There are thousands of articles teaching you how to recognise if you're in a relationship with a narcissist. But what if you could identify the chameleon disguise beforehand so you never got dragged in? Narcs are amazingly skilled at hiding their nature. One in twenty people suffers NPD; one twenty-five is the psychopath-next-door.
Nature always has allegories. Narcissists are like scorpions: dumb insectoids covered in exoskeleton, they hide in darkness under rocks, and if you recognise them, they lash out and sting with venom. Careful not to lift the wrong rock.
You can get lists of symptoms anywhere. This article is for people who want to sharpen their antennae like a detective hunting a trail of clues.
What Is Narcissism?
Narcissism is a theorised self-adsorption, observed as a personality disorder based on extreme pride; something we all have, to some degree. But one in twenty people has had suffered trauma as a child - either an incident or long term neglect - in which pride has become completely pathological as a defense mechanism and way of coping.
That didn't happen.
And if it did, it wasn't that bad.
And if it was, that's not a big deal.
And if it is, that's not my fault.
And if it was, I didn't mean it.
And if I did, you deserved it.
When a child has a weak sense of self, or no sense of self, or is simply so psychologically fragile survival becomes difficult, the mind survives by "locking away" that miniature, inadequate, and terribly vulnerable self in a room. It is mentally replaced as an imaginary straw man the child believes is really them: a hero; an exceptional jewel; a conqueror; a secret agent; a rock star; a king or queen. A totally fictional perfect person, held up to the world is a shield. They're not wretched and weak, they're perfect.
Like psychopaths, pedophiles, and other disorders, the neurology has stopped developing sometime before ten years old. It is incurable. You cannot go back in time and put the development back in. They only got one chance and missed it.
The bible describes this person (the mocker and scoffer of Proverbs) and their effect:
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
2 Timothy 3
Every time you dance with these people you feel YUCK afterwards for a few days. Embarrassed, frustrated, self-conscious, and weakened.
The Simple Five Minute Pin-Prick Test
It's actually trivial to identify narcissists. You're sitting around the table at a dinner party. The person you suspect is a narc really thinks he's the world's best accountant. Simple. Ready?
Compliment someone else on exactly what the narc thinks they're good at, in front of them. Praise the person for the exact thing the narc is really proud of. Tell another account you think he's an amazing bookkeeper, right in front of the narc.
The result will be a time-delayed RAGE. It will take about 3-4 minutes while they physically try to hold themselves together, before the physical signs of anger will show: blood flow, teeth, passive aggression, and leaving the room.
If it's a girl, simply compliment a less attractive rival on an aspect of their beauty in a genuine way.
The normal, healthy response to a situation like this is the person will also compliment the recipient, or show social generosity.
What you have done is inflict a minor mental injury which also threatens their ego supply, which has triggered the panic of rage.
Time: Narcissus' Worst Enemy
You can't get away with narcissism for long. People work you out. You can explain away the lack of relationships during your twenties as youthful disinterest and immaturity. You can explain your thirties as an obsessive focus on your career.
When you hit forty, you're going to have to explain how the first half of your life is marked by not being able to share your life with anyone meaningfully, or even cooperate successfully. Humans are social creatures; if you're socially deficient, others notice and draw conclusions.
- Why do you have so many "crazy" exes and no evidence of any significant long-term relationship with anyone?
- When do you think you're going to have kids if you're in your forties now?
- Why haven't you got a solid basecamp HQ?
You can't fake what accrues over time.
One of those things is doubt. The amazing victory the narc won is temporary. It's the best you'll ever feel about them. They pedestal themselves as your perfect ideal, but it can never last. They create their own demise. Your disillusionment with them is inevitable. All it is, is time.
Most narcs get around by inventing explanatory stories when they geographically move. Bad luck in relationships? Picky? They were all crazy? You've got no savings at all?
Wait, for twenty or thirty years?
It's much worse if you're female. How do you explain not having kids other than a serious self-obsession?
Narcissists know they are going to be found out. That's why they love-bomb so fast up-front, because they are capturing a hostage or casting a spell ("i put a spell on you...."). Sure, with the best story ever and the most powerful high for being liked so much, but the terror is them leaving. They would never label it like such, but to the observer it's exactly how it looks.
The clock is always ticking.
Soon they will get wise and leave.
Maybe they've worked it out already.
Can't keep up the ruse forever. Slip-ups. Exhaustion.
It's the fifth argument this week. They'll get numb to the make-up theatrics.
They'll start asking questions.
Their unquestioning loyalty will be lost.
Their friends might ask questions if they come over which could break the spell.
The clock is ticking.
It's only a matter of time before the narcissist's original performance is going to be revealed for what is is: a sham. An artificial display. A deceit, to generate a conceit. Their lover notices they don't go to church really; nor do they spend any time with their family; and all those friends aren't seen much. Moreover, they seem "introverted" and miserable daily.
