One of the most important things which you can do for yourself is to – Know Yourself.
Self-knowledge is personal power.
Getting to know yourself is a process which continuously happens over your entire lifetime.
It starts off when you are born, simply, as you discover your own body, as you experience sensations, as you notice how others respond to you or don’t respond to you, as you absorb the world around you.
As you get a little older you begin to emerge from being merged with the world and people around you. You become more aware of a separate self, a self which belongs to you. Boundaries begin to form between you and the world and other people.
The you who you originally were on day one of your existence stays with you, but more layers of you are laid over it, with your focus on the present self which you are experiencing. Who you once were is of less interest than who you are now. You become more aware of a changing, growth, shifts in perception.
As you progress from baby to toddler to child to pre-teen to teen to pre-adult to adult your focus moves with you. Different aspects of yourself, of your life, of the world in which you live, draw your attention away from other aspects.
Who you once were is of less interest than who you are now, who you are now is of less interest than who you will become.
At some point in your progression forwards, you may stop to review who you have become.
How did you become who you are now?
You may be inspired to look back, at who you once were, at all the yous who you have been over the years, sifting through all the layers of self upon self, reviewing the changes, growth, shifts inside and outside, trying to get some perspective on all the perspectives you’ve had, and how they influenced the one you have now.
What made you stop to look back?
Sometimes it’s a life crisis which stops us in our tracks.
Maybe we feel that we can’t go on, can’t move forwards… at least not until we’ve let go of something, something which we may feel is holding us back, a burden which is too heavy to carry, a chain tied around us which yanks at us and its links lead back into our past. Or perhaps something is blocking us, a fear, an invisible wall, a steep mountain to climb, a raging storm, a vast ocean between us here and somewhere, someone, better over there.
It could be both – Something in our present is blocking us while something in our past is holding us back. And those two something are connected by us – the only way to unblock and release ourselves is to look within, for what is outside of us is connected to what is inside of us.
Perhaps the life crisis which triggers our urge to get to know ourselves, all of our selves (or as many as we can remember, the ones which are pertinent to the crisis situation), is a relationship with a Narcissist.
(Ah, finally she gets to the point, and hopefully gets on with sharing her red flags for identifying a Narcissist!)
Before I list the red flags which I use to recognise a Narcissist…
(OMG! HEAVY SIGH! I knew it was too good to be true! She’s going to babble some more and probably won’t ever list the red flags – but that’s the only reason I’m reading this shit!)
I need to say three things:
1- If you recognise yourself or someone you know in my descriptions of Narcissists and Narcissistic behaviour, this does not = you or someone else is a Narcissist or Narcissistic in a negative way. All humans are Narcissistic, we all go through the Narcissistic phase of human development, and Narcissism can be and is healthy for us.
Please read this article for more information and clarification – What is Healthy Narcissism?
I use my own Narcissism to blog. I use my own narcissistic tendencies, both healthy and unhealthy, to understand the Narcissists in my life, to write about Narcissists, and to deal with Narcissists, Narcissistic people, and all the negative Narcissism in the media, society, and in general.
2 – Narcissist in the context of this post could also mean a very Narcissistic person who may or may not actually be a Narcissist (have Narcissistic Personality Disorder).
It can be difficult to tell the difference between someone who is a Narcissist, has NPD, and someone who is being very Narcissistic.
It can also be hard to perceive when the Narcissistic person is us and not the other person – how we perceive others and ourselves tends to be subjective (based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.), and we may decide that someone is a Narcissist because they didn’t give us what we wanted, didn’t live up to our expectations and disappointed us, didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear, didn’t do what we wanted them to do, didn’t like us when we wanted them to like us, ignored us when we wanted their attention, refused to be who we wanted them to be for us, did not go along with the script we’d given them for the role we wanted them to play in our life story. Argued with us, disagreed with us, criticised us, didn’t love us back, made us feel bad about ourselves in some way.
To come to the conclusion that someone in your life is a Narcissist = the villain, the most heinous person you know whom you can now hate without doubt or guilt, and can now go around telling everyone what a terribly evil character they are (which is not dissimilar to a smear campaign) and how everything that is wrong with you is all their fault, they damaged you, caused and inflicted all this pain and suffering on you
– you need to get yourself out of the way for a while so that you can assess them more objectively ((of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.).
