Narcissist or A**hole? Know the Difference

the difference between an a**hole and a narcissist
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There seems to be a EX Narcissist epidemic.   The most common statements I hear over social media and blogging are “My Ex is a Narcissist.”  OR “I was married to a Narcissist.”

Funny, you just don’t hear I was married to a complete A**hole anymore.  Why?  Because the A**hole has been replaced by the Narcissist it seems.

Narcissism is a personality disorder (NPD) which technically, can only be diagnosed by a psychiatrist.  But with the power of the internet we can all identify signs and symptoms of Narcissism at our fingertips.  We already know what an a**hole is, right?   So, let’s find out what a Narc is…we’re  curious.  We begin reading and watching youtube videos on the subject and voila, we’re convinced our Ex really is a Narcissist and maybe he IS.

 In fact, your ex may very well be a Narc but be careful in self diagnosing and labeling your ex, especially on social media and if you’re a blogger.  I’m not saying this to minimize your experience with your ex in any way.  Rather, I write this in hopes to better understand the differences and the similarities between Narcs and a**holes or even alcoholics and abusers.

The Narcissist

“Narcissism, in lay terms, basically means that a person is totally absorbed in self. The extreme narcissist is the center of his own universe. To an extreme narcissist, people are things to be used. It usually starts with a significant emotional wound or a series of them culminating in a major trauma of separation/attachment.

“No matter how socially skilled an extreme narcissist is, he/she has a major attachment dysfunction. The extreme narcissist is frozen in childhood. He/she became emotionally stuck at the time of his/her major trauma of separation/attachment.”- How to Spot a Narcissist by Samuel Lopez de Victoria, Ph.D.

The Narcissist is incapable of intimacy, remorse or deep feeling. Tweet: Loving a Narcissist is like pouring all of your affection into a funnel and watching it fall out the bottom http://ctt.ec/d41Mi+Loving a Narcissist is like pouring all of your affection into a funnel and watching it fall out the bottom.

No matter how much you do for them, they will not appreciate or notice.  They only notice when you stop ‘doing’ for them.  The people closest to the Narcissist are simply a reflection of himself.  His image is EVERYTHING.

Personality Traits of the Narcissist

  • Turns every conversation to him or herself
  • Expects you to meet his or her emotional needs
  • Ignores the impact of his negative comments on you.
  • Constantly criticizes or berates you and knows what is best for you.
  • Focuses on blaming rather than taking responsibility for his own behavior.
  • Expects you to jump at his every need.
  • Is overly involved with his own hobbies, interests or addictions and ignores your needs.
  • Has a high need for attention.
  • Brags, sulks, complains, inappropriately teases and is flamboyant, loud and boisterous.
  • Is closed minded about own mistakes. Can’t handle criticism and gets angry to shut it off
  • Becomes angry when his needs are not met and throws tantrums or intimidates.
  • Has an attitude of “anything you can do, I can do better.”
  • Engages in one-upmanship to seem important.
  • Acts in a seductive manner or is overly charming.-taken from

 

A**hole

-a selfish individual who often puts their own needs above everyone else, and is not afraid to offend people

-usually described as rough on the outside but mushy or soft inside

-The a**hole has the capability to care and show his feelings on occasion

-the a**hole is capable of true intimacy once they let their guard down.

Something to consider here is we are all capable and probably have been an a**hole at one  time or another.  The time you finally spoke your mind and told your best friend what you really thought OR the time you made a joke that was just a little too cutting…yes, these are a**holey things to do and often we regret them almost immediately.  However, it is unlikely that we all have been narcissists at one time or another.  Narcissism being a disorder and condition that cannot be overcome easily.

Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between your run of the mill A**hole and your nightmare Narcissist (Narcs):

1. Narcs love to Gaslight.  A**holes light their own fires…

Gaslighting is when the Narc falsely convinces the victim that they are defective . For example, the Narc might say “It’s too bad you don’t get along well with people because if you did we would have more friends.” This is a mental type of abuse that if continued over a long period of time takes away the victim’s self confidence and sense of reality.

