Not everyone has a conscience and the ability to empathise

There is a common myth that everyone has a conscience and the ability to empathise.  This is not the case with people who have narcissistic personality disorder, sociopaths and psychopaths.  People who are involved with narcissists find that they are being manipulated and devalued which leaves their victims feeling worthless, panicky and often suicidal.  If you approach your abuser and let them know that you are “in trouble” the narcissist will take the fact that their partner is feeling suicidal and use it to garner sympathy from others for being a “tolerant, loving person having to put up with a suicidal maniac”.  They will always couch their concern in loving terms so that it looks like empathy, they know that this makes them look good but in reality they are doing it to  harvest attention  and to create an image for themselves, they will not do anything to change their behaviour, will treat you like your suicidal “weakness” is just another of your failings and will further alienate you from any support system you might have.

Their manipulation is psychologically and emotionally devastating and can leave lifelong emotional scars especially if you have been narcissistically abused by your parent(s).  Their abuse, like most abusers is done face to face behind closed doors or by a smear campaign behind your back.  Because narcissists believe their own lies, they will use charm and charisma while they are cruelly annihilating your reputation and are very convincing to any audience.

Survivors frequently blame themselves because they are not really sure what they have just experienced and are reeling in a state of hurt and confusion.  Once you learn the language and the dynamics of narcissistic abuse you will have to tools and knowledge to heal, to be aware of other predatory types and the ability to better take care of yourself.

These individuals transcend gender, socio economic groups and race.  They are masters in the art of manipulation, they use punishment and narcissistic rage to control people.  They have absolutely no sense of loyalty, will betray the trust of those close to them without any remorse and will verbally attack at any time, but in particular when you are low for example just lost a job, lost a loved one or had any sort of tragedy in your life this is don specifically to up the destruction and devastation in your life, they do it when you are down because it is easier for them to upset/hurt you.  They will do this just because they have a strong sadistic streak and humiliating and abusing other people amuses and gives them a sense of power.

The tools that they use to degrade others include:

  • Sarcastic comments
  • Sneering
  • Condescending comments
  • Negation of any achievement (even a well cooked meal)
  • Overt insults and name calling
  • Stonewalling/The silent treatment
  • Sulking
  • False cruel laughter to ridicule
  • Deliberately humiliating you in public
  • Negating comments or observations you make
  • Blaming
  • Shaming
  • Going into a rage any comment that they perceive puts them into an even slightly bad light

The narcissist will take and use anything that you might have confided in them and use it against you.  They harvest the information by putting on an act of being trustworthy and concerned about you so you are open with them.  They will then use your vulnerabilities to hurt you in the future, they have no limits to what they will use to inflict pain. Inflicting pain makes them feel powerful and they will use it to diminish and belittle.

Since pathological envy is an inherent part of the narcissistic personality disorder they will negate or diminish anything that you might accomplish.  Frequently they will claim it as their own “the only reason that you could do that is because I helped you”, or they will steal your opinions and ideas and then tell you about them as though you are too stupid to fully understand.  They will laugh at your dreams or aspirations, they will tell you that you have a horrible personality they will claim that any social life you have is directly attributable to their charming and fascinating company.  They will destroy you in every way that they can think of, they have to be the winner in your relationship and the only way that they can do that is through sabotage, corruption and nefarious means.

After the ideation stage the narcissist will oscillate between making kind gestures and being narcissistic, this is another form of manipulation because it is very destabilising (it would be much easier to come to terms with if they were nasty all of the time).  They will use your desire to get back to the “nice part of them” to keep tugging at your puppet strings.  Nothing you do will ever be good enough at this stage and if they do act nice they will make it very clear that it is because they are nice, not because you deserve it.

Where abuse by females is different


It is reckoned in that one in three abuse victims are males, this figure as quoted in strongly contradicts modern stereo types.  It is generally acknowledged that women do abuse males, but the general perception is that the figures are tiny and therefore occurrences are rare and extreme.  This is not the case.