– you need to use deductive reasoning.
One incident, even two or three incidents does not necessarily = that someone is a Narcissist. You need to take into account whether they are always like this, whether their behaviour is a constant, is normal for them, is in character, or if it is abnormal, not how they usually are but they’re going through something which has affected them, making them behave this way, acting out of character.
You need to check out more than just them in the moment, you need to look at what is around them in the moment, what is affecting them and causing this effect on their behaviour, other factors.
For instance – Are they physically ill, suffering from physical pain. Do they have a condition which they keep under wraps, controlled, but which occasionally flares up. Do they suffer from depression, an anxiety disorder. Have they recently changed their regular medication. Have they given up an addiction.
Are they in therapy and did something come up in their latest session which rattled their cage.
This is an interesting perspective on that – Therapists need to own their stuff (for healing’s sake)
Are they going through a life crisis. Did they get some bad news and haven’t yet processed it. Did someone close to them recently die. Did they break up with someone. Did they lose a promotion they worked hard to get. Is there a stressor in their place of work. Is there a problem at home.
You also need to take into account if they’re like this with everyone or if they’re only like this when they are with you. Sometimes we’re someone’s dis-ease.
If every time you are with them all you do is tell them what their problem is, what’s wrong with them, nag, criticise, then they may get stressed out when they’re with you and snap at you, be difficult, defensive. It’s easy to get caught in a relationship pattern like that, and hard to snap out of it once it sets in.
If every time you’re with them all you do is tell them all about your problems, what’s wrong with you, you put yourself down or put others down blaming them for what’s wrong with you, and nothing the other person says fixes your problems, is helpful, heals the pain you’re in, then they may feel tense, depressed, irritable and uncomfortable around you. It’s not your fault that you’re going through what you’re going through, but it’s not their fault either and it’s not their responsibility, obligation or duty to take care of you when you’re like that.
We all have our ups and downs, and the downs sometimes last longer than the ups, dragging us further down and sucking those around us down with us. Sometimes we pull ourselves out because we see what our down is doing to others, to those around us, to those we care about. They inspire to save ourselves… before they decide to save themselves by getting as far away from us as possible.
When trying to decide if someone is a Narcissist, remember what it’s like to be human living a human life in a human world. We can all be negatively Narcissistic when we’re suffering, in pain, when we’re caught up in ourselves and are in a very dark place.
While assessing the scenario, situation and dynamic around the person, and the person, it is wise to use Cognitive Empathy…
excerpt from Types of Empathy | Skills You Need
however be careful of the other kinds of empathy – emotional empathy and compassionate empathy, these are wonderful skills to have, but they often lead to sympathy, pity, and pulled heartstrings played like moaning violins. Which is fine when experienced in the right context, but they are not useful when you’re trying to assess if someone is a Narcissist or not.
You need to think and feel clearly.
As if they are a Narcissist, feeling for them will get you sucked into their drama, suckered by it, and stuck there.
For more about that please visit – Knowing the Narcissist – it is the blog of HG Tudor, who is a Greater Elite Narcissist. He patiently and painstakingly explains the different types of Narcissist, and how they each use and view Empathy.
3 – I tend to only attract and be attracted to female Covert Narcissists.
Covert Narcissists tend to be harder to spot than Overt Narcissists.
Overt Narcissists tend to be aware that they’re narcissistic, to them this is the only way to be to succeed in life, to become powerful, important, masters of the universe. Strut your stuff is their motto. They love being narcissistic, and their love for it can be contagious – those around them may become like them, may act out of character, may even aspire to be like them, and they often get elected, promoted into positions of authority because of it.
This article explains some of that – Can evolutionary psychology and personality theory explain Trump’s popular appeal?
The Overtly Narcissistic are the Donald Trumps, the Harvey Weinsteins, the Rupert Murdochs, the stereotypical capitalist corporate CEOs, the Zeus’, the Godfathers, the Harvey Specter from Suits, the Robert “Bobby” Axelrod and Charles “Chuck” Rhoades Jr from Billions, the superheroes and super villains, the Reality TV celebrities, the Gurus, the Magicians, the OMG How Did They Get Away With That, the WOW How Did They Do That, the Go-Getters, the I AM types.