 

do You Know the Difference between a Narcissist and an A**hole?
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2. Narcs never apologize.  A**holes love to Apologize…

Apologies come fast and furious with a**holes.  They usually have the common sense to know when they have made mistakes or hurt someone and they will follow up with an apology.  The problem?  They usually repeat the mistakes and continue in their a**hole ways.  There’s a saying if you’re in a room with more than 10 people and there isn’t an a**hole in sight? You’re the a**hole.  Well, I don’t necessarily believe that but it is a funny statement on the fact that there is usually one a**hole in a crowd.

Narcissists on the other hand, never admit wrong doing.  It is absolutely beyond their comprehension that they may have hurt someone or done wrong.  They blame the victim every time. They make an excuse every time.

 

3.   Narcs know what they want and how to get it.  Rules don’t apply to Narcs.  A**holes understand the difference between right and wrong.

 

4. Narcs never go too far to get what they want.  A**holes know when to quit.  They are capable of knowing when they’ve gone too far.

5. Narcs are among the most charming people you will ever meet.  A**holes are not charming.

6. Narcs are superficial.  A**holes have deep thoughts and analytic capability.

7. Narcs play the role of ‘victim’.  A**holes rarely act like victims.

8. Narcs are habitual liars, twisting facts to suit their reputation.  A**holes don’t habitually lie to get their way.

9. Narcs are socially insatiable.  They can never get enough attention.  A**holes often enjoy time alone and don’t feel insecure about their solitude.

 Gee, the A**hole is beginning to sound like Prince Charming…but I’m not suggesting that A**holes NEVER lie, act like a victim or USE people only that if and when they do it’s with a conscience and with some remorse.

Alcoholics vs. Narcissism

I think it’s easy to confuse an alcoholic or a physical abuser as a Narcissist.  Yet those problems do not automatically define the person as a Narcissist.  Alcoholics have some similar characteristics and personality traits.   They put their drug of choice before everyone and everything.  It is the ultimate in selfishness.  They can lie and charm to get their drug or next drink.  A physical abuser is often a victim of physical abuse himself and is using his learned technique to take control of a situation or person.  That does not make him a true Narcissist.  Physical abusers typically show and experience remorse.  Narcissists are NOT able to feel remorse.

If you were married to a Narcissist who physically abused you, and was an alcoholic?  You suffered the ultimate terror.  It couldn’t possibly get any worse short of losing your life to that person–you could write a book, no doubt.

Do Yo Know the Difference between a Narcissist and an A**hole?
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In case you’re still not sure…

More traits of the Narcissist
  • Neglects the family to impress others. Does it all: Is a super person to gain admiration.
  • Threatens to abandon you if you don’t go along with what he wants.
  • Does not obey the law—sees himself above the law.
  • Does not expect to be penalized for failure to follow directions or conform to guidelines.
  • Ignores your feelings and calls you overly sensitive or touchy if you express feelings.
  • Tells you how you should feel or not feel.
  • Cannot listen to you and cannot allow your opinions.
  • Is more interested in his own concerns and interests than yours.
  • Is unable to see things from any point of view other than his own.
  • Wants to control what you do and say—tries to micromanage you.
  • Attempts to make you feel stupid, helpless and inept when you do things on your own.
  • Has poor insight and can not see the impact his selfish behavior has on you.
  • Has shallow emotions and interests.
  • Exploits others with lies and manipulations.
  • Uses emotional blackmail to get what he wants.
  • May engage in physical or sexual abuse of children
  • -all signs taken from Nina Brown’s Children of the Self Absorbed: A grownup’s Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents.

 

Do you know the difference between a narcissist and an a**hole?
source; Pinterest

When you read the personality traits of a narcissist you realize what a serious disorder this truly is. That is why it’s important not to mislabel, or self diagnose.  Remember there are varying degrees of Narcissism.  Some are more extreme and dangerous.  Any form of narcissistic abuse is very damaging.

If you were married to a Narcissist or have a relationship with a Narc in any capacity, you are a victim.  It is important to understand the best methods to protect yourself. Some people have ongoing relationships with Narcs while many discontinue any connection with them.  Finding what works best for you and your situation is key as well as educating yourself on the disorder.

But before we announce to the world “I was married to a Narcissist.” Make sure you know the difference between a full fledged Narcissist and a run of the mill A**hole.  Also? Be careful not to confuse alcoholism or an abuser with a Narcissist.  I hope this helps you decipher and give some more thought to who your ex really is and what makes him so freakin’ hard to deal with! BTW, yes women can be Narcissist as well, obviously.