Men are often afraid of being seen as weak and “unmanly” if they look for help for being abused by a woman.  However, the reality is that women tend to abuse men emotionally rather than physically – so there is “nothing to show” for the abuse and is therefore much harder to prove or detect.

  • Very often, it is strong, kind and self-controlled men who get abused for the very fact that they know that they are physically stronger and could easily do a lot of harm in a very short period of time if they lose control.
  • Emotional abuse happens over time, slowly getting more and more intense and aggressive. So, at the beginning it is easy to make excuses for her such as having a bad day etc.

The most common ways that a narcissistic female will emotionally abuse are.

  • By being constantly disappointed with her partner (nothing is ever good enough) when her partner tries harder to please, she will just raise her “standards”.
  • She will have wild mood swings, so you never know which mood you are going to get when you walk in the door, as a result you will be living in a state of high alert.
  • She will sneer and humiliate you in front of others, especially your children – she does this to try to ridicule you and make your children feel “ashamed” for loving you, wanting to spend time with you and to alienate you.
  • Over spend money on items for herself
  • She will constantly compare you to other couples and will try to make you feel guilty for not having a big enough house, expensive enough car or for not going on enough lavish holidays (like the Smiths do).
  • Sex will be one of her favourite tools to gain control, this could be by not wanting it at all or by being over demanding and humiliating you “for not being a real man able to keep up”.
  • Constantly try to make you feel jealous by implying that there is someone else or that most men find her excessively attractive and she could have anyone she wanted
  • She will enjoy destroying your possessions, especially if she knows that they are of particular importance to you.
  • She will violate your personal space by walking right up to your face and call you names spitting venom as she does it.
  • She will throw things at you from across the room, up turn furniture and smash plates and glasses.
  • She will physically punch, kick and bite
  • She will check your phone, open your post/emails and stalk you if she feels any threat to her control.

None of these behaviours are in any way acceptable but they are not episodes when taken individually would require intervention.  However, their persistence and intensity are very traumatic and can have long lasting effects.

Typically, a man who is being abused at home will look for comfort elsewhere.  This can be:

  • Becoming a workaholic, staying at his work place long after everyone else has gone home.
  • Getting absorbed in some sports activity that will keep him out of the house for long periods of time.
  • Other compulsive behaviours such as computer games or substance abuse.

A man who has been emotionally abused will very often protect her behaviour for a long time after he realises that that is what it is.  The reasons for this might be:

  • She is the mother of his children
  • She has explicitly or implicitly threatened him that if he ever, ever told anyone about the abuse that she would punish him in one way or another
  • He does not want to appear weak or out of control in his relationship to the outside world
  • He has been with her for a long time and does not want to admit that the entire relationship was a sham
  • He is not really sure how far she will push her punitive measures and who else might be hurt by them

Continuing on with an abusive relationship can manifest itself in both physical and mental illnesses.  If you think that you are being (or have been) in an abusive relationship it is really important to talk to someone who you trust.  It is important to get support from a professional if possible, and make sure that they know what narcissistic abuse is, don’t just ask a therapist if they do, because they will say that they do.  Ask them specific tell-tale questions that will prove that they do.  It is important that you like/trust your therapist and that you feel that they understand and know what you are talking about.  If you choose a therapist and don’t feel comfortable with him/her you are absolutely not obliged to stay with them.  If you cannot find a therapist that fits your needs as it is really important to get support and not to feel that you have to deal with the situation alone.


On making mistakes

Narcissists  will expect their targets to apologise for the slightest trifle or indeed things that the narcissist did.  The words “I am sorry” are constantly on the tip of the targets tongue.

The definition of “mistake” to a narcissist comes in a very different form to that which most of us consider a mistake.