You can usually recognise an Overt Narcissist from the expression on their face, from the way they look at you and the world around them, and from everything which comes out of their mouth.
The Overtly Narcissistic love mirrors…
the Covertly Narcissistic hate mirrors.
The Covertly Narcissistic don’t tend to look like Narcissists, in fact they often look like the opposite of a Narcissist. They may appear to be the Mary Poppins, the Mother Theresas, the Princess Dianas,
Please note: I am not saying the people I’ve named are Covert Narcissists, but they may be people whom a Covert Narcissist admires, loves, worships, idolises, idealises, envies, would like to be. They’re the ideal perfect person whom a Covert Narcissist may aspire to become, they may even want to ‘replace’ them, be better than them (most Narcissists think they can be you better than you are you), they want the hearts of others the way those people have won them.
a Saint, a Saviour, a Do-Gooder, a Martyr to the Cause, the Belle from Once Upon a Time, the Damsel in Distress, the super Empath, the Indigo Child, the all seeing Psychic, the Cassandra, the Oracle of Delphi, the Goddess, the Demeter/Ceres, the Mother Earth types.
Covert Narcissists usually don’t know they’re Narcissists, and would be mortified to find out that you think they’re a Narcissist and would most likely have a meltdown of Titanic proportions about it ending with them probably accusing you of being a Narcissist, and discarding you because you’re Toxic for them.
They tend to believe their own persona, their narrative about themselves, their stories…
of being Highly Sensitive People (which they are only not in the way the term HSP means it),
of being the greatest Empaths in the universe (just like real Empaths they can’t tell the difference between what they’re feeling and what others are feeling, except unlike real Empaths they never bother to put a boundary system in place although they do talk about it all the time, research it at length to get more information to use when they talk endlessly about being Empaths, but oh woe is them they’re more special than regular Empaths, and couldn’t possibly do what the ordinary ones do),
of being the most wonderful mother in the world (who mothers better than all other mothers, there is no other mother as mothering as they are, other mothers are doing it all wrong, aren’t as perfect as they are),
of being the one who feels all the pain in the world and could heal it all if only they could just heal themselves first… (and if only everyone else would stop being so selfish, in pain because the pain of others is such a pain to the greatest healer in the galaxy).
For more on this – Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can
In no particular order, here are the red flags I use to recognise a Narcissist (focusing mainly on Covert Narcissists because they’re the ones I tend to go for, and who go for me):
1 – When someone says: I am an Empath
Please note: this can be applied to other I AM statements. Covert Narcissists tend to introduce their persona with an I AM statement, it sets the scene of the ensuing drama, it tells you clearly what their starring role is in their epic film/novel, it also will be informing you of your supporting role, and they will repeat it to brainwash you into believing that is who they are as you have to believe it so they can believe it (they also need to keep repeating the affirmation to brainwash themselves to believe it). Other options include – I am a highly sensitive person, I am compassionate, I am caring to a fault, I am the sort of person who puts everyone else’s need before mine and no one is grateful, I am spiritual, I am a good mother of course I have my faults but…
Pay attention to the I AM statements which people make about themselves, then confirm them by observing their behaviour, what they do – Do they walk the walk of the talk they talk?
Narcissists tend to talk the talk, and do the talk very well, but don’t usually walk the walk of their talk, as they seem to be under the impression that the talk is the walk. If they say they’re superman, then they are superman and they don’t have to do what superman does, they can just say that they’re doing it and it is done.
Non-Narcissists sometimes don’t live up to their own hype, all humans tend to want to be more than we are sometimes and with so much Narcissistic advice out there… all of us can make I AM statements which we don’t live up to no matter how much we want to. However for the most part we walk our talk, usually because who we are is who we are and what we do is be who we are.
As you can probably tell the statement – I am an Empath – is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to Narcissists. I could rant for thousands of years of words about it. It’s because I’ve fallen for this more than one time too many and I’m really pissed at myself. If you pick up on my anger – it’s not directed at at you, Empaths, some of it is directed at the Narcissist Empaths I’ve known, but most of it is from me to me.
