rest of my money. I suspect he hopes the hardship will drive me to commit suicide, even had my apartment burglarized to push me over the edge !! However, i am still standing and His plans and crazy behavior has not killed me but the stress has left me with mounting hospital bills, and I have to apply for disability. I can’t describe the pain of a broken heart and the torn self-esteem i am left with. II don’t believe i will ever trust a man again

    • Bren,
      I too am leaving a marriage after 23 years. I cannot believe that I took this for so long. I feel as though I have lost my self and am wondering how this is going to affect our three children. The older two kids, seem to know how to handle their father; the youngest is a special needs child and he adores his father. I worry about him. My future ex is bent on having me spend all my money on attorney’s fees so that I will not get one penny of his money. He is doing everything possible to punish me for daring to break free from his control. The one thing that keeps me strong is that because I am still standing, it drives him insane. He has been hoping that I will fall and beg for him back. I have not and now he is doing everything possible to make me regret my decision. The best revenge, as my wise young daughter has advised me , is to be successful in life without him. Please find within yourself the courage to continue standing and to show him that you are strong without him. Trust yourself, believe in yourself!

      • Maddie, Your story sounds so like mine, I too have two very wise children but I just cannot seem to get over the pain and hurt and wish like you I could find strength, courage and self belief!

      • Maddie,

        You literally just described my life. I have been divorced 4 years now and he still tries to torture me and wants me to admit that I made a mistake by leaving him. I am still standing! He is a horrible evil man and has destroyed my children. Being involved with a narcissist is absolutely the worst – people do not understand. They are NOT normal at all – not even close. He will not be happy until I am destitute, homeless, and begging on the street. How dare I leave a successful lawyer! I’ll show you…that is how he thinks. Well I will make it no matter what!

    • Run, Christi, Run! In my experience, you can never change these people. All you can do is limit your contact with them and heal from the damage they’ve wrought.

  4. Wow! I can definitely relate to all these stories!! I honestly never knew someone could be so self-absorbed in my life!! My husband did an excellent job at luring me in when we were dating. We’ve been married 13 years now and it has taken a toll on my whole life! He is a Truck Driver now and I am so glad beacause at this point, there is no way I could deal with him on a daily basis! It just blows my mind that a person can think about themselves like that 24/7!!! I feel for all of you!

  5. Pingback: Characteristics of the Narcissist « Steve Blizard's Blog
  6. My sister exhibited 38 of these 46 signs – Wow! Good to know have further validation of my assessment of our relationship.

  7. I’m in the beginning stages of a divorce from a narcissistic husband. After 11years and no children, I have learned that I cannot live in such disarray anymore. He has crushed my self-esteem, caused me to resign from a promising career, and is trying his best at leaving me financially broken. I’m embarrassed at some of the behaviors and situations I’ve survived in this marriage. He has had continuous use of steriods and that only helped fuel his rages and several times I have seen my life flash before me. There has been numerous affairs I am finding out about and lots of wasteful spending. I’m attempting to survive this emotional roller coaster of dismissing him from my life. I’m attempting to settle it without filing suit against him for a divorce. I’m praying everyday that he one day realize he needs professional help. I’m seeking counseling to help me overcome some of the hurt and pain. I have loved so unconditional and he will always hold a place in my heart, but it will be from afar. I’m so glad a friend convinced me to research narissitist behavior. Thank you for opening my eyes to finally realizing an explanation for such hurt and pain that he has caused.

    • So glad you are moving forward. Protect yourself in the divorce – be prepared for more outrageous actions as he might be fueled by anger at your leaving him and want to punish you. Devious and manipulative are keywords which often stand out when looking at the behavior of personality disordered spouses in divorces. Remember always, guard your heart, your emotions and your finances. Best to you, Ann

    • Suzanne-
      There is no way to settle with a Narcissist. I tried for 3 years before reading a book by a divorce judge. He spent all but one paragraph of a 200 page book saying to settle out of court. In that one paragraph he said “if a spouse has gotten their way throughout the entire marriage then it will go to court”. It has been 5 years since I moved to another state – over a year since the divorce, we had court again this morning. By definition, Narcissists will never seek professional help. If they do, then they are not Narcissists.

  8. 46 out of 46 for my former N Boyfriend. Seriously.
    I wish I had known he was an N when we were still together, but no one told me. He told me he had depression and anxiety. His mother told me he had NPD and Boarderline PD AFTER he went to jail for the final suicide attempt which for the first time, also involved threatening me with the knife. Nice time to tell me, Mom….. I realize it’s a difficult thing to be a parent to an N, especially an adult N. I’m sure I eased the parental burden for the time we were together, but I also feel it is irresponsible to not inform a romantic partner of the reality of the N, especially if there are small children involved.

    • I guess he was a Toxic Narcissist. That’s the worst he could possibly be. How did I get so lucky? Only 1% or so of the entire worldwide population are affected by Toxic Narcissism. Why couldn’t I hit the lottery instead of meeting him? Ugh! Life is so unfair!

  9. I have narcissistic personality disorder :)
    I really like this site, it is rather informative.

    • I don’t believe you have NPD. Narcissists don’t know that they’re narcissists. They literally would never take the time to figure that out because there is nothing wrong with them.

