Core Beliefs



Your core beliefs are what you think about yourself and the world around you.  They are the hard drive that shapes all other information that you process.  If these beliefs have been tampered with in childhood, it can have very serious consequences later on in life.  These beliefs will have been implanted at a very early age and are not necessarily true at all because you will have been told by primary carers who they want you to be and they will not have listened to who you are or wanted to be.  This causes a lot of confusion for a child because you look to your parents for validation and to feel safe, if they constantly give you negative feed-back and are critical all of the time it can ruin confidence and self-esteem.  The reason that they do this is because narcissists have to put everyone around them down to inflate their own sense of superiority.  So if it means verbally, emotionally or physically attacking infants that is what they will do, it doesn’t cost them a thought.  Everything is a competition with narcissists and they simply have to “win” all of the time.

These attacks can happen because

  • You asked too many questions
  • You were being a child and displaying age appropriate behaviour
  • You were popular
  • Someone paid you a compliment
  • You were funny
  • You got a prize at school

The list is endless and difficult to understand how someone being a good child and just doing your own thing could be a threat to an adult narcissist, but it is.  Narcissists are incapable of nurturing and taking care of their young because it is too much trouble, it is boring for them and there isn’t enough in it for them.  The child and the narcissist are also in the same emotional space and is therefore automatically a threat.

What a child learns from a narcissistic care giver is that they are not good enough and that they are defective.  Behaviour and performing well on tasks will be constantly judged and monitored and will be attacked.  If you under-perform you “are an embarrassment” if you over achieve you “are a threat”, although they will never say it directly they will say something like “stop showing off” or “well you would wouldn’t you”, using really negative intonation or just shrug it off like it didn’t happen.

Some core beliefs are.

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m stupid
  • I’m not worth anything
  • I’m a bad person
  • I’m a horrible child
  • I don’t deserve nice things
  • I am unlovable
  • I’m always left out
  • I’m not wanted
  • I’m alone
  • I’m boring

These negative core beliefs create fear in the child and therefore makes them easier to control.  A narcissistic parent for example will constantly threaten to abandon their child which is like a death threat and creates beliefs such as

  • If I don’t do exactly as I am told I will be left on the side of the road
  • What I want is not important
  • If I am happy I upset my parent(s)
  • I’m not as good as others
  • If I express myself, an opinion, doing something creative or have fun, I will be punished

The aim of the narcissist is to control, so what they will do is give their child age inappropriate sense of responsibility for always putting the needs of their parents first, but taking away all power.  This also contributes to low self-esteem and a sense that you are not entitled to stand up for yourself.  This in turn makes you susceptible to being bullied in the future.


If you come from a narcissistic family of origin you might be a people pleaser, people pleaser’s core beliefs could be:

  • I cannot ask others for help (it is too risky as I will be refused/rejected)
  • I have to do everything myself
  • I must put the needs of everyone else before my own
  • My needs don’t count
  • I only feel good when I am serving other people
  • I always have to pretend to be happy
  • My genuine happiness and well-being is not important, so long as I put on a show of happiness.

So when you compare those core beliefs to narcissistic core beliefs, a narcissist will always have the upper hand unless you address the issue.   A narcissists core belief like so many of your core beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with their capacity or competency in life.  They have simply decided that this is who they are and any evidence to the contrary will just be rejected completely

  • I am superior to others
  • Nothing bad is ever my fault, everything good is to my credit
  • I am fascinating and deserve to be the centre of attention all of the time
  • I deserve special treatment where ever I go
  • I do not have to play by the rules, they are for other lesser people than me
  • I am perfect
  • People have absolutely no right to criticise me
  • If people upset me they deserve to be punished for it
  • If I upset other people, they are just being “over sensitive”



Narcissists see pets, like they see everything, as an extension of themselves.  They like to wear pets as an accessory, to get attention (from the pet, but also from other people who love pets) and as a source of unconditional love.  They also

  • Don’t talk back
  • Are not judgemental
  • Are always happy to see their owner no matter what they look like or for how long they have been gone
  • You only have to show up, to impress your pet
  • They are grateful for food, attention and treats
  • They don’t abandon their owners
  • They are usually easy to control
  • Culturally people “own” their pets which suits the narcissists point of view.

