Narcissist, Part II

To give some real-life examples of actual narcissists I’ve met, here is a list of things narcissists are likely to do:

  1. Call you at 8 am on a Saturday and say, “What do you mean, you are still asleep? Get up already, I totally need to share this super funny story with you.”
  2. When you say, “It’s the end of the semester and I’m exhausted,” they respond by saying, “You are exhausted? Let me tell you how tired I am and then you’ll see what real exhaustion is like.”
  3. When you are comforting a weeping student in your office who has shared that her mother’s cancer has metastasized into her brain, they barge into the office and start sharing a joke they heard recently and really enjoyed.
  4. When you tell them you are getting married, they burst into tears and say, “How come you are getting married before I do?”
  5. Make demeaning comments about your new hairstyle, new dress, a recent publication, anything that makes you the center of attention, albeit momentarily.
  6. Expect you to guess and anticipate their wishes and get very angry when you can’t do that.
  7. Constantly share stories aimed at demonstrating how they are much  better than somebody else.
  8. Often use the sentence, “But what about me?”
  9. When they hear that X finally got pregnant after years of trying, they exclaim, “How could she do that to me? I was going to ask her to be a bridesmaid at my wedding this year!”
  10. Exhibit an insatiable need for compliments, accolades and praise, especially the kind where the narcissists come out as better than somebody else.
  11. Don’t care who they are competing with for attention. They are as likely to begrudge the attention given by others to a newborn baby as they are to resent the attention offered to a terminal patient on his deathbed.
  12. Take your things without bothering to ask for permission because they need them.
  13. Often accuse others of selfishness.

Now that we know how to identify narcissists, the question is, how do we deal with them?

The most important thing is that all of the tantrums, tears, heart attacks, fits of hysteria, headaches, etc. that the narcissist exhibits whenever s/he is thwarted in the attempts to be the center of attention are completely fake. They don’t take place when there is no audience. The narcissistic rage only occurs when spectators are present.

This is why the most important thing you need to do is stop being a spectator. Whenever the narcissist goes into a narcissistic rage or throws a tantrum, you need to remove yourself from the situation (leave the house, hang up the phone, etc.) immediately. Believe me, they will switch off their weeping and hysterics easier than it is for you to turn off the electricity.

Many people mistakenly believe that reassuring a narcissist, offering him or her enough attention and praise will finally sate the narcissist and put and end to the tantrums. In reality, however, it works the opposite way. The more you participate in the narcissist’s shows, the more likely s/he is to repeat and intensify them.

Remember, you cannot help a narcissist change. S/he is very happy and content with being a narcissist. You are the one who’s unhappy with being used, so it’s up to you to remove yourself from the narcissist’s field of  vision. A narcissist always has a group of enablers that tolerate the rages, the tantrums, and the performances. Do us all a favor and stop enabling the narcissist in your life.

A disclaimer for people who love to misread: the preceding description of narcissistic behavior had to do only and exclusively with adults. If you have a child who behaves this way, you need to ask yourself what possessed you to teach this form of a dialogue as the only possible one to your own child.

13 thoughts on “Narcissist, Part II”

  1. I’ve met precisely two people who fit that definition, and one of them obsessively cyber-stalked Jaime once. She was quite a, err, “character”, you might say, suffering a combination of narcissism and Münchausen by Internet. The entire garish story of her stalking Jaime is funny now, but back then, she gave us both the creeps.

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      1. That’s the thing about stalkers: They like surrounding themselves with people who will constantly reinforce their delusions of grandeur, but they also want to be surrounded by people they feel are “worthy” of being their admirers. This lunatic didn’t know that Jaime was a woman, and wanted a boyfriend who would combine the best of both sick needs.
        She must have figured that someone as articulate, educated, and clever as Jaime would be the perfect accessory piece, the crown jewel in her delusion of being an intelligent, beautiful, accomplished woman. She got very, very pissy when we got together, and spent a lot of time and energy trying to tear me down and make me look stupid, poorly-read, and unworthy of love, with predictable results. 😉

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        1. “She must have figured that someone as articulate, educated, and clever as Jaime would be the perfect accessory piece, the crown jewel in her delusion of being an intelligent, beautiful, accomplished woman. ”

          – Yes, that’s exactly how they operate!

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  2. My engagements with various people on the Internet over the past ten years led me to the conclusion that “a narcissist” is anyone who departs from the strict ideological depiction of normalcy that Ronald Reagan propounded. In other words, anyone not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and thriving no matter what their personal circumstances or social context is necessarily “a narcissist”.

    According to my ideological interlocutors, narcissists are those who want to go against the grain by not thriving despite all of their interlocutors commanding them to thrive. They simply want to not make it as a success, so they can draw attention to themselves.

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    1. Of course, there might be people who use this term in weird ways, but that is definitely not my fault. I’m talking about creatures who cannibalize the lives of others. This has nothing to do with politics or with Reagan and everything to do with individual psychology.

      I’m just trying to help people who suffer from narcissists in the same way as I do, that’s all.

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      1. Ok. I think I suffered from one, but this person tried to make out I was doing it to myself deliberately — that is, that I somehow had this person’s particular problems.

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  3. No. 14 is a guy who worked for one of the major delivery companies We were on his route so he regularly delivered packages to my work place.
    He would always stride through the office corridor and start singing at the top of his lungs to announce his presence just so the mail room people (and everybody else within a hundred yards) would know that he arrived. He had a good voice, and at least he sang classical songs, but it was an office where people were having work related phone conversations, not choir rehearsal.
    If that wasn’t bad enough, anytime you used an expression he would sing a part of a song with that expression, and then smile as though he was doing something witty. and wanted approval. It was incredibly annoying.
    The people in the mail room humored him, and I thought that was a mistake.
    One of my happiest memories was when they announced that he had retired.

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