  10. Divorced from an NPD with kids isn’t fun either but is better than living with one day to day. Now that I am done fighting over college expenses, which I knew was coming, I feel like I am having post traumatic stress syndrome. 14 years later I have grown. He has not. Here are notes from the marriage:

    He was always right, it was always my fault, my opinions were wrong if they didn’t agree with his.

    “It is important who is right and wrong because it gives the person who is wrong something to work on.”

    “I always treat you poorly because you are just an extension of myself, and I treat everyone else better than I treat myself”

    “You have a character flaw since you like to be by yourself a lot.”

    “You need to throw away all the stuff you have from your childhood. I don’t have my childhood stuff, so why should you have yours? (this included a box of items that belonged to my deceased brother).”

    “I AM better than everyone else. Some one who is smart and educated is better than someone who is just a janitor.”

    “I used to be happy. I am not happy anymore. If you gave me more love and attention I would be happier.”

    “We are just puppets in life. Everything has been predetermined.” (in explaining why he always had excuses and was not responsible for his actions).

    “You made me do it. If you hadn’t done _____ I wouldn’t have needed to do it”

    After we were divorced 4 months: “I am not the babysitter. I am moving away so you will have to take care of the kids all by yourself and never have any free time.”

    “It surprises me that if William is smart enough to be educated, why he doesn’t think the same way I do.”

    “You shouldn’t pay attention to what I say, but should pay attention to what I mean. I don’t always say what I mean.”

    “I know you love me. And I could never stay mad at you.” (after ignoring my increasing frustration with the marriage, he refused to make any changes on his end, but expected me to make all the changes.” Then, after we were divorced: “she was the love the of my life but didn’t want to work on the marriage and was having affairs.”

    “I never studied for that class.” (his response to me getting a higher grade in a graduate level class – as an undergrad – than he).

    “You need to iron my clothes. You have responsibilities” (after waking me up from a sickness with a 104 degree fever)

    “What do you mean you don’t have enough time to yourself? You go to Target once a week. What else do you need?”

    “You have responsibilities.” (after complaining that I went to dinner with friends for the first time in 7 years.”

    He was really angry when I was on bedrest for my second pregnancy, as if it was my fault.

    “Morning sickness doesn’t exist. Women are just trying to get attention or have psychological issues.” When I threw up before I even knew I was pregnant, he was frustrated by not knowing how to explain that.

    He knew more than everyone, including doctors/PhDs who were specialists in their fields.

    “This isn’t what I signed up for.” after I refused to have sex with him in the room above where my mom and kids were playing.

    “People in Costa Rica (his home country) are much more civilized and family-oriented than Americans.”

    “Costa Rica’s educational system is much better than the USA’s”

    “I know I told you before we got married that I would help with the house cleaning and taking care of the kids, but I changed my mind.”

    “Orlando and Gilda think that its the woman’s job to take care of the man, even if the woman has to work outside of the house.”

    “My first wife was prettier than you. She had a pretty face and big boobs.”

    “You have banana tits.”

    He didn’t do things for people because it was the right thing to do. He did it because he said it made him feel good. He also expected big thank you’s and other forms of appreciation.

    We once had a calm discussion about being important or perfect. I said when I realized that I was just one speck of dust in the universe, it took a lot of the pressure off of me to be perfect or to care if I were the best or the smartest or the best. I was happy to exist and do my best. He said he couldn’t agree with that at all; it was very important what his status was in life and what others thought of him.

    I told him that it bothered me that all 4 people eating dinner spoke great English but the other 3 sat there talking in Spanish and left me out. And he always initiated the speaking in Spanish. He would later say “it’s not their fault you don’t speak Spanish.”

    “If the company is going to treat me like this, then I have the right to steal from them (office supplies, dishes, etc).

    He didn’t get up to help me get things that I needed when I was in the hospital giving birth. He said he was too tired to get out of the chair.

    After I gave birth to my daughter, he brought me a dozen roses. After I gave birth to my son, which had been a difficult pregnancy, he brought me cheap flowers from the grocery store. When I said that it upset me he said “I could have bought three CDs for the price of the those flowers.”

    “If you did more stuff for me, then I would do more stuff for you.”

    “If you want me to respect you then you should deserve it first.”

    “Don’t just stand there, do something.” (when I was taking a break from folding sheets and later, from raking leaves.)

    He told me about all of his sexual conquests when we first started dating and then would bring them up for some reason on an ongoing basis. When I later told him there was no reason to tell me such garbage, he said “that stuff always comes up later on anyway so its best to get it out in the open.”

    • Your list of insults are nearly identical to mine. I never saw another husband treat a post partum mother like mine treated me. I often wondered if that had to do with extreme hatred of females. Hope you are better now.

    • I feel so similar to what you describe, this is just horryfying the way you have been taken down the drain…I met my ex husband more than 20 years ago, had 3 kids with him and filed for divorce in 2010. Even now he is using our youngest child, she’s 13, to try to destroy me. Can you believe it ?

