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.
So you’ve made the choice to end your relationship with a narcissist. Or maybe the choice was made for you. I want to tell you to feel amazing about that right now. But first, let me tell you this – I know it hurts. And that’s okay; it’s going to get better. I promise you.
However the relationship ended, you’re working on recovery from the narcissistic abuse you’ve been suffering. Whatever your story, this is a time of intense healing, and that’s a good thing. I wrote this guide for you to remind you of some things that have helped me – and I want you to know that you’re never alone.
Of course, you’re hurting, and it will likely be a while before you feel 100 percent better. But I’m asking you to hold out hope – and to know – that better will arrive. You’ll feel happy and at peace again. It will take time and hard work, but it’s worth it and you deserve all the love and happiness life has to offer.
What should you expect in narcissistic abuse recovery?
Trying to recover from narcissistic abuse can seem a never-ending journey which can also be very difficult to navigate. You may have lost all self-esteem and confidence you once had, which will make it even harder to take the first steps towards recovery.
As someone who has personally managed to recover from narcissistic abuse and who has helped thousands of others do the same, I can tell you that recovery from narcissistic abuse is absolutely possible! Still, recovery requires you to recognize what you’ve been dealing with and then to take intentional steps toward healing. It will be difficult, but it is most definitely worth the effort. If you have children with the narcissist or are unable to go full no contact for another reason, you’ll need to modify the process, but even then, with certain personal policies and behavior modification techniques put in place, you can heal and take back your life. I created the DUO method to make this process more understandable and easier to navigate.
I know that might seem inappropriate at this moment, but try looking at it a new way. Imagine the level of freedom you can now enjoy. Imagine how you’ll be allowed to make your own decisions, to be the person that you truly want to be. To start this process you need to learn how to open your mind and heart further as healing requires rebuilding your whole sense of self. The first step toward recovery is knowing that you deserve better and that narcissists are not capable of true, genuine love.
Your recovery should begin with getting to the point where you just want to feel better. Given that we all hate pain and naturally want happiness, this really should be the starting point. I find many people buy into this notion of ‘healing’ but instead of wanting to feel better, they want someone to fix them, or make them happy.
In other words, many of us don’t realize exactly what we need in order to arrive at that place of happiness and contentment. Once we really figure out what we need deep down inside then we can take steps toward healing and recovery.
The Big Secret: Deep Down, You Really Are Who You Want to Be
See, the truth is that the person you want to be is secretly who you really are – so the best way to begin to find yourself and figure out your life after narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship is to indulge in the things you love, the things that make your soul feel alive. That’s going to help to discover yourself and bring that “true you” up to the surface.
But what if I love to do something I’m no good at? What will that serve?
First of all, you’ll never know until you try. Plus, you don’t have to be “good at it” to enjoy it; but about now, I’d love it if you could stop feeling like you’re not good enough.
Is there any chance the narcissist will change? Is narcissism curable or do they remain forever broken? Research suggests that narcissism exists on a continuum from mild to severe with most people falling somewhere in the middle.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a pathological distortion of a person’s traits and interpersonal relations, is established by specific diagnostic criteria. The disorder is commonly known as NPD.
It’s a narcissist’s nature to tear down the people who are closest to him or her. The narcissist must feel in control, and they must obtain what he considers the appropriate amount of admiration and attention from their various sources of narcissistic supply.
When they get it, he feels validated and he might be the best guy you’ve ever met – or she might be the coolest girl.
Narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury will set in and the person in the line of fire is most likely to get the brunt of the narcissist’s rage. In fact, narcissists know very well how to manipulate you; often they’ll play the victim in order to get you on their side (narcissistic injury). When you fall for it, they might just inadvertently recruit you to become one of their toxic flying monkeys. Or, if you don’t, you can probably expect the injury to become narcissistic rage. And then if you don’t finally comply with serving his needs, the narcissist will likely send a flying monkey your way to do his manipulative bidding.
When you feel weak: How do you stay strong in the face of a love bomber?
You know, that’s when he places you on a pedestal and makes you feel like you’re perfect and amazing and like no one can compare? And where he suddenly seems humble and sweet and you start thinking maybe he really can change, after all? And then before you know it, he’s back in and you’re back to trying to figure out how to deal with his gaslighting?
The gnawing feeling in your stomach when you hear the names you’re called or the horrible way he seems to see you as a person, maybe.
How your entire being, your character, and your integrity were called into question for every little “infraction” of the ridiculous (and often unspoken) rules and double standards he required of you?
That’s why you left. Or maybe it’s why you’re leaving – or maybe, it’s just one reason you can stop crying about the narcissist who left you.
Because now, you are the one who decides what happens. Now it’s all about what you want, what you choose, what you say is best.
ABOVE ALL: Don’t scare yourself into staying
Remember: the narcissist tries to make you into exactly what they are. They are trying to project their bad qualities onto you. They will go out of their way to play head games with you and why they will tell you that if anyone hurts them, it will be your fault. The narcissist wants your sympathy so that you will do all of the work so that they can get attention and love without having to do anything in return.
The narcissist is going to try to make you afraid and insecure. They want you to think you can’t live without them and that you can’t do better. Don’t let that scare you – I know that being in full control of your life might be a little freaky after having been under someone else’s thumb for a while, but you will very quickly find yourself feeling light and happy in a way that you can’t remember feeling before.
You can do better.
I don’t care if you’re overweight or you’re frumpy or you’re very, very shy – no one deserves the mental and emotional abuse of a narcissist. It’s pure torture and you can do better. You DESERVE better,
Know that. And remind yourself when you feel weak. You can do this. You can be who you want, and you can take care of yourself. KNOW IT!
Change is hard but you will come out so much happier and more fulfilled.
While your initial reaction to any sort of change is going to be difficult sometimes, this is especially true when it involves separation from someone you’ve spent many years or even months with.
That’s because a lot of times, you literally sort of forget who you are – you’ve become so enmeshed and codependent with your narcissist that you literally don’t know who you’d be without him.
REMEMBER: Your situation and what you’re dealing with now doesn’t make you wrong, less than anyone else, or stupid; it makes you human.
Before you know it, you are literally putting every single word you say and choice you make through the “narcissist filter,” which is your understanding of what will and will not upset the narcissist.
How Do You Remove the “Narcissist Filter” From Your Self-Identity?
So now that you’ve made the choice to leave, it’s time to begin to shed the narcissist’s version of you and start to create your own perfect version – what you consider the be the best possible version of yourself.
If that means you need to spend a bit of time getting over your relationship first, fine – but set a time limit and stick to it. And then, you can get on about the business of deciding who you are after you end a relationship with a narcissist.
How long does it take to fully recover from narcissistic abuse?
Everyone has their own journey and while there are so many similarities among narcissists and the way they treat their closest relationships, there are several factors that might determine how long it will take to fully recover from narcissistic abuse. Depending on how long you were involved with the narcissist and the nature of your relationship, it could take a few weeks, a few months, or more than a year. The good news is that when you intentionally focus on and work toward healing, it can certainly expedite the process.
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.