When we genuinely say “Thank you” to someone for something what we are really saying is “I do not feel entitled to receive what you have given or have done for me, I see and sincerely appreciate the effort you made”.  Narcissists on the other hand say thank you merely as a social formality (if at all) because they feel entitled to get what was given without being appreciative or having to give anything in return (if only a “thank you”).  This sense of entitlement means that the narcissist takes what they want without bothering to see another person’s needs, their attention is exclusively focused on what they want and they usually want it now!

To say thank you we need step out of ourselves and embrace the generosity, kindness and existence of someone else.  It is a mutual exchange, they did something kind or generous for us because they saw that we needed, wanted or would appreciate something and we acknowledge the fact that they saw what we needed, wanted or would like something and appreciate it, which means that we can see them too.  If we cannot say thank you with any authenticity, it means that we cannot see the other person for who they are and what they have done for us.

Gratitude comes in many forms, it could be for something big like a present or a job promotion or it could be something as small as smiling and waving thanks to someone who stopped their car to let you into the traffic.  These expressions of gratitude create a sense of connectedness.  Narcissists are eternally ungrateful for all acts of kindness and generosity which creates a sense of disconnectedness, loneliness and isolation.  Insincere gratitude is as obvious as a false smile, their eyes don’t light up, there is no indication of their gratitude in their tone of voice and their body language is all wrong.

Gratitude is also very different from approval, narcissists will often substitute thank you for “I approve that you wanted to give me a present, execute an act of kindness for me”, which is completely in line with the narcissists sense of superiority to all those around them.  They feel entitled to whatever you gave or did for them and the only reason that they acknowledge the act at all serves only to encourage you to do something nice for them again (“keep it coming”).

Some narcissists think that if they say thank you and acknowledge that you did something nice for them, that they will be indebted to you.  The narcissist doesn’t feel that they owe anybody anything, so rather than say “thank you” they just ignore what you have done because they do not want to risk you thinking that you are equals or have entered into a give and take/sharing situation.

As always with narcissists there is a twist, they may well reject an act of kindness or a present with a hostile comment.  This is to let you know that they are not only ungrateful for your effort but you have also insulted them by implying that they couldn’t buy the present/do something for themselves.  The message they are giving is “I don’t need you, I am superior to you and I am not going to lower myself to your level by saying thank you and treating you like an equal”.

They might actively punish you if you buy them something/do something for them that they don’t like, such as a present they don’t like or throw them a surprise party.  Like a toddler they will be angry with you for getting it wrong and will make no attempt to hide it ruining the occasion for everyone.  They will not think that your intentions were good and that you thought that you were making a nice gesture.  On the contrary, they will think that you did it on purpose to insult or belittle them in some way.

Similarly, they might ask you to come and pick them up from somewhere because they don’t have transport.  It could be an hour’s drive each way for you each way, but they will be openly angry with you for being five minutes late.

The moral is do not ever expect gratitude from a narcissist unless it is a means to an end and even then it will be totally insincere



Food and drink


Many narcissists have bizarre behaviours around food, this manifests in a number of ways.  They can:

  • Serve themselves more than everyone else at a shared meal.
  • Track the size of everyone else’s portions if they are not doing the serving themselves.
  • Grab a tasty morsel of someone else’s plate if they feel like it, especially if the person is saving the best till last, they will swoop down at the last moment and say “Oh I thought you didn’t like it and were leaving it” if challenged, most people are too surprised to challenge them or say “I was doing you a favour, you are getting too fat, you should be grateful to me”
  • Outside of meal time they can hoard or hide food
  • They will expect visitors and their children to ask “permission” from them to have a glass of water, make a cup of tea or take a second biscuit. While they will help themselves liberally to anything they want.
  • They will often hog a bottle of wine by their side to ensure that they get the lion’s share and that anyone else who wants some has to ask them to pass it on, they consider this “permission” even if it is not in their own house
  • Stuff food quickly into their mouth so that no one else can see how much they have eaten (will sometimes use their hands so that they can shovel food into their mouth faster)
  • They can go to the fridge in someone else’s house and help themselves to any delicacy they might find without asking and will often take it home with them “for later”
  • They can use providing food as a means of purchase of supply and will be deeply offended if a guest doesn’t profusely compliment every dish provided (they have little or no time for guests with special dietary needs)
  • When buying food for their family, if the narcissist doesn’t like a specific food type it doesn’t get bought “We don’t like …”.
  • A narcissistic parent can cook the favourite dishes of their golden child and completely ignore the likes of the others
  • Insist that they have specific dietary needs (even when it is not true) such as being a vegan or celiac when invited out to make sure that more effort is made of them than other guests but can happily eat meat or grains when no one is around to see them
  • They can withhold food such as packed lunches or an evening meal if they want to express displeasure about the behaviour of a family member

