Do I Think Everyone is a Narcissist?

what is a narcissist

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about this guy I’d recently broke it off with because I thought he was a potential Narcissist.  She raised an eyebrow at me, as if to wonder if I thought everyone was a Narcissist.  I get that a lot. And frankly, I wonder that myself from time-to-time. I have to admit that after both of my experiences in the past six years I’ve been left feeling really paranoid about people and their intentions.  But now, enough time has gone by, and I’ve done extensive research on the topic, I’m confident in my judgment about who is and isn’t a Narcissist.

Narcissists really are everywhere.

So, do I think everyone is a Narcissist?  Absolutely not.  However, I do think that there are a lot of Narcissists out there (estimates are close to 3-6% of the population is one, and that roughly 5% of the population is Antisocial–and those numbers are thought to be low. Combined, those numbers break down to roughly one in ten people!), but people that aren’t familiar with that term just call them different names such as crazy, bitch, jerk, selfish, psycho, arrogant, etc.  Once you know the signs of a Narcissist, you really do start to spot them everywhere.  And yes, this can make you really paranoid at first. You might start thinking that you are attracting them–but I think the reality is that you are just seeing them for what they really are, whereas other people don’t.  This doesn’t make you crazy or paranoid, it makes you educated.

Don’t get hung up on labels.

If you find yourself not liking to refer to people as a Narcissist, or a Sociopath/Antisocial Personality Disordered Person, then don’t use these terms.  The label doesn’t matter, the behaviors do. So if you are more comfortable labeling a person’s behavior (he acts like a Narcissist, or he’s acting like a selfish jerk and has no empathy and remorse), instead of the person, then fine, use those terms. After all, I’m not going to wait around for them to see a therapist and get a formal diagnosis.  If I see enough of the red flags of a Narcissist, then I’m out of there.

(*This is important: I used to only watch out for the “negative” red flags–this is what I think most people do.  They look to see if a guy is a jerk, or rude to the waitress, or controlling, but they don’t look to see if he’s overly charming, rushing intimacy or love bombing.  These red flags are just as dangerous–and they are all the ones that I overlooked twice–but never again.)

And, if you are like me too, knowing everything we know about Narcissists can feel really lonely in a way. It can seem like most people never experience their destructive power–it’s just us, and worse, often times they have no idea of what we’ve been through. I often look around at other people’s relationships, and part of me wishes I didn’t know everything that I now do–it must be so nice to be so blissfully unaware.  But that’s a fleeting thought. The reality is that I wouldn’t trade the knowledge I have, as Narcissists and their destruction is all too real.

Once you see enough red flags, get rid of them!

The best part of being able to spot the warning signs, is that you’ll be able to steer clear of most Narcissists and the ones that do sneak under your radar, you’ll be able to get out of your life in a very short amount of time. So don’t panic if you find yourself dating more than one. After all, most Narcissists (especially the covert ones) are very charming–and most people are attracted to charming people! Just focus on getting them out of your life and moving on. Don’t get bummed out that you got tied up with another one–think of it as a victory that you were able to get rid of them so quickly! Yay you!

 

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you (or I) call them. Bad behavior is bad behavior, and the important thing is for you to develop solid boundaries and high enough standards that you cut these people out of your life once you spot them.

Hang in there and realize if you are seeing Narcissists everywhere, you aren’t crazy, you aren’t alone–you are just educated! Yay you!

 

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Frustrations? Ideas for a blog post or video? Just want to say hi? Let me know: dana@NarcissistSupport.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/NarcissistSupport 

 

 

 

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Dana

I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse.

My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.

Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.

It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
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About Dana 278 Articles
I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse. My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life. Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics. It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.

13 Comments

  1. Narcissist EVERYWHERE …. its so true! once you recognise the traits, I was just saying to a fellow victim I’m feeling very paranoid as Im feeling surrounded and suspicious of everyone …. you are spot on when you say you wish sometimes you never KNEW x ….just like to add I think your “red flag” series on youtube are brilliant so well thought out , so informative and knowledgable…. I’m recommending them to everyone! .. you have helped educate me … Thank you Dana

  2. Dana:
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for clarifying that it is not the label that matters, but it is the behaviors that are the important thing to focus on. I found myself puzzling over and over about the label for my ex-manipulator, and this was keeping me stuck. Once I realized that the behaviors were manipulative, regardless of what category he might be in, I no longer needed to try to sort out his label and could just let that go. It felt so freeing to see that he is an evil manipulator, and I don’t need to have anything else to do with him. End of story, moving forward. So, thank you.

