If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you know the feeling of having your heart torn out, stomped on, and then squished into tiny pieces before you can even blink. Does this sound a little dramatic? It really isn’t. That’s exactly how you feel after you’ve been attacked by a narcissist who is actively gaslighting you.
Have you been attacked by a gaslighting narcissist?
In fact, narcissists are well-known to gaslight, manipulate, and try to control the people closest to them. On top of this, they are infamous for their narcissistic rage (usually followed by the almost equally painful narcissistic injury). These gaslighting attacks are exhausting and overwhelming, and they leave you SPINNING.
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a shockingly effective manipulation technique used by most narcissists. The goal of a gaslighter is to manipulate you into questioning your own sanity, your perception of the world, and the situations you experience. The gaslighting narcissist will actively call you crazy, make you feel dumb, and try to make you feel not good enough. Learn more about gaslighting.
What does gaslighting feel like?
When you’re in the middle of being gaslighted by a narcissist, you don’t usually realize it, unless you’ve taken the time to learn the signs of gaslighting and to understand the reasons it happens.
During gaslighting, you will feel numb, broken, empty – like a shell of your former self. The world feels hollow and you find yourself feeling completely devastated by the selfish, callous, and cold treatment you’ve just suffered.
As someone who has personally survived being abused by a narcissist in a relationship, I recognize that need to find your center again after being attacked by a narcissist.
Do you know the SOUL-CRUSHING feeling that comes from narcissistic abuse?
Are you always feeling emotionally exhausted? Like, the narcissist’s behavior becomes so outrageous that if you weren’t there, you might not have believed it yourself?
That’s what this kit will help you get over – that feeling of being completely, utterly, and extremely alone in the world…the feeling of empty, hollow, nothingness that comes along with having been emotionally abused by a narcissist.
The PERK (Post-Gaslighting Emergency Recovery Kit)
Even better, I’ve decided that this one is too important and too IMMEDIATELY necessary to sell it. I want to get it into the hands of as many victims of narcissistic abuse as possible – because honestly, we ALL deserve better. And this free downloadable kit will help you to soothe yourself in the moment and figure out what to do next.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be on your way. But this is just the beginning – there’s so much more to do for yourself in narcissistic abuse recovery. Start with the resources listed below.
Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery, right now.
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
You might have a few different reasons to expose the narcissist. Maybe you are tired of being the one who everyone “worries about” or “feels sorry for,” or worse – the one everyone thinks is pure evil, thanks to the lies and half-truths the narcissist spreads about you.
But, before we get into the thick of it, let me just put this out there: sometimes, the best solution is to just walk away – the narcissist will eventually expose himself to anyone he allows to be close to him. You’ll see the tell-tale eye rolls, feel the tension and hear the strained tones and fake cheer in the voices of anyone who has been exposed to his true self.
Even his flying monkeys might have their moments of weakness in which they reveal the level of manipulation to which he has subjected them.
2. Expose a Narcissist by Stopping Helping the Narcissist Hide: No More Excuses.
You probably don’t even realize that you’re doing it, but after you’ve been involved with a narcissist for a while, you fall into certain co-dependent habits. You find yourself coddling him, accepting certain conditions and behaviors out of habit. So one simple way to make a narcissist show his true colors is to literally just stop helping him hide them.
Don’t make excuses when he flakes out on your plans with others, and don’t cover for him in any way when the mask begins to break away. You may find this incredibly uncomfortable at first, but it’s a very effective way to open the eyes of the people around the narcissist.
3. Pull the Trigger on Exposing a Narcissist By Being Honest: Telling It Like It Is.
This one’s really pretty simple. In order to expose a narcissist, you simply tell it like it is. Just say something that triggers narcissistic behavior and don’t take it back. That’ll cause him to expose himself because he won’t be able to hold back if you don’t do your customary two-step around the issue to help him save face.
But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Think about what kinds of things typically trigger the narcissist’s rages and boldly use those to your advantage – but be fearless or it won’t work. Don’t feel bad about it – this is literally you turning his own behaviors back on him. How often has he said and done these kinds of manipulative statements to you?
A statement of fact that contradicts the narcissist’s inflated perception of his/her grandiose self. (i.e. “I thought you said you got a promotion – I’m shocked you’re still driving that old beater! You must really have a lot of expenses.”
Any open criticism, disagreement, or blatant exposure of fake achievements, made-up stories, or other lies and deceptions.
Belittling the “talents and skills” the narc believes or pretends that he has (i.e. “your rap skills need to go back to the 80s!”).
A statement that would indicate that he’s “less than,” somehow “not good enough,” in any way controlled, owned, or dependent upon someone else – even you (i.e. “I don’t know what you’d do without me!”).
Describe the narcissist as average and common, “just like all the others “(i.e. “You’re a typical woman. All women are crazy” or “Men are pigs – you’re just another oinker in the pigpen of life.”)
