Identifying Narcissism In Those Around Us: The Signs

I began to identify narcissism around me as I grew in awareness of a pattern running in my life: same mean person – different face. If you, like me, are an empath you will likely also notice them around you – because they are particularly drawn to kind natured people. They view us as easy prey.

Something to be aware of when you are dealing with narcissism, and narcissistic people in your life, is that you are dealing with mental illness. It is often not repairable, or heal-able, because by its very nature those with narcissism do not have the ability – the self awareness – to see that they are operating with a narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissism is a collection of behaviors that fall under an overall umbrella of very low vibrational energy – fear based energy. Narcissists move in life from a very disempowered place within themselves. They need to dis-empower other people to feel right about themselves. They need to control every situation and person around them. Therefore, they seek relationships (agreements) with those who will consent in allowing them to have the balance of power between them. These agreements are usually unspoken and navigated through their behaviors as you agree to remain.

Being involved with a narcissist will feel emasculating for men, and disempowering for women. No matter your gender though, narcissists are extremely critical and judgemental of others. No matter how you try to please them – you never will.

Narcissists are everywhere- it is very prevalent in our society. So prevalent that I went decades along my path of healing from being raised in it before I ever identified what it was. There were so many people in my life who exhibited this behavior. Because it is so prevalent, you may not recognize them straight away – we tend to just think of them as mean people, or in a bad mood. It can be a bit confusing because they go back and forth – nice/mean – nice/mean, etc. That will be the one thing they all have in common: very inconsistent behavior. For this reason I suspect that narcissists also suffer from bi-polar disorder, because they *switch* constantly. You will never know what sets them off.

When you first meet them you may not know that they are a narcissist. They can be quite charming, this is short lived though, because being consistently pleasant and respectful is not an ability they possess.

Narcissists are self absorbed – you will know volumes about them and their lives, while they will know nothing about you and yours – because every conversation revolves around them. It never occurs to them, nor do they ever wonder what is happening in your life.

Narcissism is often very subtle, so subtle you may not identify it for a while. Then there are those who are more obvious. They can be outright abusive – verbally and otherwise.

To some degree they will exhibit the following. Again, these behaviors can vary, and come and go depending on their mood.

