How to Spot a Narcissist

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One of the most popular search terms on Google regarding Narcissism is How to Spot a Narcissist.  The reader is then given pages of numerous links to delve into, all with the hopes of avoiding these real-life vampires.  But there is one problem; you can’t really spot a Narcissist…at least not when it matters.  They are con artists and have been fooling people for years.

Another sad irony is that people don’t recognize there’s a need to “spot a narcissist” until they have already started losing their sense of self after being in a relationship with one.  You probably went most of your life without realizing these people even existed and you are now reading this article because you’re way past the phase of spotting one.  You’ve already fallen victim to one’s abuse.

You can’t make sense of the conflicting statements and the sudden put-downs by your partner.  You want to find out why your partner is cheating, lying, talking badly about you behind your back, making you feel unattractive and unworthy, giving you the silent treatment, making you feel crazy, and taking so much while giving nothing in return.

The more appropriate search terms would be:  verbal and/or emotional abuse; emotional blackmail; toxic relationship; pathological lying; selfish partner; dysphoria; repetition compulsion; manipulation…It’s much like going to WebMD, typing in your symptoms, and finding a possible diagnosis.  You don’t know there’s a problem until you start feeling sick.  That’s when you stumble upon the word Narcissist.

You read tons of articles regarding the traits of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  What you don’t realize at first is that the traits listed in the DSM aren’t specific enough.  The medical descriptions only leave you more confused.  Even worse, the material from medical journals and books written by psychologists and people with PhDs suggest there is a way to live alongside a person with NPD if you know how their mind functions and why they act the way they do.

This is one of the occasional instances where the medical community is giving out erroneous information.  When it comes to Narcissistic abuse, you need to read accounts from people who have been through it and survived.  This enables you to find out exactly why you feel so confused, crazy, and unworthy.  You will understand that there is absolutely no way to make a relationship with a narcissist work.  It will become clear that the only way back to yourself, and back to sanity, is to leave them.

Then comes the challenge of escaping the relationship.  It feels impossible to do.  Why?  Because they have brainwashed you from day one and used your brain chemistry to make you addicted to them.  The reason you want them back is because in the beginning of the relationship, your body was awash in feel-good peptides.  You fell in love and saw the world in a beautiful light.  You want to go back to that stage when you were ecstatic and innocent.

But, it can never happen.

That was your reality, not the Narcissist’s.  It only appeared that they were in love when the fact is they played you like a violin.  It was all part of a strategic, intentional plan to hook you in and use you solely for their benefit.  Not because you deserve it; not because you are weak.  It’s because they will spend their entire life existing in this way.  If not you, it will certainly be someone else.

So, if you’ve stumbled upon this article because you want to know “How to Spot a Narcissist”, you can save yourself a lot of time, heartache, and dignity by learning “How to go No Contact”.  It’s the first step toward your freedom, recovery, and healing.

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bb says January 16, 2017

i felt in good shape to avoid those that overtly treated me with some disrespect issues. never saw this type coming, was blindsided. your articles are helpful thank you.

Kim13 says January 9, 2014

My “ahah” moment came a few months ago when I first read about NPD. He doesn’t “fit” the exact definition, but the reality of what it does to me is the same. I am invisible when he is home. When he is on the road I come alive again. He has never been physically abusive, but the silent abuse has taken it’s toll. I need to get a job, which will be difficult as I’ve spent 14 years being “the good wife” and have no resume. I am going to do it though, somehow. The two points that resonate the most in this “relationship” is how it’s all about him, and if I mention that to him? He loses it, and turns it around on me. Pray for me.

Kim Saeed says January 2, 2014


Thank you for reaching out. It’s an honor. The fact that you recognized what was happening and moved out shows your strength. I applaud you.
I am glad to know that your therapist saw your STB Ex for who he is. There are many therapists who are fooled by Narcissists. Once they figure out what Narcs are capable of, they often make the choice not to engage with them. That probably explains why the DSM still states (erroneously) that only 1-2% of the population has NPD. That figure is frighteningly inaccurate.

I’m sorry for the scary things that caused you to get a restraining order, but I’m also happy because I know this is the only thing that’s kept him from harassing you. No Contact is crucial when leaving a Narcissist. I know how convincing their lies can be when they are trying to get you back under their control. We often go back, in spite of the damning evidence against them…

I’m not surprised by his trying to say you are the violent and abusive one. I currently have a restraining order against my Ex, as well. He and his lawyer are going to try to convince the Judge my restraining order is “fake”, although my evidence was already reviewed by a Judge, thus the restraining order.
I, too, don’t know if he’s really interested in visiting with our son, or using this whole thing as a way to harass and intimidate me through the courts. The fact is, our son is 4 years old, and my Ex spent two of those years in another country because he thought he was punishing me. Very sick, these people. You never know which way is up with them.

I’m also very glad to see that you are taking care of yourself in healthy ways. Many people turn to substance abuse or alcohol and become severely depressed. Keep on doing your thing, and this will all be behind you soon.

Thanks again for stopping by 🙂


How to Spot a Narcissist | FotoJennic says December 30, 2013

[…] How to Spot a Narcissist. […]

Ixchel says December 26, 2013

Excellent post. In my healing process, it was critical to work with a therapist who was an expert in recognizing the narcissist personality, and how they treat their victims including the idealization, devaluation and discard phases.

    Kim Saeed says December 27, 2013

    I agree. I’ve been to four different therapists in my area, and none of them have a clue about Narcissistic abuse (syndrome). I am seeing a new one today…I was referred to her by my local Domestic Violence center, so I am hoping she’ll be able to help me along 🙂

    I’m glad you’ve found a good therapist…understanding what happened really does help and also assists in seeing the Narc in a new light, though not a good one. I think it helps people fall out of love with their abuser.

bettylaluna says December 26, 2013

Makes sense…

anupturnedsoul says December 26, 2013


We share some of the same pet peeves about the professional view of the disorder. Also so many victims of Narcissists end up diagnosing themselves as Narcissists (encouraged by the Narcissist in their life) because Narcissism is a natural phase of human development and we should all have a healthy dose of it and the listed traits, but that doesn’t make us all Narcissists. It makes us human. Narcissists are stuck in that phase, we moved on. Rant over 😉

Unfortunately we need a personal point of reference first before we can begin to recognise them before we get sucked into the relationship.

Some reference points include – If they seem too good to be true. If they are permanently in need of rescuing and we’re the designated hero. If we feel guilty around them, as though we owe them an apology, even though we haven’t done anything. If we feel we need to prove to them how much we love them, but they don’t have to do that to us, and our proof of love is never good enough. If they seem to reset themselves a lot, as in they come to us with a problem, we solve it, they leave happy, they return moments later with the same problem and expect us to fix it again as though we haven’t already solved it.

Using the senses to identify them – If you feel exhausted after being in someone’s company, even for a few minutes… Narcissist!

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