Narcissists make you feel like you’re worthless and act like they’re better than you and everyone else. They emotionally and psychologically abuse you and then pretend you’re crazy when you react like a normal human. Sound familiar?
Narcissists are manipulative, egotistical, and often cruel.
They get a feeling of superiority by making others feel inferior.
Why do narcissists often get away with their abuse?
Narcissists are experts at using emotional and psychological manipulation to get you to do what they want and to gain control over you. This makes them feel more secure, and when you become their primary source of narcissistic supply, it gives them a sort of emotional dumpster.
Have you ever found yourself Googling stuff someone has done to you and running into something that led you to suspect someone in your life is a narcissist?
Is someone close to you generally cruel, unfair, manipulative, and painfully clear to you or others in ways that don’t make sense?
Identifying Narcissistic Behaviors and Characteristics
While other unifying characteristics aren’t as obvious, the way that narcissists affect your life almost appears to be from some kind of ‘narcissist playbook.’ no different in how they will impact your life.
A narcissist’s behavior can be difficult to deal with because it can be very irrational and manipulative. Sometimes it can be very subtle, especially when dealing with a covert narcissist. This, of course, confuses their victims.
For example, you know if someone is arrogant, demanding, has an inflated sense of self-importance, and a lack of empathy, they’re demonstrating narcissistic traits.
Has someone in your life caused you to start Googling things that led you to suspect you’re dealing with a narcissist? Are you the target of cruelty, unfairness, and manipulation by someone you suspect could be narcissistic?
Do you keep repeating the same mistakes in relationships that hurt you but don’t seem to teach you anything?
You’re not alone in feeling frustrated by a lack of change in your relationships, even though you try to fix everything and make amends.
Narcissists may try and drive their partners into denying the truth that the relationship is over, and many do whatever they can to thwart and hurt their former partners, including things like stalking, intentionally shaming you threatening your safety and actively gaslighting you.
They may engage in hoovering through love bombing to try to suck you back in.
Hoovering can be any behavior that draws you back into the narcissist’s web – positive or negative.
In the case of some ‘lower level’ narcissists, they don’t even mean to hurt you as much as they do. They cannot feel in ways other than how they want others to feel, so they will cling and try anything else to get what they need.
The PLAN ensures a safe departure and leaves you no room for failure.
Each video is designed to both support and validate you as you’re preparing to leave, each video covers a different aspect of what you need to consider before, during, and after you’ve left the narcissist.
Plus, you’ll get a printable plan to leave, including a planning guide workbook and a planning timeline.
Also included are a to-do list, and checklists of must-have items and important paperwork you need to gather up and make copies of before you go, if possible.
How did Ross Rosenberg create his Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique?
“The Observe Don’t Absorb technique was created without knowing what I was doing,” Rosenberg told me, adding that it was 30 years ago when he’d been in an extremely abusive relationship. His partner at the time had BPD (borderline personality disorder).
“I realized had all the power over me if she could trigger me and get me mad, because she, like any person with BPD, would get angry, hurt me, and then cycle back and become in love with me again,” Rosenberg said. “And so the best way that she could feel better is if she could make me as angry as she was.”
Once he realized what was going on, he knew he needed to do something to protect himself.
“So, I developed this technique to safely and in a healthy manner disassociate from the environment and the person trying to trigger me or activate me,” he said, adding that the lesson comes from a George bernard shaw saying that goes, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”
How does the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique work?
Rosenberg said that the whole point of the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique “is the narcissist, when they want power over you, they want to get you into what I call their wrestling ring, and that is where they always are in control, and they have all the power.”
“So once they get a reaction out of you, through many techniques (including induced conversation technique), you lose your power because narcissists know how to fight,” he said. “They know how to manipulate, they know how to guilt and shame; and an SLD or codependent can never stand their own.”
“Essentially, the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique is a way to safely disassociate from a narcissist who gains power by triggering your emotions and making you fight them in a fight that you can never win,” Rosenberg said.
What is Self-Love Deficicit Disorder?
Rosenberg said he’d never liked the term codependency because “codependency” is antiquated and it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.
“So I decided to come up with a replacement term, and it took me a while to figure out, but ultimately it was Self-Love Deficit Disorder, and that’s the problem,” he said. “And the person (with the problem) is self-love deficient, so SLDD for the problem, SLD for the person.”
