Originally published on Inc.com.
They have “something” about them. It’s an “it” factor that makes you want to know more.
Maybe it’s a great smile, confident posture or a funny wit. Or maybe they attract attention in the room – either by being overly brazen or quietly commanding.
They have wonderful stories, great adventures and accomplishments. They have lots of impressive contacts and seem to have answers for everything.
Yet, somehow, something about them seems “off.”
You might brush your doubt away or you might be wonderfully intrigued. Soon, you are entangled in their web. Maybe forever. Inside the web is a dizzying and mortifying array of behaviors that will make you experience, fear, worry and doubt about yourself.
It’s not a happy place to be.
The narcissist has you in his or her sights. If you want to stay out of the confusion web, here are a few things you need to know.
1. Everything is about them – somehow.
Narcissists have a very inflated sense of self. You could call it an obsession. No matter the topic, somehow, it always turns back to the narcissist. Consider President Trump recently at the National Prayer Breakfast. It should have been about peace. Instead he made it about ratings. His ratings.
2. They share great stories about their abilities, success, power and attractiveness.
The narcissist weaves tales about what he/she will do in the future. If they once owned a company, it was the largest, biggest and best company in the industry. Probably in the world. And even though they might have hit a rough patch, they are going to be back, bigger and stronger than ever. Oh, it will happen and you better believe it.
3. Their talents and achievements are overly dramatic – and inflated.
The narcissist will regale you with stories (from their past) of course, where they were above and beyond successful, powerful and full of achievement. They will show you with great effort the plaque they received in 1995 and convince you they still have what it takes to “get on top again”. And you’ll believe it.
4. Blaming others is a standard response.
When dealing with a problem, the narcissist is not looking for an equitable solution. He or she is looking to be RIGHT. He/she will react to the situation with blame, shame, anger or humiliation of others. It doesn’t make sense yet it provides a distraction from the problem (which rarely gets solved completely anyway).
5. Entitlement is a right, not a privilege.
They are the boss. Or should be. Or want to be. Or will be. Because they said so. They are more capable than you so therefore they will want to climb the ladder of success. They don’t last long, however, because as soon as someone realizes they can’t do the job, it’s someone else’s fault. Even if they get fired.
6. Constant admiration and attention is as important as air.
A narcissist will not sit still and wait for praise. They will demand it. And if you don’t give it to them abundantly, they will act in childlike ways to get it. While that may be amusing when it’s a kid, it’s not the slightest bit amusing when a grown adult is throwing a full-on tantrum.
7. They are always right. Period. End of discussion.
No matter what. A narcissist, while boasting about accomplishments or speaking fantastic stories (that he or she believes to be true) of what will happen in the future, will inevitably say something outlandish. If you repeat it they will deny, deny, deny. If you repeat it, then you said it, not them. And you are wrong.
8. They easily feel rejected or hurt.
Narcissists are fragile. They take things personally. Quickly. Somehow, because everything is about them, the smallest thing will seem like a huge rejection to them. If you are allergic to their particular cologne or perfume, it means you don’t like them. They will react angrily and inappropriate because they feel deep hurt (even at something you can’t control, like an allergy). They place personal meaning on everything. It’s an easy way to draw you in.
9. Goals are reached by using you and others.
It is almost impossible to negotiate with or work with a narcissist because they have an agenda. And you are just a pawn. Because no matter what, they will use you to meet the goal of that agenda. During the “battle”, (everything is a battle in their mind) they will use many tactics to make you wobble. When trying to solve a problem, they will use whatever tactic works to lower your confidence. If it means a temporary retreat to make you feel like you won, so be it. (Remember, they think there is a battle going on).
They will retreat, not for the greater good but to determine the next tactic to take to WIN. Just when you think the matter is over, it starts up again. And they will continue this pattern until you are worn out. Then they win.
Having a narcissist in your life at home or at work can mean an exhausting, difficult life for you and others around you. You may be planning a way out of the web if you’re already in it. Or you may have been in the web before. However, when you know these narcissistic traits you’ll stand a much greater chance of avoiding the web in the future.
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