Is the narcissist watching you



The narcissist treats you like you don’t exist in order to hurt you. He or she expects you to be hurt. The narcissist is so wonderful that being cut off from him or her MUST hurt. It’s a way for the narcissist to punish you.

This is very different from you, as a normal person, deciding to go no-contact. When you go no-contact with a narcissist you’re aware that he or she probably won’t like it. But your purpose is to protect yourself. You’re out to regain some stability in your life. You’re not out to punish. You don’t fantasize about the narcissist’s reaction. You simply want to be left in peace.

Not so the narcissist. Not so. The narcissist will enjoy fantasizing about how horrible you must feel. While he or she behaves outwardly like you don’t exist, they are inwardly spending more time on you. Freezing you out, cutting you off, has become a project of theirs and you are, after all, at the centre of that project, even if only as the target.

That’s one of at least two ironies usually involved in a situation like this: at the same time the narcissist is acting like you don’t exist, he or she is probably thinking about you more.

The other irony is even more intense: what is intended as a punishment by the narcissist will often feel to the normal person as a relief! The narcissist wants to hurt you, expects to hurt you, by letting you know that in their very important eyes you have become a non-person. Really all they’re probably doing is saving you a lot of work: now you don’t have to go to the trouble of going no-contact. They’ve essentially done it for you. It almost makes you feel like texting, “Yo, Narcissist, thanks — for real!”

Be careful, however. Just because the narcissist in your life is treating you like you don’t exist today, it doesn’t mean that they’ll still treat you that way tomorrow. After the narcissist notices that the punishment doesn’t seem to be having its desired effect, its intended effect, the narcissist might become incensed and suddenly decide to inflict a very different punishment, one which might involve swooping back into your life and getting right up in your face.

Have you ever noticed that the narcissist in your life is always eyeing you down? Maybe you have seen them staring intensely at you or checking you up and down.

Maybe you have caught them looking at you and then looking away once you have noticed them. I have always found this trait bizarre. I have dealt with tons of narcissists in my law practice but also in my personal life and I would always notice this behavior and wonder what it was all about. As I began to study narcissism and learned all about how narcissists get narcissistic supply to feed their ego and survive off of- I learned some of the most notable reasons as to why narcissists are always eyeing people and their victims down.

To Mirror You.

One of the main reasons narcissists watch, stare, and gaze at people, especially, their victims is so that they can mirror the behaviors of others. Remember that narcissists don’t have a healthy sense of self-esteem/identity.

Through narcissistic supply, they derive all of their value from the external. To become the person that they want to be (on the outside), they must study those around them.

They stare at you so that they can pick up on your behaviors, communication styles, emotional styles, etc. They do this so that they can begin practicing becoming the person that they wish they were.

To Attract You/To Get Your Attention

Another reason that they're always watching you is so that they can actually attract you and/or get your attention. They want you to be a part of the world and under their control because you offer a source of supply that they are in search of. They especially might display this behavior after the discard phase and in the hoovering stage.

They may be trying to win you back and showing you attention by looking at you and watching you. They want you to look at them, notice them, and give them narcissistic supply by validating their presence or attracting you as a romantic partner, friend, or business partner, etc.

To Intimidate You.

Intimidation is one of the narcissist’s favorite forms of devaluing their victims. Through staring, or glaring, narcissists will try to intimidate you so that you feel powerless or inferior to them. I see this often in depositions- when an individual is trying to divorce a narcissist- and the narcissist will actually stare at that person who's being deposed to intimidate them.

This is their way of saying "You better be careful about what you say or what you do because I'm watching you. " This is especially frightening if you’re dealing with a malignant narcissist.

Five Signs of Narcissism
Common Characteristics of Narcissistic Personalities

  • Monopoly on Conversation
  • Flaunting Rules or Social Conventions
  • Fixation with Appearance
  • Unreasonable Expectations
  • Disregard for Other People
  • Praise, Praise and More Praise
  • It’s Everyone Else’s Fault
  • They Fear Abandonment
  • The Narcissist Lives in a Fantasy
  • There Are Always Strings Attached

Despite its origin from a figure in ancient Greek mythology, the modern term “narcissist” typically refers to people who exhibit certain traits that are associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is generally recognized as a psychological issue by the scientific community, although there are many different views regarding contributing factors and treatments.

There are many classic signs associated with narcissism, including some that have profound negative effects on friends, family members, and coworkers.
Movies like “Mommie Dearest,” “American Psycho,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” have given audiences glimpses of the narcissist in society.

True enough, narcissists make for an interesting theater-going experience.

However, spotting a narcissist in the movies may be a very different proposition than spotting one in life.

The markers of narcissism aren’t always as clear cut in the real world, at least not at first.

