Deeper Perception Made Practical

Protect Yourself Energetically from Narcissists, Part 6 of 7

Choose your Narcissist Candidate and  prepare for surprises

Choose your Narcissist Candidate and
prepare for surprises

Narcissists — have they been a problem for you in the past? Are they a problem for you now? The quiz in today’s blog post can help. And then tomorrow’s post… which will be based on how you do with today’s assignment.

You see, we are close to completing our series on protecting yourself from difficult people, a.k.a. narcissists, draining people, toxic personalities, energy vampires, psychic vampires, or just plain “somebody difficult.”

This series began here. It was designed to include six posts. All from the perspective of Rosetree Energy Spirituality, a perspective that’s counter-culture in New Age; also quite distinct from the sort of help you might gain from psychotherapy.

Boldly moving forward, an experiment would be useful in advance of what I was planning to write on this topic. So let’s go for a series of seven posts, rather than six.

If you do the following experiment it may help you get a lot more out of my next post, which WILL conclude this series. And it WILL be about ways to protect yourself from narcissists — protect yourself energetically and in other ways as well.

Blog-Buddies, are you game for some empowerment?

Here’s the empowering experiment

The steps are simple.

  1. Think of one person in your life, present or past, who could be considered a narcissist. Otherwise, think of a character from a movie or TV show. Maybe doll-beautiful Lady Mary from “Downton Abbey”? In short, choose your Narcissist Candidate (for the sake of this particular experiment).
  2. Take a moment to notice how you are feeling right now. Name one or more emotions. Then say out loud how your right hand feels physically right now.
  3. Go down the list below with characteristics about “What is a narcissist.” Assess the extent to which your Narcissist Candidate fits the picture. Need you go through all 16 characteristics? Nope. Just do 1 or 2, or more. Keep going down the list for as long as it’s interesting to you.
  4. Repeat Step 2.
  5. Compare what you found in Step 2 with what you found in Step 4.
  6. Draw a quick conclusion. Ask yourself, “How much has it helped me, assessing the horrible qualities of my Narcissist Candidate?”

Feel free to comment below with your quick conclusion. For fun, include how far down the list you went before you felt you had had quite enough.

And, of course, add any other comments you like. Naming — or being named — as a narcissist is a highly charged topic.

What is a narcissist?

Qualities like these are said to mark a narcissist, according to David Thomas, author of Narcissism: Behind the Mask.

  1. An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
  2. Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
  3. A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
  4. Difficulty with empathy
  5. Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
  6. Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
  7. Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
  8. Haughty body language
  9. Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
  10. Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
  11. Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
  12. Pretending to be more important than they really are
  13. Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
  14. Claiming to be an “expert” at many things
  15. Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
  16. Denial of remorse and gratitude

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  1. 1
    Kira says:

    My quick conclusion is that going thru the list satisfied my curiosity, which is all I really expected.

    I did get thru the entire list, and my chosen person had more of the characteristics than I expected–5 or 6. There was really nobody I could think of who might truly be a narcissist.

    As someone fascinated by what makes people tick, and therefore by psychology, I’ve actually done quite a bit of reading about narcissism, hence my expectations.

  2. 2

    KIRA, once again you have stepped forth in a leadership role.

    Thanks, and thanks to LILIAN, WILL, DAVID, and KYLE, all of whom have brightened my morning with comments (elsewhere) at the blog. We have some interesting thinkers who contribute here!

  3. 3
    Amanda says:

    Ha ha ha! I went down the list thinking of someone but ended up realizing that this is the classic definition of a teenager! And in fact any child.

    The laugh did me a lot of good.

    It’s uncomfortable having to focus on any of this but oh so human 🙂


  4. 4
    Lilian says:

    Thinking about narcissists makes me feel trapped and fearful. You don’t matter, you’re just an accessory. They can destroy your life and, in my case, career and it doesn’t matter to them. No sense of responsibility. Reading the list made me laugh. That’s all quite human. I guess we have to mature out of a self centred attitude. Though 14 made me particularly laugh. Scientists argue a lot about how much “expertise” they have. They all want the shiny hat. What you then have to do is to get them to answer an actual question. :-p And finally I felt relieved that I’m not dealing with that person anymore.