The reason for these types of behaviour is because food is an excellent tool for control.  Food like “love”, money and attention is an essential resource and that is exactly why the narcissist wants to dominate who gets what.  It is also a good means of letting people know who is in favour and who is not by the size of portions or the effort put in to creating a meal.

In every culture people eat to celebrate “togetherness”, whether that is a family, a society, a club or a group of friends, it is what people do to nurture the bonding of the group and the more effort/celebration that is put into creating a meal the stronger the bond grows.  It is why people get very offended if they are not invited to participate in celebratory meals.  Instinctively we know it means “you are not considered an important person in our group”, which is why so many narcissists are determined to control who gets what food, it means that they can dominate the pecking order. The leader of any pack, pride or herd in the wild will always get to eat first and the others will have to vie for their position in the ranking order.  Bliss for any narcissist because it will feel like everyone else is fighting amongst themselves to get closer to him/her.

Narcissists do not like to share because it implies that they are on a par with everyone else and they firmly believe that they are superior.  So any food that you receive from a narcissist is, in their minds, a purchase.  Feeding their children is a purchase of ownership and feeding non family members is a purchase of attention or admiration.   If they are not purchasing with food they would prefer that it went rotten and threw it away instead of give it away.

They are infantile about food like they are about everything else and will frequently hurriedly shove food into their mouths at a buffet, or actually rage or complain if they see someone has been given more than they have.  This childish display is to ensure that they get preferential treatment the next time and this in their mind is a “win” and a display to them that they are indeed at the top of the pecking order.

If you apologise to a narcissist

They will not accept your apology graciously

  • They will try to get you to repeat the apology time and again, because they see the fact that you are apologising as a win for them.
  • They will expect you to grovel for their forgiveness (even if you did nothing wrong and are just apologising for the sake of a peaceful life).
  • If you did make a mistake of some sort, the narcissist will remind you time and again, even years after the fact, even if you didn’t make the mistake, it is the way that they have decided to remember it.
  • They see an apology as a weakness and will try to dump blame on you for things that they did or didn’t do “while they have you”, as they see it
  • If you accept partial blame for an action they will make it out to be entirely your fault
  • They will try to shut you down (through rage, volume or storming off) if you try to set the record straight
  • The will tell as many other people that they can that you are responsible for their own misdeeds and will play the victim of their own misdemeanours
  • They will use an apology as leverage to make you do something for them that is beyond being a reasonable request
  • They will always see an apology as an excuse to play power games


Infantalisation in narcissistic families happens deliberately and by default.  It happens by default because the narcissistic parent(s) are emotionally very immature themselves, so they cannot provide a healthy emotional role model for their children to follow.  They have little or no self-awareness or an awareness that their children are human beings rather than their possessions.

According to Wikipedia Infantalisation is

a term referring to the treatment of one who is not a biological child as though he or she is a child.[1] When used in reference to teenagers or adolescents, the term typically suggests that teenagers and their potential are underestimated in modern society, and/or that adolescents are often regarded as though they are younger than their actual age.[2]

People who are the subject of infantilisation by others are said to have been “infantilised.” Studies have shown that an individual, when infantilized, is overwhelmingly likely to feel disrespected. Such individuals may report a sense of transgression akin to dehumanisation.[3]

Infantilisation may also refer to a process when a child is being treated in a manner appropriate only for younger children.[4]

This is done to the children of narcissists to stop them from gaining independence and moving away from their parent(s).  It is done exclusively to control the child and make them dependent on their parents and therefore an excellent and constant source of narcissistic supply.  It is important to remember that children are hostages to their parents and they are forced to comply because narcissistic parents can get very aggressive and angry with their children if they feel like they are losing control.  To the child, disobedience can feel life threatening.