What's left is their wretchedness. Their humiliation and nothingness after the rock is lifted and daylight pours in.
Rack up another one. A backup. Someone's arms to hide in.
There's only one thing left to psychologically survive: STRIKE. Reject. Rage. Abandon. Dump. Deject. Suppress the inevitable with force.
A Note On High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers
In many cases, the symptoms of narcissism and/or psychopathy can cross over with autism (including Asperger's). It's immensely difficult to spot in girls, particularly.
Key indicators of autism are:
- Intense fixation on a specific thing (often because it's soothing)
- Being distressed by disturbances to routine and order
- Lacking friends and/or peers
- Being misunderstood socially by others
Be careful about assigning bad intent to someone. And be aware of how autism presents.
Often girls with traits of autism are able to hide and blend in, this is known as camouflaging or masking. The occurrence of masking in girls is due to the cultural pressure of displaying “right behaviors” that are often expected of them.
It is inherently easier for autistic girls to mimic the behaviors of others when it comes to certain interactions, at least initially. Some examples of masking or camouflaging include: the act of mimicking facial expressions, and making intentional eye contact despite the internal discomfort or anxiety-triggering emotions this can elicit.
A quick way to tell the difference to ask the narc if anyone has ever suggested they might be autistic. That, of course, will trigger RAGE in a narc. Autism is a passive or dissociative disorder, and not a consequence of excessive pride.
Both types of people lack empathy and can express anger at discomfort. It's crucial to think carefully and broadly - neither condition is fun to be in a relationship with.
Remember: These People Are Experts At Social Concealment
Narcissists spend their entire lives hiding who and what they are. They survive by fitting in. Sometimes they don't even know the name of it, but they know the effect their obsession with their needs has on others. Like psychopaths, they observe and mimic. They know something's not right with them, and as they age, they notice the clues people pick up about them, and adapt.
It's a game of cat and mouse. We are adaptive primates.
Some behaviours bring them pleasure and reward. Others bring them pain and rejection. They minimise the latter and accentuate the former. There isn't volumes of analysis done beforehand.
They read self-help books and articles about red flags. They optimise by ensuring they don't demonstrate them.
People notice if someone has no friends. So they emphasise their friend groups to you. Ordinary people just assume you have them, like they do.
They also notice if you have a high body count of bad relationships and/or are promiscuous. So they emphasise how few relationships they have had, and speak well of their exes. You don't have access to the information, and they know it.
At a certain point, the narcissist works out this whole thing is about information control. What you know, and what you don't. And how to prevent you finding out. They are who they say they are to you, in the absence of any conflicting data.
"Ref Flag" Articles: Opposition Research
Let's say it again: the articles you're reading about whether your partner is a narcissist? Narcissists are also reading them.
Sometimes because they are projecting their pathology onto you and believe you are the narcissist.
They pick up on identifiers, in order to make themselves more perfect. Only losers would do those things! Optimising means banishing these sub-human traits which could lose you your ego supply and make people think you're not likeable.
Their success is dependent on how many of these common traits they successfully conceal. Among the top-cited are:
- Love-bombing (optimisation: they stay distant)
- Social charm (optimisation: it's temporary and they become an "introvert")
- Vilifying/pathologising exes (optimisation: they talk positively and claim to still be friends)
- Lack of empathy (optimisation: they feign emotionality and sympathy for pets and your bad memories)
- Manipulation (optimisation: they emphasis logic/reasonableness and highlight they don't want to appear manipulative)
- Gaslighting (optimisation: they cite psychology)
- Controlling (optimisation: they appear meek or powerless)
- Boasting (optimisation: they talk themselves down)
- etc etc
These are all great if your narc is so pathological they are entirely self-unaware. Most narcs are highly self-aware. They know you're looking for these signs, or your family and friends are.
Narcissists know certain behaviours get you ostracised and dumped. They minimize them, because they can't help them. They notice people's bad reactions to grotesque behaviour and compute not to repeat that specific pattern.
For example, a tell-tale sign often given in dating tips is being rude to your waiter or waitress. Your narc will make an effort to be spectacularly nice, even if he/she feels disgusted by them. However, this pretended niceness won't be felt by the server, only heard. They can spot it.
Waiters and service people deal with the public every day; all kinds of characters and personalities. They have excellent pattern recognition. They can spot problem people a mile away. They know who won't tip.
Do all the waiters take an instant visual dislike to he or she somehow, but put on a shit-eating smile when they take his or her order? More on that later.
Birds Of A Feather Go Where The Supply Is
Why do you rob banks? Because it's where the money is. Why do pedophiles become teachers? It's where the children are.
Narcissists go where the admiration is.
Usually with a in-built audience, where they can tell their extravagant humble-brag tales of martyrdom. Maybe even pick up the Perfect Partner from a filtered pool of the best candidates.
- The Stage
- Modelling Apps
- Dating Apps
- Church (yes!)