He said he came up with these terms to help people understand that “what they’re suffering from not only has a name that fits the problem, but also gives you direction on what to solve in order to not to have that problem anymore.”
Ross Rosenberg’s definition of narcissism
Rosenberg said that as he was writing his book,The Human Magnet Syndrome, it was incredibly important to make specific diagnoses so that people knew what he was talking about.
“There are so many people out there on the internet, Youtube, TikTok, everywhere, that use the term, and they don’t have a mental health background,” he said. “So I don’t use the word narcissism; I use the word pathological narcissism.”
“These individuals have personality disorders as defined in the Diagnostic Statistic Manual used by psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and psychologists,” he said. “So I don’t use the term narcissist to talk about someone because that’s an ex that’s a description of someone is being narcissistic, but when I say pathological narcissist, I am talking about someone with a personality disorder.”
He added that pathological narcissists are harmful to the people around them and unable to understand or know what they’re doing.
“So, therefore, when I use the word narcissist, I’m using a term that is a clinical explanation of a mental health disorder.” Rosenberg continued. “So now there’s little dispute on who’s a narcissist or not because therapists, doctors. professionals such as I cannot use a term unless they fit the diagnostic profile.”
Ross Rosenberg on Gaslighting
“Gaslighting is a manipulative ploy used by pathological narcissists who have sociopathic traits,” Rosenberg said. “In other words, they know what they’re doing. They’re not the garden variety narcissist who’s oblivious to their narcissism.”
“Gaslighting is a manipulative, systematically perpetrated strategy that pathological narcissists use to control and often hurt their victims,” he continued, adding that narcissists do this by instilling a narrative about a person that something is wrong with them, when nothing was.
Or, he said, narcissits will manipulate you “with a problem they had that was originally mild, while systematically manipulating the environment to prove their narrative.”
Of course, the victim eventually recognizes this fake narrative and identifies with the problem. And, Rosenberg said, “As the gaslighter manipulates them to identify with the problem, he then builds a narrative that they are needy, unlikable, and would do better if they isolate.”
The Cherry on Top of the Gaslighting Sundae
“The cherry on top of the gaslighting sundae is then the gaslighter portrays himself as the only one that loves, accepts, and will protect the victim; therefore, the victim has taken on a psychological problem or disorder, feeling broken unlovable, and encouraged to isolate,” he said. “And then picking the person that has designed the whole plan. And then no one in their outside world – friends, family, or loved ones – can get to them to try to bring them back to reality. And therefore, they are trapped – and sometimes forever trapped – by the scheming, sociopathic, gaslighting narcissist.”
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a psychological disorder with symptoms such as an exaggerated sense of self-importance, an obsession with power and personal success, self-centeredness, and the inability to empathize. It causes the affected person to have a pretty distorted self-image, unpredictable and intense emotional issues, and most notably, a serious lack of empathy for the people around them. The lack of empathy leads them to not feel or understand the feelings that aren’t their own – and clearly, this causes serious issues in relationships.
Someone with NPD may also have a sense of superiority and grandiose fantasies of power or importance, not to mention a huge sense of (often unearned) entitlement, and they may consider themselves and their ideas more important and correct than anyone else’s.
Now, let’s quickly cover the diagnostic criteria for APD or anti-social personality disorder. First, Antisocial Personality Disorder is considered a “mental health disorder” characterized by a blatant disregard for others.
Here, we see similar traits, including a propensity for egocentrism and self-directed goal-setting without regard for societal norms or rules. In addition, personality traits include a propensity for manipulating and deceiving others, hostility, and a sense of callousness. Also present are irresponsible and impulsive behaviors, excessive risk-taking, and other behaviors considered outside of the social norms.
Confusing, maybe, because there are some similarities there. For example, a narcissist will be uncomfortable in situations where they aren’t the center of attention, and so will the antisocial person. Both narcissists and people with APD can be very dramatic, and each likes to feel that they’re the center of the world.
What are the differences between APD and NPD?
Both the narcissist and the person with anti-social personality disorder are typically victimizers of others. However, while the narcissist lacks empathy, the anti-social personality has a reckless disregard for the safety of others – slightly different but still very similar, right?
But there are also some marked differences between APD and NPD, and that’s what we’re covering next. Probably the most notable one is that in most cases if the narcissist breaks the law, they aren’t caught because they’re very carefully calculating their behavior. For the anti-social person, though, being arrested at some point in their lives is pretty common.