Mistakes can be:

  • Getting sick
  • Sneezing or sniffing
  • Breaking or dropping something
  • Having a familial obligation that does not include them
  • Doing things without consulting them first
  • Talking about yourself (unless it is useful information that they can use against you later)
  • Buying them a present that they don’t like, they will not hide their distaste, won’t appreciate the effort or expense and will happily give back, give it to someone else or throw it to one side without saying thank you.
  • Making a mess of any sort. If visiting a narcissist any personal possessions left in “communal spaces” will be promptly returned to your room as an assertion of their territory.
  • Having fun
  • Playing and laughing
  • Singing and dancing for fun
  • Receiving compliments
  • Not obeying their orders
  • Knowing people who they do not know or know about

There are several things that happen when a narcissist perceives that you have made a mistake

  • They can punish you in some unrelated way
  • They can flip into a rage
  • If you are sick they will either try to force you out of bed to take care of them, or get into bed soon and say that they are sicker than you (even though they have no symptoms)
  • If you are having fun they will try to destroy the mood
  • If you are singing they will tell you that you have a horrible voice and are giving them a headache
  • If you are being creative they will laugh at your efforts and either insult what you have made or give a very obvious false compliment
  • If you forget something they will insult you
  • If you have a family obligation they will accuse you of not caring about them/always being away
  • If you receive a compliment they will try to dampen it by saying something like “don’t exaggerate” “it’s not that nice” or when the person who made the compliment is out of earshot they will say something like “they were only being polite” “they have really bad taste”
  • If you don’t do what they tell you to do they will rage, tell you that never listen, use emotional blackmail “if you loved me you would” or lie “I would do if for you” even though you know that they wouldn’t
  • If you do something that doesn’t have a perfect outcome they will say “I told you not to do that” even though they didn’t

The list is long, but as with all things with narcissists the rules that they provide for you can and will be broken by them all of the time and can change all of the time.  A very common phrase from narcissists is “now look what you made me do” because narcissists don’t make mistakes and if they do it is your fault.

Communication techniques – arguing, conversing talking at people, not listening

“Listening is a form of accepting”

Stella Terri Mann


Before we realise that we are dealing with a narcissist we treat them like a “normal” person.  The way that they communicate might leave you feeling like you were talking to a brick wall.  Every attempt that you make to reach them will be blocked, interrupted or negated.  You will feel confused, frustrated anxious and finally realise that you attempt at talking to them is absolutely futile.  There are three things to always remember when talking to a narcissist.  The first thing is that they are narcissists and while they can be charming and good company, they are always narcissists.  Scratch the surface and their default personality type will emerge.  The other thing is that it is important not to be open with a narcissist.  They will go in search of your vulnerabilities and while they might seem charming at the time, they can take all information they learned about you and use it against you at a later date.  The third thing is, do not listen to the content of what they say.  See how they behave, see how they treat other people and see what they say about mutual acquaintances.  The way the narcissist replies to any communication will depend entirely on who the audience is and what image the narcissist wants to project at that time.  No communication with a narcissist comes from a place of the heart.  A narcissist can do a 180° turn on the way that they are communicating if someone else walks into the room.

The way that Narcissists communicate is by controlling the conversation.  This happens in many ways.  The most obvious phrases that they use are:

  • Well at least …” (anyone who replies to something that someone else has said with this is not going to show an empathetic response)
  • “It could be worse”
  • “I know what you are thinking”
  • “I know what you are feeling”
  • “I know why you did that… you did it because you think”
  • “You are…”
  • “You did that because you want to make me feel guilty” (for lack of gratitude)
  • “You think …”
  • “We think/like/dislike/believe …”
  • “You have no real friends”
  • “You are always…”
  • “Nobody is dead..”
  • “What they don’t know won’t hurt them”
  • “I never said that”
  • “You’re paranoid you are making it all up”
  • “I never”
  • “You always”
  • “You are too sensitive”
  • “You are always making stuff up in your head”
  • “You need to get some help”
  • “Why are you being so defensive?”
  • “You are so childish/immature
  • “I am not arguing ,I am just discussing”
  • “I am not shouting you are” (while shouting or speaking in a loud voice to drown you out)
  • “Whatever”
  • “Mary has a real problem with you, she thinks that you are really weird”
  • “You are delusional”
  • “Nobody likes you”
  • “You are too fat/thin/tall/short
  • “We get invited out because people like me, they only tolerate you because they like me so much”
  • “No wonder I stay out all night, when I come home I have to put up with your behaviour”
  • “Don’t you dare discuss our private life with other people”
  • “You are thinking of someone else, I do not behave like that”
  • “I am not going to play your stupid games” (when you pull them up on some bad behaviour)
  • “They don’t really want you to attend their party, they only asked you to be polite”
  • “Stop showing off”