It can come in the form of:

  • Telling their children who they may and may not be friends with
  • Faking fear for the safety of the child if they want to go off and do something on their own.
  • Cossetting the child and “helping” them do things that they a capable of doing themselves
  • Disallowing activities over which the parent(s) have no control, such as sporting activities or hobbies
  • Demanding absolute obedience from their children

They can do this in a number of ways.

  • They will interfere in all of their relationships, from friendships, boyfriends/girlfriends inter family relationships, teachers etc. They will tell them who they may or may not bring home, they will sneer at their friends that they don’t approve of and call in the flying monkeys in the family to support them.  They can do this by creating false rumours or telling lies about what the child said or did to divide/split relationships.
  • They will interfere in the child’s career/study choices if they perceive it to be a higher achievement than they attained (they do not like to be out-shined by their children) or if they think that having a child that is a doctor is far better for their self-image than a cabinet maker or a musician.
  • Decisions that are made without their consent will be viciously attacked so that they force their way into the child’s decision making process and anything that is done will have to be run by them. They will also try to make the child believe, through constant negative feedback that they are incapable of making good decisions for and about themselves without their input.
  • They will criticise everything that is done to deliberately to rob self-esteem, confidence and independence in their child, in other words keep them orbiting around their narcissistic parents and prioritizing their needs over their own.
  • Ignoring or punishing every request the child makes to do something for themselves
  • Refusing to buy age appropriate clothes
  • Deny pocket money so that they control everything that the child possesses and can do without their permission

It is very important for to realise that an infantilised child has to set boundaries with their parents if they want to be a mature adult.  Narcissistic parents will combat this at every level, but even a narcissist will have to step down if you do this in a firm but non aggressive way.

The first step is not to share everything that is happening in your life with them.  The less they know, the less involved and critical they can be.  Narcissists criticise for the sole purpose of controlling their children.  They will say literally anything no matter how wild or stupid so long as it is in opposition to what you want/think/did/said.

There are a few phrases that you can use such as:

  • If your parent offers to pay for a holiday because s/he wants to later invite themselves a long, you can say “no thanks it is fine, I have already paid for it”
  • If they disagree with an opinion or value, you can say “that is an interesting point of view, but I do not see it that way”
  • If they criticise your clothes or hair and tell you that you look ridiculous, you can say “I think it/they are fun and I don’t mind looking ridiculous”, they might reply “well I mind, you are an embarrassment to me” you can reply “perhaps, but you are not me” – they cannot argue with that, even though they might disagree. The point is that when they tell you what to do or try to get over involved, bring the conversation and calmly as possible to bring it back to you.  Take the power out of their comments.

The minute that you have stood up to them either change the subject or walk away.  If they try to draw you back in (which they probably will do) just tell them “I am not discussing that with you any more”, “You have already stated your opinion”, “you have told me what you think”.


  • Justify your decisions
  • Look for reason or rational thinking
  • Harbour any of their negative criticism. It is not about you or what you do/think.  It is about their wild desire to control you.
  • Feel like you have to comfort them if they get upset or angry
  • Try to justify yourself to any of their flying monkeys


How to leave a narcissist



Leaving a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do.  All relationship separations are difficult but a narcissist will make it particularly hard because they will be reeling from narcissistic injury and that will turn to anger, indignation and they will have an obsessive desire to punish you (how could anyone want to leave them when they are such perfect people).  It will also damage their public image, the very suggestion that someone would not want to stay with them and devote their lives to them is a complete insult.

The reality is that a relationship with a narcissist isn’t a relationship, simply because they cannot relate to anyone else.  Not their partner, not their children, other members of their family or friends.  So, once you realise that you are in a relationship with a narcissist and they are not going to change, leaving them is really the only healthy option for your well-being.

This can be done in two ways.  Either by physically leaving the partnership or by reducing the emotional commitment to them, separated under the same roof, this however could be even more detrimental to your well-being because the narcissist will know immediately when you withdraw your emotional commitment and will start acting out like a petulant child.  It will be relentless and very draining, but it will escalate into something much more aggressive if this tactic doesn’t work.  Because the narcissist is a narcissist OBVIOUSLY it will be all your fault that the partnership ended and will say things like “you said that you loved me” , “How could you do this to me”, “you are so selfish, think about the children”, “we had it so good why do you have to go and destroy it all” “You have gone mad, you need to go to therapy” (You probably would benefit from therapy, not because you have gone mad but because you are probably suffering from some form of complex post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of living with a narcissist, if you do look for help it is important to make sure that your therapist is an expert in narcissism, otherwise therapy will only be useful to you up to a point, in that it could help you to start to talk about the problem, but will probably not be able to deliver the tools to resolve anything.