Many of these are actually to hide in (e.g. church or school) and attempt a low-key life around people who are unlikely to notice their carefully-concealed dysfunction.
There's no reward in construction or office work. Charity might earn you admiration but it requires the narc to exhaust themselves pretending to give a shit.
Schools are full of pupils who think you're god-like.
Modelling and acting mean competition and auditions. Something a narc should never have to do, because they deserve not to have to go through with all that. It also can mean having to do degrading things to directors which are beneath them, to get ahead.
Dating apps offer a way to operate an Instagram e-girl thot account which avoids the public and their nasty reactions.
But the best, of course, is some form of religious institution or "spiritual" organisation. If you can preach, or dance, or sing, you have an audience right there. Dozens of gullible simpletons will listen to your sob story for free, and soft simp potential-spouses - who they just can't seem to ever connect with - are right around every corner.
Obviously, it's the perfect place for your Messiah complex or your "big achievement" you think God is calling you to.
They couldn't possibly be monstrous if they volunteer at church!
Infecting You Via Your Own Reflection
Yes, you have a little narcissism. Everyone is susceptible to a flattery, vanity, and being intoxicated by their own ideals. You're a sucker. You give people the benefit of the doubt.
A narcissist has no real sense of self to put forward. They tailor-make who they are to each individual person. This is their version of making a good first impression. They're human: they want you to like them. But they take this to the nth pathological degree. The plan is to capture a hostage, not negotiate attraction.
Again, these are adult children. He/she is not a terrorist in a balaclava. They have a plan: become the perfect thing you want, so you will like them; love them; want them; and of course, need them. It's not even mean-spirited; they want the perfect thing, so it makes sense - in a child's mind - to seem perfect to capture something perfect.
Everybody does this to some extent. They try to make the best impression so others will like them. We all want to be liked.
Narcissist take this much further. They study, analyse, and observe. They pick up who you are, as they give you their "standard" perfect self they've socially developed.
If you're unlucky, you'll be background-checked on the internet using your surname, email, social media usernames, and phone number. Don't use your real name on the Internet and use a proxy service like Google Voice for your phone. It could save your life.
She's going to become perfect. So you'll like her. Everyone wants to be liked. But she's going to be just what you need, because she doesn't know who she is. You're the Mark. She's going to present you with the exact thing you want, and maybe, the mirror itself.
- Are you a Christian? She's been going to church a lot more lately!
- Do you like sport? He wants you to come to his tennis club! (which he will join after you hang up).
- Do you want a family? She loves her niece and nephew so much!
They agree with everything! You have so much in common! You get on so well! Our values are so similar!
She's everything you wanted. You're excited. You've waited all your life.
He isn't... anyone. So he became ...you instead.
What do you want? He/she wants everything you want, just after you tell them. And like an AI bot, they learn. Soon they're making predictions and guesses about what you might want, getting more accurate every time.
Take heart - narcs are attracted to people who will let them get away with the most crap. They need kind people. Empathetic people who care. Forgiving people who give the benefit of the doubt. People who would never leave.
The narc didn't target you because you're easy prey and a fool. They're attracted to how easily and plentifully you provide love, kindness, forgiveness, and care. You're perfect for them. You're who they want to be.
Who are you? The narc will tell you! Is he/she a family-loving Christian who really values manners, class, and knows what they want?
That's you! Look at how they portray you and perceive you. What do they think would be perfect for you? How did they make themselves perfect?
Psychopaths also do this "profiling", but for a different reason: exploitation. Narcs are emotional infants.
It doesn't last. It can't last. Soon, you'll see the evidence in their life they are nothing like you and nothing compatible with you. It's stupid, and it's childish. But the narc isn't anyone. They can't attract you on their merits of who they are alone.
Mastering The Feedback Loop Of Projection
If you can step back from the confusion associated with projection, it's actually very useful. The narc will tell you all you need to know, if you're able to spot it.
- Accused of being untrustworthy? He/she is cheating.
- Receiving a torrent of love and affection? They want that from you.
- Oh you suddenly have an alcohol problem! They are terrified of their dependence - on you.
- You need to do self-help work on yourself! They realise their ugly traits are becoming apparent.
Take what the narc says which seems incongruent, and reverse it. Especially if it's said emotionally.
The narcissist talks to you in kind of a "reverse language" as if they are shouting at a mirror. Because they have come to mirror you, due to having no sense of self. You are the looking glass, and they are condemning their own reflection.
You Can't Con An Honest Person
It's an old, old saying among con artists: honest people are useless Marks. It's not possible to exploit them. To con someone, they must have a part of them which is willing to cut corners and a sense of hubris which would blind them from realising they are the Mark. An honest person won't take an underhand payment. Or a skim. If they see $100, they hand it in.
An honest person will call out bad behaviour. Eventually. Maybe quietly.
Narcs react very badly to honest people because they are a walking, talking threat to their disguise. It prompts rage.
