“I’ll hide behind a smile and understanding eyes, and I’ll tell you things that you already know so you can say ‘I really identify with you, so much’… You want to know why? Cuz I’m a liar” – Henry Rollins
Narcissism is when someone sees the world in relation to themselves and not to other people or things. Some call it ‘self-love’ but that can be confused with ‘self-esteem’ which is a good thing. Narcissists love themselves to the exclusion of others, have huge egos, and tend to manipulate others for their own gain. Here are some things to help you spot a narcissist.
They make the conversation about them
The narcissist is self-centered. It does not occur to them to talk about you or learn about you, they can only think of themselves. So if you are having a conversation and it is all about them, be aware.
They turn criticism back at you
They are not really interested in your critique of them, so if you express any kind of criticism towards them, they will almost certainly turn it back on you. “Oh, I am emotionally unavailable? If I am it’s because you are overly emotional and you leave me feeling exhausted.” Watch out for them turning the tables on you.
They withdraw when you need something
Since the narcissist is unable to put anyone else’s needs before theirs, they tend to back away when you need something. A reasonable concern or need from you would take the focus off of them (unless they turn it into an opportunity to show you how great they are at helping you or something), and that is not acceptable to a narcissist. They’ll get irritated or they will make it about them.
They lie with great ease
Remember, everything the narcissist says and does works toward giving them what they want, so don’t think they have a sense of honor, or have some line they will not cross. They will lie as easily as they blink and with no remorse, because they do whatever they feel will get them what they want. If it hurts you, that’s not their problem.
They seem not to experience emotions
Of course, they do have emotions, but the narcissist suppresses the way they naturally feel so that they can use their emotions as tools and weapons.
As for the emotions of others, the narcissist can’t (or won’t) feel sympathy in a normal context. You see someone cry, you might feel sad, or compassionate. The narcissist sees either an opportunity or something that’s not about them so they withdraw.
My hope is that by being able to see these signs, you can at least get ready for what you may have to live through with (or go through to get rid of) the narcissist in your life.
Once you see these signs, learn how you can deal with a narcissist: