Kim Saeed:  Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
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Dealing with a Narcissist

Are You Dealing With a 100% Narcissist?

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You’ve read thousands of articles.

You’ve completed more checklists than Martha Stewart.

But still, you wonder…am I dealing with a 100% narcissist?

What if they’re only a narcissist some of the time?

What if they need my special kind of love and devotion?

This is the number one question I see out there in regards to narcissistic abuse recovery.  And with good reason.  Narcissists are masters at charades, making you believe that with any wrong move, you are throwing away all chances of keeping them in your life.

They make you doubt that they are 100% narcissist, which makes it seem so much harder to detach from the situation and do what’s best for you and your future.

In today’s video and article,  I’m going to answer the burning question that I see all over the Internet and that is, How can I be sure that someone is 100% narcissist?


Video Transcription

What Does Being 100% Narcissist Look Like?

If you look back in history, even the most horrific serial killers were not always 100% evil, so we can’t really go by the fact that sometimes, someone appears to be somewhat kind or nice.

Narcissists have all kinds of tricks in their bag that they use to fool you into thinking that perhaps they’re just a tortured soul who needs your special kind of love and understanding. This is why it is so commonly known that narcissists tend to prey on empathic people, or empaths, because empaths who haven’t successfully implemented their boundaries yet or learned how to protect their energy are often easier targets for narcissistic people.

And by the way, no judgment because I was that way for most of my life.

I have since learned to put up boundaries against anything that drains my energy.  And in situations where I do need to be there for someone, I have learned how to protect my energy, to ground myself, and how to cleanse and purify my aura, or my energy field, afterward.

But, what does being 100% narcissist even look like?

There’s really no way to tell. I think where a lot of people get confused is when they’re going through checklists – and there are some good ones and there are some not-so-good ones out there. I generally recommend using the DSM criteria, but that’s just a scratch on a surface because it doesn’t really tell you exactly how they use those particular traits to abuse people. It just says how they are.

So, if you’re looking at someone and you’re trying to figure out, are they really a narcissist or are they a hundred percent narcissist, it doesn’t really matter.

We Don’t Need to Slap a Label on Someone to Justify Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship

This applies to any kind of relationship, whether it is a romantic partner, a friend, a family member, or a coworker.  Sometimes, unfortunately, people do have to break free from their own family members. 

Because someone has shown seeming moments of kindness or consideration does not mean that they were sincere during those times.

It also doesn’t mean that because they were nice last week when they fixed you a pasta dinner, that they’re not an abusive narcissist. A lot of narcissists are very generous and caring and considerate until you start trying to put up boundaries or until you begin pointing out the things that they’re doing.  The reason they become angry is that they want to condition you not to bring up that they have been cruel or abusive.

What that might look like in practical measures is if someone has repeatedly lied to you, if someone has been unfaithful to you numerous times, and they keep making promises that they’re going to stop and then you find out they never stopped, or maybe they’re extremely verbally and emotionally abusive and they particularly do this when it’s just the two of you alone together.

Some of the more ‘garden variety’ types of narcissists don’t care about their appearance, so they might act a little wacky simply checking out at the grocery store with you. They might say things that are really unacceptable to you right in front of someone. Usually, it’s someone whom the narcissist deems as “lower” than they are. In those cases, they might feel a little more comfortable showing their true colors and, really, it’s to make you feel ashamed. 

But not all narcissists do that.

A lot of times they look like the pillar of their community. They might do a lot of volunteer work, which is called the altruistic narcissist, but behind closed doors, you get this really weird vibe from them and that’s when they feel comfortable being verbally and emotionally abusive. That’s where they tend to shame you. So, we don’t need a label in order to break free from a relationship.

Dealing with a narcissist
How Does Your Relationship Make You Feel on a Regular Basis?

I like to compare relationship dynamics to weather climates. What is your relationship climate? Do you have mostly sunny skies, maybe a little wind a couple of times a month, maybe a tsunami a few times a year? And then things are resolved in a respectable and reciprocal manner? Everyone cools off and comes back together as friends and as respecting partners or friends, or whatever the case may be?