I have put this in the first person singular, but it applies to everyone (“I know why they, s/he did that, they are jealous of me”).  Narcissists are very critical, judgemental and suspicious of other people, they project their own wildly self-obsessed motives on to everyone (including very small children and babies) and everything else like animals and environmental influences.  People who are not narcissists simply do not speak the same language as the narcissist which is cruel and manipulative.

Example of a typical conversation:

Narc: “ Hi, how are you?”

Person: “Oh I am fine thanks, I am a bit tired, I didn’t sleep very well last night ”

Narc: “Well at least you have a bed to sleep in”

End of conversation.

Narcissists are genuinely not interested in how you are (it is one of the few things that is genuine about them), a question about your welfare is a mere formality and they will usually not give you time to answer.  They are not interested in any physical, practical or emotional problem that you may have and that is why they invalidate what you told them before you can expand, even for something as benign as a bad night’s sleep.

  • If you come from a family where one or both parent(s) are narcissists, communicating with your siblings will probably be a great strain. The reason for this is that there will be a lot of secretiveness and triangulation, so healthy communication techniques were never established in childhood.  A narcissistic parent will probably attempt to keep his/her children from forming close bonds (because they see it as a threat), it is to prevent off spring from supporting each other, validating experiences, recognising abuse and maximise their amount of control.
  • Narcissists will often and frequently interrupt a conversation to say something utterly irrelevant to bring the attention back on to themselves.
  • They will frequently talk in a voice much louder than everyone else in the room, it is to draw attention to themselves
  • Narcissists are not interested in whether you are interested in what they have to say, they are after all really just talking to themselves.
  • Narcissists do not listen to other people. You cannot communicate with another person if they are not listening to what you say.
  • If you tell a narcissist something emotional they will usually react in a very inappropriate way. If you tell them something sad they might laugh out loud or if you tell them good news they might shrug with total indifference or look annoyed.  They could say something nice like “that is great news” but their tone and facial expression will tell you that they are not one bit pleased about someone else’s happiness.
  • Narcissists will treat children like adults (and their adult off spring like children) they will use age inappropriate language with them and give them far too much responsibility far too young and treat them like children when they are adults
  • They do not like other people to be happy or have good relationships they try to butt in or break it up. They find the connectivity between others a real threat.  This is very common for example, if a young child forms an attachment to a baby minder or au pair, the mother (usually) will fire that person as the bond between the two will be a threat and therefore not tolerated.  This can however also happen with the family pet, they will literally give it away or put it in a shelter (it really can be that petty and that is why it is so hard to understand them).  They will also get over involved in the friendships and marriages of their adult children
  • If you are trying to communicate with a narcissist and you say something like “I just broke my leg” a very predictable reply would be “well at least you didn’t break both of them”. This type rebuff is a control technique that is employed so that a conversation can never get into full flow.  They are not interested in what you think or what you have to say (unless they are harvesting information to use against you or others at a later date).
  • Narcissists go to a lot of effort not to expose themselves for what they are and live in fear of being “discovered”, that is why they talk a lot of gibberish most of the time. They are constantly on high alert to try to ascertain what they “should” say to project them in the best possible light.  As a consequence, they are very unpredictable and are capable of saying just about anything.
  • They will punish others for self-championing (both as parents, friends and acquaintances), they usually put a person down with snide comment or jeering laugh (the “don’t be ridiculous” one). If you pick the narcissist up on these reactions they will say “I was only joking, can’t you take a joke” or “What, I didn’t say anything” but they know very well that they have driven the message home.