Hot on the heels of declaring that you are moving out or withdrawing emotionally, there will probably be allegations of your having an affair or multiple affairs and there will probably be accusations of infidelity during the relationship, being a bad parent, being emotionally unavailable, working all of the time, being too independent, not giving narcissist enough time and attention, being ungrateful, never earning enough money, being too involved with any hobby and so forth.

Before you declare that you want to leave the narcissist it is important to protect your assets as best as you can.  So, once you have made this hard decision it is important to act like business as usual.  An aggressive fit of self-righteous indignation will be inevitable from the narcissist, and as it was your fault that the relationship ended the narcissist will feel justified in punishing you for ruining their life by ruining yours as much as they can.  This will happen on several levels:

  • They will go after all of your assets (do not expect them to be reasonable or to play fair, integrity, morality or honour are not traits that the narcissist has).
  • They will go on a public smear campaign against you to anyone who will listen, including your own friends and family. They will site something like infidelity or mental instability as the cause of the break up, will let everyone know that it is your fault and that you have broken their heart.
  • They will play the abused victim.
  • They will harass you as much as they can, they might even stalk you either physically or on social media.
  • They will open your post, look at your phone (to get proof of anything that they can use against you, if they cannot find anything they will just make stuff up), open bank statements, credit card statements, befriend your colleagues at work etc.
  • They might damage your property.
  • If you have children, they will spend hours telling them what a horrible person you are and how cruel and unfaithful you have been to them (parental alienation).
  • They might try to get full custody of your children and battle it out as long as they can.
  • They will aim to “win” the fight, even if both parties go broke by paying legal fees this could even be at the expense of children’s well-being. It doesn’t matter to them, they just have to win and winning to them means doing as much damage to you as they can.

So how do you protect yourself?  It is really important to put yourself into a position that is as independent as possible before you say or do anything.  At this stage you are going to have to act like nothing has changed.  If they feel like something has changed they will go on high alert, they will monitor absolutely everything that you do, or say and every piece of information that manage to “collect” about you, will be twisted where ever possible and used against you and that will put you in a very vulnerable position because you will know that it is a fabrication of lies (but with elements of truth to make their story more credible) and you will not know what stories they have told about you behind your back.  At this stage it is very important not to go on a counter attack because this will only excite them more.

If you have been married to a narcissist for a long time, it is very likely that your self-esteem has been badly eroded and that you have been subject to verbal and/or physical abuse for a long while.  I would recommend that you don’t take on the battle until you feel like you are up to it.  Because it will be a battle you “have given” narcissistic injury so the narcissist will punish you and will bring out all of the weapons that they have in their arsenal, no matter how inappropriate (like using the children as pawns in the game that is playing out in their head (this incidentally is child abuse, it is completely inappropriate to involve children in adult affairs)), making up lies about you, stealing and rewriting history.

It is important to remember that narcissists are very convincing liars and they will be accompanied with tears and histrionics, it might surprise you the amount of people who actually believe them and consequently their hostility towards you.  This is especially true as non narcissists generally feel that a relationship is a private affair and the reasons for the break up is not something that you want to talk about with everyone and anyone, so that the target audience of the narcissist will think that the narcissist must have been suffering in silence for a long time and that only now the true nature of their partner has come to light and that the narcissist who is terribly heartbroken, is absolutely beyond reproach.

It is worth noting that anyone who is unhappy in a relationship has an absolute right to leave that relationship, you are not your partners prisoner (although they might not see it that way).  It is best if you withdraw emotionally before you withdraw physically.  It is healthier for you if you stop playing “happy couple” for everyone else.  A side effect of going from “happy couple” to separating couple is that it will shock some of your friends and relations and they might get upset with you because it makes them question their own relationships.  This can cause hostility and judgement along with the narcissists smear campaign, it will just further alienate you – which is exactly what the narcissist wants.