Take for example, the classical female attention-seeker (e-girl, thot etc) with a harem of male admirers on a closed dating app, rather than a public site like instagram. Dishonest or cynical people will correspond privately with her as a sexual object which they want to use or possess, even temporarily. It's trivial to send them pictures and tidbits in exchange for their admiration - but her ability to con them into giving up things entirely relies on the cynical, duplicitous sexual predation that led them to slide into those DMs in the first place.
An honest person will simply tell them they are not comfortable talking in am overly-flirtatious or sexually intimate way unless it's within a committed relationship.
It ruins the narc's plan and disarms them. They can't be conned. They're not trying to get away with anything.
If you see something, say something. Immediately confront the problem, early on. Of course it will all be in your imagination. And then your fault. But the reaction is what will identify them. If it goes bad, you're saving yourself a lot of pain later.
The normal human reaction is to apologise for a social injury you inflicted through behaving badly, maybe after being a bit shocked and embarrassed. It is not normal to respond with aggression, denial, or punishment.
If you lose someone by teaching them to respect you, they didn't respect you and still don't.
Clue: Instinctual Sense You Can't Explain
Your predator detection system is working. 100,000 years of evolution is engaged. You can't explain it but you can sense something which is difficult to name. Your neurology is processing the data. It's almost too small to notice.
Infatuation suffocates your judgment. You're not objective, as you like the person. You're idealising them in the Honeymoon Phase. But there's a still, small voice; a sense something's not right.
All the evidence in front of your eyes conflicts and repudiates your knowledge of personality disorders. Because the bad has been neatly bleached away, like a forensic crime scene, and the good has been neatly placed in front of you.
You are absolutely right. You just don't have the full information yet, because it's being made unavailable, at this stage, deliberately.
Do you feel this way with anyone else you can think of, or just this person?
Clue: Something's Missing
Yes. Inner peace. Emotional capacity. Their ability to sense what you are feeling, or even just give a shit. Their needs, like a child's, are so loud, they have no room for anyone else's. Because you're supposed to give them what they need emotionally.
They're slightly cold. It feels like emotional flu. You're unsettled. Emotionally malnourished despite all their lovely words and supportive behaviour. There is no output. They aren't "giving" anything back emotionally, even if they're listening intently.
What's happened is they've whitewashed all the negative behaviours away, like covering blemishes with make-up. The presentation doesn't match up with the soul. And it's very hard to put your finger on it.
Normal people are a mess right up-front. Comparatively, the dysfunction and narcissism is being concealed. The lack of imperfection is the tell-tale. That is what is missing.
Do other people seem to feel this sense of lack or loss from this person?
Narcissists are exceptionally good at covering their tracks. You will never squeeze enough information about their ex from them - because they themselves would stalk and profile, so its their assumption you will. You could contact the ex and find out the truth.
Did you go to the toilet in their apartment and notice them in there afterwards ensuring their partner - who they actually live with - doesn't notice the toilet seat up? Do they coordinate specific time windows between when they see different people which are kept separately so they don't overlap?
Ordinary people have messy lives. People with something to hide have to be highly organised.
Are their stories and environment a little too sharply maintained despite not having a good explanation?
Clue: Unlucky In Love
Relationships do not go wrong accidentally. They go wrong because someone attacked the other with a knife, your parents said they will disown you if you marry that lunatic, or someone got so sick of waiting for the other to stop being an asshole they gave up and left. You're not unlucky-in-love seven times in a row.
If nobody will commit to you, you're the problem.
If nobody can live with you as a friend, roommate, landlord, or spouse, you're the problem.
Just haven't found them yet. Over thirty years of looking. Found who? Cinderella?
Narcs leave a pattern of wreckage behind them which looks unusual to what you see with others: a few light relationships which generally culminate in something serious towards thirty.
Is this person unusually "unlucky" for who they claim to be?
Clue: Childhood Separation
Often this is an enormously painful separation which is truly terrifying to a child: mom or dad being taken away, death, adoption, sexual abuse. The common thread is the child's brain, at an early age, perceived a severe risk to their survival and mom/dad were nowhere to be found. This is the trauma which stopped the development.
Divorce rarely counts, because mom and dad were still there. Kids aren't mature enough to understand marriage and its dissolution. What matters is object permanence: did mom or dad physically disappear or cease to exist in their infant mind of the time?
Many times, they will say this is fixed and they've been through years of therapy. It hasn't. You can't fix it.
Were they abandoned, adopted, neglected, or separated from their parents at a young age?
Clue: Your Pity
It's not normal to pity people. They don't appreciate it either. Feel sympathy for a bad situation, yes, but to feel pity, someone has to be "below" you somehow. Narcissists and psychopaths are pitiful, unquestionably.
Pity is a Siren Call these people often use to draw their targets in, as pirates used to do by creating fake lighthouses which would dash ships on the rocks instead of leading them into safety. The goal of the Siren and the pirates was the same: to draw in a victim for so they could be consumed and plundered.
