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.
20 Quotes to Help You Understand Narcissists 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.
- “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
- “Narcissus weeps to find that his Image does not return his love.” ~ Mason Cooley
- “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
- “Narcissism and self-deception are survival mechanisms without which many of us might just jump off a bridge.” ~ Todd Solondz
- “No one has probably helped me more with my narcissism than my dog.” ~ Tucker Max
- “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
- “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
- “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
- “Self-awareness is not self-centeredness, and spirituality is not narcissism. ‘Know thyself’ is not a narcissistic pursuit.” ~Marianne Williamson
- “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
- “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
- “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
- “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
- “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
- “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
- “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
- “Withhold admiration from a narcissist and be disliked. Give it and be treated with indifference.” ~Mason Cooley
- “Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.” ~Elizabeth Bowen
- “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
- “There is a difference between supporting someone and feeding someone’s narcissism. One is support and the other is not.” ~Fathom
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.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Think you might have C-PTSD, but you’re not sure? Then, take our free C-PTSD Self-Assessment.
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
- Learn more about the narcissist’s cycle of abuse.