Stay tuned for Part II of this post “Managing the Narcissist”

Is your EX a Narcissist? Please share your thoughts on the topic in the comments…


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48 Replies to “Narcissist or A**hole? Know the Difference”

  1. **Funny, you just don’t hear I was married to a complete A**hole anymore.**

    Narcissist.

    Yet, another way to excuse the ASSHOLE.

    no. more. excuses.

    Superb insight! xxxx KISS from MN.

  2. You did an AMAZING job with this, Lisa! So very proud of you…ALWAYS. I’m really glad you qualified to key things here that were important to me. Not self-diagnosing and that not all abuse survivors become abusers…your’s truly. An ironic story for is working with someone who is a classic narcissist and years ago it was his wife (now ex and one of my best friends for 20 years) pointing it out as she received her PhD as a Psychologist. You know me when it comes to these matters in divorce…I will always be a champion for my female friends and all the now HUNDREDS of divorces I’ve seen in a 26 year career in a company that has 3,000 employees. But, I will also not tolerate blind man hating that I’ve also called folks out on. My career has been about learning BOTH sides to the story and then it becomes quite an enlightening overall view. My ex was not a narcissist…she just had a leeeettle trouble only being with one boy at a time LOL 🙂 Bless her heart. What a loved most is the dreadful, painful emotional damage narcs can cause upon another. We love ya bunches always and hope your week is going great! 🙂

    1. Thank you Mike! Your contribution here is so valuable! Thanks for sharing your experience. Aw, too bad your ex didn’t know a good man when she had him.

  3. This is wonderful! I was laughing and nodding all at the same time. It’s important to figure out if someone is a narcissist or just a complete a**hole. We should do it to everyone we don’t like, not just our exes. 😉 And I like the word a**hole much better! HAHA

  4. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been struggling of late with readers who just do t understand! They think that my ex should get help for his mental illness – and not that I disagree – but it wouldn’t make a difference if he did. You just can’t fix a narcissist. Although I suppose, you can’t fix an asshole either.

  5. I think it’s tough because all of us have a small degree of narcissism. We are, of course, concerned about ourselves. It’s the same with things like OCD and ADD–people are quick to joke, “Yeah, I’m a little OCD” with no real understanding of the extreme behaviors that get someone diagnosed that way.

    It’s also interesting that people want to diagnose their exes. They want to believe something was wrong with the other person because it helps them avoid what’s wrong with themselves. Every relationship is made up of two people and if it doesn’t work out, both parties are responsible to a certain extent. But sometimes it’s just that one person isn’t getting what he/she wants from a relationship. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong with them or you…it’s their journey. Chances are, they’ll go on and have a great relationship with someone else, and so will you. It took me a long time to get over those hurts and accept that and I was much happier for it!

    1. Great insight, Stephanie! Thank you so much for pointing that out. I like to say it takes 2 to make it and 2 to break it. I read somewhere “don’t say what your ex is but think more about who he is…”

  6. This was enlightening. I struggled to see the difference, maybe because I am not into labels and they all mean the same to me, but when you said narc’s play the victim, I got it. A narc can be an asshole, but not all assholes are narcissists? Maybe that is it. Can’t wait for part 2!

    1. Exactly right, Jodi! A**holes aren’t quite capable of the manipulation that Narcissists often use to get things to go their way. Thanks for stopping over!

  7. And not only do we diagnose ourselves, but we diagnose other people who we feel have a problem. I also don’t think that people realize that there might be a problem with the other which is why so many people stick with the relationship (I may be totally wrong on this since I do have a healthy relationship with my husband)
    This is such an interesting perspective on this.

    1. Great point, Kim. Sometimes in a relationship we don’t understand that there is a serious problem with our partner and so we continue to believe it will ‘get better’. Then we wonder why things aren’t improving or why we can’t change the situation. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi Lisa,

    Good to be back on your blog, after my little break 🙂

    What a comparison between the two! It’s tough for me to relate as I have hardly come across either of the kind of people in my life, and I am so grateful that my relationship is clear of these….thank my lucky stars!