If you catch the narcissist going through your things looking for information and you ask them not to, they will automatically reply “Well, if you didn’t have anything to hide it wouldn’t matter”, this is absolutely not true.  Nobody has a right to violate other people’s privacy like that.  It is important that you do not show any doubt on this issue, it is a complete lack of respect for you and your right to privacy, it is also indicative of their lack of regard for your boundaries, they do not own you and they may not rifle through your things.

Your narcissist partner might suggest that you go to couples counselling in an attempt to salvage the status quo.  This is not a good idea because the dynamic is as follows:

  • The narcissist opts to state where s/he thinks the problems lie. This could take a few sessions.
  • The narcissist will manipulate and sway a therapist to see their point of view without interruption. If you do not see a therapist who is fully informed on NPD, they may well believe everything that is said to them, at this point your narcissist will consider that the therapist is “amazing” and will categorically refuse to see someone else
  • When the non-narcissist gets their turn to talk about the relationship the narcissist will get extremely uncomfortable, will interrupt, correct, chastise and probably interrupt you while you are speaking, negating everything that you say. If the therapist believes you the “amazing” therapist will metamorphasise into an idiot and be absolutely useless.  The narcissist might even walk out on the session there and then.
  • A narcissists idea of a resolution to a problem is to shut the other person down, try to force them to retract anything negative they said about them and if that fails they will rage at you. If you say something like “that is not how I see it”, they will just say “well that is how it is”, name call or storm out of the room.

It is a futile exercise and will only aggravate the narcissist even more.  It is important to remember that the narcissist will go into over drive to protect their image, it is as though their life depends on it.




Narcissists use constant manipulation to devalue their victims to the extent that a victim will feel worthless extremely anxious and sometimes suicidal.  The “point” of this manipulation is twofold, to push their victim down so low that they (the narcissist) feels better about themselves, and someone who has been chronically abused will have a damaged spirit and will be much easier to control.  They use threats to cultivate fear, anxiety and despair in their victims and their victims can be anyone who they feel that they can get away with bullying.  This can include their own children, family members, co-workers and friends, they usually do it where they have the “upper hand” such as a parent, an elder sibling a boss or someone like a church leader or person in position of authority.

Manipulation is very hard to understand because they will always imply that you have done something to deserve them being cruel to you but they won’t tell you what it is, that is because there is no reason, they just categorically refuse to take responsibility for their own nasty behaviour.  Their behaviour bares the same scars as physical abuse, except that they are invisible and resonate within a victim’s body in the same way except that in general this type of abuse is not recognised in the same way, not even by many mental health care workers.

A narcissist will manipulate in many different ways but the main ones are:

  • Unpredictable reactions, they keep changing their reaction to the same stimuli. One day something is no problem, the next day (or hour) they will react in a completely different way such as rage, sulking or the silent treatment leaving their victim constantly on edge, trying to second guess the narcissists reactions all of the time and can never relax
  • Unreasonable demands on their victim such as attention, sex or money. No matter how much is done for the narcissist they will always let the victim know that it is not enough and they need to try harder.   They start will constant trivial demands to “train” their victim to obey them.
  • Creating arguments amongst friends or family members, being rude to people to watch and feed off their emotional reaction.
  • Violating boundaries by telling the victim who and what they are. They do this in an inoffensive way to begin with but eventually they will name call, demean and tell they victim that they know what they are thinking, their motivation behind certain actions, or how they would behave in any given situation.  This they feel entitled to do without asking any questions of their victim about how they feel or what they want.  Narcissists are only in a relationship for what they can get out of it, they are not interested in the other person per se.
  • They speak in very vague and general terms to avoid responsibility but will want to have precise details of what their victim did, said or who they saw at all times. They may well check their victims phone or phone the person the victim said they were with, just to make sure.
  • The narcissist will not tell much about themselves, will know little on the details of their family life or be able to express any genuine feelings. They are pathologically secretive, they live in terror that someone will see them for what they really are, they are closed minded “it is my way or the high way”, they bristle with self-righteous indignation at all times.  Yet they will ask outrageously personal questions of others even when they have only recently met

Narcissistic abusers can attack at any time using sarcasm, name calling, sneering and blame shifting whenever they perceive a threat or are just simply bored and want a bit of “action”.