Any indication that the narcissist is weak. (i.e. “Oh, let me help you! You’re clearly in need. You’re (insert adjective here – weak, slow, lazy, in any way not perfect)! Poor thing!”)
Why This Works to Expose a Narcissist
See, the narcissist literally believes he is different and better than everyone else – that he is so special, in fact, that other people should recognize this and treat him accordingly. So, while he’s really good at making people believe he’s cool, fun, laid back, or whatever he’s trying to make them think, the truth is that the best possible way to expose him is to simply make him do it himself.
When you use the three steps I outlined above, you will almost definitely expose the narcissist and make everyone see who he really is – and fast. But be prepared for the very strong reaction that is sure to come from the narcissist – it will come and it will be unpleasant. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be able to handle it.
Honestly, while exposing the narcissist to the people in his life may help some of them to get a clue and stop allowing themselves to be his narcissistic supply, it’ll only temporarily slow the narcissist down.
In fact, it’ll give him the proper fuel he needs to get his next supply on the line – his very own savior. Because, of course, in his version of the story, you’ll be just the crazy bitch who was so mean and hateful to him and who tried to make his family and friends hate him.
With that being said, there are a number of ways that these behaviors and toxic patterns can manifest themselves in people.
So, while it might seem pretty logical to assume that narcissists are all alike since their behaviors seem so similar, they can sometimes slip by even the most trained eye – and that’s because there are various personality types within the so-called spectrum of toxic narcissism.
Today, I’m going to define seven primary types for you – but please note that just like the rest of humanity, no two narcissists are exactly alike – and yours may encompass one or more of these qualities. So let’s do this.
Seven Types of Toxic Narcissists (And How to Deal With Each)
1. The Know-It-All Narcissist
While the know-it-all narcissist might really know a lot, she’s also very pushy with her opinion, which she’s all-too-happy to shell out – no matter if she’s been asked for it (or not).
This narcissist will lecture you all day long – and as long as you don’t expect to actually have a two-way conversation, everything will be fine.
But don’t expect her to listen to you – because though she might be quiet while you talk, she’s just thinking about what she’s going to say next.
How to deal: Politely acknowledge her advice, thank her an then go ahead and do whatever you feel is best. Don’t take anything too seriously, and don’t let yourself feel offended by her uppity behavior – yes, she does think she’s better than you – but in reality, you should probably feel sorry for her.
2. The Daydream Believer
I like to call a narcissist who has the whole “grandiose” thing going on a daydream believer. That’s because he will almost always see himself as someone who MATTERS more than other people.
He figures he’s more important, somehow, and expects other people to recognize that and treat him accordingly. He will always exaggerate his own accomplishments and loves to think people are envying him or admiring him.
He believes that he is meant to be something BIG, and if these qualities are combined with a certain amount of charisma and a strong sense of ambition, he may actually succeed on some level – and you might find yourself very drawn to him.
How to deal: The daydream believer might bring out your sense of competition or sense of justice – don’t let yourself get caught up in it. If you do, he will just increase his desire to be better than you and his efforts to match. Don’t let yourself be too affected by his charms – they will quickly drop once he’s got you in his clutches. Remember that he won’t do anything to help you unless there’s something in it for him – and don’t allow yourself to become dependent on him if you can avoid it – he’s one who will discard you like last year’s pumps – and without a second thought.
3. The Seductor/Seductress
The seductor or seductress is a very different kind of toxic narcissist. (We’re going to use the feminine form here from this point forward, but please note this can manifest in males as well).
The seductress will make you feel like you’re someone important – someone special who matters. But the dark side of this one is that her intent is to seduce you into feeling that way about HER.
She knows that when you love her and depend on her a little bit, you will support her. You’ll grow to admire her. She will use blatant admiration, physical affection and flattery to get what she wants – but once you’re no longer useful to her, she will drop you like a hot rock.
How to deal: Enjoy the flattery if you must – but know what it really is. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by the seductress – even if it feels really good at first. Keep your eye on how she treats people around her – such as those she might feel competitive with. You might find that watching how she treats them gives you a glimpse into your potential future, who knows? And listen to how she talks about her exes – if she swears they’re all crazy/stalkers/evil – there’s probably something to be concerned about. Narcissists are great at victim-playing to get what they want – especially the seductress.
4. The Bully
You know the bully, right? He’s probably the kid who beat you up after school back in third grade, all grown up. But he might also look a lot like the mean girl from high school, or the jock who gave everybody wedgies when he felt saucy.
Yeah, I said it. The bully will treat people around him with disdain and contempt when he doesn’t get what he wants – and he is NOT nice when he asserts his superiority (which, of course, is as often as possible). He needs you to feel bad about yourself because it’s the only thing that helps his ridiculously low self-esteem feel less painful – but he would never admit this, even to himself.