  5. 5
    David FB says:

    (laughs) right, Amanda. Healthy ego development can mean a period of self-focus. But some don’t outgrow that and it can become pathological.

    It struck me that a narcissist was like the opposite of an unskilled empath. Self-absorption vs other-absorption, and so forth.

  6. 6

    DAVID FB, I’ve been enjoying all your recent comments so much (as usual).

    However, I do wish to leap in here related to your last paragraph in the previous comment.

    Absolutely not. In my opinion, the opposite of an empath (skilled or not) is simply a highly INsensitive person.

  7. 7

    It really, really won’t be helpful to think in the way you just proposed.

    In session, helping clients, I have read auras of many a person who would have been flagged as a narcissist by using that quiz in today’s post.

    And, therefore, that person might technically be considered a narcissist — if I were a mental health professional. Which I’m not.

    Hence I do not have the standing to call ANYBODY a narcissist.

  8. 8

    That said, when I have read auras of people with narcissist-like behaviors, yowza!

    Maybe some day I will do that type of aura reading research in a blog post. (Sure not looking forward to that hypothetical prospect….)

    For now, suffice it to say that each person who is truly icky in behavior has an aura that is at least as icky. And in distinctive ways.

    Distinctive ways that are not the opposite of being an empath.

    Distinctive ways that have zero to do with Imported STUFF, which is the big problem aurically with being unskilled as an empath.

    Does all this make sense, DAVID?

  9. 9
    Zelda says:

    Rose, I have a candidate for that hypothetical aura reading, should you ever choose to do it. 🙂

    This woman’s behavior is cartoonishly narcissistic. Not much fun when she is the leader of the organization one works for. Interesting to see how her behavior permeates the entire organization and also how people find creative ways to cope with it.

    Just say the word and I’ll send a photo! 🙂

  10. 10
    Suz says:

    As someone who was born to a mother with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), I have spent a lot of years learning about it. (I also have some mental health training, but I’m not a therapist.)

    So as soon as I started reading your experiment questions, my hand started feeling like slapping somebody. 🙂

    Some people we run into have the disorder, which is partly genetic and partly environmental. But some may have grown up around a person with NPD and picked up the behaviors. It doesn’t make them a narcissist, thank heaven. The main difference is insight (or lack thereof). The real NPD cannot see their bad behavior; indeed, according to them, if anyone is misbehaving, it’s you!

  11. 11
    Suz says:

    Sad to say, much of the time the only defense against someone with NPD is staying away from them. And realizing that they will probably never see into themselves, and will never be able to change.

    Many NPD people are hypersensitive to perceived slights or criticism, so some will know that we empaths are seeing past the facade. If you get caught doing that, run!

  12. 12
    Amanda says:

    Having returned to this definition, I can see that a true narcissist is probably rare.

    That’s a relief. It’s the kind of word that can float around as a label when people behave less than perfectly, and rather like ‘energy vampire’, can dramatise a situation.


  13. 13
    Amanda says:

    The other interesting thing is that I’m sure we all have to deal with our own narcissistic tendencies to one degree or another.

    Or is that just me? 😀

    In difficult interactions or towards people who’ve hurt us it can be hard to take a step back out of our toddler reactions.


  14. 14
    Somebody Else says:

    I read this with the idea of understanding my husband better. I felt happy anticipation.

    But EW! Instead of understanding him better, I just feel yucky!

  15. 15
    Somebody Else says:

    I feel like I’ve been sucked into subjective reality.

    Did it matter that he sent me flowers on my birthday?

    Did it matter that he took the day off for our anniversary and asked me what I’d like to do?