But if it’s the opposite, if there are volcanoes erupting every other day, you’re constantly putting out fires, and there are tsunamis and hurricanes going on all the time, but you had one day or two days during the month where things seemed a little smooth, you don’t want to focus on the two days. That is how we get ourselves into trouble is when we are not able to really look at the reality of the situation.

So if someone is really, really awful, 90% of the time, you don’t want to focus on the 10% because the thing you need to keep in mind is that most often the nice times when the narcissist seems like they’re being kind or considerate or generous, that’s an integrated part of the abuse. That’s what causes cognitive dissonance. It’s what causes you to doubt yourself in it and to doubt whether or not they’re actually abusive.

It ties into intermittent reinforcement, or as I like to call it, the hurt and rescue cycle.

They go along and they’re doing really hurtful things. They’re giving you the narcissistic silent treatment. They’re lying, they’re cheating, and then suddenly, “Come back honey.  I just can’t make it without you. You’re in my blood. I can’t imagine my life without you. Please come back. I’ve promised things are going to be different this time. I promise I’m going to treat you the way you deserve.”

Does that sound familiar? It probably does. Now, there is a small percentage of narcissistic people who don’t do the romantic Hoover, but most of them do because we as empaths or as compassionate and caring, people want to be able to see and believe that there is good in everyone, but that’s not always the case.

If you’ve ever heard me talking about cognitive empathy, or maybe you’ve read one of my articles that I wrote on it, cognitive empathy is a very dangerous kind of empathy that narcissists use to get inside your head, find out what your deepest dreams, desires, and also your deepest fears are –  your deepest wounds –  so that they know better how to hurt you. Cognitive empathy is used by torturers, cult leaders, and even car salesmen.

So, when you think the narcissist is being nice or kind, it’s usually a charade. You definitely want to keep this in mind. So the question is not are they 100% narcissist? The question should be, how do I feel inside this relationship on a regular basis? What is the relationship climate?

A person who truly cares about you is not going to try to shame you. Another way that you can gauge whether someone is exhibiting narcissistic traits is that things were super romantic, fun, exciting and adventurous in the beginning of the relationship and you felt like you had this connection that you have never ever felt with anyone else.

That lasted maybe three to six months or so. And then, suddenly, the little digs about your appearance, the way you dress. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds, a person who truly cares about you and considers you a friend or a lover is not going to make you feel ashamed. Some may even feel a little closer to you. Maybe they feel like when you put on a few pounds, it means you’re happy in the relationship…and this happens a lot.  This is one of the things narcissists don’t want you to know.

A Relationship With a Narcissist is Fun, Exciting and Cool… in the Beginning

But then over time, you feel less of yourself, you feel less confident, you feel less attractive and even less intelligent. You start to feel like people that you have known in your whole life suddenly are looking at you in a different light.

Now that may be true.  There might be some people close to you who are looking at you when you’re talking about your relationship and they’re like, “Oh my God, I can’t even believe you’re telling me this!” and maybe you’re acting as though you can’t really tell if it’s really that bad and your friend’s looking at you like, “Whaaaaat??”

That means you have started to normalize the abuse and to normalize the dysfunction. This is a blueprint dynamic of a narcissistic relationship.

By contrast, in a regular relationship with a non-disordered person, the beginning of the relationship might be fun, but you might not have a connection right away. It might take a little while for you to build up a friendship and then as time goes on, you feel more comfortable with that person. You feel better about opening up. They’re not ridiculing you, they’re not using your deepest fears and desires and dreams and wishes against you.

They’re not using the things you told them as ammunition to break you down. These are the things you really want to focus on. Not whether someone is 100% narcissist.

Look at someone like Hitler. Consider the things he did, but he reportedly did not drink alcohol. There are so many different theories and stories out there, but according to one of his personal assistants, he didn’t even eat meat. He didn’t like the slaughter of animals.

Those are the things you should be looking at, instead of focusing on whether someone is 100% narcissist.  Because someone might seem to have one or two good traits doesn’t make them a good person. Start tracking and monitoring your relationship climate just like you do the weather. And then after a few weeks, sit down and figure out what is the reality of the situation?

Have you started to normalize abusive behaviors? Are you trying to make excuses and justify someone’s bad behaviors towards you because you have the dream, the wish that the relationship might work out somehow?