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice rest of the week 🙂

    1. Nice to have you back, Harleena! That’s great that you have not dealt with this type of problem 🙂 In fact, I read your Hubby’s blog post the other day and he said something very important in the comments section. He said “Harleena comes first.” and that made me smile!

  9. Hi Lisa
    I think everyone has some degree of narcissim. Many of us know we have this feature while some others not ready to accept this fact.
    Your comparison between the two is very true and we need to adjust with changing realities of this world to be a compatible and congenial person.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with lot of quite new information for me

    1. My apologies Mi, as you comment was found in spam file. That’s true that we all have a little of it. But to have a certain level is a disorder but only the psychiatrists can truly determine an individual. But it’s one thing to be selfish and quite another to be a complete Narcissist, IMHO. Thanks for your comment here! 🙂

  10. Thanks so much for this post–after all I’ve gone through, I had to laugh at some parts, after all humor saves us in even the darkest of times? My ex is an adult child of an alcoholic. Is he a narc? I’m not sure, but he definitely had violent outbursts, and then would feel bad, and then blame us all (if dd1 hadn’t dropped her rice or spilled her milk, if you hadn’t left the lunchbag out on the counter…i wouldn’t have yelled/screamed/hit/broken s***). Yes, he would say he was sorry, but after a time, it would still turn into how everything was our fault and the world was against him. I often wonder if he is a small child in a grown man’s body (children often and innocently think the world revolves around them) due to the trauma he lived through. Does that excuse his actions? Of course not, but it does help me understand them. Anyway, i’m blathering on…I see a lot of my ex in what you wrote, and I’m just relieved that I’m out of that relationship. My main concern is my daughters–since he can’t ‘get’ to us like he used to, his emotional blackmail has really started in on them and that makes me fret and worry to no end.

    1. Hi Jane, thanks for sharing here. Sounds like you’ve been through and still are going through a lot of s**t. The fact that he actually feels bad after his anger is a good sign but making excuses for his own mistakes and poor behavior is classic Narc. Of course, we can’t diagnose but knowing how to handle your situation will help. Boundary setting for your daughters will help them deal with their Dad as young adults. That’s a whole other blog, LOL. Try not to worry too much about the future 🙂

  11. The worst thing about being married to a Narc is the years of mental abuse that comes with it. Constantly being kicked out, or told its over, or told I’m a bad dad etc etc. Well I’ve run out of sorrys and its time to leave. My “wife” can commit murder & it would b someone elses fault. She has fought with everyone we know and has never taken responsibility. Twisting facts and convincing the world it’s their fault. Never sorry, never wrong. Don’t try and have a different opinion, or challenge her view cause in her mind you are insulting her intelligence. Be it me, the kids, family or friends, if she says the sun is blue then LET IT BE BLUE cause all hell will break loose.
    But she can be so caring and helpful at the same time especially to the outside world. Portrays to be happy, normal and loving. And sometimes she is. That’s why its hard to leave her. Is it me with the problem or her? The intimidation, manipulation of facts, and the abuse has taken its toll.
    The worst thing is you can’t even begin to tell her of her Narc ways. It’s impossible to even go there or even start the conversation.
    Time to go. Just hope our kids will be ok. A couple of years and they will see her for what she is I guess. And after 12 years of marriage, yes I can be an asshole at times but have always apologised, even when I shouldn’t have.
    Thanks so much for writing this blog. Had no idea what a narc was. Always just thought she had bipolar, anxiety or something like that. Hopefully someday someone can have the courage to tell her of her ways for her own sake.
    Michael

    1. Hi Michael, you’re in a difficult situation. As you say, Narcs can be incredibly charming, gregarious and even loving when things are going THEIR way. If you are agreeing with all of their ideas and behaviors, they will get along well with you. But as you say, if you challenge your wife you’re “insulting her intelligence”. Any type of challenge or disagreement can cause the Narc to turn on you. The thing is they aren’t capable of loyalty. What really stands out in your comment is that she “intimidation, manipulation of facts” yes, they’re pros as changing the truth and facts to reflect well on them and you will go crazy trying to counter that.