  3. It is not necessarily so much that narcissist are “everywhere.” It is more that narcissists are “on the prowl.” They initiate contact with those that the think are vulnerable. Also, each narcissist will make contact with *many* other potential sources. Each narcissist accounts for multiple contacts “in the wild”

  4. My story is kind of unique and a bit long so my apologies but I am trying to understand what has happened to me

    20 years ago, I fell head over heals for this guy. Handsome, shy and brilliant. I thought he was my soul mate. The beginning was perfect, absolutely perfect. He loved me etc etc. He told me he was dumped by his last girlfriend who he was going to marry. He slowly became distant and cold. Insecure about me and my love and I thought it was that he was still hurting and I tried to be patient so he could trust me. He did some very insensitive things which of course hurt me too. Then one day he dumped me out of the blue with a pathetic excuse. He left me crying and totally broke my heart. He wanted to remain friends but I was smart enough and totally refused. He reached out to me a couple of times to try to be friends and each time I was angry and furious at him and told him to leave me alone. Then I relocated far away and he was out of the picture for good.

    Or so I thought.

    20 years later, he has found me through the Internet and sent me a message to see what I was doing. We started chatting as friends and told me he was married with kids. I asked him if his wife was ok with our emails and he told me he hadn’t discussed it with her. Our emails continued and at some point I asked why he wanted to be in touch with me. He replied he had never completely forgotten me and wanted to know how I was doing. He gave me a clumsy apology for how poorly he had treated me, explained he wasn’t ready to be with anyone then (back then was comparing me all the time with his perfect ex) and felt very guilty about being such jerk. Now he wants to be a very close friend. Then he started to share music he liked, all about love and missing the one you love,wondering about the what ifs, wanting a new start. This kind of lyrics. All this was very confusing to me but soon we started to exchange I love yous. We were kind of having an atypical emotional affair (we just chat about irrelevant stuff) disguised as a friendship and I was getting increasingly more uncomfortable and started challenging why we were doing this. He would reply, “why not? he missed me”. I tried to stop this correspondence and even told him he is a married man and I am not getting in the middle. He claims we are just friends who love each other and if I really love him and miss him (like he loves me and misses me) I would at least what to be in touch with him the way he wants to be in touch with me. He also told me I don’t love him enough because I want all or nothing from him and he feels he is nothing and I am throwing away a special kind of love that has lasted 20 years. He says he doesn’t want to lose me like he lost me 20 years ago. He has made it clear though that his family situation will not change. He just wants a loving best friendship with me. I am not married and I think I do love him and I miss him too. I also have a hard time trusting him and he knows that. The funny thing is that he acts like his wife isn’t there. I have no clue what’s going on in his marriage.

    I have my own interpretation of the whole thing, sounds like a Hollywood movie, romantic but dramatic, but wanted another set of eyes to see if what I see is right. If has me wonder what love is. After 2 years, I have ended the emails but I also need lots of strength to keep NC. I do wonder if all I am is narcissistic supply

  5. You were right to go back to “no contact”. His behavior is way out of line, and highly manipulative.

    Even though I don’t know you, I can safely say that you are much more than just naricissistic supply–as no person deserves to be just a source of supply.

    The only way to avoid becoming a source of supply is to really tighten up your boundaries and standards for what you expect and allow in your life. This is not to blame you for their bad behavior, as they are highly manipulative, and most normal, decent people don’t see them coming. All any of us can do is to take things slow, examine red flags if and when they come up, and then be okay with walking away as soon as we get that funny feeling that we need to. What many victims do (myself included) is that we tend to hang in there, and second guess ourselves, and want to give these people the benefit of the doubt, because all the attention they shower on us feels SO good. We all want to believe that we’ve found someone who is willing and able to give us as much love as we give to them. The only way to break this cycle (besides going slow and being okay with walking away) is to give ourselves the love the we keep trying to get from others. Here is a video that I think will help clarify this: http://www.thriveafterabuse.com/dating-a-narcissist/

    (((hugs))) to you <3

  6. Thanks Dana for your comments!

    I think my vulnerability in this case is that I always was wondering if he loved me when he was my boyfriend 20 years ago and then he dumped me for no reason. I felt unloved and ignored.