  • One result of having narcissistic parents is that their children can become excessively reactive and will put the needs of others before their own. They are constantly on high alert and will try to predict what people want before they know themselves, and will do things for other people before even asked.  This makes them extremely easy to manipulate, because even the slightest hint that someone wants something from them will make them jump into action.  This is a coping mechanism from childhood because it is easier to think that you are giving something away of your own volition rather than be forced to relinquish something by your very powerful punitive parents, or to simply have “stuff” (achievements, relationships, toys, pet, promises) taken away from you.   This fear can and does make its way into most of their adult relationships
  • The other result is that they children of narcissists can become narcissists themselves through childhood emotional wounding and the psychotic parental model.
  • The narcissist will corrupt your core beliefs about yourself so that they are weak and therefore you are easier to control. Any comment that you make, if it does not suit the narcissist, will be flatly contradicted.  They will deliver it with such certainty and force that you will doubt yourself.  The naive bit is the question that we ask ourselves “why would someone say that if it was not true?”, the reason is to control you.  The narcissist has to negate a lot of what is said to, and around them to prevent you from seeing the truth, so nothing you say matters.
  • If mother and father are abusive it feels like an enormous act of betrayal, you trusted them as your parents and a child will learn to hide it (the betrayal) and their emotions around that betrayal, even from themselves (it is called disassociation) – because they are literally hostage to the narcissistic parent(s) abuse and there is nowhere else to go “I cannot believe she would do that to me, her own child, I must have done something to deserve it”. The children of narcissists (who do not become narcissists themselves) have a fear of hurting the feelings or of creating negative feelings in others (and themselves) so have a tendency to over intellectualise and try to construct counter reasons and excuses for their parent’s abhorrent behaviour. The narcissist will also be phobic about their own emotions and the emotions of others, the difference is that they have absolutely no fear of hurting the feelings of others. The fear of other people’s emotions manifests itself in the perceived threat of being expected to show empathy – of which they have none, so they are never real sure which way to “play it”.  Frequently, you can see a narcissist scan a room to observe the reactions of others, so that they can use it as a cue on how to behave.
  • Narcissist cannot play nicely with their children or with others.  They play as they live, and that is to win, and enslave those around them, get as many resources as they can, which include power, control, attention, time and money, they thrive on upsetting people and pitching one against another.  They get you off balance because their behaviour is so utterly bizarre to a “normal” person, it is difficult to work out the pattern.  They can be nice and charming, just so long as NOTHING threatens them, if it does they might be “nice” in the moment if you are in company, but they WILL get you back for what they perceive as an injury or insult to their persona.  This is not rational, it could be because you disagreed with them on something minor, paid more attention to someone else or even received a compliment when they did not.

Another way a narcissist controls is to say something like “what would you like to do for your birthday?” and you might say “I’d love to go to the restaurant on the High Street”, the narcissist will immediately flip it back and say “Oh I heard that it has really gone downhill, let’s go to the Italian one on the other side of town”.

  • The probability is that the narcissist hasn’t heard anything about the restaurant at all.
  • They do not prefer one restaurant to another, they might even prefer the one that they rejected.
  • It is your birthday – why can they not compromise and go where you want (you will probably be paying anyway)
  • It is all about control, to make you do what they want.
  • At this stage you could argue back but experience will have taught you that this could induce a narcissistic rage and it really isn’t that important anyway and if you do insist on going to your restraint of your choice they will create a horrible atmosphere, sulk, give you the silent treatment and ruin the occasion for you anyway.
  • A narcissist at this stage will feel like they have won a game by controlling you and they will be “happy”.

It is important to note that all narcissists 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”, you answer them with “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”

Here are some things that a narcissist will do to have their own way.