      You ask “IS it me with the problems or her?” Classic victim of a Narc. It’s not you. We can all be a**holes sometimes, right? People with Narc disorder will bring out the worst in normal functioning people like you. It’s a vicious cycle. As for the kids only when they see the manipulation can they understand it’s not that they aren’t good enough but that their mother has a problem. I recommend Sam Vaknin’s book Malignant Self Love and his youtube video series will also help you understand your wife and even better, how to manage the situation so you don’t suffer.

      Thanks for sharing here, Michael and I hope you’re able to get some help.

  12. Well I was starting to think my ex is a narc and the more I read about it, the more I strongly feel he is and now I am not sure anymore. He could have had characteristics and I know anyone can show signs but it doesn’t mean they are one. But it still affected me and I did go into counseling about it. I used to say my ex was an asshole lol.

    1. Hi Beth, well we’re not really in a position to officially diagnose anyone. As you say everyone has some narcissism. It’s when it’s an extreme personality trait that there are problems. It sounds like you had some traumatic experiences and if you recognize the signs, then it’s safe to say your ex probably had these narcissistic tendencies. Almost all Narcs are a**holes while not all a**holes are Narcs. That’s the tricky part 🙂

  13. I’m pretty sure my mother is NPD and I just want to add a little side-note. She apologises all the time. If she accidentally bumps you or does a little thing, she’ll apologise. In fact, she’s VERY polite, especially when other people are watching.

    But she won’t ever apologise for any of her narcissistic behaviours or hurtful comments or actions. She may make a statement like “I’m sorry you took it the wrong way.” or “I’m sorry you misconstrued my actions, I’m doing the best I can”

    1. That’s interesting, Al. Often Narcs can’t apologize but it sounds like your mother’s apologies might be for the wrong things. She’s unapologetic for the real pain she may cause you but very sorry for innocuous things. Maybe she uses the “I’m sorry” to make herself seem helpless and innocent? I’ve just put on my Psycho-analyst hat 😉 Not sure her reasons but it must be frustrating for you.

  14. The hard part with getting a diagnosis is that someone who is truly narcissistic will never submit to the therapy required to diagnose NPD. An asshole will probably accept therapy and may even be able to make some changes but not a Narc.

    1. Hi Rosie, you’re right and I don’t think as victims we rely on a diagnosis. We have to rely on our experiences with people and notice repeated patterns. An a**hole, is more likely to get something out of therapy, for sure. Great point. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  15. Well, I was married to a man that was so selfish and had no remorse for his actions. He was always trying to please everyone but me. He was all about appearance. We ended up going to therapy separately and he came home one day and said “well I know what the problem is! I’m a narcissist” He was actually proud. I said what does that mean to you. He said “it means I like to help people” “My therapist told me” In actuality, his therapist said “you like to help people not because you want to, but because of how it makes you look to others” So he stopped listening after the first part. Like a true Narc. We are divorced now, but what is so ironic is that now I am one of the people he is now trying to be nice to. I am sure its all for his ego. Being with a Narc is draining and you will never understand their way of life.

    1. Hi GC, you had me laughing at your description of your ex narc husband in therapy. 🙂 Therapy really doesn’t work for these personality types (as you already know). Interesting, your ex liked to help people because it made him look good. I’m guessing he was choosy about WHO he would help.What comes to mind is that famous quote “judge a man by his actions when no one is looking” or something like that.I guess that’s a good thing that he’s trying to be nice although there’s usually a motive. Thanks for sharing here!

  16. Interestingly my NARC calls himself an ahole. He is both. He is incredibly selfish and nasty. He tells me he is only nice to portray an image of being a friendly guy and a family man. He also told me he won’t leave me because his job is to make me fear him. It took me over 15 years to realise he had the capacity to not care about me and now he dedicates his life to devaluing anything I do. It’s getting worse particularly in the past four years. We have five kids, so its terrifying that I am raising kids with him. I feel so guilty for the home environment.
    Is it possible he was injured four years ago? I find it very difficult to believe he was a NARC all this time, ahole yes but he was never this terrible.

