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How can you recognize a narcissist?

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(Note: Narcissistic Personality Disorder is something that can only be identified by a mental health professional who has examined the person in question. Other than that, "narcissist" is a word meaning "loves oneself excessively" and is susceptible to varying interpretations.)


A Narcissist is someone who takes their self-esteem from the way others view them. Their personality will therefore center around how he or she is viewed.

Narcissism looks like this... Your partner treats you and perhaps your children very different in private than in public. In public he may ignore you giving all of his attention to others, or pretend to be the perfect husband or father, while in private he may be sarcastic, haughty and insulting. He may put people down behind their back. He may have a very inflated sense of entitlement and ego, thinking he deserves things that he hasn't worked for or earned and he may manipulate situations for attention, acting a bit too good to be true. This can fool people and so few of them will believe how he talks to his family in private (I say 'he', because I write from our experience, but there are plenty of abusive women with narcissism). He may also show little or no regard for your well being or your feelings.


Unfortunately that's not all...
He may lie about you or paint a bad picture of you to gain sympathy from others and to justify his own bad behaviour. You probably have no idea of all of the lies he is telling you and the bad things he may be saying about you to others ...
If he makes fights when you try and talk about money he may be hiding credit cards or money transactions from you and his narcissism will cause him to pretend these fights are your fault.

Many narcissists are obsessed by the fantasy of an ideal relationship that is 'perfect' (and therefore fantasy!) and are skilled liars. So if the above symptoms of narcissism describe your partner, you should also be aware that he may habitually have secret crushes on other women, be having affairs, using pornography habitually, and/or conducting 'cyber' affairs (while lying that he is single) all without you having any knowledge of this. If you notice that your partners mind is often somewhere else, and they show narcissistic tendencies, this could be the reason. This obsession with his own inner fantasy life is part of what makes him unavailable, impatient and cross with you. It is a major symptom of the disorder.

Not all people with narcissism are physically abusive, but it is also a significant indicator that you will wind up being part of a domestic violent marriage. The physical abuse is not always perpetrated by the narcissist either. It is normal to become very angry with someone who manipulates you and puts you down. It is normal after years of this treatment, (especially if you discover that they have been lying to and cheating on you) to even want to kill them or wish them dead, so getting the right help and support is very important, and can be very hard to find.

There are very few people who understand narcissism or believe there is any cure, and those who say to 'leave and have no contact' are giving you very dangerous advice. If you want to leave, please get advice first on how to do it safely.

Trying to diagnose someone with a disorder is not a really a good idea when there are many who will then say that you must divorce them and have no contact and that there is no cure.

If your partner displays this behaviour it is not important to figure out the correct diagnosis, what you need to do is take steps to protect yourself and save your marriage before it is too late.

My husband was diagnosed NPD and yet still he got better and we have a great marriage now. We help partners of narcissists save their marriages too.

WRONG. The correct answer is - you can not recognize a narcissist. At least not a smart, experienced narcissist. It is a matter of survival for them to not let anyone know there true nature. (See note at top of page)
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