5 reasons why you should never tell a narcissist they’re a narcissist.

narcissus

In my dealings with narcissists, it’s sometimes been tempting to tell them to their face that they’re narcissists, thinking maybe it could be the wake up call they need. It’s a nice fantasy to think they might take a look at their obnoxious, abusive, insufferable selves and try to make some changes, but unfortunately that’s just a fantasy. It won’t work, because narcissists cannot feel remorse for their actions or empathy for hurting you. In fact, they may take pleasure from it.

The following reactions are far more likely if you “out” a narcissist to their face:

1. They might rage. Or give you the silent treatment. Or laugh at you. Or deny it. Or abuse you. Or call you names. Or tell you you’re crazy or deluded. Narcissists hate the truth, and if they know you have their number, they feel threatened and will attack like a cornered rattlesnake. It’s in their nature.

2. It might give them twisted narcissistic supply. Some narcissists may actually take a perverse pride in being called narcissistic. Rather than making them feel shame and remorse, telling a narcissist they’re a narcissist may flatter them and inflate their ego even more, which could lead to them becoming even more narcissistic and abusive than they already are.

3. They might project it back onto you. This is surprisingly common. Projection (attributing their own bad behaviors to their victims) is one of the more common red flags of a narcissist, so if you call a narc a narc, don’t be too surprised if they start telling everyone YOU are the narcissist.

4. They might learn more to hone their weapon. Taking #2 a step further, some bright narcissists may actually decide to learn more about their disorder–but not to learn how to control it or improve the way they treat people, but rather to educate themselves about abusive narcissistic mindgames they haven’t already tried in order to use them against you. I actually know someone this happened to when she called her ex a narcissist. He started reading every book he could get his hands on about NPD and narcissistic abuse, and systematically started using the information to “prove” his girlfriend had NPD and that he was the real victim (see #3).

5. They might not be a narcissist. There is always a possibility (even if small) that the person you think is a narcissist really isn’t. If you’re not a mental health professional qualified to make a diagnosis based on standardized testing and interviews, your own bias, lack of knowledge, or just plain dislike of a person could be influencing your judgment of them. Perhaps they are having a bad day (or a bad life), or suffer from some other disorder that can mimic narcissism. Even non-disordered people can act like narcissists at times. All of us can. So if you’re certain someone is a narcissist, you may be right, but it’s still best to keep that information to yourself–or only tell your close friends.

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22 thoughts on “5 reasons why you should never tell a narcissist they’re a narcissist.

    • How did you hear? I don’t think this person (and their friends) is anywhere near as toxic as Jason’s stalker, but it’s still aggravating.

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            • I have been reading your blog since February. I have found you to be consistently kind, gracious, caring, forgiving, humble, deep thinking, open minded, wise, breathtakingly honest, and forgiving. Even when provoked far beyond what most people can endure, I have never seen you turn mean toward anyone. You bend over backwards to give others the benefit of the doubt.

              If all other bloggers had even half of your qualities — you would not need to grow a thicker skin. ❤

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  1. Pingback: The 5 reasons why you should never tell a narcissist they’re a narcissist | Yoshiko

  2. Their brains are in backwards. No matter how straight forwardly you may try to approach them, it goes in and comes back completely reversed and twisted. All the world is a projection screen for all that they won’t take responsibility for in themselves.

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      • I think there really are some differences in the brains of people with true NPD, whether those differences are due to genetics or their environment and choices, is hotly debated. I think it is some of all three but abusing others is always a choice. They’re very good at avoiding responsibility for their choices and that keeps them from getting well. The cure for narcissism is to grow up but they never do.

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        • Nope, they sure don’t. They’re stuck in the mind of a two year old.
          I thin the brain chemistry is different, but that begs the question–did the brain chemistry become different when they became narcissists (when they shut off their empathy center) or was it different in the first place?

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          • I think it has to do with brain abnormalities, the things that happened to them as children, and the way they chose to deal with trauma. The part I don’t understand is why they don’t mature. Maybe that is due to choice also, as the narcissists in my family are allergic to responsibility and very, very dependent.

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            • They don’t mature because the true self is hidden and stuck at the age the person adopted a false self. The false self doesn’t mature because it’s a lie and a lie can’t grow up.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Or stuck within many false selves…I think it has to do with their dependence upon others too. They are like infants crying for their mom to meet their every need. They are emotionally, helpless. A person can’t grow up if they don’t learn to crawl and then walk. I wish I knew how to unstick them.

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  4. Pingback: I told my ASPD ex he was a narcissist, and… | Down the Rabbit Hole

  5. I wish I heeded the warnings of sharing my belief of my ex being a narcissist. I thought I would be helping our relationship. He always seemed a proponent for personal growth. Well, my nightmare began when I told him. We broke up immediately, but I missed him (what is wrong me me?) and so I went back. I thought all was well, and he only threw it in my face a few times that I was a narcissist. (Yes, he did turn it all on me and has told everyone that I am really the narcissist). Then suddenly, it was like he was waiting to unleash at the time it would hurt most – my birthday. It’s been two months and the nightmare I’ve gone thru with his rages — the texts, the e-mails, the phone calls. We have been broken up but I guess I’ve been hoovered a few times. No more. No contact from here on out. HOWEVER, please heed the advice to never tell someone they are a narcissist. They are very vindictive. He even told me that he dated a psychiatrist and she never mentioned it. Well, now I know that she just knew better!! The fury, the evil. The projection. He recites back to me exactly what he is. My mind has been blown. I’m just thankful, I didn’t waste more than 15 months of my life. Thank you for letting me get that out.

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    • That’s good you didn’t waste years on your narcissist the way I did. Yours raged and many do if you tell them (or project it back onto you, the way yours did), but others actually take it as a compliment, and think it’s something to be proud of. Leave diagnosing them to the professionals. Best to just cut your losses and get away without telling them you are onto them.
      Vent any time you like. 🙂

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