Narcissism Quotes: 81 Quotes to Help You Understand Narcissists and Narcissistic Abuse Better

Written by Angela Atkinson

Looking for narcissism quotes? Narcissists are tricky people to understand, and putting up with them (and their apparent personality disorders) can prove to be a rigorous test of your own patience, at best – and at worst, dealing with a pathological narcissist can be absolutely devastating. But we’re not talking about the standard narcissist, who might be a little vain and look at themselves in the mirror too often. We’re talking about a pathological or malignant narcissist.

What is a pathological narcissist? 

A pathological narcissist is someone who has been or could be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. They lack empathy and behave from that perspective. This narcissist will also have antisocial features, paranoid traits, and ego-driven aggression. They may also exhibit an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. You might also hear them being called a malignant narcissist or a toxic narcissist. elf-worth is derived from personal gain.

To be more specific, pathological narcissists (or anyone diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder) are often controlling, abusive, manipulative, unpredictable, mean, stubborn, and lie pathologically. There are many signs of narcissism including elitism, lack of empathy, arrogance plus hypersensitivity to criticism.

What is narcissistic abuse?

Narcissistic abuse is a pervasive, covert type of abuse that involves the exploitation and psychological abuse of one partner in a toxic relationship. This kind of abuse can affect a personal connection, such as marriage, partnership, friendship, or family relationships. When you’re dealing with a narcissist in the family, they will often abuse everyone in the household and even affect the extended family members. Even professional relationships and acquaintanceships can be affected by narcissistic abuse.

While narcissistic abuse can result in profound emotional and psychological harm, as well as long-term physical effects, the covert nature can make it difficult to spot and even more challenging to manage. Worse, if you find yourself involved in this kind of relationship, your self-confidence and self-worth are often so low by the time you realize it, you can’t or won’t leave.

Narcissistic abuse involves subtle manipulation, pervasive control tactics, gaslighting, and emotional and psychological abuse.  Many narcissistic abusers might be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder – if they actually go to a psychologist for diagnosis, but this rarely happens as narcissists don’t feel that there’s anything with them. They may be overtly narcissistic, or they may be more of a covert narcissist. In either case, anyone in a close relationship with one of these toxic people will be used as a form of narcissistic supply and not treated like an actual person. Sadly, even the most intelligent and educated people can be manipulated and abused by a narcissist.

20 Quotes to Help You Understand Narcissism Better

Expand your knowledge on narcissists with this collection of twenty quotes from experts regarding narcissism and narcissists. They include information on how to understand narcissists better, how to deal with them, stop them from hurting you, and help you move on.

  1. “I thought narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it … It is unrequited self-love.” ~ Emily Levine
  2. “Narcissus weeps to find that his Image does not return his love.” ~ Mason Cooley
  3. “You may have been so relentlessly tortured by the gaslighting and other forms of narcissistic manipulation that you have literally lost yourself – you don’t even know where to begin to remember who you once were (or who you could be now). This is almost always true in the case of someone who has served as narcissistic supply for someone they lived with, such as a spouse or parent.” ~Angie Atkinson
  4. Narcissism and self-deception are survival mechanisms without which many of us might just jump off a bridge.” ~ Todd Solondz
  5. “No one has probably helped me more with my narcissism than my dog.” ~ Tucker Max
  6. “Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” ~ T. S. Eliot
  7. “Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant, and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.” ~Jeffrey Kluger
  8. “I think a lot of self-importance is a product of fear. And fear, living in sort of an un-self-examined fear-based life, tends to lead to narcissism and self-importance.” ~Moby
  9. “Self-awareness is not self-centeredness, and spirituality is not narcissism. ‘Know thyself’ is not a narcissistic pursuit.” ~Marianne Williamson
  10. “For some especially charismatic narcissists, that blind self-faith becomes pretty contagious. That’s because we’re programmed to only detect lies that are blatant – and since most narcissists actually BELIEVE their own bullshit, they can be very convincing. To them, their twisted perceptions have become real – so real, that they seem to be actual truth.” ~Angie Atkinson
  11. “The silent killer of all great men and women of achievement – particularly men, I don’t know why, maybe it’s the testosterone – I think it’s narcissism. Even more than hubris. And for women, too. Narcissism is the killer.” ~James Woods
  12. “Parents are supposed to give the child back to herself with love. If they’ve got duct tape over their eyes because of narcissism, it doesn’t happen.” ~Jane Fonda
  13. “When challenged about harmful behavior, a narcissist struggles to maintain a very inflated self-image. Even though you can see right through them, they need to appear to feel good about themselves. It’s part of their game.” ~Angie Atkinson
  14. “The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one’s narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one’s desires and fears.” ~Erich Fromm
  15. “Being in a relationship with a narcissist puts you on a sort of scary rollercoaster ride of emotions. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows might alternate so quickly that you start losing your grip on what you used to call reality. Your ability to reason is called into question so often that instinct kicks in and you go into survival mode.” ~Angie Atkinson
  16. “Stay away from lazy parasites, who perch on you just to satisfy their needs, they do not come to alleviate your burdens, hence, their mission is to distract, detract and extract, and make you live in abject poverty.” ~Michael Bassey Johnson
  17. “Withhold admiration from a narcissist and be disliked. Give it and be treated with indifference.” ~Mason Cooley
  18. “Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.” ~Elizabeth Bowen
  19. “This pattern of constant mind games and manipulation leaves you feeling used up, empty, and lost. And often, you fall into the narcissistic FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt) pattern that many of us have been guilty of – and this leads to you eventually retreating and apologizing and begging for forgiveness yet again.” ~Angie Atkinson
  20. “There is a difference between supporting someone and feeding someone’s narcissism. One is support and the other is not.” ~Fathom

