What is a narcissist?
Have you ever had to deal with one?
If you haven’t, considered yourself blessed.
Narcissists are unbelievable people to have to deal with to the point where even if you HAVE experienced one, they are tough to wrap your mind around.
If you were to describe a narcissist to people who have never had to deal with one, they’d likely look at you as if you had 10 heads or something.
But there are MANY people in the world who HAVE gone through narcissistic abuse in some form or fashion and there are MANY people who need healing and support after having gone through such horrific and traumatizing experiences.
While there are MANY different characteristics or behavior patterns of a narcissist in general, here we’re going to take a look at the top 10 character traits of what a narcissist is.
The Top 10 Character Traits of a Narcissist
So let’s jump right into this discussion and start it off by listing what are for me, the top 10 character traits of a narcissist:
- Abuse cycle
- Belittling, Condescending, Patronizing
- Chaos Manufacture
- Circular Conversations
- Emotional Abuse
These 10 traits, for me, are the most dominant traits of a narcissist.
In the interest of full disclosure, I myself come from a family with MANY narcissists on both sides of the family and it is like PURE HELL.
For so long as a child I didn’t even know how to verbalize what was going on with my mother or what was wrong with her.
But the above character traits are EXACTLY what it was like dealing with her, as well as the other narcissists I’ve had to come across in my life.
So now let’s go through each of these top 10 character traits and take a look at what they are exactly.
The Top 10 Character Traits of a Narcissist Examined
1. Abuse Cycle
So when we use the term ‘abuse cycle’, we’re talking about a pattern that exists within all dysfunctional and toxic relationships.
This is basically the tell tale sign that you’re dealing with an emotionally unhealthy and potentially toxic individual.
The abuse cycle refers to when there are periods where the narcissist seems nice and kind, maybe even more than kind by showering you with all kinds of compliments and gifts.
But these periods of time where the person seems nice and caring and giving eventually turns into some kind of a nightmare when the same person begins cutting you down in different ways, or accusing you of things that you don’t remember happening, or starting fights and chaos for seemingly no reason.
The abuse cycle is simply the cycle of essentially being nice and caring and then flipping on you and becoming mean, vindictive, and honestly rather crazy.
This abuse cycle is sort of the foundation of all unhealthy relationships, and they are a fundamental sign that you are indeed dealing with what’s known as an emotional manipulator i.e. an abusive and toxic person.
The abuse cycle is how the person keeps people hooked into their mental and emotional games and their bullshit.
It’s also one of the primary ways the abuser brainwashes their victim.
When dealing with an abuse cycle with an abusive person, the victim keeps questioning their own behavior and thoughts thinking that there must be something wrong with them and not the abuser.
Because of this, the victim keeps trying to ‘be a nice person’ or simply ‘go along’ with what the abuser wants in order to make the abuser ‘happy’ so HOPEFULLY they stop being abusive.
But it’s all bullshit.
The abuse is EVERYTHING for the narcissist and the toxic person, and it’s why the abuse cycle exists.
When dealing with a narcissist or a particularly toxic individual, you will notice that this person is usually SEETHING with anger in some form or fashion.
It may be more overt such as outright yelling, cussing, tantrums (yes adult tantrums), abuse etc.
But it could also be more covert anger, where the abusive person is more passive aggressive and subtle, but they are nonetheless filled with all kinds of anger that has been buried and suppressed inside.
The truth is, narcissists and other emotionally unhealthy individuals come from toxic and emotionally unhealthy backgrounds themselves.
They have A LOT of unresolved anger and rage inside them, which they were never allowed to express or process through when they were growing up.
Actually the way people become narcissists themselves is that the pain, shame, guilt, etc that they experienced growing up was buried and suppressed so deeply within them that they cannot bring themselves to look at it out of fear of what they might experience if they perceived any kind of flaw in themselves.
SO, their coping mechanism is to completely dissociate from their own true feelings and thoughts and see themselves as perfect and everyone else as the problem.