      I filed a complaint at the police last Monday. I have been protecting this asshole for all this time because I lost my Mum when I was only 21 and was fortunate enough to have my Dad, who wasn’t someone very easy to live with either, until I was 38. How can we be so good and blind and lack self confidence ? And why does no one around us do something to help ? Are family and friends blind and deaf? Isn’t there a legal obligation to report this kind of misbehavior ?

    • Wow! Your list is so similar to mine. I was married for 32 years to a narc. He love bombed me in classic fashion in the beginning, wanted to move in together right away, was terrific with my 4 year old from my 1st marriage…then, it changed. On our honey moon he kept me up all night near the end complaining that I didn’t “initiate” enough. I truly tried to figure out what he meant by this…

      As soon as we were married he became cold and controlling with my son

      He disliked the little dog I had, and I gave her back to her breeder…

      He hated hated hated if I fell asleep before him, even if he was up past midnight on a work night.

      He wanted a spotless house, and started fights over little things like a small smear of grease on the stove…this fight went on from 8pm to 6am. I learned to be an amazing house cleaner, but it was never good enough. His stock phrase was “I live here too. I deserve a clean house”

      He spent hundreds of dollars a month on musical instruments and iTunes downloads-hundreds! Then got mad at me for not taking a second job because we were always low in our account. I worked a 40 to 45 hour week!

      In between the angry outbursts and endless arguments he would be wonderful – going on walks in the country, to his parent’s house in the Hamptons…

      He was disappointed when our second child was a girl – and later told her so!

      He was always great when company was around, and then when they left he would turn on me and 1. complain about the dinner mess 2. gossip horribly about the friends who had been there 3. get angry with me for spending too much time talking to them! Then, he stopped wanting to have anyone over – he never wanted to return the favor after we had been out to someone’s house.

      his moods swung from minute to minute, from cheerful and almost over the top happy to angry and sullen and awful – the whole family learned how to “manage” him. He could have 3 to 4 major swings in one day

      The biggest problem ,and the one that makes me really wish that I had left him in the first year of marriage was the abuse he put my son through. He never hit him, and things would swing from bad to good and back again, but my son told me 20 years after the fact that he was sexually abused by this man. I am now divorced, losing my house to the IRS, but very happy to be rid of this evil person!

  11. I recently broke off a friendship with a narcissist. I’m amazed that it took me 20 years to recognized her affliction, even with a degree in psychology and being extremely familiar with B-cluster personality disorders. I simply didn’t recognize her grandiosity as it was often covert. For example, she’d repeatedly tell a mutual friend that she made “so much more money” than me (so does Bill Gates, big deal).

    She’d been dropping straws on this camel’s back for years – minor controlling behaviors, judgmentalness, back-handed compliments, the occasional misdirected freak out over a non-issue. Then she dropped 3 giant hay bales in quick succession. She decided to develop a rule for herself and I also had to obey. Doing so would have prevented me from an activity I love and had been doing all my life – I even have a Master’s degree related to this activity. My disobedience caused her to freak out and I broke off all contact. Since then, she has expressed no contrition or accountability and has blamed me for the conflict. Of course, she can’t let it go, so although I screen her calls and have blocked her e-mail, she still tries to contact me to discuss “what we’ve been going through”. I’ve been going through freedom from control and craziness.

    I’ve made a point of not sharing the fiasco with our mutual friends and she’s been talking up a storm about how unreasonable I am over this “misunderstanding”. Not hearing my side, friends are lining up behind her. I still think taking the high road is the way to go. Her NPD has gone undiagnosed, but certainly not unnoticed for years.

    • Protect yourself from her and from all those who are stupid enough to choose her side. Don’t let anyone judge you. I am unfortunate to still have a 13 year old daughter living temporarily with this MONSTER father, who has never succeeded in being a loving, caring human being for anyone in his surroundings. It is really tough for kids being in this kind of situation, but I do hope police and justice will prevail in this matter.

    • Same here, although my friendship was about 5 years. They are so charming and appear to be caring people. She was an adopted only child, married and had kids. I should have known something wasn’t right though. She had no close friends and never went out “with friends”. I had a bunch of friends even though I had only moved into town within the year. Then the shopping trips, I would buy a pair of shoes, she would buy the same exact ones in a different color. This happened a few times with other items too, then the exercising to lose weight, get implants, hair and nails frequently. She started to change into someone I didn’t know after a while. Also was just superficial, didn’t like my other friends and tried to monopolize my time. I tend to be easy going and she was getting increasing hard to be friends with. Finally a year and a half ago I broke off contact after sending me another set of emails about all the things I did over the years that bothered her and that I needed to apologize for. Half the stuff was made up and just weird. Well recently she has been stalking my facebook, (I unfriended her a year and a half ago) but now I blocked her, why send me messages after all this time? I really didn’t think she was trying to see my posts but my daughter also received a sarcastic post on her instagram. Different people posted and called her a bully, that she was rude, then she started back tracking her comments. My daughter blocked her too. Is it rejection that causes the stalking behavior? what will it accomplish? I have kept copies of all the stuff she has sent me, in case she gets dangerous.

  12. Wow, some of these stories are awful. Makes mine pale in comparison. We can all agree that the aftermath is like a deep trauma.