It is for this reason that it is important for a narcissist to have a “good” pet.  One that gets or gives loads of attention, be it exotic, beautiful, pure bred, aggressive or tiny – it doesn’t really matter to the narcissist so long as it is note-worthy and fits in with the image that the narcissist has of him/her self.

On observing a narcissist with their pet you will realise that they do not relate to their pet.  They may notice the macro behaviours, but they will be oblivious to the subtle nuances and any anxiety or upsets that their pet may be experiencing.

The narcissist owner of a pet will attribute adult human intention to all of the pet’s behaviour (just like they do with children).   So they will say things like “my dog barked all night just to annoy me”, “My puppy ate all of my shoes because s/he wanted attention”.

The narcissist may like the attention that pets give, but they will not like any of the house keeping that they involve.  So, they will not want to groom, poop scoop or walk (unless being fit is part of their image and an opportunity to get pet admiration).

If a pet gets sick, old or disfigured in some way, the narcissists reaction will be to get rid of it in some form or another, an imperfect pet is not an acceptable extension or accessory for the narcissist (Unless they are soliciting that type of attention).  Even if the illness is relatively easy to cure, the illness will be considered to be tedious and a burden.

They will often spoil their pets with toys, clothes, bows and treats, but it is a purchase of attention in the eyes of the narcissist and that attention is a resource (narcissistic supply), it has nothing to do with the well-being of the pet.

The narcissist will say to an acquaintance if they hear that their dog died yesterday “why don’t you just go out and get another one?”, they will also abandon their pet if they have a lifestyle change and the pet no longer serves them.

Narcissists do not know you


Narcissists see the world through the only emotions that they can feel which are predominantly anger, frustration, jealousy, envy and contempt.  As a result of their limited emotional spectrum they project the same limitations on to everyone else.

If you find yourself in a relationship with an adult narcissist, those thought processes may well have been ossified over the years and you will experience a reaction from them of total self- righteousness to everything that you do and say.  They cannot imagine that someone else might have a larger spectrum of emotions than they do, so when you are kind and compassionate they either think that you are doing it for a reason or are jealous because they see how others respond when you behave this way and they think that you did it to annoy them or to show them up in some way.  If you come from a narcissistic family of origin your parent(s) will project the same limited view of life on to you as a child.  That is very confusing for a child because it doesn’t tally with their intention, but they are not emotionally or verbally competent to challenge the projection, children are also hostages in their family, so they have to tow the party line or else the will be subjected to narcissistic rage, threatened abandonment, ignored or neglected.

Narcissists are obsessed with how other people perceive them (this includes people they barely know or who are complete strangers), they will very often tell you what they themselves are like and will say things like “I am a very honest person” or “I am always helping other people”.  Most people don’t do that because what you see is what you get.  Narcissist do not want to have intimate relationships, what they want is to be the centre of attention and to be admired.  Consequently, all of their anecdotes are about them in the form of either hero or victim. They are not interested in other people, including people they claim to love.  If you ask a narcissist a specific question about a family member or close associate, they invariably will not know the answer because they haven’t asked or if they were told they simply weren’t listening.  The other thing that they do is make up something that has absolutely no veracity.   They will claim to have extensive knowledge of someone who they barely “know”.

Narcissists will very often tell you who you are too (just in case you didn’t know).  Their description of you to yourself will be in the form of sentences starting with

  • “you are so…”
  • “you always …”
  • “you never …”
  • “That is so like you …”
  • “You are not a …”

The narcissist would have raged if you started a sentence directed at them in the same way.  Their description of you to you is what they want you to be to them.  They allocate you a role in the script that is playing out in their head and they will either ignore any evidence that contradicts that role or get angry with you for not conforming to who they want you to be.  They always have to feel “better than” so most of the comments about who you are belittle or are degrading.

