I’ve read many blogs and web sites about narcissists, and one question that keeps coming up is, “do they know they’re narcissists?” Another, related one is, “do they know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it?”
The answer to both is yes. Narcissists know exactly what they are, and I think they also love it when you figure them out. They’re flattered that you know of suspect them of this nasty character disorder, even if it means it will be harder for them to continue using you as a source of narcissistic supply. They also like to read about themselves.
Several years ago, I realized my mother was a narcissist. At the time, I was pretty enraged at her (more about my relationship with her another time) and emailed her a copy of the checklist for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) from DSM IV. She backed off with the manipulations after that for awhile. Nothing else had been able to shut her up until I sent that email. I don’t know if she was flattered or not, but she definitely knew I had her number.
About a year ago I worked for a guy with fullblown malignant narcissism. I left a copy of “People of the Lie” on my desk (not on purpose), and when I came back after lunch, I caught him standing there at my desk seemingly lost in the book. He was so engrossed he didn’t even see me approach my desk and didn’t look up until I said hello. He jumped a little, then commented about my having some interesting reading taste. For the rest of the day he seemed more cheerful than usual. The next day, he asked if he could borrow the book when I was done with it.
I recently purchased a copy of Dr. Simon’s book about malignant narcissism “Character Disturbance.” I live with my daughter, who allowed my ex (her father) to come inside my home even though I have a restraining order against him (she does not). Of course that’s another matter and a serious one which I won’t address here. I did find it humorous that he had found my copy of the book, which was lying on the coffee table in the living room (not where I had left it) with a page corner turned down where he had left off reading. My daughter told me he was asking her why I was reading it, and she told him because it was about him. She said he kind of smiled after that and said he might order a copy of the book for himself. Evidently he knows exactly what he is and likes it.