  13. Thank you so much for this list! My son was married to a narcissist and she wrecked havoc on all our lives.

    Since then, I have found many friends whose lives were ruined by a narcissist. I continue to be amazed at how many are out there. I have shared this list with them all, and like me, it is like a light bulb going off and it helps so much to identify and understand. And what a relief that can be to an injured soul. Many thanks.

    • Hi – I see information as an infrastructure that supports us and moves us forward. My own journey began that way many years ago and helped me. I’m so glad you wrote and shared how it helps you and that you shared with others. Feeling all alone as a victim of the personality disordered is a lonely journey. We do need each other. Best, Ann

      • Interestingly, because of your list, Narcissists are now very easy for me to recognize when
        i hear of their actions.

        Everyone I was close to who was in a Toxic relationship, has not only recognized their
        spouse as Toxic, but has either successfully removed themselves from the relationship
        or it has been healing to them in the aftermath of that relationship. Knowledge is indeed
        powerful and freeing, thanks to you. And it is like they are freed when they read the list!

        Several included spouse abuse, one female to her husband and two females at the hands of
        their husbands. Interestingly, several have also learned how to “talk” to the narcissist who
        remains on the fringes, shutting him down by not responding to a rant as he tries to gain
        control.

        One friend, took your list to her male physician, who almost had lost his practice
        through his abusive secretive narcissistic physician wife. When he read your list, he
        immediately copied it to give to others, hugged with tears my friend and said, “You gave it
        a name!”

        • Linda – Thanks for telling the story about your friend’s physician as well as your friends. Ripples in a pond stories always resonate so positively with me. They say: we all make a difference when we make the effort. Thank you for being one of those who makes a difference. Best, Ann

  14. My brother has broken our hearts…in reading this list of traits, it seems he has all but maybe two of these listed characteristics. The traits he exhibits are overwhelming and seem to swallow up everyone around him. I worry for my darling nieces, his daughters. I am so sad about him and have always known he cannot be trusted. In my relationship with him I have always felt wrong and that I could never have an authentic relationship with him. Every time I have trusted him it has been costly. It is helpful to see such direct information to solidify my concerns about him. We are all sick of his behavior (the whole saga would make an unreal movie) and have confronted him with his volume of lies. He cut off contact with our family except for occasions of screaming tirades, cursing and intimidation. We have been labelled as judgmental, self-righteous, uncaring, unloving and stupid. It is interesting that we all have taken great care to show him repeated kindnesses regardless of his behavior and not to react to his tantrums…all to no avail. It terrifies me that I could be related to someone like this. I pray daily for him and also that God would keep my heart in check and not to be given over to bitterness. All of this is truly out of my hands and I hope that someday he will find the help he so desperately needs. Thank you for your work in the arena.

  15. I am a 53 year old gay man. I have 3 children and I am a widower (my wife passed away from a brain tumor 10 years ago. I always knew I was gay but did not accept being gay until after taking care of my ill wife, I became too overwhelmed – something had to give. Although I remained faithful, it was a relief for me to accept my sexuality. Several years after her death, I started “coming out”. I thought the hardest part would be telling people, but since then, I am devested by how the gay men’s world functions. It is dominated by permiscuity, lack of trust, emphasize on youth and penis size.

    I was in a relationship with a narcissistic man which started 4 1/2 years ago (9/24/2008-6/5/2012). He left me one day last June last June when he said he did not want to feel guilty if he should go somewhere that summer and hooked-up.

    I was devastated because he basically was not faithful to me during the whole relationship – he would always deny and I would somehow believe him. He used sex to control me, used my car for years because he wasn’t ready to get a new one when his broke and he lived at my house without assisting with money (he occasionally bought groceries) and it was easy for him to spend my money but only bought quality stuff for himself (which he made sure he got everything he paid for back when he left).

    I have never been so depressed and unhappy in all my life. I feel he stole my soul, heart, mind, and spirit. I feel so confused, hurt, and in-pain that I do not want to live – even though I have children who depend on me. I did try to end my life this last October – it should have worked but I have an enzyme issue that does not allow me to metabolize a lot of medications – and since this was a medication I could not metabolize it didn’t even make me sleepy – never mind suppressing my respiratory system.

    I feel my life is over. He made me feel unattractive, crazy, and without any self-worth. All the while he was cheating on me and telling me I was crazy. But I loved him and believe it or not still do! He played mind games with me so much for so long, my brain patterns value his life over mine. Now I don’t have him and I am depleted emotionally and spiritually – therw just isn’t anything left.

    Furthermore, being 53, gay, with 3 children, I am not a sought after commodity in this basically unhealthy gay-male community

    When he left me and kind of missed me, he would contact me. He said he struggled getting over me, but not like wanting me back, for now he could have sex “when he wanted, where he wanted, and with whom he wanted”.

    From what I hear, he is happy, has good friends and living a balanced life. And here I am, the partner that truly loves him, supported him, was committed to him – just wanting to die. Why?

  16. I am guy who just wrote last post (53 year old gay widower)
    My email is johnwschone@yahoo.com
    I take antidepressants – even though they don’t work and I see a counselor who is good – but I am still suffering.
    It has been nearly a year since my narssacistic boyfriend left me.
    The abuse has left me worse than dead. I know I have my own issues like being highly sensitive and codependent, but if there is anyone out there who has recovered from this devastating experience and knows how I should feel like living again please share with me ways to get better, please help me!