    1. How long have you been married? You ask if it’s possible he was injured 4 years ago but you would know best since you live with him. I don’t think a recent trauma could cause someone to turn into a narcissist in such a sudden fashion. Most likely, it was childhood problems which are linked to this personality extreme. You may have to make a change in your life for your future but also for your childrens’ present. It will only get better if you remove yourself from this abuse. All the best to you and thanks for sharing here 🙂

  17. My ex seems to fit into both categories. He was incredibly sociable and tended to put on different roles depending on what the social context was. Now I know that we all do this to a point but with him I could be with him all day and it would be like I’d spent the day with several different people, he became completely unrecognisable. He was very manipulative in the sense that he played the caring, empathetic boyfriend when we were together and he would let me open up to him and be vulnerable in front of him yet he would never do that with me. .. I would say that in general I agree that there is a difference between a Narc and an a hole but from past experiences I think i’d prefer the a hole. This piece has really helped me see clearly as I’ve spent so long driving myself insane trying to see where my relationship all went wrong and blaming myself for it all. My ex literally changed towards me over night but looking back now I can see that there were shifts in his personality throughout but because I’d fallen head over heels for him I didn’t see the red flags. Thank you.

  18. My ex leaned more on the asshole side but I still think he was more a covert narcissist. CN’s are harder to spot and they don’t fit into the description of textbook narcissism. That is why they are so dangerous, more dangerous than regular narcs and why they wouldn’t fit the criteria for NPD and many professionals don’t know about covert narcissism.

    The following things he did were:

    He was very vulnerable and very emotional and sensitive (Common CN thing)

    Naive (also a common CN) and always a victim, nothing was ever his fault

    Gaslighted me, he would say one thing and then deny it or claimed I said this to him

    I had to walk on eggshells and I had to watch what i said and how I said it and I had to keep my feelings bottled up or he would get upset

    He would use his kid to humiliate me and he also made fun of me because of a tone he would use about certain things about me

    He was very controlling and tried to subtly cut me off from my parents and he would call me self centered to get his way and he would ignore me unless I acted the way he wanted me to act and then he would go “I don’t want to be a control freak so I won’t make you do it” but yet still get upset with me.

    He would deliberately trigger my anxiety and try and make me uncomfortable like driving close to the mailboxes to make me think he was going to hit them.

    He had to put others down to make himself feel better so he always put my family down

    He was very critical of me and the things I liked and what games I played and what shows I watched and nothing I did was ever good enough for him

    I think this went beyond asshole. My other ex was an asshole but he was no way a narcissist. I think he did some manipulation too but it was only for because he didn’t want to work and didn’t want to help himself so he had excuses always. It wasn’t for control. But I felt my second ex was controlling except he wasn’t telling me to do things or making me but he used emotions for it which was manipulation. Trust your gut instinct. I also felt he would doing it on purpose to trigger my anxiety and he knew I had anxiety. He even kept a piece from me I needed to return to Dish Network and I told him how much it meant to me and what consequence I would get if I didn’t get it back to them. He didn’t give it back until I had a meltdown and was panicking but I think he did it for his own good because I was saying online about it how I could get a lawyer and get him arrested and send Dish network after him and saying how my dad wants to come to town and get it from him at his work.

    He fit lot of the profile for covert narcissism and lot of it makes sense now for his behavior. I didn’t want to label him as such but when the shoe fits, it’s hard. I did lot of reading about it and hours of it before deciding and also reading stories by other victims of narcs. I have heard worse stories so I am glad mine wasn’t that bad but it still hurt me and affected my thinking and changed my views. For years I just thought he had social anxiety and cared too much what others thought of him but now I know it was for his self image and ego and he was trying to control what others think of him and I just thought he had depression but now I know it was because he couldn’t do the image he wanted others to see because of his income limited it. He wanted a nice car and nice furniture and a nice house but couldn’t have those so he was depressed about it and to me this was silly and I didn’t care about his apartment or what he owned and what car he drove. He also claimed he had PTSD to justify his behavior towards me, because his ex called him a pedophile he said, he used it to hurt me by ignoring me because if I was too immature for him, he would ignore me until he thought I was acting mature enough for him. He also used Asperger’s to not get my perspective and to not even try, he would just go “Oh that is too abstract for me to understand.” Plus none of it ever added up about his “diagnoses.” I read this is a common CN thing to do, use medical labels to justify their abuse and to get away with it and to tell his son everything about me to humiliate me and used honesty as an excuse to be critical of me and to not care about my feelings. And another thing, he was always complaining I was making him looking like an asshole or a control freak and for years I just thought he was paranoid and worried too much what others would think but now I think he might have been called those before and now he was trying to control it. I do realize now he was aware of what he was doing so instead of trying to change it, he was trying to control what others think of him and not to see that side of him. Also he had me believing I was worst off than I really was and I felt so bad about myself, he acted like I was retarded and low functioning and used it against me. Lot of his actions were confusing and that was the whole point, it was to distort my image of him so I wouldn’t see the real him. But actions speak louder than words.