The are literally projecting their issues onto everyone else and attacking them in various ways.
The reality is these are very damaged, angry people who do deserve a certain degree of sympathy.
But unfortunately these people have also become so toxic, so abusive, and so unreasonable to deal with that it is not safe to be around them at all.
In fact it is said that a narcissist can’t really heal or change and that is because they fundamentally don’t think there is anything wrong with them and will never take a good honest hard look within themselves.
Now baiting is where narcissists try to pick fights with people to get reactions out of their victims and HOPEFULLY to be able to stir up enough chaos to start a fight.
This can be anything from sending some verbal cut downs your way, to criticizing something about you either with the way you look or with something you supposedly ‘have’ or ‘haven’t’ done.
Just think of a bully who’s constantly pushing you around here and there and after a while you simply have enough and snap back to try to get them to stop.
Well this is what the narcissist is constantly trying to do with certain people in their lives.
It’s how they keep the cycle of abuse going and it’s how they also subtly abuse and manipulate their prey emotionally and psychologically until they snap or react.
When the victim DOES snap or react, the abuser has a fight on their hands which is what they CRAVE.
PLUS they can now take what YOU’VE ‘DONE’ and twist it around to make them seem like the victims and you the bad guy to certain family and friends and further alienate you and isolate you from people who otherwise may have been able to help you in some way.
4. Belittling, Condescending, Patronizing
Belittling, condescending and patronizing are the more passive aggressive ways to be abusive to someone without them necessarily knowing it.
The other ‘nice’ thing about these methods of abuse for narcissists and other abusers is that if the victim says something like, “hey, you’re hurting my feelings and I don’t appreciate it”, they can just say something like, “oh I was just kidding around” or “hey, don’t be so sensitive”.
But even though they might be small, sly remarks here and there, belittling, condescending, and patronizing ARE forms of emotional and psychological abuse and they are NOT ok.
In my opinion, having dealt with narcissists all my life so far, I would say that the core way to describe a narcissist is that it’s like dealing with a REALLY insane and messed up bully.
Now when we think of a bully usually there is some idea of a big kid in school picking on a younger kid or something like that, but the truth is bully’s come in ALL shapes and sizes.
When the bully is in the form of one or both of your PARENT’S then you’ve got a particularly hellish situation on your hands.
You see, dealing with a bully is bad no matter what.
But when it’s your PARENT’S, it’s even worse, and it’s worse for a number of reasons.
First of all, you have no safety in the one place where you are supposed to be safest in the world: your home.
Secondly, being abused or bullied by anyone, let alone one or more of your parents is extremely painful in and of itself.
But one of the worst parts about it is that if it IS one or both of your parents who are bullying you, it’s difficult for many people to believe and so it is difficult to get help from outside sources unless they themselves are familiar with what you’re talking about and with what you’re going through.
6. Chaos Manufacture
Chaos manufacture is pretty much just as it sounds: creating chaos out of thin air.
This in and of itself is a form of emotional abuse in the form of emotional manipulation.
It is trying to create chaos so that A. a fight of some type gets started and B. it allows the abuser to twist things around to make the victim look like the bad guy to get even more fuel from the family and friends that they will scapegoat you to.
Creating an environment of chaos and instability is also a way to keep the victims feeling uneasy and feeling like they have to constantly walk on eggshells.
7. Circular Conversations
Circular conversations are conversations that go on and on and don’t really go anywhere or really have a point.
However if you find yourself in a circular conversation with a narcissist or another toxic person and you try to get a word in edge wise they will likely snap at you and ask YOU if they can finish (which they never do).
This is just another manipulative tactic to get your attention or anyone else’s attention on them.
Of course denial goes without saying.
A narcissist will NEVER take responsibility for ANYTHING they have done to hurt you unless they think they can use an apology in order to manipulate you even more in some way.
If you bring up how they have hurt you or treated you they will simply deny it.
And of course if you try to bring it up with someone else, either THAT person will deny it OR they will go talk to the narcissist and the narcissist will deny it to them too!