    I don’t show any signs of improvement – I still love my narssacistic ex and don’t feel I will ever be confident, happy, or hopeful again.

    Help!

    • Hi – Please do some research on antidepressants. Paxil, for example, has been found to cause chronic depression. If you are taking them and they aren’t working as you say, they could be making things worse and keeping you from getting better. Do the research on this. There are doctors who understand other ways of assisting brain changes other than with anti-d’s. Ok, as to why you are still attached to your narcissistic ex. It may or may not be of any help to know that you are far from alone in this attachment behavior, whether gay or straight. Sometimes referred to as love addiction, it is not that uncommon, but certainly no place you want to stay in. But you already know that or you wouldn’t be writing.

      I strongly suggest this very easy to read, cut to the chase, put it all in perspective book as a beginning place for you to kickstart a new beginning and get over the ex and feel good about yourself. You are so not alone! Others have been there, done that, and gotten better. So can you. Try this book, and also google, ‘love addiction’

      Best to you, Ann

    • John,

      I have tears in my eyes reading this. I feel EXACTLY the same way in the aftermath of leaving a pathological relationship. This has devastated me in a way other losses have not; I am a very strong woman and very independent and this truly has left me doubting everything I have ever believed in, God included. It is a death in many ways and you must treat it as one. You love your ex because YOU are a loving person, but you deserve to be loved back and not abused. It does and will get better. You will get your life back in time and never be in another relationship like this ever again. Keep the faith, you are awesome.

  17. My ex girlfriend fit EVERY SINGLE one of thoes. after the break up she spred a lot of lies and rumors about me….Saying im a “sociopath” (im not) …getting close to my friends and turing them on me…Just devoteing her time to creating drama in my life. When we were dating she hacked my facebok and blocked EVERY girl I had added…. including family members…She would get mad when I listened to certain types of music like rock or dustup. she would get over jellies when id talk to my friends while she’s near me. Tho some how it was like…she got into my head….I cant stop thinking about her…It felt like i’ve never loved anyone more then I Did her but looking into it more I see It was all fake and shes just a narcissist.

  18. Our company worked with Lantor Ltd/ Lenticular Promo.
    My job was a sales representative and my livelihood depended on my income.
    I know the manager at Lantor is a severe narcissist. When I placed orders for my clients the manager would say he did not like the art we submitted.

    He held up orders when we had event dates. He always blamed people in China, Weather, UPS/FedEx, or customs.
    I lost clients and finally my job because we lost a big account due to the manager at Lantor.

    The manager at lantor called my client and lectured them on having “pretty” artwork. He did not care about money and he always mentioned he was a CEO and he controlled – his company his rules. Looking back I feel bad for that german’s employees.

  19. I was business partners with a narcissist for 8 1/2 LONG years. This poisonous relationship damaged me in every way – financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally. It was a hardship on my family as well. But, I got out and I’m on the mend. I’ve begun to write a book about my experience in hopes that I can help others. I think of myself as a “survivor”.

  20. I broke up with ex-gf of two years in June ’13. I always knew from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my intelligence that I was dating someone who was selfish, self-absorbed, lacked empathy, distant, deceiving, untrustworthy and unappreciative but had impeccable beauty and charm. I told her this many times in hopes that she would listen to me and change for the sake of the relationship. What I was really doing was saying that I was tired of her manipulating and emotionally abusing me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I now know that this was a form of narcissism.

    She cheated on me twice and never admitted this though I caught her with o man and actually spoke to one who confirmed it: an ex-spouse she was manipulating to get money from. She came to my house on both occasions crying like a baby and saying that she didn’t deserve me… however, later I learned that she was apologizing because she got caught and felt guilty, not because she cared for my feelings or was truly remorseful.

    Because a narcissist can charm and knows how to talk the bark out of a dog I accepted her apologies and tried to forgive her. This I found to be almost impossible and I had trust issues for over a year with her that led to numerous anxiety concerns when she went out or did something without telling me. She never cared to move in with me because she was ‘afraid you (I) would kick me out.’ She used this as an excuse to continue living her secretive life of attention-getting and ‘friendships’ which stroked her ego. She went to the gym 4-5 times a week, 12 hours a week while leaving her kids alone.

    The ex-gf constantly compared me to other bfs and commented often of how others paid for all of her expenses, bills, etc… The last conversation we had, her last digs were about how I didn’t love her children like I loved my own (older) children and only spent money on them. She would never admit that I lived for her and her kids, taking them on numerous trips, day trips out, dinners out, bought them gifts, signed them up for sports, taught them things, etc… I was essentially a ‘father’ without kids and playing the ‘husband’ without a wife.

    She was manipulative at the end, playing me a fool while she secretly was on a dating site finding another ‘source’ to manipulate and abuse. She continued to kiss me, hug me, talk to me, feed me while she was planning her big escape. It was a miserable ending of her ignoring my final requests to communicate and leaving me frustrated and confused. I have learned, as have many, how devastating it is to be manipulated, lied to and cheated by someone like this. They lack empathy and are only interested in what they can get out of a person who loves them. Essentially, they get you to fall in love with the ‘mask’ of who they are and with the charm and sex, make it difficult to leave them. They seek out nice, unsuspecting, giver-type people and hold them to a higher expectation than they set for themselves.