You will always have to pretend to be content, they don’t want to have to deal with any negative feelings but they don’t want you to be happy and connected to others as that makes them feel uncomfortable too.  The narcissist is constantly worried about how things make them look, which is a paradox because they are trying to get their sense of self-esteem from the very people that they are not thinking about.  It is as though they think that they are constantly on stage and the people around them are just a nameless audience.  However, they know that to keep the audience engaged that they will have to give something back and this is where their ability to manipulate comes into play.  They will tell you exactly what you want to hear, make false promises and act out roles with no regard what so ever for how their actions might make you feel.  Because narcissists are like this it is impossible to be close to them.  They are unpredictable because they will say or do anything to get their own way (frequently at the expense of others), but they are also very predictable for exactly the same reason.  If you saw a narcissist showing genuine empathy you would be extremely surprised, but they don’t and that is what makes them predictable (although they can express faux empathy as a tool for manipulation to get what they want).

A narcissist knows when they are hurting you, but it doesn’t matter to them because it is not about you it is about them and they assume that you are thinking the same way.  They think that the reason that they can manipulate you is because you are a weak person and not because you are trying to accommodate and build a deeper connection with someone you thought you cares about.

So can a narcissist know you and can you know them?  In short no.  They cannot see the full spectrum of your emotional landscape and there for are suspicious about your intentions (always negative).  You will probably project a larger spectrum of emotion on to them than they actually have, because narcissists are good at talking or acting out false emotions and so they will constantly hurt you when they don’t follow through with any authenticity or genuine action.

At some level they want all of the people around them to parent them.  They have the emotional development of a toddler so they want immediate gratification from others and they want it NOW! (they do not think in the long term). In the same way that a child does not analyse their behaviour, so it is with narcissists.  Children will often be corrected for bad behaviour, it is inappropriate to employ the same strategy with an adult narcissist and they are not looking for guidance, after all they are always right.

The character of another individual does not matter to a narcissist the only thing that matters to them is that they provide good narcissistic supply.  As someone once said “I have loads of friends I hate”.

The questions to ask yourself are:

  • “How do I feel around this person?”
  • “Is this person showing me the love and respect I deserve?”
  • “What am I getting from this relationship?”
  • “Do I feel understood or listened to?”
  • “Am I chasing love/loyalty in this relationship?”
  • “Do I feel exploited?”
  • “Is this relationship growing deeper with time?”


Common Cultural myths


“We are sitting on top of a vast cultural and historical pyramid of accumulated misconceptions, lies and myths.”  Bryant H McGill

  • Narcissists love themselves. They do not, they love the public persona/image that they project and will defend it very aggressively if it feels threatened or criticised in any way
  • They are very vain and always turned out really well. Not true, they are concerned about their appearance but that does not mean that they are good-looking or well dressed, they are projecting an image which could range from Bohemian artist, eco-friendly farmer to city dandy
  • Narcissists can love, not true they do not love anyone including themselves or their own children
  • All narcissists are charismatic and charming, not true some are moody, grumpy, withdrawn cantankerous
  • It is easy to tell a narcissist when you meet them (even as someone who has done their homework on the subject). Not true as it can sometimes take a long time before they let their mask slip and show up for who they really are
  • You can heal the childhood wounds of a narcissist by showering them with love and affection, not true because the narcissist doesn’t see that there is anything wrong with them or any room for improvement, so they will take your love and affection (as their right), but will make no effort to change, despite their promises
  • Most therapists understand narcissism. Even though narcissism is getting a lot of attention these days, most therapists do not understand the condition or the effect the abuse can have on a client, so it is very important to find one that does
  • When separating from a narcissist the courts will see through the lies and the charm of the narcissist. Not true they will very often believe the act of narcissist and will not offer the ex-spouse and children the support that they need
  • Once you have done your homework and explain narcissism to other people, they will understand your problem. Not so, narcissism is a very hard and complex condition to understand, so most people will regard you as the “crazy/neurotic one” if you try to explain it to them, wait for people to ask questions and try not to gush or open the flood gates if they show the slightest interest in the subject
  • Narcissists have a capacity for rational thought. This is not true, when in any sort of conflict with a narcissist their only consideration is “me”.  How does this make me look, what is in this for me and how can I turn everything around to my advantage
  • The true core of the narcissist is when they were trying to become your partner or friend. Not true that is merely an act nice to hook you and to try to draw you into a situation where you will serve their needs
  • When they are being abusive it is just that they are having a bad day. Not true, that is the biggest part of who they are they enjoy creating chaos as it makes them feel powerful
  • They see you as a human being who they want to relate to, it is just that they are not very good at communicating emotions and their love for you. Not true for them you are just an object to be used in any way and however they want.