    Did it matter that he reads bedtime stories to the children EVERY night? Nope.

  16. 16
    Somebody Else says:

    Instead, I felt like he was this evil, wicked person – this nnnnnnnarcissist!

    Not only that, but I thought this sounded like a lot of people I knew. Not myself, of course. No, but a lot of OTHER people.

    After reading this, I wasn’t happy at all. I felt depressed and angry. Yuck!

  17. 17
    Somebody Else says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that labeling toxic people is not for me.

    Paying attention to what happens in objective reality? Much more helpful.

  18. 18

    Fascinating comments are rolling in, to be sure.

    All these, and ones to follow, will help to shape the final post of this series.

    Meanwhile, I can’t resist commenting a bit on this series from SOMEBODY ELSE.

    What happens when someone who is NOT a trained mental health professional reads a little list like the one developed by David Thomas?

  19. 19

    SOMEBODY ELSE, you concluded in your Comment #17 that “labeling toxic people is not for me.”

    Maybe labeling mental health disorders is not for anyone who is not either a mental health professional. Or under the care of a mental health professional, helping the patient to move beyond damage inflicted in a situation like the one you referred to, SUZ, in your Comment #10.

  20. 20

    Sure, it is easy to take bits and pieces of technical professional training and make it into a free-for-all on the Internet.

    No doubt DAVID THOMAS meant well. Personally, I question how helpful it is to popularize technical knowledge where people can grab bits and pieces of it as they choose.

  21. 21

    So, consider this (with all respect), SOMEBODY ELSE.

    Would a mental health professional really throw your husband into the narcissism category? As you stated, the picture of him includes:

    He sent you flowers on your birthday.

    He took the day off for your anniversary and asked what you would like to do?

    He reads bedtime stories to the children EVERY night?

  22. 22

    Perhaps training as a mental health professional makes it easier to evaluate who really is considered a narcissist and who isn’t.

    Lacking that trained expertise, is it responsible to fling out serious diagnoses like “Narcissist” or “Autistic” or “Paranoid”?

    Your conclusion in Comment 17 seems reasonable… perhaps with a something added that I will mention in that upcoming blog post to conclude that series.

    Meanwhile, who else has a point of view?

  23. 23
    Lara says:

    Ha! Well I sure do know a narcissist, a close relation. I suppose a lot of normal healthy egoic people could tick a few boxes, but narcissists make you miserable too when you are close enough to them. I didn’t have any particular reaction reading the list though.. what was that test supposed to show?

  24. 24
    Lara says:

    Just to add the narcissist I know is totally capable of doing nice thoughtful things for people. Certain people, certain times. A short description, while it does fit, doesn’t give a full picture.

  25. 25

    LARA, thanks for those latest comments.

    I agree, a short description does NOT give a full picture.

    As to your question, “what was that test supposed to show?”

    There is no single “supposed to” in this experiment/quiz. My next blog post will be about some ideas for protecting oneself from narcissists.

    Comments here may be referred to in that post.

    Bottom line: I’m interested in whatever you’all contribute.

  26. 26
    Lilian says:

    I wasn’t thinking in terms of a mental health label. It is useful to understand other people’s behavioural patterns. That’s part of what psychology offers society. It helps you think about how to manage a situation.

  27. 27

    Good point, LILIAN.

    But here’s a question. When pop psychology helps you to manage a situation, is that the same use of psychology done by professionals to diagnose a personality disorder or other mental illness?

    At what point is it inappropriate to throw around language that IS a mental health label? Just because many people now use it often in everyday conversation, how helpful is it to call someone else a narcissist?

  28. 28
    Lilian says:

    comment 11 : “Sad to say, much of the time the only defense against someone with NPD is staying away from them.”

    True, but still hard if you’re family.

  29. 29
    Lilian says:

    ” I have spent a lot of years learning about it. (I also have some mental health training, but I’m not a therapist.)”