Pity attracts kind, caring, empathetic people the same way celebrity attracts groupies. Ego supply. Narcs have a certain childlike and/or insectoid quality. You feel embarrassed for them. It's not normal to pity people and not a healthy dynamic for any kind of relationship. It is normal to feel pity and heartbreak for the disaster a narc has made of their own life and their helpfulness to fix themselves.
Moreover, the thing they're in trouble for, they caused; and the consequences, they fully deserve. Get the full story.
Do you feel a sense of pity for the person and need to rescue/fix/help?
Clue: Lots of Moving
Why? Because they've burned all the bridges in their search for fame and fortune. And usually don't want to be reminded of what they left behind or failed at. Of course, there will be a story to cover all the gaps which has been perfectly prepared.
Only: it won't make sense. It does to the narc, but not to ordinary people. It's what they think will sound normal to everyone else.
They moved across the country to pursue fame and fortune because their devoted husband cheated on them? Sure about that? They moved back into their parents to help the parent they hate and had to have a decade of therapy about - and not their crazy spending?
You moved in with who? And for that reason?
Do their living arrangements over the last few years make sense?
This should go without saying. If you notice a lot of medication, it's not good. Narcissists have traits which are co-morbid with other conditions. For example, not getting any attention for long periods will get them a diagnosis of depression.
They will often be concealed outside the bathroom or kitchen. Lots of explanations will be given for them. They're old! They're used to treat multiple things. I don't take them anymore, it was ages ago! They're my sister's.
Look for these on labels. They are mood stabilisers and indicate severe behavioural issues.
- lithium carbonate (Camcolit, Priadel, Liskonum)
- lithium citrate (Li-liquid, Priadel).
- haloperidol (Dozic, Haldol, Haldol decanoate, Serenace)
- olanzapine (Zalasta, Zyprexa, ZypAdhera)
- quetiapine (Atrolak, Biquelle, Ebesque, Seroquel, Tenprolide, Zaluron)
- risperidone (Risperdal, Risperdal Consta).
The combination of birth control pill, antidepressants, alcohol, and other recreational drugs (coke, meth, molly etc) is a virtual recipe for domestic violence.
Are there lots of old medication packaging in their belongings or in their home?
Clue: Not Having Grown Up
You can't grow up when you don't have the emotional capacity to. And you have to wait for a long, long time to find your ideal perfection. Narcs are perpetual adult children, screaming tantrums about their adult-infant needs.
Generally speaking, people are in families by age forty. Life gets bad otherwise. They might be divorced, or have kids, but they've given it a real go - even if it's a mess. If you're over forty with no history of family-starting to speak of - without exigent circumstances - something's not right. Frankly, no-one will put up with you or live with you.
Narcs are waiting for The Perfect One. The idealised reflection of themselves, who lives in a state of perfection and gives them a sense of perfection. They literally and figuratively want to go-fuck-themselves. Pornhub has a whole genre of people who are sexually aroused by looking at themselves in a mirror.
In women, the age 35 is significant. It's the time when fertility falls off a cliff, and the last real chance for kids. What happens next is chatter about surrogates, and living like a childless Hollywood actress. She would never use an egg donor, because she is perfectly well-preserved.
The biological clock is reality. By 35, only 7% of a woman's eggs are left. And most of them have been there for 35 years, so they're no longer viable. At 37, it's 2.5%. Over 44, it's IVF-only, and probably with someone else's eggs.
If she minmises it, or believes she can cheat it, that indicates pathology at work. Not everyone wants kids. But if you do, and you think you're the one who will avoid it because of your own specialness, you're no longer in reality.
Nature is brutal. If you're not pair-bonded or pregnant by 40, you're done. If you've left it that long in your search for perfection and your total inability to live with another person, nature is selecting you out. And it's harsh to say, but it's probably for the best because you will make a terrible parent who will probably pass on your pathology.
Has anyone else managed to live with them and commit to them long-term?
Clue: Non-Peer-Age Friends
A peer is someone your age who is similar to you. The group you would be classified in for a sociological experiment: sex, age group, income, race etc.
Birds of a feather flock together. Similar people hang out and feel familiar to one another. Narcissists don't. They've pissed most people off. They like to preside over their worshippers and receive emotionality from unchallenging simpletons.
They lack friends in their own peer group. People who are similar and could count as rivals. It's a subconscious revulsion. High-functioning narcs know this is a serious warning sign and go to great lengths to illustrate they are normal via the presence of a healthy group of normal-style friends. They fail, because the people they count as "friends" are as pathological as they are.
Normal people do not feel the need to explain who their friends are. They assume the other person has a group of close friends, as they do; which they have known for a long time. They like introducing and mingling.
Narcissists, for some unknown reason, often have a much older same-sex friend. A grandparent or aunt/uncle figure - a "young-minded" person who is equally messed up with no kids, with no peer-age friends either. It works from both ends.