One of the many big myths that exist is that ALL MOTHERS LOVE THEIR CHILDREN, this simply is not true, narcissistic mothers do not love their children, their children are merely props for their own stage act.  A narcissistic mother will force their child(ren) to putting the needs of the mother in front of their own needs at all times, no matter how distressed the child might become as a consequence of being forced to do something.  They will do this through punishment for non-compliance, threats of abandonment (a death threat to a child) and emotional/verbal/physical abuse.  They do NOT care about the well-being of their children.  Society will not let us entertain this concept, we are supposed to revere our mothers and be perpetually grateful for the sacrifices they made.  One size does not fit all and with narcissists it is absolutely the truth.  It is okay to face up to the fact that your mother did not love you, it is not your fault and you absolutely do not have to feel guilty for acknowledging it.

BEING POLITE AND WANTING TO HELP OTHERS IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING.  Narcissists depend heavily on the fact that the people who they select to be their victims will be bound by an inherent sense of politeness and wanting to do the “right” by others to manipulate them and to make them to bend to their demands.  However, if the person is too polite it will create porous boundaries and leave them open to abuse.

SHARING IS CARING.  Being generous with a narcissist can be dangerous as they know no limits when it comes to taking.  One of the things that a narcissist will do is to drop hints that they really want what you can give them, be it time, energy. money or favours.  If you refuse their request they will go into bargaining mode.  So they might say “If you are not going to help me paint my house all weekend, will you at least give me a hand on Sunday”.  Narcissists do not like to share, some can be quite generous (when they feel like it), but the give and take aspect of sharing does not appeal to them.  A narcissist when asking/demanding a favour will redress it or reframe it as though they were doing something generous for the other person.  So, they might say something like “I thought I would leave my dog with you this Christmas as I am going away and I know it is a horrible time for you to be alone”, if they are answered “No, no it is okay, I am going to be out a lot and won’t be around to take care of him or her”, “don’t worry, s/he will be fine, so long as you feed him etc.”  “no really, I don’t think that I will be around enough”  “No I insist, I wouldn’t dream of letting you be alone at this time of year”.

IF YOU THINK IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO TAKE CARE OF OTHERS you are wide open to narcissistic abuse and they will sniff you out a mile away.  Narcissists are predators, they are on the search for “easy” prey all of the time, they will be testing your boundaries (if they are in predator mode) from the first minute that they have met you.

NARCISSISTS WORK REALLY HARD TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR CHILDREN a narcissists see business as they see all of life, as a game they are determined to win.  When they say they are working really hard to provide for their family, it is justify being out of the house and away from their family all of the time and trying to make it look like something virtuous.  They are working to “win” (at business) and if that means neglecting their family, that is fine with them.

TO HAVE ISSUES AROUND TRUST IS A “BAD” THING If you have been abused by a narcissist it is perfectly natural to have issues around trust.  This is a healthy response to a traumatic situation, in the sense the next time you encounter a new person, you will take your time and will let that person prove that they are worthy of your trust through their actions, not words and not by blindly believing how wonderful they tell you they are.

TO JUDGE OTHERS IS A “BAD” THING Of course judgement is not a bad thing, if you were going to jump across a river you would judge the width of the river, the intensity of the current if you did fall in, whether or not the river had crocodiles, the height of the drop from the river bank to the actual body of water and the depth and cleanliness of the river water itself.  Not forgetting your own fitness/capacity to jump.


So, it makes absolutely no sense not to judge the character of someone else, to judge if they are compatible or “right” for you.  Your judgement will not be one of right or wrong, good or bad, nice or not nice.  It is the use of our capacity to judge that has kept the human race alive for so long.  To judge is a very different from being judgemental.  When you judge you are judging “is this person a good fit for me”, “how do I feel around this person” (not how does s/he make me feel), “do we share the same values” “how well can we communicate”.