It’s always a ‘win’ ‘win’ for the narcissist, and it’s always a no win scenario for you.
Denial is also how the family ‘functions’ when there is a dysfunctional dynamic in place.
They simply deny anything is wrong so they don’t have to hold the abuser responsible for their actions or take a look inside at their own pain.
Unfortunately, denial has a price in that the one doing the denying is also denying themselves and thus their own genuine inner peace and happiness.
9. Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is of course what this is all about.
And if you aren’t familiar with what emotional abuse actually is, the definition given by the site outofthefog.website says that the core of emotional abuse is the F.O.G., or Fear, Obligation, and Guilt.
Emotional abusers are constantly trying to get a ‘rush’ of sorts from the dysfunctional conflict that many refer to as the narcissist’s ‘supply’, and they get this when there is chaos going on around them and people are both focusing on them AND reacting to them.
Causing people to feel fear, a sense of obligation to the abuser, as well as to feel guilty is precisely how the emotional manipulator or the narcissist manipulates and tries to dominate the victim.
People who have to deal with emotional abusers constantly feel a sense of uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, and like they are walking on eggshells around the abuser.
Their sense of trust in themselves and their own thoughts and feelings is diminished as well.
But it’s really anything that makes one feel bad about themselves just for being alive or existing.
Emotional abuse can be put downs, subtle remarks, or it could be something more like overt verbal, mental, or some form of physical abuse.
But emotional abuse IS what’s occurring in relationships with narcissists, and you’ll know it’s happening when you feel bad around someone on a regular basis and don’t know why.
Scapegoating is basically gossiping about someone to friends and family.
But it’s worse than just everyday regular gossip.
Scapegoating a person is when someone is singled out as some kind of ‘target’ for the narcissist or other emotional manipulator to focus their abuse and manipulation on.
This person is said to be the narcissists’ ‘scapegoat’.
So it goes kind of like this.
The narcissist or emotional manipulator uses their manipulative tactics in order to abuse the person and push them to their limits until the victim reacts in some way and ‘hopefully’ a fight starts for the narcissist to ‘feed’ on.
This reaction on the part of the victim is seen to be an assault on the narcissist, which the narcissist then uses as justification for further abuse on the victim.
PART of this escalation of abuse is when the narcissist turns around and starts calling various friends and family members that know both parties, and smearing this person to them.
Doing this serves to rally the narcissists cause and get more people on their side to further alienate the victim from others who otherwise may have been able to help the person.
This alienation and scapegoating solidifies the abusers psychological and emotional hold over the victim and they get further isolated from others, including their own selves.
Wrapping it Up
So to sum it up once again, the top 10 traits of the narcissist are:
- Abuse cycle
- Belittling, Condescending, Patronizing
- Chaos Manufacture
- Circular Conversations
- Emotional Abuse
While there are other characteristics that fit the narcissist, it is my experience that these 10 traits are the core of what narcissistic abuse is all about and how it works.
To put it simply, dealing with a narcissist is like pure hell, and healing from such abuse can often be a lifelong process if complete healing ever takes place at all.
Unfortunately there are many people suffering from this kind of insidious abuse who are unaware of what they are dealing with, or of how much pain and damage has been done to them emotionally and psychologically.
Awareness of both what narcissists are as well as how to heal for survivors of narcissistic abuse is CRUCIAL to help those who have had to endure such hell and who continue to do so.
Hopefully by learning more about this as well as how to heal from this damage we can minimize the creation of narcissistic people and the insidious influence their abuse has on people and even entire generations afterwards.
Over to you: what are your thoughts and feelings on what was presented here?
Have you or anyone you know had to endure narcissistic abuse or continue to do so?
If so, realize that you are NOT alone and there are MANY support groups available online these days.
I would love to hear your comments and experiences in the comments below!
Also be sure to sign up on our email list for a FREE monthly newsletter that goes out each month on all things related to health, healing, well-being, and empowerment so you can make your life the way you’d like it to be!