    They are extremely jealous and controlling to a point that you would feel guilty to even have a life of your own. They have no respect for the love that you give them and insist that you can never give them enough. My ex-gf always threatened me that she could have any guy whenever she wanted and had many male ‘friends’ in her phone that I never met or heard about. Don’t be deceived by this type of person. I don’t truly regret loving her, because I know that I forgave her and put up with her inconsistencies and manipulation because I truly loved her. She wasn’t a ‘toxic’ narcissist but absolutely had traits that would point in that direction. It has been hard not thinking about her, because as a ‘victim’ you constantly want to blame yourself for why the breakup occurred. You replay things in your mind trying to believe that she was a good person and never meant to treat me this way. That’s the damage that comes from being with a narcissist – they never take accountability or responsibility for their actions and you end up feeling that blame. If you finally have the reason to leave them and the strength they will either cry and make you feel sorry for them or will find another source as quickly as possible who will continue supplying the attention, love, money and devotion that they so desire but can’t reciprocate…. She never had boundaries, which are common for narcissistic people, and suffered I believe from a repetitive compulsive disorder to continue doing ‘bad’ things to the men who loved her. Everyone of her exs suffered as I did. I only wished that I had the strength of character and love of self enough to leave her after the first of many red flags surfaced.

    Don’t be another victim, get out of these kind of relationships. They will never change and honestly, don’t want to change. Why should they when there a idiots like me who allow this kind of behavior and even encourage it. If you forgive a woman who cheats, lies, deceives, you have lost their respect and they will continue until you are emotionally abused (which is a form of domestic abuse), lonely and empty….

  21. It’s been almost 2 years since I left my Narc/BPD relationship. One of the most painful parts was having to physically leave the place that I loved, my home because I knew after many years that if I stayed physically in the same place as him I would always be manipulated back into the same bullshit. I’m reading and writing because though I am in a healthy relationship with a wonderful, kind person now I still feel haunted and often have dreams that make me relive the pain over and over again. I have been perplexed because it’s been so long. I should be over it, right? Well, I’m not and I feel guilty and weak that I’m not over it. Right after I left Brett Gyllenskog swooped up one of my good friends, she was moved in with him within a month of me leaving. I thought that she was one of my best friends. I just have to remind myself that I also fell victim to his manipulation so many times. I thought it was my fault that I wasn’t good enough and that perhaps she is but I know now, from lots of therapy, that there is NO good match for a narcissist!! She is now in the same pain I was and although my hurt and anger are still here ultimately I feel pity on her.
    I just wanted to thank all of you that have commented and to those who wrote the article. Especially all the parts about, sleep, reactive depression, nightmares, etc.. I thought I was crazy and totally lame that I still carry the pain around and dream of him and her so often still.
    All of this has helped me feel okay about where I’m at and helped me to see how damaging these people and relationships can really be. I don’t have to feel so crazy and weak anymore about still reeling from this experience.

    Research characteristics of “REAL” Narcissistic/Borderline/Anti-social… Personality Disorder!!! It’s not just someone who think’s they’re pretty awesome and likes to look at themselves in the mirror. It’s so much more.

    Our society’s casual idea of what Narcissism is NOT the reality! They will manipulate you every time you try to leave. You feel like you can’t go on without them because they have groomed you to feel that way. That’s not real! – even though you feel physically ill and overly fearful at the thought of leaving. I promise that It will never end! It is impossible for them to change because of the type disorder they have does not allow them to look at themselves the way that we can and they NEVER will be able to.

    So ultimately please hear my advice…(I do realize that kids and marriage make this even more complex and difficult)…

    BUY YOURSELF A PLANE TICKET TO SOMEWHERE SAFE AND AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT….BECAUSE IT DOES!!!….even if it means leaving everything you love and where you want to be.

    ….and STOP BELIEVING THAT YOU’RE NOT BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH, STRONG ENOUGH, SMART ENOUGH, SKINNY ENOUGH, ETC…

    IT’S A LIE!

    THEY NEED YOU TO FEEL THAT WAY SO THEY CAN KEEP YOU THERE TO KEEP SUPPLYING THEM WITH WHAT THEIR DISORDER NEEDS TO SURVIVE.

    REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT WELL – THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL….you can expect “normal” behavior from them. So STOP TRYING!

    Love yourself and don’t look back.