12 Quotes About Recognizing Narcissists in Toxic Relationships

The following quotes about recognizing narcissists might help you identify them more effectively and also understand how to deal with them. They are quotes that were written by experts who have studied narcissism in depth. The most important thing to remember when dealing with a narcissist is to not get sucked into their games of manipulation. That’s basically what they do, they manipulate you into doing what they want and making you think that it is all for your own good.

  1. “The lion is most handsome when looking for food” ~ Rumi
  2. “You can teach a narcissist to show up on time, but you can’t train them to listen once they get there” ~ Dr. Ramani Durvasula
  3. “Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life on his terms.” ~ Elizabeth Bowen
  4. “One of the main effects of social media is our confusing of someone’s obsession with their appearance with self-love or confidence.”~ Mokokoma Mokhonoana, author and philosopher
  5. “A narcissist can be your husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, boss, church member, or anyone you come in contact with. There are endless possibilities of ‘who’ they can be. The important thing to remember is the actions, behaviors are all very similar.” ~ Tracy Malone, author
  6. “Beware of narcissistic people. They’ll tell everyone you’re crazy, only to cover up their trickery. ” ~ Mitta Xinindlu
  7. “There is simply no winning with a narcissist. He will treat you so horribly that you will become withdrawn and depressed and then he will turn around and say, ‘You’re no fun anymore, you’re always so depressed. I need to be with someone more positive.’” ~ Susan Williams
  8. “A narcissist’s criticism is their autobiography.”~ M. Wakefield, author of Are You in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship?
  9. “The narcissist test: Step 1—Take a moment to think about yourself. Step 2—If you made it to step two, you are not a narcissist.” ~ Anonymous
  10. “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” ~ Unknown
  11. “Intuition — once you have had a narcissist in your life, you must develop your intuition and learn to listen to it and act accordingly.” ~ Tracy Malone
  12. “I have a very simple question to people who seem to suffer from excessive narcissism: Please name three other persons who are smarter and more capable than you, in the field you work in. In most cases, they are utterly unable to answer that question honestly.” ~ Ingo Molnar

7 Quotes About Recognizing You Are Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse in a Toxic Relationship

It is especially important to recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse in a relationship if you are married or have children with a narcissistic partner. This type of abuse can be dangerous, as narcissistic people have a tendency towards violence and rage when they feel threatened by their partner. If you are in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you need to get professional help to deal with the situation. Trying to deal with the situation on your own can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse and take steps to protect yourself from this type of person.