Where the seductress will use sex and her charms to get what she wants from you, the bully will push you, pressure you, and downright threaten you to get what he wants. In extreme cases, he may even threaten (or actually use) physical harm* if you refuse to comply.
He will relentlessly mock you and belittle you to the point that you might start thinking you’re not even worth the oxygen you’re allowed to breathe – he will do a number on your self-esteem.
*Important: If you’re being physically or sexually abused, you’re not in the right place right now – so stop reading immediately, visit this page and get some help – not kidding. Run, don’t walk!
How to deal: If you’re not in a position to go no-contact (an ideal solution), then your next best bet is to shine this guy on. So don’t do anything that would injure his ginormous ego – don’t directly challenge him. If you’re going to withstand this guy’s attacks, you need to be very strong in your sense of self-esteem – and you need to know that you don’t require validation from the outside of yourself. So, if you’ve got to deal with a bullying narcissist on the regular, work on your pokerface and practice your gray-rock technique. Just be careful to take care of yourself so you don’t end up dissociating.
5. The Evil One
Okay, so a bullying narcissist, up to this point, has been our most toxic in the list. But now we’ve reached the pinnacle of all narcissists – one I’m calling “the Evil narcissist,” and this one’s the kind that you should avoid at all costs.
The evil narcissist is a whole other kind of animal. While she may have qualities of all the other kinds of narcissists listed above, especially the bullying narcissist, the evil one will literally attempt to destroy you if you somehow pose a threat to her.
Maybe you made her feel like you were challenging her “superiority” somehow, or that you’re succeeding in some way she isn’t – or she’s just threatened by you for some reason or another.
She’ll spread lies about you to everyone you know, and she might even attempt to cause trouble for you at work. If you’ve been married to her and have kids together, she’ll do anything she can to turn them against you and keep them from you – or she’ll walk away without a second thought.
How to deal: If you can, get away as quickly as possible. The evil narcissist isn’t capable of any sort of healthy relationship and the longer you stick around, the higher your chances of having your life completely ruined will go. A scary thing about the evil narcissist is that she’s often a better actor than the rest – so many people in her life will have no idea who she “really is,” at least when it comes to who she is behind closed doors – and this can even include family members, who might also be used as flying monkeys – so beware.
Important to Know: In the case of the evil narcissist, you can’t be too careful when it comes to the legalities of it all – so keep copies of all toxic emails, texts and other kinds of communication. And keep in touch with anyone who might have seen the narcissistic behavior in action – you may need them to make a statement on your behalf if the evil one causes any legal problems in your life. Don’t be afraid to lawyer up, and early, if necessary.
6. The Addict
The addict narcissist is exactly what he sounds like – he uses drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, sex – or whatever else he finds pleasurable – to find fulfillment.
This kind of narcissist will often encompass other qualities listed above, but not always – sometimes, they’re just openly selfish, and other times, they’ll willingly steal from, trick or otherwise scam people who love them so they can get their drug of choice.
This is a dangerous narcissist because the addict often deals with dangerous people – and because he doesn’t care if you get your rent paid or feed your kid – he’ll steal your last dollar if it means getting a “fix” of whatever makes him feel good. A lot of co-dependent issues arise when an addict narcissist is involved.
How to deal: Watch your back, and don’t even give the addict the illusion of trust. If you can, go no-contact, and fast. There’s almost no fixing the addict unless he manages to actually work on recovery and get some serious therapy. If you’re co-parenting with an addict, keep records and document everything – and get some counseling and legal representation while you’re at it. Protect yourself and your kids.
7. The Victim
The “victim” narcissist is also called the “covert” narcissist. He’s a master manipulator, but he differs from other narcissists because he seems to be almost an introvert.
Sadly, for a “poor me” kinda narcissist, it all comes down to one thing: he actually hates himself. He thinks it’s going to be possible to hate himself BETTER, somehow.
Though he continues to demonstrate the behavior that he loathes, the covert narcissist is powerless to control his thoughts – and his deep inner conscience is NOT okay with the person he is or has become.
He judges HIMSELF more harshly than he judges anyone else, and usually, more harshly than he judges anyone else – but he certainly has what he considers a high standard for his life.
How to deal: As with any narcissist, watch your back and go no-contact if possible. If not, be prepared to ignore the quietly judgmental gaze and superiorist attitude directed your way – and then just keep doing what you do. If you don’t feed their narcissistic supply, like the rest, they may just get bored and move on.
Thanks to my background and my work in the field of helping people recover from narcissistic abuse in relationships, I get plenty of questions every day from readers and clients alike.
Today, I thought it would be helpful to share the top 12 most-often asked questions in regard to narcissism in relationships and narcissistic abuse recovery. Each question below is answered in detail – you’ll see the full answers when you click through.
Your Turn: Ask me anything! What are the biggest questions on your mind in regard to narcissism in relationships or narcissistic abuse recovery? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, below.