Please note – this is not about real Empaths, this is about Narcissist Empaths. There is a world of difference between the two.
A real Empath will most likely not need to tell you that they’re an Empath. They don’t tend to make I AM statements, they will use I am in a sentence, but they’re using it logically where it applies.
They’re more likely to You Are statements but not like a Narcissist makes YOU ARE statements. A real Empath’s You Are statements tends to be along the lines of – You are looking good, you are beautiful, you are lovely, you are so talented, you are amazing how did you do that, you are crazy brave I would not be able to do that, you are going to get into trouble one of these days for being such a generous friend as I may take advantage of you haha no I won’t you and I know that I never ask for anything, you are such an asshole for buying me that wonderful gift haha thank you so much you know me so well and knew that I wanted it but would never buy it for myself I love you.
They’re more likely to discuss you – how are you, what about you, what would you like, what do you want, what do you need, what’s going on with you, you look like you could use a drink (and they’ll know instinctively which kind of drink you need based on what they’ve picked up from you), than they are to discuss themselves – I am fine how are you, I am feeling better thank you for asking what about you, I’m easy I like lots of things what would you like, Oh no I don’t want anything this is fine what do you want, I have everything I need what do you need, oh you know the usual it’s not as interesting as what’s going on with you.
After an interaction with a real Empath, you will come away from being in their company walking on air, feeling good about yourself, wanting more of them, and perhaps feeling a little guilty pleasure that it was all about you. They’re life’s muses who ask for nothing in return.
A real Empath is the living and breathing embodiment of that quote – Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness.
Treat a real Empath well and you’ll have a loyal and supportive ally for life, treat them badly and…
you’ll regret it, but they won’t because you showed them your true colours and they are not afraid of the truth.
Unlike Narcissist Empaths who are screamingly afraid of the truth, and never shut up about how they’d rather you told them the painful truth than lie to them. But don’t take them up on that offer because the clue is in the fact that they think truth is painful.
Sure, sometimes the truth is painful, but it also brings a lot of healing, can be calming, soothing, relieving, releasing. liberating. Not to a Narcissist, and definitely not to a Narcissist Empath.
When someone says to me – I’m an Empath – I wait and see how they make me feel. How I end up feeling when I interact with them.
Being in the company of a Narcissist Empath = walking on eggshells, holding your breath, feeling tense all the time, bugs crawling on your skin, something is in your eye but you can’t move even blink or they’ll read something awful into it, denying yourself, censoring not only what you say and do but what you’re feeling too – the worst emotion you can have around a Narcissist Empath is happiness, joy, feeling good about yourself, they will rip it out of you, stamp on it, twist it and turn it into something dark, dubious, terrible and toxic. You will end up fearing yourself when you are around them. Even when you empty yourself of everything, of yourself, they’ll pick things up from you – because basically they’re pouring all their unwanted shit into you and that’s what they’re picking up from you. They are not Empaths, they’re Dumpaths – you’re their dumping ground, their burial ground, their sin-eater.
After being with them, they go away feeling great, like a load has been lifted, but you feel as though a world of pain was dropped onto you.
Pay attention to how you feel after you’ve been with someone, interacted with them in real life, on the phone, through a text, online – but you do have to know yourself to understand what you are feeling and what it means. It could be you, but it could also be them.
2 – The cry for help
This is especially relevant when online, because a lot of people use social media to express their helplessness. Sometimes expressing our helplessness helps us to get the helplessness out of our system so that we can then find the space inside to help ourselves.
People sometimes share online their problems, the ones which are doing their head in, battering their heart, gnawing at their guts, or sucking at their soul. Sometimes all they need is a ‘safe’ and ‘sacred’ space to shout, shout, get it all out, and maybe in getting it out they figure it out because to write it down they have to go through it and BANG! AHA! They’ve understood something… false alarm, or true alarm but they’ve answered it, and can turn it off now.