Yes, we have to deal with the trauma bonding. We have to deal with biochemical addictions.  That’s what makes leaving so difficult.  But once you get out and you start to heal, you’ll begin to realize that everything was lies, chaos, and basically a circus.

After watching this video, if you feel like your relationship is toxic, make sure you check the links down in the description box below because I’ve included lots of really helpful links for you to help you start moving forward, detach from painful relationships, and begin the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse.

It’s not critical that you determine with absolute certainty that a person is “100% narcissist”.  All abuse is abuse, and the only thing worse than being abused is wasting another day of your life dealing with a narcissist. 

If you feel miserable and trapped in your relationship, that’s a problem that likely won’t improve on its own.  Join the many wonderful folks in The Essential Break Free Bootcamp who have finally found freedom and are healing their own lives.

If you’ve just found this site and are ready to begin your first steps to freedom, download your beginner’s healing roadmap below!  You get everything you need to start your healing journey.  It’s free!

Your healed life starts with one step...

Join thousands of others who have signed up for the free Email Recovery Course and Healing Roadmap. Includes expert advice and tips for encouragement and support. * Seating in my masterclass: 7 Proven Steps to Defeat Narcissistic Abuse PLUS +* How to Ease Anxiety * 16 Empowering Beliefs to Live By + more!

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Leave a Comment:

Roberto says August 23, 2019

Thank you Saeed very much. I also, have been wondering a lot about this topic: you’ve answered in a very clear and helpful way.

Susan says August 23, 2019

I was hoping I’d find the answer to a question that came up between my husband and me today here and thought, “Oo, synchronicity!” But your blog didn’t quite answer my question.

I think sometimes he exhibits some narcissistic traits, but he’s definitely not a narcissist based on this blog/video. However, over the past year, he’s made friends with a neighbor of ours who seemed all friendly towards me and he wanted me to meet his live-in girlfriend and all of us hang out together. The first time we met, it came out that his girlfriend’s mother is a narcissist and she’s the “scapegoat” child like me. Her BF quickly pointed out that his father was a narcissist too and seemed to be painting himself as a victim. We got together with them a few times, but he kept taking my husband out of the room and leaving me with her, where it very quickly became obvious she’s an alcoholic; in fact, the only time I’ve seen her NOT falling-down drunk was the first time we me. At the same time, BOTH of them were paying NO attention to their five-year-old son, who at one point was playing with a lit candle on the kitchen counter and I was the only person who noticed or did anything about it even though I’m not really a “kid person.”

As it turns out, the BF has told my husband that he doesn’t really love the GF, he’s not attracted to her anymore because she gained weight, and he only stays with her because of their son. He sneaks around on her, disappears without telling her where he’s going, takes her car without asking, was high on cocaine when he set one of them on fire, recently spent a week in jail for stealing her car. It had been months since I’d heard from him after I’d been having an e-mail exchange with him that started out relatively normal (his GF doesn’t use the computer and I don’t text)–and my husband would always come in the house sympathizing with his plight and making fun of her when they heard his GF yelling out his name all over the neighborhood when she couldn’t find him and he’d have to go home. So after she’d gotten my husband’s phone number (he ALSO hates texting), he came in the house all furious saying she’d spent all afternoon going back and forth sending him about 40 texts, according to him, asking him where her BF was when my husband didn’t know. My husband was so upset that I sent the guy what I thought was a polite e-mail trying to explain that, if her mother is a narcissist and she’s an empath or codependent, he’s making her feel abandoned and that his GF had been texting my husband all afternoon looking for him, so if he would just TELL her when he’s going out, I was sure it would stop making her so anxious and having to keep yelling his name out to the neighborhood all the time.

Almost immediately, he sent me what seemed like a very gaslighting, word-salady e-mail that had NOTHING to do with the topic and telling me that the texting never happened (she’d probably erased the texts; he once bragged to me that he used her phone to text her mother and then erased it so she wouldn’t know, so this is a very dysfunctional couple!). First he accused me of being a LIAR, then told me how wonderful his GF was and practically gave me a resume of all her educational accomplishments (sounding like she had denied texting my husband and was reading over his shoulder). He kept replying with increasingly nasty insults, pointing out all of MY flaws (after HE had told me all of HIS, including that he’s bipolar and doesn’t take his medication, as well as recounting the time he was high on cocaine and set the GF’s car on fire, which made it to the local news), but I stood my ground and progressively told him (1) he’s not welcome in our house anymore, (2) he’s not allowed on our property anymore, and finally (3) that their household environment wasn’t healthy for their disabled child and if he sent me ONE more e-mail, I was calling Child Protective Services. THAT finally stopped him dead in his tracks because NEITHER of them is a fit parent based on what I’ve seen personally, which you’d think would be their best behavior. I also asked my husband to tell him to stop harassing me. Then he got one final dig in, replying to me, “I forgive you.”