  • Narcissists are emotionally unavailable – they are disconnected from their hearts and unable to feel – therefore they are driven by their mental self – their Ego. This is what makes it a low vibrational energy, and also what makes them incapable of self awareness: that compass that the rest of us have that helps us feel what we are sending out, and how our actions are affecting others.
  • They have control issues – everything is about them; they need to be in control of everything and everyone around them. If you are in their life you are there to serve them in some way. They are very clever and calculating about this though, which leads to the next area of: manipulation.
  • They are manipulators – every move they make, including the ones that involve you, serves a plan that benefits them. If they are nice to you, they secretly want something from you.
  • They are self absorbed – everything is about them, they are the most important, interesting, intelligent, etc., person in the room where ever they go. They are the one’s who always need to be the center of attention where ever they go; the one’s who talk about themselves constantly with no awareness, interest, or ability to inquire or listen about what’s happening with others.
  • They are master projectors (finger pointers) – nothing is ever their fault so they will never apologize. Guilt, shame and blame is their game – a given.
  • They are abusive – they are bullies – verbally, physically, emotionally. Tearing others down elevates them.
  • They are moody – their moods can be extreme and change instantly. If they are in a good mood they are fairly pleasant to be around, if not they will vent on those around them – throwing adult tantrums is normal behavior for them.
  • They are critical and criticizing – this stems from the constant state of judgment they reside in.
  • They are takers – giving is foreign and awkward for them, or it is not even a concept they employ. If they are giving you something, they want or expect something from you. You will also notice that the only time they contact you is when they want or need something from you. In other words, you will unlikely receive a visit, call or message just to check in on you, or catch up – they will have an agenda.
  • They gaslight – they trivialize and minimalize, even shame, other’s opinions and feelings as nonsense or ridiculous. Excellent article here
  • They are passive aggressive – they pretend to be nice while they are actually not that way at all. They say one thing but the opposite is the truth.
  • They are often habitual and pathological liars – incapable of honesty and often create *stories*. This often fits in with their manipulation schemes. They lie, or adjust their stories, so frequently, that they are out of touch with what is actually the truth, or they justify their reason for altering the truth – they are entitled to do so.
  • They are duplicitous – they have many sets of rules, none of which applies to them. They wear two, or more, faces: one for those close to them, and the one for outsiders. I used to marvel at how my mother would morph into an entirely different person around people outside our family.
  • They live in denial – they are hugely out of touch with reality. This is due to the disconnect and lack of self awareness, but also ties in with the lying and manipulating that is ‘normal’ for them. They get lost in their stories and lose the thread of what’s real and true.
  • They are unable to take accountability for their actions – when things go wrong, or not to their liking, it is never their fault. They will be quick to blame others. If they are held accountable they will become vehemently, and in some cases violently, defensive.
  • They are attackers – if something is not going their way they perceive it’s someone else’s fault and they will accuse and attack in some form.
  • They completely lack self awareness – they do not have the ability to see themselves and how their behaviors effect others.
  • They are unable to apologize – they are never in the wrong, they view apologizing and kind behavior as weakness.
  • They are drawn to empathic people – kind people are easier to control and manipulate.
  • They do not respect boundaries – because they do not respect you. They will constantly ignore or push your boundaries because they are more important than you.
  • They have a sense of entitlement – they view themselves as superior, everyone else is below them.
  • They are opinionated – they will feel challenged if someone disagrees with their opinion. There is no such thing as ‘agree to disagree’. They use humiliation and ridicule toward those who have a differing opinion.
  • They can be poor communicators –  they do not have the interest, diplomacy or ability to talk or listen with respect, or to hear other’s points of view. They interrupt and talk over those who do not agree with them (bullying).
  • They are punishers – there will be a punishment if you disappoint them, or if they feel you have ‘wronged’ them – often in the form of sabotage. They secretly (passive aggressively) scheme on how they can ‘get you back’ for not pleasing them, or whatever it is that they perceive you have done ‘wrong’.
  • They are energy vampires – they feed off other people’s energy because they are so disconnected from their hearts. They are unable supply themselves with what they need emotionally.
  • You can never trust them. Ever.

There is A Lot more I could list here, and some items that go in to the rather more extreme and sadistic side, though I’m sure you get the feel for what I’ve described, especially if you do have narcissism around you – this will all feel very familiar. The bottom line is that narcissists are not nice people. They are not trustworthy and will never have your best interest in mind or heart, so they do not make healthy choices as friends.

Once you identify the narcissists around you, you will feel more empowered because you will Know what you are dealing with. You will be able to be more conscious with your choices of how you interact with them. And, IF you want them in your life.

Sometimes it feels like we don’t have a choice, especially if they are in our work place, but we can change the way we relate with them. ‘You teach people how to treat you’ is a very important thing to learn with narcissists. Learning how to set very firm boundaries and constantly enforcing them will be to your benefit, as well as learning the art of saying NO.

For me, I have let as many of these fall away from my life as possible, because having narcissists in my life is a constant battle, a constant energy drain – you/we are constantly ‘on guard’. When they are nice, you instantly wonder why, etc. Ick. It’s exhausting.

Besides having more peace in my life without them, I’ve also noticed another benefit:  the more narcissists I have let fall away from my life, the more it made room for higher vibrational people to enter. Saying NO to what does not serve you helps you attract those that you ARE in alignment with. And that’s a beautiful thing.

If you are interested in healing and clearing narcissistic energy in and around you, you might also find this helpful: Quantum Healing: Transmuting and Transcending the Narcissistic Template