  1. “How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego.” ~ Amanda Torroni
  2. “There was nothing more unattractive than narcissism, she thought: nothing could transform beauty into a cloying, unattractive quality than that self-conscious appreciation of self.” ~ Alexander McCall Smith
  3. “Narcissistic love is riding on the rollercoaster of disaster filled with a heart full of tears.” ~ Sheree Griffin
  4. “Love doesn’t die a natural death. Love has to be killed, either by neglect or narcissism.” ~ Frank Salvato
  5. “Withhold admiration from a narcissist and be disliked. Give it and be treated with indifference.” ~ Mason Cooley
  6. “If you think leaving a narcissist is hard, just wait until you get the bill for not doing it.” ~ Kim Saeed
  7. “Narcissistic love is riding on the rollercoaster of disaster filled with a heart full of tears.” ~ Sheree Griffin

19 Quotes About Understanding Psychology Of Narcissism

There is a lot to learn about narcissism and the psychology of narcissists. Narcissistic people are often very charming and charismatic. This means that they usually attract others easily, without even trying. To understand their ways, you have to realize that they manipulate people with their lies and false promises. They act with no regard for others in order to get what they want out of them. The following quotes will give you an idea of what is going on inside the head of a narcissist.

  1. “Since narcissists deep down feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault.” ~ M. Scott Peck
  2. “A narcissist paints a picture of themselves as being the victim or innocent in all aspects. They will be offended by the truth. But what is done in the dark will come to light. Time has a way of showing people’s true colors.” ~ Karla Grimes
  3. “Narcissists have poor self-esteem, but they are typically very successful. They feel entitled; they’re self-important; they crave admiration and lack empathy. They are also exploitative and envious. The malignant types never forget a slight. They may kill you ten years later for cutting them off in traffic. But they act perfectly normal while plotting their revenge.” ~ Janet M. Tavakoli
  4. “When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”~ Brené Brown
  5. “Narcissism is a grave condition of insecurity and desperately feeling unloved and unacceptable. An individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder inherently believes they are ‘damaged goods’ and fears other individuals will discover the truth: that they feel powerless. Thus the narcissist invests a great deal of energy into ‘gaining the upper hand’, to hide feeling vulnerable, insecure, and broken. When they are getting what they want, the charm is flowing and plentiful. When the charm doesn’t work the intimidation begins. Narcissism is categorized as an unhealthy level of self-absorption and a lack of empathy regarding how their insecure, aggressive, and damaging behavior affects the world around them.” ~ Melanie Tonia Evans
  6. “How many narcissists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, they don’t use lightbulbs, they use gaslighting!” ~ Anonymous
  7. “Narcissistic abuse is not just that someone dumped you or who you had a little tiff with them. NA is psychological abuse and brainwashing using intermittent reward and punishment, coercive control and withholding normal empathetic, emotional reactions to lower your self-esteem.” ~ Alice Little, author of Narcissistic Abuse Truths
  8. “There may be no ‘I’ in ‘team’ but there are three in ‘narcissist!’”~ Anonymous
  9. “Narcissistic personality disorder is the only mental condition where the patient is left alone but everyone else needs treatment.” ~ Anonymous
  10. “To be your own god is to be the biggest participant in creating your own hell.” ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough, author
  11. “Toxic people make you think you’re holding a grudge when you’re really holding a boundary.” ~ Mel Robbins, motivational speaker
  12. “A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.” ~ Gore Vidal
  13. I wish that people would stop destroying other people just because they were once destroyed. ~ Karen Salmansohn
  14. “Narcissists are consumed with maintaining a shallow false self to others. They’re emotionally crippled souls that are addicted to attention. Because of this, they use a multitude of games, in order to receive adoration. Sadly, they are the most ungodly of God’s creations because they don’t show remorse for their actions, take steps to make amends, or have empathy for others. They are morally bankrupt.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
  15. “Narcissism is not about self-love. It’s a clinical trait that belies a deep sense of emptiness, low self-esteem, emotional detachment, self-loathing, extreme problems with intimacy.” ~ Drew Pinsky
  16. “But that’s the thing about narcissists. They can try to fool you, with all their heart, but in the end, they’re just fooling themselves.” ~ Ellie Fox
  17. “A man who loves others based solely on how they make him feel, or what they do for him, is really not loving others at all — but loving only himself.” ~ Criss Jami
  18. “A narcissist will say ‘get over it,’ because your feelings are trivial to them. If it’s not about them, they’re not interested.” ~ Unknown
  19. “Narcissistic personality disorder is named for Narcissus, from Greek mythology, who fell in love with his own reflection. Freud used the term to describe persons who were self-absorbed, and psychoanalysts have focused on the narcissist’s need to bolster his or her self-esteem through grandiose fantasy, exaggerated ambition, exhibitionism, and feelings of entitlement.” ~ Donald W. Black