Then the next time we heard from him was about six months later when he was in jail for having taken his GF’s car (about the SIXTH one I know about that she’s had to replace because of him, and even my husband said he’s a terrible driver and he’d never let him drive his OWN car) asking my husband to come down and bail him out. We’re on a very limited income–while one of his gaslighting word-salad e-mails bragged that he has plenty of friends and family and is on good terms with all of them–and he needed $200 to be let out. I told my husband to let him stay there, but my husband took $200 out of what he called “his” money (like “his” money is special and my paltry disability income is for both of us since I’m the one who pays all the bills and has ZERO disposable income and he complains about my spending money on CBD oil while all kinds of new stuff for HIM that we haven’t discussed suddenly keeps appearing at our house and he’s been paying $150/week out of pocket because the company where he works scared him out of putting in the VALID Workers’ Comp claim he has against them for an injury he got with lots of witnesses???) and bailed the guy out.

Then he starts what seemed to me to be hoovering my husband back in (if he has such wonderful relationships with his friends and family, including his out-of-town grown daughter who isn’t hurting for money) by stopping by the house to “repay” my husband in increments for the bail money. Until one day, I look out the window to see him sitting in our back yard with my husband and the dog he said he got to protect ME, smoking and drinking beers together just like the old days. (Meanwhile, they both know I’m allergic to cigarette smoke, the door is open with only the screen door closed, and smoke is coming in the house.) So he gets up and pretends he was just leaving and thanks me, blah blah blah. And when I ask my husband what happened to him NOT being allowed on the property (and the deed is in MY name as I bought the house before he immigrated here, which explains how this guy takes advantage of his ignorance of the law, meaning, according to the police, that *I* have to sole right to decide who’s trespassing here and who’s not), it starts a big argument, and my husband turns into the “narcissist” (NOT the first narc I’ve been involved with) version of himself and calling me obscene names because I won’t let him have any friends and insulting me until I lose my temper and we end up storming apart and slamming doors on each other. But then the next morning, he ALWAYS acts like nothing happened and everything’s normal. Or if I say “I thought you said I was [obscenity deleted],” he says he’s sorry and didn’t mean it, and gets all nice and says he’s trying hard to cut down on his anger issues and drinking and smoking. (Meanwhile this “friend” of his was the one who SAID he wanted to accompany him to an AA meeting and help him cut down on his smoking, yet he just makes my husband WORSE when he’s around!)

So I had already pegged this guy as a narcissist, and my husband SEEMED to believe me … as long as the guy wasn’t around. I even sent him a copy of the e-mail exchange that ended with HIM forgiving ME just to PROVE it to him. Then it suddenly occurred to me, and I asked him: Why is this guy coming over every few days to pay you back the bail money? That’s not how bail works! And then I explained it to him, after which his “friend” stopped paying him back. Instead, he skipped bail, so my husband is still out $100 of “his” money. And I don’t even know whether it has an effect on his reputation. But he STILL insists this guy is his “friend” because he can’t find any other friends, and they sit and talk for hours on end together, drinking and smoking when I can’t get a whole sentence out before my husband walks away from me bored. I can’t even interrupt him to agree with him when he’s giving me a detailed account of every second of his work day or he gets angry, and other than him, I’m mostly housebound and have no social life. (Even using the computer is hard due to pain.)

So after at least a month of peace and quiet, we had ANOTHER argument after he told me this “friend” was in the hospital–meanwhile his GF has also been in the hospital recovering from a liver transplant–so I asked how he was doing, and he told me he was having lung problems, which I said could be from smoking (because I’m worried about my HUSBAND’S health!), so he said that, if I were a Christian, I should be a little more forgiving. I was like, “Forgiving of what?” And he made out that I was holding some kind of grudge against his friend over a little argument.

