How Do I Know He's a Narc?
Updated: May 4
It is often easy to identify a narcissist. They are self-important, self-absorbed, grandiose, and annoying.
Or are they?
This obvious type of narcissist is only one of several types. A narcissist can be overt or covert. She can be a “mother hen.” He can be “always the victim.”
A narcissist’s self-image can be centered around wealth or fame or power, or it can be centered around family or church or community. A narcissist can fuel his self-importance with intellectual pursuits, with sex, or with charity.
If a narcissist (“narc”) can be any of these things, then how do you really identify one?
You can identify a narc by how he or she interacts with you:
Does he have empathy for you?
Does she show compassion for you when you are hurting?
Does he validate your feelings?
Does she seem entitled to your efforts? Your time? Your money?
Does he feel superior to others regarding his intellect? Her generosity? His wisdom? Her power?
Does she react extremely poorly to anything that could be construed as criticism?
Does he give you the silent treatment? Triangulate with another person?
Does she worry, however subtly, about appearances?
Does he lie or exaggerate?
Do you feel controlled or manipulated by her much of the time?
Is he prone to angry outbursts?
Does she get upset if the conversation is not mostly about her?
Does he seem to never feel guilty? Does he rarely apologize and, even when he does, nothing changes?
Does she seem to never have insight about her behaviors and how they hurt others?
A relationship, especially an intimate one, with a narcissist produces the most painful emotional suffering that exists on earth.
And yet, some of us are drawn to them like moths to a flame.
What is it that narcs have that draws us? Is it confidence? Is it power? Security?
After leaving my second husband, a cerebral narc, I asked myself this question. My suffering had been too great. I knew that I was addicted to narcs and I did not want to find myself involved with another one.
I felt that tug - that pull - to go back to him. I wanted to get rid of this feeling. I wanted to feel whole on my own.
How was I going to do that? I could implement No Contact, but this would not erase the emptiness inside. It would not keep me from responding positively to the next narc that crossed my path. It would not make me feel worthy.
I began to dig into why I was drawn to narcs in the first place, why I felt so alive when I was with them and so dead when I was not. I began to search for the reasons my spirit wanted to be with a person who perpetrated evil on me almost daily. I knew that something was wrong with me, to invite such suffering. But what was it?
Thus began the greatest journey of my life.
It would first take a deep dive into what narcissism is, how narcissists are created, how they think, and what they are really up to. The next step was to look at myself, how I became the person I was, and who played a role in that and how. Then I had to reprogram my unconscious mind in such a way that would make me immune to the attraction to narcs.
How did I do this?
What is it, step by step, that can be done to “fix” an addiction? And how does this desire to end suffering lead to spiritual growth, to the hero’s journey, to the greatest meaning that life can offer?