NPD vs. APD on Attention from Others
Narcissists also really NEED their sources of narcissistic supply to self-validate. When it comes to their personal identities, the narcissist bases their self-esteem on how other people react to them and treat them. As a result, they tend to have an exaggerated sense of self that fluctuates to desperate self-doubt (which is usually not verbalized for many narcs). Narcissists are also known for their emotional extremes and mood swings.
NPD vs. APD on Self-Esteem and Personal Goals
On the other hand, the anti-social personality derives self-esteem from their own personal gain, power, and pleasure – not so much through the approval of others. They will aggressively and openly go after what they want without regard for the concerns of others. They want power, control, and material gain – the APD focuses mostly on functional benefits instead of the narcissist, who focuses on getting their supply needs met (the ego is more important to the narc).
It makes sense then that the narcissist’s goals are generally based on getting approval from other people and the need to see themselves as special or different. The narcissist also doesn’t really know why they do what they do, and as I mentioned, they have a great sense of entitlement.
The anti-social personality’s goals are based more on personal gratification, and this type of person lacks concern for societal standards when going after what they want.
NPD vs. APD on Relationships
Here’s an interesting note on empathy for both personality disorders. While we know that both lack empathy for others, the APD also lacks remorse when hurting or mistreating another person. While the same appears true for a narcissist, there is this interesting twist here – the narcissist tends to be hypersensitive to the reactions of others as they relate to themselves. The narcissist also seriously underestimates the effect of their behavior on other people.
Narcissists need relationships because they help provide them with validation and recognition, while anti-social people will build and discard relationships for their own financial or social gain. When their relationships end, narcissists are known to “hoover” their exes, while the ASP will walk away without a second thought.
NPD vs. APD on Sex and Intimacy
When it comes to sex and intimacy, the anti-social personality disorder person cannot have a mutually intimate relationship – they are all about exploiting other people to get what they want, and sex and intimacy are no exception. It’s the only way they know to relate to people. So the APD will use bullying and intimidation to control the people around them.
For narcissists, relationships are all about supply – getting their needs met. The narcissist enters relationships to serve him or herself only, boost self-esteem and fulfill the narcissist’s needs. Here is where people are most damaged by the narcissist – in intimate relationships. Narcissists are most often abusive to those closest to them. They tend to have very little interest in other people’s experiences, which leads their relationship partners to feel unheard and unimportant in many cases.
NPD vs. APD on Manipulation
Like the narcissist, the anti-social personality also includes manipulative behavior through seduction and charm, but for different reasons. But, again, the narcissist does it for supply and attention, while the ASP does it to meet their personal goals or for personal gain.
The APD-affected person is more likely to be blatantly callous and sadistic, deceitful, and to commit fraud. They are also more openly hostile and mean to others than narcissists, who are more likely to reserve these behaviors for their established sources of narcissistic supply.
NPD vs. APD on Taking Risks
Narcissists are less likely to take big risks and engage in hazardous behaviors, while the ASP is all about both of those things – in fact, they are known to be incredibly impulsive and irresponsible. As far as anyone can tell, many narcissists are financially and socially responsible, but that’s because they are also very concerned with their personal image and what others think about them. On the other hand, the ASP tends to lack the ability to be financially and socially responsible and really struggles to follow through on things promised and on agreements (legal or otherwise).
NPD vs. APD on Emotions
Narcissists have emotions, and they let everyone know it. But the ASP brain is wired differently. Neuroscientists believe that the brain’s prefrontal cortex has structural and functional issues that cause the ASP to have an inability to have remorse and genuine emotion. So while narcissists struggle to display remorse and genuine emotion in a normal way, it’s because they’re too self-focused sometimes to pay attention to or respect the feelings of others – not because they don’t feel anything. The APD genuinely can’t experience normal human feelings at all.
The narcissist will feel wounded when their pride feels attacked or when someone doesn’t agree with them, and they may seek revenge for the narcissistic injury they get out of the deal. The APD doesn’t care what anyone thinks of them, but they will react with anger or aggression if their personal goals (for material or personal gain) are affected.
Can someone be both narcissistic and antisocial?
Yes, the two conditions can be comorbid, but not often. The symptoms overlap, but the specific diagnostic criteria are specific to motivations, so it’s rare that they can both be identified in a person.
Question of the Day: Do you know someone who is APD or NPD? What have your experiences been?
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today