  • Not listen to what you are saying.
  • Trade on the fact that you are going to be polite and not rage back at them.
  • Deliberately misunderstand anything that goes against what they want for themselves.
  • If you are arguing calmly and well, an intelligent narcissist will take your point of view and argue it back to you treating you like an idiot for not seeing it “their way” in the first place.
  • Arguing with a narcissist is not about the subject matter, it is about them getting their own way and making you bend to accommodate them and it is all about winning.
  • If you tell a narcissist that you are going to do something nice for someone they will tell you not to. So for example if you say you are going to visit someone in hospital they will say “no, they said they explicitly that they don’t want visitors” (the narcissist probably hasn’t spoken to that person or a member of their family), if you say you are going to buy someone a wedding present they will say “no don’t, it would really embarrass them”, the only reason for this reaction is to block and control and to stop you from doing anything that might make you “look good/them look bad”.  If you go ahead anyway if it is “an important person” in their eyes, they will most certainly try to upstage you, or say something to a mutual friend like “oh poor Mary, she always has to try to buy friendship”.
  • If you start to talk about something that a narcissist doesn’t want to talk about they will use word salad, this is a term that means they will start to talk gibberish so that you cannot pick up any thread in the “conversation’ so it is futile to try.

What is physical abuse when it doesn’t include physical contact?

Physical abuse by a narcissistic parent when there is no physical contact such a hitting or pushing can include:

  • Not comforting a child and making them feel safe when they are clearly showing physical and emotional signs of distress.
  • Ignoring or punishing pleas for solace when they have fallen and hurt themselves.
  • Denying the child’s expressions of feelings
  • Not listening to them when they express fear of some external influence (person, animal or situation) that poses a threat to them.
  • Keeping them up too late when they are clearly exhausted because the parents are enjoying themselves.
  • Not taking care of their medical needs when they are sick.
  • Not trying to understand why a child does not want to do something such as going to school or playing sports.
  • Not protecting their child when they are being bullied by a sibling or another child.
  • Not making sure that the child is wearing climate appropriate clothes or clothes that they feel comfortable in
  • In general, not making the child feel safe.

The effect of this sort of abuse is that the child becomes very reactive because the clear message from their parent(s) is that “what you want doesn’t matter and I can and will abandon you at any time if you make any demands on me”.  The result is that the child constantly feels insecure, unsafe and unloved.  This child has been brought up in a constant state of “danger management”, so feeling safe and secure is something that is completely foreign to them, this sort of neglectful abuse will have consequence right into adulthood.

Different types of verbal and nonverbal abuse



Secrecy is all about withholding information and a failure to share facts (financial, social and familial),  thoughts (their own or others around you in the community) and their own “feelings”.  A person who withholds information refuses to engage in a healthy give and take relationship.  They live by the the notion that “knowledge/information  is power”, which is why they are so reluctant to share.

Negating everything you say

This is when someone rejects everything that you say.  It is an extraordinary phenomenon because they will not let you say what you think without interrupting you and telling you that you are wrong.  They do it when you are talking about your feelings, they will tell you why you “shouldn’t” feel the way you do, they will contradict you on general topics with such force and certainty that you begin to doubt yourself (even if you are an expert on the matter), they will judge your relationships and tell you what they are like (usually negative).

The target of the abuse may share her positive view about a film she just saw, and the abuser may then attempt to convince her that her opinion is wrong. This is an example of countering. Countering is a way of dismissing the victim’s feelings, thoughts and experiences on a regular basis.


Discounting is to deny that the victim of the abuse has any right to her thoughts or feelings. It may come out as criticism but criticism of a particular kind. The abuser may tell the victim on a regular basis that she is too sensitive, too childish, has no sense of humour, no friends or tends to make a fuss over nothing. The abuser thereby denies the victim’s inner reality, indirectly telling her that how she feels and what she experiences is fundamentally wrong.