    Lots of love and kind regards to all of you xoxo

    • Thank you for a great post and words of wisdom from having been on the journey out and forward from a place of pain. Your words will make a difference to those you may never know about. This is important and appreciated. Best to you, Ann

  22. Pingback: Abuse on Wheels
  23. Pingback: Part 3: Opening the doors on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and narcissistic abuse | Happiness Weekly
  24. Pingback: The Behaviors and Actions of the Narcissist | Process of Elimination
  25. Hi, I really need help understanding things, if I tell my story it’d be great to receive advice/insight: I met my bp boyfriend 8 years ago (think he might be a narc too) he was sweet, warm, funny, self deprecating. I didn’t fancy him but he persued me relentlessly till I gave in & we dated for a year, I fell for him in a huge way but never told him. Things were amazing until he moved in (after 18 months together) then he started putting me down, criticising, nasty name calling, bragging that his exes were better looking than me. When I ask why he did this he says I wanted him to, I used him as a tool to abuse me, as I’m more comfortable with pain & cant face happiness in a relationship. When I ask how I made him do this he has no answer, he flips out if I tell him he’s wrong or if I have a different opinion to him. He says everyone is jealous of him, all birds become obsessed with him (his words) when I suffered a bereavement & turned to him for comfort he branded me a drama queen. I really believed he loved me but am starting to think he only is nice to me when he needs money/sex/somewhere to stay. He has never discarded me, yet I’ve thrown him out 3 times, last time was 3 months ago, usually I have to accept blame then he returns (he never does & always deflects.) This time I refuse to so he tried (feeble attempt) to win me back (only because he needs somewhere to live) but as I won’t admit to self sabotaging our special bond as he puts it he has now stopped contacting. I feel so depressed, despairing, desperate to have him back (why?!) I feel empty inside, life pointless – is this normal? I hope it will pass as it’s torturous (he’s moving on nicely, after a small outburst of anger at me dumping him.)

    • It is normal! Hang in there and it will pass…one day, a switch will flip and you will feel better, not so needy, and realize you don’t need him to fill an emptiness inside you. You are on the bumpy part of getting over a jerk, but remember it is worse being with him than missing him. Much worse. You deserve better and if you give yourself some pats on the back for getting rid of him you will see how special and smart you are and know you are so much better off being you, alone, than being his victim. Hang in there! You will make it through this time. Best, Ann

    • Don’t give in! He’s made you into a toy, someone to push around, reject and then attract again, these are not well balanced relationships and he will only make you suffer more. Go out and do things you like. Meet new people that make you feel whole, who make you feel good, loved, cared about, accepted for who you are. Contact family and friends you feel in peace with. don’t convince yourself you can’t live without this person. you may now feel addicted to him, that’s the toxicity of the Relationship. it’s like when you decide to stop smoking, using drugs, drinking coffee or Coca Cola. give yourself a break, travel, do sports. you’ll manage, take your time.

  26. The narcissist that I fell in with as an employee was a severe case. If it is not mental illness, then I am surprised. Of the 46 items on this list, I would say only the ones about sex and love or dominance of women were ones I had no real insight into. And I can name some more that I would say are not on the list.
    On this list, it does not say that they are driven in their actions and that truth coupled with the fact that a narcissist is always on, ready to erupt or respond and control in a second is why they are so dangerous. This coupled with the facts that they are highly manipulative and do not care about you, have no remorse and are highly secretive and cunning, with tremendous ability to read you….and dominate you – makes them your own personal hell.
    They are survival mechanisms of a high order – what I think some horror early in their lives left them with as adaptors to the world around them in a harsh uncaring sense because in nature it is only important in the end result that something lives on to keep life ongoing. We end up a sacrifices to their needs until we ourselves adapt and get out and move on. Worst of all, despite my relative advanced age, I had no idea such beings existed and were capable of such packaged evil for their own good. Beware them, recognize them and avoid them!

  27. Can anyone recommend a therapist or a few – in the Los Angeles area – that deals specifically with survivors of narcissistic abuse?
    Many thanks for any advice or leads.
    CJ

  28. This list shocks me, because each and every one of the traits listed are completely spot on for my ex-husband. It is one thing to think the monster you are married to is a text book narcissist and quite another to see each and every one of his traits laid out in total clarity on the page.

    Thank you to the author and all the others who have commented for helping me realize it was not “all in my head” as he would say. After enduring just shy of 13 years of marriage to a man that once told me I was the most selfish person in the world for wanting to apply for a seasonal job that would allow me more time with our two small children, I continue to learn each and every day what a brave choice I made.

    I am making a better life for my children, and perhaps even more importantly for them, a home that is now filled with joy rather than sorrow, with laughter rather than fear and hope rather than hurt.

    • You go girl! We all celebrate that joy filled life with you and share in your happiness and abilities and wisdom. Congratulations, you deserve it. Best, Ann

  29. I think what scares me is how many of these traits are mirrored in my own personality. 3 years ago I was diagnosed borderline with narcissistic tendencies and I am and I know it. I display the traits but I am not a bad, mean or heartless person. I try to control myself because I genuinely care about certain people in my life. What scares me is when there is such a defined list and everyone agrees but no one ever looks at the other side of things. A therapist told me one…Shaye ai don’t think you have narc traits becaise you love ypurself and the idea of yourself but because you don’t and you want to change. But since no one fits in the world you know they can’t fit with you can they? She had never been so right. Im not a bad person. Im a mom, a fiance, a writer…and I have narcissistic tendencies…certifiable

  30. Yeap think only one of them wasn’t what mine did.
    I stayed n for what ever reason (guess because he still couldn’t / didn’t have control over me where my family were concerned ) he charged me w Assulting him even though I NEVER hurt him or have done the things his saying n his telling people (possible employers too) I’m a crazy pyho. Mined u I’m now just part of his ex’s club we all crazy but case pyhos !
    I kept saying he would stop I believed he would or kill me (he also knew he would seriously hurt me one day) I have since been proven not guilty although I am fighting an avo. I get it now that I’m out. He did me a favour I would never have left him I would have tried anything to help him c n believe in good n stop himself harming. I just can’t wait for it all to be over n I get a new good job n I can just walk n stand tall not that I don’t now. I even make sure if I’m likely to be seen that my smile is like the sun, blinding :). The biggest worry is that some poor GIRL will end up w him n she will get hurt n or a child or them both :( biggest worry !!