    But I do think narcissist has become a buzzword to mean asshole or when someone does something we don’t like or we find annoying. I wouldn’t call someone that over one thing such as them doing selfies. Narcissist has become the “I am so OCD” because they like things organized or don’t like things out of place or uneven things.

    1. Hi Beth, thanks for sharing your experience here. It certainly shows the differences in Narcs v a**holes. “covert narc” is a label I haven’t heard that much about. They sound sneaky LOL. I think you’re right that people are really quick to label (their ex) anyone they have conflict with as a narc. Not fair. It is important to note as well that narcissism is also a human characteristic that we all have but in different degrees. The true narcissist has much more than the average person for many reasons. One of the reasons is the childhood trauma. I’m sure you already have read about that. I hope you’re healing now and have re-built your confidence since leaving these abusers.

      1. Thanks for your reply. Once I learned about covert narcissism, things clicked into place. Before I just thought he was an asshole lol and couldn’t understand the things he did and thought I was also at fault too and should have been a better partner but now I know it was the abuse.

    2. Hi Beth, thanks for sharing your experience here. It certainly shows the differences in Narcs v a**holes. “covert narc” is a label I haven’t heard that much about. They sound sneaky LOL. I think you’re right that people are really quick to label (their ex) anyone they have conflict with as a narc. Not fair. It is important to note as well that narcissism is also a human characteristic that we all have but in different degrees. The true narcissist has much more than the average person for many reasons. One of the reasons is the childhood trauma. I’m sure you already have read about that. I hope you’re healing now and have re-built your confidence since leaving these abusers.

  19. I’m in the middle of trying to break up. I see over the years I have said “get out I’m done” a million times, it always leads to big nasty fights and used to lead to both of us going below the belt, now it’s just him as I just don’t want to be that person.

    I’m struggling. Am I a narc? Is he really a narc? I find it hard to believe every emotion he’s ever shown is a lie, I believed he loves me (still need to leave, abuse is getting bad). My dad has strong narc tendencies, I call them fleas because I’m pretty sure my grandmother was NPD. But maybe I have fleas too?

    My ex before this one I thought was SO different from my dad, but now I see he was full blown NPD. The things he did and said, the cheating, the little digs, the stealing money, and yet me feeling like our love and connection was special, destiny even.

    When I met current guy, he tried love bombing and wouldn’t leave my house, claimed he loved me so much. He used to say he was sorry but he never changed any actions, so maybe it was just words to get what he wants? He’s younger than ex so I felt like I could see his efforts and they triggered me.

    I’m very empathetic, I care for animals and people, my parents would say I have a bleeding heart. BUT I’m also very concerned about what others think, I don’t go out much these days because im depressed and embarrassed about the weight I’ve gained post baby. I used to be really hot and I was somewhat vain but not obnoxiously so. However even when pretty I’ve felt insecure or not good enough, isn’t that a narc trait?

    Am I a narc who turned a jerk into an asshole, or do I have narc fleas and current guy is an asshole or narc (even after this article I still can’t tell. I think my hesitation is I want to believe he’s not just saying what I want to hear to get what he wants. Lately he doesn’t even say what I want to hear, he just gets nasty when I mention wanting to be done ).

  20. My ex would probably think this entire blog is about him and i wouldn’t blame him for thinking that. I dated him for about 8 months and for the life of me i couldn’t figure out how a grown man could be so unaffected and cold. He began by sweeping me off my feet, totally, but this all quickly turned sour once he decided it all wasn’t being “appreciated” (This was his favorite phase BTW) and it allowed him to play the victim to the hilt. Every problem in our relationship was “My fault” …. Anyway glad to say i ended that relationship and recognize it for what it was – that i had simply encountered a thoroughbred narcissist. People beware, if you don’t have a strong sense of your self or are full of poor self image then a narcissist will completely destroy you .

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