    Yup. Sorry you’ve had that burden too Suz.

  30. 30
    LILIAN says:

    Comment 5: “Healthy ego development can mean a period of self-focus. But some don’t outgrow that and it can become pathological.”

    True, healthy ego development is important. If people aren’t given the opportunities to develop in life then they can lead to arrested development. I’ve had to learn how to appreciate my own ego. It’s useful!

  31. 31
    Lilian says:

    Comment 9:”This woman’s behavior is cartoonishly narcissistic. Not much fun when she is the leader of the organization one works for. Interesting to see how her behavior permeates the entire organization and also how people find creative ways to cope with it.”

    Yup! People in full throes of ego development want to be in charge. I agree, they can made a whole workplace icky. It’s the strangest experience.

  32. 32
    LILIAN says:

    Rose: If there are some tried and tested ways of handling someone in ego development, it would be handy.

    What is it they’re lacking? Just flattering and agreeing with them and reassuring them keeps them calm, but then they hand responsibility to you but they still want to be “the boss” who gets credit. It’s exhausting. You can’t always walk away staightaway.

  33. 33
    LILIAN says:

    Anything like this would be good for our own personal development, too. Everyone is a bit of a narcissist, though usually people can tell when they’re being needy.

  34. 34
    Primmie says:

    I don’t like reading lists about Narcissists. I did a lot of that a while back and while it was helpful and useful at the time I’ve had my fill.

    It’s interesting to have gone through a process with my son where he was diagnosed with Autism. It was a very professional thorough process. I wince now when I hear people say things like “We’re all a bit Autistic”. Em, no, we’re really not. I feel similarly about Narcissism.

  35. 35
    Lilian says:

    I guess the word “narcissist” is both a pop psychology label and a mental health disorder. It’s like saying you’re depressed, but not being clinically depressed. Are there other words we could use? Calling someone a narcissist to their face, or even out loud to anyone probably doesn’t help. If there’s a distinctive aura patterning that makes you think “narcissist”, maybe for want a better word, it could be good to examine that. Some onewith an underfunctioning or overfunctioning chakra. Like me with my overfunctioning spiritual and emotional growth chakras result in far too many blog comments. 😛 a distinctive behavioural pattern due to a particular state in my aura.

  36. 36
    Suz says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Rose about not handing out mental health diagnosis labels. Not without training.

    It might help to know if there IS a diagnosis on a person, however, if something they do bothers you and you are getting involved romantically or in business.

    As Lilian said, it helps to understand a person’s behavioral patterns. No matter what the cause. Because regardless, we have to decide how to deal with them, or if we even want to deal at all.

    Thanks, Lilian for your kind regards, and my best to you.

  37. 37

    Well put, SUZ. Thanks also to you, LILLIAN, and PRIMMIE for these latest insights.

    You sure have come a long way, PRIMMIE,since you first began to comment here at the blog. Wow, you!

  38. 38
    Kira says:

    Not diagnosing people as a non-mental-health-practitioner is why I couldn’t think of anyone who might be a narcissist. I know people who are moderately difficult in various ways, but few of them seem clinically abnormal. None of them seem clinically narcissistic.

    If one were difficult enough to seem potentially clinically narcissistic, I still couldn’t know that for sure.

  39. 39
    Kira says:

    I think I I myself fit criterion #1, at least as far as this blog is concerned. But there’s a reason for that!

    The blog is about deeper perception, and unless I mention impressions I’ve gotten from unskilled empath merges (I try not to), the only person I have any deep insights about is myself.

  40. 40
    Primmie says:

    I hope so Rose!

  41. 41
    Elizabeth says:

    Narcissist word brought up feeling for me of isolation and fear of safety as a child. The mirror is always on them. To,point it out to them would be useless and unproductive unless they wanted a change, which would mean putting down the mirror so pointless could be a feeling or futile. Looking forward to more informaction.

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