Does this person seem like they'd be considered a good friend, or their lifestyle suggest it is shared with a larger friend group?
Clue: Empty, Sterile Home
What you put in your home reflects who you are. Homes with students or children are full of mess because they are chaotic and messy. Artists put paintings on their walls; musicians have instruments. Anxious people collect things and hoard them. Proud people aspire to be their own interior designers. Men think about objects; women think about beauty.
The house of a narc is as cold and sterile as they are, because they aren't anyone. There's no life. Everything is organised for presentation-only like a showroom. Homes aren't a concern.
If they have a pet, it will be given strict behavioural rules it will be punished severely for breaking: leaving its bedding area, for example.
They know this gives them away, which means they need to keep you well away. Or they need to call in someone to decorate it, so it doesn't attract questions. Of course, who wants the neighbours to see them sneaking different people in at 2am? Or warning you about the last five of them?
Are you being blocked from visiting their home, and/or is it aesthetically empty?
Clue: Small Pet
Pets don't talk back. They do what they are told. They are a one-way street of emotional sustenance and constant affirmation. They are always pleased to see you no matter what. They are what the narc thinks other humans should be.
This is the reason fictional vampires feed on cattle, despite preferring human blood.
They're also extremely useful in convincing other people you are harmless. He/she can't be a monster, they like cute fluffy animals and treat them so well!
How do they treat their pet when the animal's presence is inconvenient or it rebels against instruction?
Clue: Intense Interest In Psychology
All girls love psychology. And true crime. And over-analysing people with their friends. And boys like villains with strength of will. Both sexes learn the can affect the psychology of the other with their words and actions.
The narc knows something is wrong with them. Often they have learned the language jargon of self-help-speak utterly fluently ("instead of smashing things i try to manifest and be present"). Sometimes they're even the therapist!
This behaviour is actually an off-shoot of magical spells and magical thinking, but for the highly intellectual person who thinks intensely and deeply. Words affect people. Spells are made of words and can affect things. Psychology provides narcs the means for controlling and influencing others, whilst simultaneously providing a defensive capability.
Psychology has another name: mind control.
To a narc, psychology is a tool. Using it like a hacker is a shortcut in helping them get what they want. And people admire them for knowing such esoteric information.
It's a great way to get bullshit credentials in a soft subject you can get top marks in for doing zero work and having even less knowledge. Anyone can get an A or a doctorate in it. Perfect for wannabe-professors who crave being a mentor or messianic figure.
Do they talk in psychology babble or have a psychology bookshelf despite having no academic study in it?
Clue: Big Achievements, Big Living
One of narcissism's symptoms is grandiosity. Most people - the average person at least - is happy with a home and a family. Life is busy and tough enough that winning the daily small battles is a sense of accomplishment. We're always hoping and wishing; playing catch-up to our pipedreams.
The narc doesn't want to do small. He/she wants big. The small is neglected.
Ordinary things aren't enough. It has to be a sexy luxury car. A powerful job position or career. The small things aren't interesting or concerning. It's only meaningful if it's big. This behaviour will be described as "aspiration" and "faking it til you make it".
There's nothing wrong in any of those things, but narcissism is fraud: the narc wants them without effort; they want to claim they possess those qualities and the benefits they provide. The want to wear the position as a skin suit, for the perks, without earning it.
Does he/she aspire to "high" goals and own status symbols not in keeping with their income?
Clue: Obsession With Appearance
Not just status symbols. Painfully thin or constantly talking about Creatine? Obsessing with pointing out their hourglass figure? This "preening" behaviour is obviously a symptom of extreme pride. Ridiculous bathroom products? Refusal to leave the house for hours?
However, high-functioning narcs also know this is a serious warning sign which can bring them extremely negative attention, like aggression or mugging. A true chameleon will be so obsessed with their appearance they will obsess over "just the right amount of dressing up, but not too much" for the intended effect.
Ordinary people don't look perfect. They screw up their make-up because they're in a rush; their shoe might get scuffed on the way. It's the level of obsession with it which gives it away, and the shame/humiliation for apparent failure which worsens it.
It's difficult to notice, but they will dress up to capture you, and not appropriately for the environment. It's part of their adaption and mimicry routine.
Is the person dressed for the circumstances in a way you can't really describe, but feels out of sync/context?
Clue: Refusal To Apologise
This is a pathological impossibility. It doesn't matter how wrong they are, or how blatantly guilty they are - even if you found them with the body - they will never, ever say the words "I'm sorry". It's a like a demon being told to read an exorcism rite.
Not now, not in 10 years. Not in 40 years. It will add up to be a whole lifetime where you have never heard them apologise to anyone, ever. It's a humiliating degradation for the narc. Even the high-functioners can't do it. No matter how much you shout, they will never do it. They won't give in and submit to the tyranny of it.