“No go” areas

This is when the abuser categorically refuses to talk about or discuss a topic, either because they regard it as criticism, it is something that they want to keep secret or because it is not a topic that they know anything about.  They can do this by constantly changing the subject, getting angry or by physically leaving your company (walking off in a huff).

Hostile “jokes” or just plain rude

Jokes are supposed to be funny for both the teller and the listener, hostile “jokes” are when the narcissist knows that they are insulting you but wrap it up like it is a joke.  It is usually accompanied by a passive aggressive chuckle or snigger.  They will insult in such an extreme way that it could not be taken “seriously”, but they know, that you know they meant the insult and expect you to laugh along with them.


Projection is when the narcissist has a quality about themselves that they do not like, so they project that quality on to somebody else.  It can be anything from a personality trait “you are so lazy” to something like “you have no friends”.


Blaming is when the narcissist blames events or outcomes onto external influences.  It could be that they didn’t win a football match because of the weather or not getting a promotion in work because of something someone said about her behind her back.  Or it could be that someone got annoyed with them for being rude and their reaction is that it is the other person’s fault because they are “too sensitive” or “it is not my fault that their marriage is on the rocks”.  Nothing is ever their fault, so they will always have something or someone to deflect the blame on to, it is automatic for them.

Being highly judgemental and critical of others

Being judgemental and critical is what narcissists do to boost their own self-esteem and ego.  So all the people around them will be “idiots” or “stupid” (unless that person is someone who they admire for being rich/powerful or influential in some way).  They will happily criticise others for having behaviours that they obviously have themselves (although they cannot/will not acknowledge them).  They will make wild assumptions on very little evidence to support their criticism of someone and will frequently go on character assassinations on those who they consider a threat in some way.  It might be someone at work, someone they consider better looking, more intelligent or even someone who they think is more popular than they are.   In general they attack the reputation of others to buoy their own ego.


This is when the narcissist makes ambitions, dreams or likes of someone else look insignificant, unimportant or ridiculous.  They can also try to make the achievements of others look trivial, in fact the more accomplished the victim is the more they will be sneered at (unless they think that the achievements of another person “makes them look good”)

Name calling

Name calling is when the narcissist calls you rude, hostile or unpleasant names.  It is done to humiliate and keep their victim in a frightened or subdued state and will often be done as a “joke”.


The narcissist will tell the person in a forcible way that “if you do not do as I say, there will be trouble” or “if you ever say/do that again I will”.  Threats can be delivered in an aggressive way, in a cold and demonic voice or as a “joke” which will be accompanied by very aggressive body language.

Invading personal space

This is done to intimidate and it can either be by putting their face too close to yours, so that they are practically spitting at you or it can be done by towering over you when you are sitting or lying down or by touching another person inappropriately, this does not necessarily have to be sexual, it can be by punching someone on the arm (too hard) or by pushing them out of the way.

The silent treatment

This is when they ignore you and everything that you say.  They just pretend that you are invisible.  They will not look at you or answer you in any way (see section on “Silent Treatment)

Telling instead of asking

Ordering people around is very common with narcissists.  They will say things like “get me a cup of coffee” without saying please or thank you.  It is common for them to order to waiting staff around in a restaurant for example, treating them like second class citizens when ordering from the menu or snapping their fingers or shouting at them when they want service. Instead of saying things like “Excuse me, can you tell me where such a place is please?”, they will just say “Where is such a place”


This can range from forgetting to call you to forgetting to take the bins out.  The narcissist will keep forgetting to do jobs that they do not like which usually leaves two options, you constantly remind them and they will accuse you of being a nag, or you just do the job yourself because it is easier.  They will also forget things like anniversaries and birthdays either because they are too self-absorbed to remember or to let you know that you are not important enough to them to make the effort.  However, they will become extremely abusive if any celebration of them is ignored.

Rewriting history

Narcissists are very good at rewriting history so that they always come out on top, the champion, the hero.   However,  they are also happy with the victim role, depending on who they are talking to.  They will deny that anything was said or done that does not present them in a good light.