5 Quotes About Understanding Psychology of Codependents

Being codependent is not a choice. It is a condition that affects millions of people, and it can be difficult to understand what drives codependents to behave the way they do. They love too much, feel too much and let others control their lives too much. Caring is good. Caring about others is essential to the human condition, but caring at the expense of your well-being and happiness is not healthy. Codependents have difficulty setting boundaries; they take on other people’s problems as their own and try to solve them for them. Codependents may be in denial about their codependency or lack of boundaries because they expect other people to take care of them and give them what they need. Codependency is a learned behavior, so there are things that can be done to change it. The first step toward recovery from codependency is admitting you have a problem and understanding what causes it. Once you understand the psychology behind your codependent behavior patterns, you can begin to recover from this condition.

  1. “Relationships with narcissists are held in place by hope of a ‘someday better,’ with little evidence to support it will ever arrive.”
    ~ Dr. Ramani Durvasula
  2. “Relationship with a narcissist in a nutshell: You will go from being the perfect love of their life, to nothing you do is ever good enough. You will give your everything and they will take it all and give you less and less in return. You will end up depleted, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and probably financially, and then get blamed for it.” ~ Bree Bonchay
  3. “Sadly, when many individuals realize that the narcissist is insecure and isn’t reassured, they try harder to love this person. Additionally, the narcissist blames his her behavior on something that you are or aren’t doing, and as a hooked person we may try to ‘do it better’ or ‘get it right.’ Your increased efforts to love and fix the narcissist only lines you up for more abuse.”~ Melanie Tonia Evans
  4. “Don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.”~ Anonymous
  5. “Nice people don’t necessarily fall in love with nice people.” ~ Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom

18 Quotes About Taking Back Your Power After Narcissistic Abuse

The following quotes about taking back your power after narcissistic abuse can help you to move on from the devastation that you suffered. They are also inspirational and motivate you to make big changes in your life. Reading quotes about taking back your power can also help you to feel as though you are not alone in this situation. They let you know that there are other people who have been through similar experiences and they have succeeded in moving on with their lives.

  1. “Self-love: Being content with the work-in-progress you are. Not seeking approval from others. Being yourself. Comparing yourself only to who you were in the past, not to others. Not thinking you are better than anyone else. Narcissism: None of the above.” ~ Zero Dean, author, and life coach
  2. “If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” ~ Mo Williems
  3. “If I cut you off it’s because you handed me the scissors.” ~ Harvey Specter
  4. “Instead of asking her why she didn’t leave her abuser sooner, tell her you are proud of her for leaving when she could.” ~ Christy Anne Martine
  5. I’m at a point in my life where I just want my family happy, my health good, my mind right, and no drama. ~ Karen Salmansohn
  6. When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth just like you did. ~ Jill Blakeway
  7. View your life as a toxic-free zone! If someone treats you badly don’t lower yourself to their level. Stay toxicity-free. Simply do what you can to move on. ~ Karen Salmansohn
  8. ”The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” ~ Caroline Myss
  9. “Lies don’t end relationships the truth does.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
  10. Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” ~Tori Amos
  11. “A narcissist doesn’t break your heart, they break your spirit. That’s why it takes so long to heal.” ~ Unknown
  12. “Maybe, the lesson we can all learn from the inner sadness of a narcissist is to see through our own fabrications, our own illusions, so that we can be set free to be real once more.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
  13. ”Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” ~ Helen Keller
  14. Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen
  15. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  16. “Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.” ~ Chris Brogan
  17. “If you want light to come into your life, you need to stand where it is shining.” ~ Guy Finley
  18. “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” ~ Robert Tew

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

Author

  • Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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