There will be explanation, diversion, counter-blaming, another explanation, gaslighting, so-called "acceptance". But never, ever the words, "I'm sorry".
Has he/she ever said "sorry" for anything?
Clue: Service Staff React Coldly
Waiters and waitresses are amazing human beings who have to put up with the worst humanity has to offer. And they have to do with it a smile. They don't ask much back, and they appreciate people who are appreciative of them. They are like customs officers; they are human lie detectors and pattern recognition machines.
Service staff have to be pleasant and smile. The situation is involuntary. They know people. They may know before you do.
Often, if they like you (but not he/she, the narc), you'll see a massive difference in their attitude. To you they will be friendly and playful, but to the narc, they will be business-like. It's extremely subtle: one interaction is pleasurable and voluntary, and the other is involuntary.
If it's bad, the staff will say often something to you and/or warn you.
Service staff are an experimental group of proxy strangers your narc interacts with who are not you, the target, the person they are duping and pretending for. You can get real-time social feedback on how they are received by people who aren't wearing rose-tinted glasses, as you are.
What's happening here is your narc perceives these lower-class people to be of no worth to them. Do they speak to people below as them as if they have intrinsic value? Of course not. The service person recognises it and their positive exterior changes to all-business. They know who they're dealing with; and so do you.
A normal person is cheerful with a server. Maybe not fast friends, but polite and curt. They're just a person doing a job. Not "below" them in any way.
This won't be a waiter having a bad day. It will be a sequence of servers: baristas, waiters, mechanics, tellers, bartenders of the same-sex. Your narc won't notice it.
Clue: Extreme Panic At Their Own Photo
It might seem counter-intuitive because one would think the tell-tale sign of pride and narc pathology would be unceasing promotion of their own image, but the opposite is true.
Narcissists cannot stand to look at photos they are in.
What happens to you if you see a picture which is less than flattering? You recoil, say out loud it's a bad picture and want it on record you look terrible.
For narcissists, what happens in that moment is sheer existential panic. They see themselves, truly. It's a source of terror. If it's perfect, they will plaster it across social media and glad send it to you unsolicited. If it's unflattering, it must be destroyed and no-one can ever see it.
Does he/she have few photos, or have you seen a disturbingly extreme reaction to a bad photo?
Clue: Bad Fruit
They can never get around it: the life of a narcissist in a slow motion disaster movie of bad fortune and endless landslide.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
What is the fruit evident in their life which you have seen in person?
Are they producing any fruit at all?
- Do they have successful family relationships?
- Do they have long-term friendships?
- Are they well thought of?
- Is their life characterised by conflict?
Narcissists are empty, pathological people. No matter how brilliant they are at concealing their own behaviours, the evidence - or lack of it - will be all around them: the lack of a husband or wife; the lack of emotion about something; the lack of children or family responsibility; the lack of job consistency.
Does the person's life indicate it produces bad fruit, or no fruit?
Absolutely-Guaranteed Warning Signs
There are some issues which dwarf others. Blazing, roaring, walking red flags which are so dangerous you need to leave immediately and get help.
Narcissists are staggeringly vengeful. Your mere existence - your knowledge of their true wretchedness - may be enough to inspire them to the very act of murder.
- Any act of violence, or indication of an imminent act of violence;
- Any indication of criminal behaviour before violence: harassment, intimidation, stalking, threatening, defamation;
- Serious jealousy: glaring, explosive silent treatment;
Less serious, but definitive and conclusive evidence of irrefutable narcissism are:
- Testimony of abusive behaviour from previous multiple, separate partners;
- Criminal records indicating interpersonal conflicts, or credit records indicating debt associated with impulsiveness;
- Grotesque insensitivity or unnecessary nastiness: for example, talking to other lovers in front of you on the phone over dinner;
- Grotesque, shameless dishonesty or attention-seeking: unapologetically cheating etc
- Concealment of serious problems: alcoholism, drugs, medication etc;
- Extreme, irrational reactions to depictions of them as not-perfect (criticism, bad photos etc)
- Consistently bad or alarmed reactions from others (e.g. the waitress);
- A complete, zero lack of any close personal relationships;
- Feeling a longing or "emotional flu" for days after spending time with them and not understanding why;
- Anger, rage, panic, or disgust at anyone who might be perceived as a threat or in a higher class of some kind.
If they sense you are about to leave, narcs will invariably make their own plans to avenge the humiliation you have done them.
If you're lucky, that will mean them rejecting you before you reject them.
Or more likely, it will mean defaming and vilifying you as a terrorist, with them as the martyr victim. It will begin much sooner than you expect: the moment they sense a loss of admiration and/or worship from you.
This invisible defamation campaign will be prepared in the background as a backup, and over a matter of weeks. Evidence of your bad behaviour will be fabricated; evidence of their bad behaviour will disappear. Complaints will be made in advance to mutual friends; implications of fears for their safety will be recorded; the fraud will have the same attention as their magical front campaign to get you captured had.