There are many variations, which include the one where someone shares their pain and others share their pain with them, and somewhere in all of that shared pain people find solace – maybe just in knowing that you’re not alone, that others suffer as you are suffering, that it’s normal, that you’re normal, while not ideal because no one wants others to suffer…
(yes, I hear you, you want your narcissist to suffer because your narcissist wanted you to suffer, made you suffer – your narcissist is suffering that’s why they’re a narcissist and make others suffer – they are replaying their wounding scenario over and over and over again, passing on their wound, maybe hoping that if others have the same wound maybe someone will find a miracle magical cure which does not involve work but can be taken in pill or spell form and POOF all the pain is gone, the suffering is gone, the wound is gone! Happily ever after!)
we take the balm that we can get.
Occasionally someone is looking for a direct answer to a direct question. How do I unblock my toilet? Use a plunger. Thank you, tried it, fixed it!
But if it’s a Covert Narcissist crying out for help, this is their Siren’s call to all brave heroes, fixers, savers, saviours out there to come to the rocks and smash yourselves upon them.
You will be allowed to live a little longer if you say the right thing, which allows them to be the persona they believe that they are and/or are playing. The right thing is to give them sympathy, emotional empathy, compassionate empathy, pity them but not condescendingly, feel sorry for them but do so from a place of agreeing with them that they’ve been hard done by, that they are the victim of an awful villain, haylp haylp… feed them with lots of suggestions, options, cures, ways to get better, but… they will Yes, But them all… they’re smarter than you, they’ve thought of it all, they’ve felt it all, they’ve suffered through it all… your paltry and pathetic suggestions can’t cure what you can’t possibly understand because you have never lived through what they are living through.
You will be killed swiftly if you don’t say the right thing. They don’t need or want people like you in their entourage – you, sir or madam, do not understand, begone with you!
If you get caught up in someone’s drama online or offline, and you’re caught up in it long enough to see that they’re going around in a circle again… get off the ride unless you enjoy it. And don’t try and take them with you when you get off – This is their ride! This is their circus and those are their monkeys.
3 – The Comments
We’re all a bit lax when it comes to listening to others, we’re a bit lax when it comes to listening to ourselves when we talk to others, and when we talk to ourselves.
So, we may miss the meaning in a throwaway comment someone makes.
Even if we hear it, were listening, the spoken word is shifty… and has alternative definitions. Maybe they didn’t mean what you heard, maybe they use that word differently from the way you use it, maybe you misheard them, maybe you were being overly sensitive, maybe you, maybe…
if you have dyslexia as I do, which includes misunderstanding what people have said (and sometimes it’s so way off it can be hilarious, to me anyway), muddling their words in a similar manner to the way words muddle themselves when you read, you’ll end up maybe-ing yourself out of hearing what you heard, and you may have to hear it several times before its message sinks in.
Narcissists are known for their comments – snide little things, poison-tipped darts which you barely feel, and if you do feel it and question the Narcissist who threw it… gaslighting makes dinner for two so much more romantic, the darker it is the less you’ll see, the more the light flickers, the more you’ll doubt yourself.
Covert Narcissists tend to throw many passive-aggressive darts at people. But if you look at them, confront them, point the dart you just pulled out of your back at them – They’ll be indignant, horrified, upset, innocent, and a bunch of other things which will distract you and make you regret noticing they stabbed you. You may even apologise to them for what they did to you, and they may not never ever accept the apology but instead will hold it over you until you stop feeling all the pins, pricks, darts, knives they keep jabbing into you like you’re a voodoo doll.
Then there’s the barbed lure – a comment thrown out there to see which little fish nibbles on it, and then YANK! You’re hooked. You’ll try to wrestle free, but that makes it sink deeper into you, under your skin. Sometimes they’ll take it out after it’s ripped through your flesh, and throw you away, discarding you back into the water because they’re an ecologically friendly fisherman. They do no harm, they tell themselves as they load up another barbed lure and toss it out there.
One of the things I love about the online world is – people’s comments are there in writing for you to see and re-read when it suddenly dawns on you that maybe they meant something else from what you thought they meant.
Be careful when commenting, your self is showing no matter how careful you are. Which is sometimes a very good thing! Unless you’re a Covert Narcissist, playing the victim of a Narcissist and you say something like – All Narcissists should be rounded up and killed and that would make the world a better place for all of us *smiley face with rosy cheeks – that’s genocide not a recipe for world peace and goodwill to all men. While I can understand the feeling… it’s still genocide.