  31. Last year I divorced my husband of 3 years because I was finally tired of his abuses. He has a lot of the things on this list. He was very abusive, both physically and emotionally, but none of it was his fault. He aalways said if i had just listened to him he wouldn’t have hit me. He would throw huge parties for his friends, use my money to buy everything then make me do all the work. One of the wives, whom I’m still friends with, asked me at one of the parties why I hated being with the group. I was confused bc I love people, my husband had been telling everyone that i prefer to cook to being with people bc I’m defective in social situations. My friends, male and female, showed to that party and i spent my evening talking to them. After all was done and everyone had gone home, my husband demanded that i never invite my friends again. I can only have his friends. Only now do i realize that was bc to his friends, he could make himself look like the loving husband and father to our daughter. He cut me off from family and friends and I let him bc i didn’t want to upset him. Now, I have a stronger than ever relationship with my family and I’m getting over all my ex did to me with their support and the support of my new husband.

  32. My father is a narcissist. It was pure hell growing up with him. Emotional abuse is very underrated particularly towards children. It wasn’t until I turned 40 that I finally understood my childhood. My brother who is four years younger is only now coming to terms with it. If you are married to a Narc get out of the relationship for your children’s sake.

  33. wow – I know a woman a lot like if I replaced the word Him with Her in the list mentioned in this article.

  34. This is my son to a T. So very sad and hard to “breakup ” with ,but I have for my own saftey.

  35. I’ve just found out I’m a narcissist. I have been laughed at and disliked most of my life but became a single mom, married a naturally talented (deeply neurotic and inverted narcissist). I get it — finally, the “IT” I was missing. The veil that covered everything. I have had skin disease all my life, I was isolated hated, reviled in my home growing up. I just wanted peace and thought I was building something beautiful. My parents were abusive narcissists, so was I and so is my son. I supported my mom even though she took part in my sexual abuse by a family friend. My therapist always gives me reasons for being broken but I always asked her specifics. She said I am smarter than most doctors so fed my ego and I am deluded about everything I felt true and I see the truth of everyone’s opinion. My family do not like me, I do not have friends, my husband says if I kill myself it is my choice. I am lost and empty and I am not sure why I have so much pain as a narcissist. I supported everyone for decades, I got it ill and broken and now I am crushed. I committed suicide, again, last week. Took over 70 sleeping pills and antihistamines. I sipped wine so I would not vomit, I kept waking up the other times because I would vomit. This time I was careful and I had a knife, to be sure. I filled the tub ad got in fully dressed and as the medication kicked in I could cut deeper and then thankfully I was gone. But I am still here. I do not want to be anymore. I am just a narcissist cry-baby looking for attention.

  36. This list is literally a personality profile of the monster I’ve been married to for 13 years. I’m trying to work up the courage to leave this vile creature, but I’m terrified. We have three children between the ages of 5 and 10.

    In the early days, my husband saw someone who was sheltered , shy, and socially awkward. I must have seemed the ideal victim. The psychological (and sometimes physical) abuse have escalated over the years and intensified even more recently, and I have an intense dread of the future. I no longer have any close friends, and I don’t wish to overburden my parents. I really don’t know where to turn.
    My husband constantly plays mind games as well. Sometimes he says “I love you” in a mocking way. Other times he tells me hates me and has even threatened to kill me. He has assured me that he and his wealthy parents will make sure that I will never get custody of the children if I choose to divorce him, and he will destroy me. He has also recently had an affair, and there were probably others in the past. He keeps an ironclad grip on our finances, to the point where I have no money and am totally uninformed regarding our financial
    affairs.
    This has to end, but I don’t know how.

    • You have rights. You need to learn them. But doing so must be done in complete stealth mode. Find family law attorney websites for your state. These sites can be a gold mine of information about custody, finances, etc. Research many of them. Take your time, go to the family code and case law articles also. Immerse yourself in the legal aspects of divorce. The law does not want you a prisoner and you have many rights. Information truly is power in this arena. Marriage is an economic unit and you both have fiduciary responsibilities to each other. He is violating his. DO NOT DISCUSS THAT YOU KNOW THIS, never share your new info or plans with him. Go see some family attorneys for their 20 or 30 minute introductions. Many are free – but do this after you have some info under your belt. You have a right to finances, and in most cases, to funds to get divorced. Don’t let him see your computer history. My book, Divorce, The Real Truth and Hidden Danger, goes into all of this in more detail and shows my divorce and how it went from hell to, I won and I’m out. You can do this. Get info, get power, get hope and the road is taking you where you need to go. Best, Ann

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