They will play the "middle" game on the fence. One or more trusted friends - if they have any - will be turned to for support about your "worrying" behaviour. They can handle it right now, but they needed advice. If you do leave, they can really pull out the ... shocking truth of your terrible fraud against them.
Document everything. If you're in any doubt of why is important, it's because they might need it to catch the person who murdered you.
A man who was stabbed to death by his OnlyFans model girlfriend had been secretly recording her tirade of verbal abuse - including her calling him the n-word - in the months before he was killed.
In another piece of evidence from the phone recordings, Clenney sternly asks her boyfriend if he is 'done gaslighting me,' to which he responds: 'Courtney, that’s a f***ing threat. I asked you something ... and I apologized but you hit me.'
She can then be heard saying: 'Shut the fk up b*h.'
A third clip revealed an unhinged argument they had on the road - after the OnlyFans model jumped out of their car. She involves a passerby and screams about Obumseli: 'F**k you! No, you make yourself look good in front of people!'
As they step back into the car, physical slaps can be heard. The audio ends with Obumseli saying: 'Stop hitting me!'
Bodycam footage recorded the day before she stabbed her boyfriend shows Clenney begging and sobbing to cops to help her get a restraining order against her boyfriend.
Her lawyers are trying to argue that she stabbed him in self-defense, and that a day earlier she was visibly shaken and fearful as she accused him of stalking her.
This is what will happen to you if you break up a narc humiliate them: you will face false accusations and the DARVO treatment (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim & Offender). And it will done with psychobabble therapy language the narc has been reading, because of their fascination with psychology.
Narcissists don't feel regret. They regret having to take the consequences for what they've done and pay the price. They plan in advance.
If You're A Narcissist Reading This
People feel others. Love feels like love. We have physical senses we get from other primates: smell, body gestures, real sentiment. These are things you can't fake because they're autonomic. The waitress senses you actually think she's a piece of shit and are putting on a show. It's the aggregate combination of strange things building up over time which give you away.
One of the positive things we feel with a good person is a sense of peace when dealing with them. Dealing with you is the opposite.
People aren't stupid. They're being diplomatic, and kind. Letting love cover a multitude of sins. That's what love is: the thing which happens in spite of someone's ugliness and imperfection. What would happen on a planet of 7 billion perfect people? We'd have no need of love. It's what plasters over the cracks; why they stick with us anyway. Often you love because of an ugliness or inadequacy. Someone's imperfection becomes perfection just exclusively to you.
You might think you can use this as a detailed breakdown of all the other things you need to conceal you have so far missed. What you'll find described are behaviours impossible to conceal; particularly over time.
Nobody can fix you. But we do know what is, and how to minimise it. You'll be surprised how many people will love you without the grandiose bullshit and don't need the seduction campaign convincing them you are a mythical deity figure first. They'll love you just fine as the crappy version of you.
- Can you look at photos of yourself without wincing?
- Do you need to control how others see you and think about you?
- Do you boast but secretly know people are sceptical of your claims?
- Do you need to find The One?
- Are you fixated on the Big Plan for your life?
- Do you deserve the best?
- Does nobody understand your true genius or beauty?
- Do you cast yourself in grandiose daydreams?
- Is it vital others see you as very successful?
- Do you have zero real friends of your own age and have difficulty understanding why servers are cold to you?
- Do people reject you and leave without explaining why?
- Do you lash out at people who indicate to others you are not perfect?
You don't have to con or manipulate people into loving you. Finding the Perfect Thing won't bring you the completion of perfection you think it will. You won't be acceptable to your father by becoming perfect. They'll hate you no matter what impossible feat you achieve or how the world reveres you.
Elliott Rodger murdered girls out of righteous indignation they had not organised themselves into a harem for him, labelling himself the "Supreme Gentleman": https://www.amazon.co.uk/Supreme-Gentleman-Killer-Story-Murderer-ebook/dp/B08B7YQLY6
Perfection and pride aren't the story of a martyr or a deity. They're the story of evil itself: Satan. Try to think about that. And not in a way where you cast yourself as Satan being a mystical romantic hero figure.
You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
The path of fools, and/or the wicked, is described in Proverbs.
Perfection will not bring you salvation. It brings a pride which destroys you. And the end result is complete, absolute destitution and utter disaster. Total shame and disgrace, in public. Being bought low and humbled by your own foolishness.
The fruit of your tree is dead. You are living in a dead skin suit.
Your path is already written. It leads to complete devastation, and it happens cumulatively, over time. No family, few friends, social isolation, miserable resentment, and eventually, a lonely death.
Do the math. At this rate, with your current behaviour patterns, what are the real chances of you getting married in the next ten years, or having a family? Who will be there in the hospital if you get sick?
Look forward twenty years. Do you want to be your worst fear? After your thirties, there's nothing you can do to hide what you are.
Is this level of pride worth it, or is something seriously wrong?