So I told him for about the 50th time that it’s NOT that I have or haven’t forgiven him; I CAN’T BE around narcissists. It’s like his nearly fatal beesting last year; I’m ALLERGIC to narcissists. That doesn’t mean I’m not forgiving him. Then he accuses me of not wanting me to have any friends (there’s always a misogynistic tone, especially when he makes fun of his friend’s GF, or any other woman’s voice for that matter, yet he keeps repeating the thing I told him I hated my EX-husband he insisted that I leave him for always saying, “Whatever”), and how do I know this guy is a narcissist anyway? I’m not qualified to identify a narcissist, he tells me.

Which (finally!) brings me to the topic of your blog: Um, based on all of the above, I think we can agree that this “friend” across the street *IS* a narcissist? If not, he sure does a GREAT impression of one. AND he’s got my number, knowing that my father, who lives next door to me, is a narcissist and that I could relate to his GF’s plight.

But more importantly, is my husband a covert narcissist too? Or does he just get “narcissistic fleas” whenever he’s around this guy? It’s like as soon as he even hangs up the phone with him, he turns into a raging, abusive narcissist himself!

Could you please do (or point me to) a more definitive blog/video I could show to my husband so that HE can learn to recognize a narcissist–and that I’m not holding a grudge; I’ve gone “no contact” with his so-called “friend” who doesn’t show back up in his life for six months despite living across the street and my husband having said, after I banned him from our property, that they were going to meet at the bar down the street once a week to play a game of pool so he could “straighten him out”? (Apparently thinking he can cure him instead of turning into a narcissist himself?) Also, do you think my HUSBAND is a covert narcissist? (If he is, I’m in big trouble because I’m disabled and getting worse with age, so I can’t earn any more money than what I get on Social Security, which bases its cost-of-living “increases” on the price of gas instead of what it SHOULD be based on, which is the skyrocketing price of FOOD!)

Thank you!

    Susan says August 23, 2019

    PS: One thing I forgot to mention: This “friend” of my husband’s also thinks he’s a super-Christian having originally wanted to become a priest and then becoming a “born-again” Christian and insisting on saying grace for all of us before a meal. I didn’t think my husband was on the phone long enough for that even to have come up, but all of a sudden he’s saying *I’M* not a Christian because I won’t “forgive” his friend? If my husband’s NOT a narcissist and would let me finish a sentence before getting bored with me (saying that my being disabled makes him feel lonely; at least he gets to get out of the house and work and see other people and feel useful every day!), how can I explain this to him? OK, I guess that goes back to my question about whether you can point me to some AUTHORITATIVE source on how to recognize a narcissist and that if you’re being abused by one you need to go “no contact”?

      Susan says August 23, 2019

      P.P.S. In fact, during the argument, my husband actually called ME “toxic”! I wonder where he got that word from if he doesn’t know anything about narcissists or think his “friend” is one. In fact, echoing HIS question of me about how do *I* know this guy is a narc, I asked him how HE knew *I* was “toxic,” and he was totally stymied and changed the subject. I’m starting to think he really *IS* a narc. (We got married before I ever really understood what a narcissist was except for superficially after I got the FULL treatment from ONE boyfriend and only LATER realized why I was such a “narcissist magnet”: because my FATHER is one. I was completely blind to his constant abuse of me and just thought I really was worthless until I read that the “Silent Treatment” was one of their favorite tools and remembered all the painful weeks and YEARS I’d spent living in the same house with him while he pretended I didn’t exist!) How do you get out of a narcissistic relationship when you’re disabled and would lose everything you have if you tried to leave them? And, in fact, they’re not even a citizen and could just go back “home” and not even pay you any alimony, although even if they stuck arounnd you know you’d lose to them in court because over half a century of narcissistic abuse has left you with CPTSD and you’re “emotionally dysregulated”? AND you have no friends or family. At least none that you can ask for help in an emergency. (Believe me, I’ve asked numerous friends just for a place to stay overnight, and every one of them either said “no” or “Can’t you just go to a shelter?” A shelter–if it’s not full–isn’t designed for disabled people. I’d rather just be alone for the rest of my life, which I seriously hope won’t be very much longer.)

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