And that’s kind of a red flag for me. It’s the rhetoric of a Narcissist – kill everyone else and then all my problems will be gone with them, and my wound will be magically and miraculously cured, the inner volcano will be appeased through ritual sacrifice!
I won’t immediately brand a person as a Narcissist for saying that, it’ll depend on what they say afterwards, because they could have just been ranting, venting the pressurised pain of years of Narcissistic Abuse. If they keep saying it, and their attitude becomes righteous about genocide… and if it then leads them to create a healing system for victims of Narcissists whereby everyone picks up pitchforks and torches to hunt down Narcissists, shouting and singing Down With All Narcissists… and when they run out of Narcissists they start calling anyone they don’t like a Narcissist which may include their former allies who aren’t as dedicated to the cause, who may be questioning whether burning bloodshed is the solution…
Then I’m probably being a bit slow in my labeling of them.
Reading the comments on blog posts can be very eye-opening, and can help puzzle pieces fall into place. In so many ways – sometimes because of observing my reaction to a comment, to something pointed out, especially when it is helpful, insightful – Why did I react that way? What has this made me notice? How did I not see that before!
You can spot patterns of behaviour in yourself and others. Sometimes these can be very useful if you’re trying to confirm a feeling you have about someone. Of course you could still be reading things into it which aren’t there… which is also useful to notice and know.
How bloggers respond to comments can be interesting. Some bloggers never respond or reply. It often doesn’t mean anything other than they’ve decided not to do that. It can be time consuming to reply to comments and most bloggers aren’t blogging professionally, so they may only have so much time to blog and they use it up writing posts.
Some bloggers will reply to some comments and not to others. This always piques my interest. Why did they reply to the ones they replied to? Why did they not reply to the ones they didn’t reply to? Sometimes it’s obvious because the comment they ignored is a troll, and the blogger has their blog set to approve all comments by default. Sometimes it’s obvious in other ways – they only reply to those who praise them, any comment which isn’t telling them how wonderful they are is ignored. Sometimes they only reply to comments which annoy them and they feel the need to put that person in their place – beneath them, under the sole of their big boot. THWACK! If that commentor fights back and refuses to be stomped out… it can get very interesting to see how each side handles themselves.
I’ve been put off a few bloggers whose posts I liked because of how they handled themselves in the comments. I can be rather shallow.
As for me, I try to always reply to comments. I do it because I do it – and get a lot out of doing it. So thank you for sharing! And letting me share back (sometimes we wish you wouldn’t reply to our comments because you’re batshit and it’s scary confusmacating. I know, I’m sorry but I’m also not sorry, so sorry about that too).
You do have to tap into your inner Narcissist to blog – but it could be your healthy inner Narcissistic tendencies which you’re tapping into.
Blogging is a great way to get to know yourself, and others too!
If you have issues, they’ll all come out to play, to be seen, to drive you up the walls and onto the ceiling. Sometimes it’s the only way to spot them.
Narcissists who blog are fascinating to study.
There are a few Narcissists who blog about Narcissists.
The ones who are Narcissists aren’t necessarily the ones who say they are Narcissists and blog as Narcissists.
Sometimes they’re the ones selling you a miracle magical cure for healing from Narcissistic Abuse (I had one of these order me in a comment on my blog to shill their snake oil, when I asked them a few questions because I didn’t know them or their product and didn’t like being ordered out of the blue by someone I didn’t know to tell people to buy their product, they ignored me. I was supposed to do as I was told!).
Sometimes they’re the ones who are permanent victims of Narcissists who never heal even a little bit because they get more from not healing.
One of my favourite posts about this, by one of the first bloggers to blog about Narcissists – Part Two Online Narcissists: A case study called PuppyGate
I’m not going to point fingers at any one specifically, but I have pointed a finger in general… and the Narcissists who may read this will think I’m pointing at them because it’s always about them and point at me because it’s never them. Fair enough! Bang bang, you got me!
Time to wrap things up,
with mistakes and messy all,
and hand it over to you…
What are the red flags which you use to recognise a Narcissist?
Where did your red flags come from – experience or reading someone else’s red flags which clicked for you?
Are there any sites you’d recommend to those who are looking for help with their healing and recovery from Narcissistic Abuse?