Some facts

  • Narcissism is on a spectrum, people who rate high in narcissistic behaviour have a pathological personality disorder and can be a danger to others
  • The narcissist is driven by shame and fear of abandonment (but it is exactly what they do to everyone around them, including their own children)
  • Narcissists have a very lively internal narrative that tells them that they are smarter, better and more entitled than everyone else
  • Being equal to others is not something that a narcissist can consider
  • A narcissist will elevate their own sense of importance by pushing other people down. This can be done by lies, attacking another’s reputation, taking credit for things that they did not do, being haughty and indifferent to the feelings and needs of others
  • Sadistic narcissists enjoy hurting people and have absolutely no sense of remorse afterwards
  • They enjoy seeing people hurt/upset/anxious or in financial difficulty
  • Upsetting, hurting or making people anxious or worried is exciting for them because it makes them feel powerful and manifests as an adrenalin rush
  • They will hurt people purely for their own amusement (just because they can) and the emotional reaction gives them a thrill
  • They will openly humiliate people as a mean of controlling them
  • Humiliating/embarrassing people is entertainment for them. It makes them feel good, not bad like it does most people
  • If they get angry or hurt, they want to make someone else suffer/pay for it
  • Some narcissists are better at acting “normal” than others and can be harder to recognise
  • It will be only a matter of time before the true nature of the narcissist emerges, they cannot hide it forever
  • If you are in any type of relationship with a narcissist, partner, friend, neighbour, work colleague or professional of some sort, it is only a matter of time before they will exploit you
  • Narcissists do not know when to stop taking, they are parasitical by nature.
  • If you recognise someone as being narcissistic do not get involved with them. They will not change and even if they tell you that they love you and want to change, what they mean is they love what you do for them, not who you are.
  • If you have to work with a narcissist do not let your guard down and never show vulnerability around them as they will just use it against you at every opportunity they get







Betrayal trauma




If you are involved or have been involved with a narcissist the probability is that you have or will have betray trauma at some stage.  This betrayal can range from stealing ideas in the work place, making snide remarks behind your back to friends and family, being suddenly dumped by a partner that you loved and trusted someone who goes from being warm, caring and engaged to being a cold sadistic stranger or realising that you were the scapegoat in your family and that is why other family members are so hostile for no apparent reason, annoyed with yourself because you trusted them for so long, when there was no evidence at all of the “love” they claimed to have for you.

The intensity of the trauma will be related to the intensity of the relationship.  Some acts of betrayal are just very annoying and can make us angry because it violates our sense of justice.  Others however can have an impact that has both a psychological and physiological impact.  Even the strongest of people are left feeling shattered after they have been betrayed and it takes time to heal from this trauma much more time than pop culture would have us think, you can’t just “move on”, you have to do some work first.

Here are some of the signs that you might have betrayal trauma:

  • Confusion and disbelief
  • Anxiety hyper reactive to stimuli
  • Churning the relationship over in your head day in day out trying to make sense of it all
  • Feeling worthless and empty inside
  • Loss of self-confidence/socially very anxious
  • Complete shift in your perception of the world at large
  • Feeling of having been cut loose or unearthed
  • Long periods of crying uncontrollably
  • Insomnia even though you are exhausted
  • Hyper sensitive to noise
  • Rapid weight gain, or loss
  • Nausea, headaches, dizziness and feeling weak
  • Flu like symptoms, when every part of your body hurts
  • Oscillate between crying and wanting to vomit
  • Vivid dreams when you can sleep
  • Grieving the loss of a relationship that was never really there or genuine
  • You feel very isolated
  • Life loses its meaning

Slowly you will rebuild a sense of self and your confidence will return again.  When you have been betrayed by a narcissist there is a lot of self-criticism for having been so naive and gullible.  It is important to show yourself compassion at this time, it is not your fault that a narcissist abused your trust as it is very hard to conceive that anyone could behave like that towards someone they said that they loved.

Recovery after having been betrayed does not happen in a straight line.  There will be good days and bad days and sometimes it will feel like you have gone back to square one, but all the time your energy levels are rising and you might not notice your daily progress but your mind and body are working night and day to understand what just happened and then make the necessary repairs to make you feel whole again.