    I have been wondering if he is a covert cerebral narcissist for a while now and your videos and articles have been great help. It’s so difficult to identify this type of narcs because they seem such nice caring guys, shy and smart and sweet…..Claiming to be there for you etc etc but in reality do nothing for you. The red flags are there but it’s difficult to be sure as we communicate by email only. You see, I am in that stage that I am wondering if it is me or if I am being manipulated. It seems like my gut feeling is no longer working.

    The first time I thought he may be a narcissist was when I found an article about the stages of a narcissistic relationship. It was finally the explanation I wanted to what had happened to me 20 years ago. I just watch your video on trust and he seems to demand trust and not earn it. Spot on! He seems to be unwilling to discuss the wounds of the past so I can heal. Apparently a lousy apology was all that was needed and now we should be good to go and forget the past

    And your article about hoovering even after decades of not being in touch!!

    I think he has used some of the manipulation techniques you describe but he is really sophisticated. He is always cool and collective, no aggressive or violent, it’s hard to see abuse but I am now realizing the complex, sophisticated and subtle manipulation with future pretend statements (saying things cryptically so there are different ways to interpret them, or even the love songs – I was always wondering what it all meant and made me doubt if I was reading things right or what), the guilt trip (clearly I don’t love him or I’d be his friend, he is nothing to me because I want to walk away from this great love), pity (he had such a bad day when I told him no more emails)

    I find it amazing he can’t understand why I feel uncomfortable being friends and writing to a married man. He claims he doesn’t want to hurt anyone but then why is he doing this? He even told me he is not a cheater and will never be! He just wants to write to me and only me. I am sure his wife wouldn’t be happy to know about this “friendship” or whatever this is

    One part of me wishes we could be friends. He is right that I want all or nothing and he is trying to make me feel bad as if I really love him, we would be friends but the problem is that I do feel awful, I can’t give him what he wants and I have lost him too.

  7. As a general rule of thumb, if you are wondering if you are being manipulated–you probably are.

    I second your opinion that it’s not appropriate for him (a married man) to be writing to you. He is wanting attention, and most likely more, and he’s upset that he’s not getting it from you.

    If the situation makes you uncomfortable, then it doesn’t really matter what he thinks. He doesn’t get to vote. This is your life, and your morals and values at work–and this is where boundaries come into play. If it was me, I’d tell him that I’m not comfortable chatting with an old boyfriend who is married, and that you are ending things now, and for him to not contact you anymore. (Anticipate that he will not respect your boundary–and set up his emails to go to spam, and block him on Facebook.) And then don’t contact him. He will also most likely continue to send you emails trying to use guilt, pity, or charm to lure you back into emailing with him, so prepare yourself emotionally for that.

    My guess is that since you have allowed him back into your life, you may have some areas where your “buckets” are running low, and I’d encourage you to double up the time you are spending with friends so that you aren’t starved out. After all, it’s REALLY hard to think straight and use good judgement in our emotional life if we are feeling starved out–kinda like grocery shopping. We all know that we need to never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach! It’s the same kind of concept. …If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is a link to a video that will hopefully make things make more sense: http://www.thriveafterabuse.com/dating-a-narcissist/
    (((hugs)))

  8. You are so welcome, and I’m glad I could help!

    Yes, labels don’t matter–toxic behaviors matter. Life is too short to be around toxic people! <3

  9. Hi Dana, another cause if seeming like they are everywhere is that these people have a string if broken re.ationships/marriage so the are single often which makes for a higher number of the singles we meet who could be NPD or such. The good ones are mostly in long term committed HEALTHY relationships. The bad ones are single again!

  10. Hmm…interesting take on things. Your logic makes total sense–however, there really are some great guys out there–if you comb thru the comments on my support group or YouTube channel you’ll see what I’m talking about. 🙂

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