Psychologists have a number of theories about how and why narcissism develops in some people.

The crux of these theories centers around the idea that the narcissist suffered a great psychological wound early in life. This wound usually resulted from some form of trauma, like abuse or neglect. This, in turn, caused the narcissist to create a false self.

Many of the classic signs of narcissism arise from the narcissist’s need to protect this self at all costs.

While there is a multitude of different signs that point toward Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the following 10 count among the most common.

Related resource: 40 Best Online ABA Graduate Certificate Online Programs
1. Monopoly on Conversation

Many narcissists talk over or interrupt other people during conversations in order to express their views or talk about themselves. This behavior can border on a compulsion, cowing others into total silence for minutes at a time. They also tend to ignore what others say or only give superficial responses before steering the conversation back to their narrative.
This habit comes partly from the narcissist’s excessive need for praise and partly from the narcissist’s sense of entitlement. It also stems from the fact that narcissists tend to be short on empathy. That others might also need to feel seen and heard strikes the narcissist as irrelevant. For a narcissist, being the center of attention at all times is his or her right.
2. Flaunting Rules or Social Conventions
One of the more disruptive signs of narcissism is a desire to flout rules or traditions, sometimes with dramatic consequences. A person with a narcissistic personality is more likely to seek out special treatment in various scenarios and feels wronged when they are unable to circumvent the system. Violating traffic laws, stealing supplies at work, and getting in front of people in lines are just a few ways this mentality can manifest, according to Psychology Today. In other words, the rules exist for other people, not the narcissist. The narcissist is special. He or she sidesteps the rules because of the special status afforded to him or her.
3. Fixation on Appearance

Much like the mythological Narcissus, people with NPD often develop a strong fixation on outward appearances. Some spend hours in front of a mirror every day and feel compelled to fix or adjust their appearance constantly. Narcissists are also more apt to discuss the appearances of others or directly belittle them regarding their clothes, body type, or facial features. In addition to their physical appearance, people with narcissism also focus on creating grand impressions on other people.

This can lead them to inflate or even fabricate stories that increase their perceived value.

It is also sometimes the case that narcissists expect their family to be good looking.

They can’t be as good looking as the narcissist – think the evil queen in Snow White – but they must still make the narcissist look good by being good looking. Those who don’t measure up get abused and bullied for failing the narcissistic parent.

The narcissistic parent believes these feelings to be reasonable because he or she believes that a child is an extension of the parent.

Children of narcissists exist to make their parents look good. They have no use outside of this. They certainly don’t have their own needs and wants.

However, appearances go beyond physical looks. For a narcissist, it is also important that their lives appear perfect. Keeping up with the Joneses is an important goal for the narcissist. If the narcissist can surpass the Joneses, that’s even better.

4. Emphasis on Envy

A jealous mind is another classic symptom of narcissism. While many people feel envious of others at certain points in their life, narcissists can become completely consumed by these feelings. They may constantly discuss other people’s property or good fortune in a negative light, or maintain a strong belief that other people are envious of them.

Some narcissists use this drive to get closer to wealthy or famous people and actively try to associate with them. In the workplace, feelings of envy cause the narcissist to steal or at least downplay their colleagues’ work. The narcissist may have done little work on a project. Still, the narcissist expects his or her name to appear at the top of a project.

Narcissists may also feel like someone who is doing better than they are owe them a break in the workplace. The narcissist feels envious of skills that others have acquired through years of hard work. If the narcissist can’t acquire those skills, he or she thinks nothing of using the skilled person.

If the narcissist can’t use someone to get what he or she wants, then the narcissist may try to drive that person out of the workplace. This lessens the competition the narcissist faces at least for a time.

5. Disregard for Other People

Narcissists often display manipulative tendencies, using their interactions with others to further their own goals. People with the disorder often cultivate intense emotional relationships with friends or family members and use the connection to benefit themselves.

This type of manipulation varies extensively but can include pronounced mood swings, fierce arguments, and a need to assign blame to other people.
In the extreme, this attitude even causes the narcissist to become angry at others if the narcissist perceives a slight.

For example, if someone in the narcissist’s family gets sick, the narcissist may be neglectful at best and mean at worst. Because the narcissist lacks empathy, it’s difficult for him or her to imagine the suffering of others.

6. Praise, Praise and More Praise

Narcissists are the movie star in the group. They expect adoration everywhere they go. Narcissists also expect constant praise from others even when that praise is unwarranted.

Through positioning and monopolizing the conversation, narcissists ensure that they get their narcissistic supply. If others feel slighted in the process, so be it.

The narcissist gets what he or she wants regardless of the cost to others. This includes praise.

Additionally, as points out, the narcissist puts him- or herself in the way of compliments if those compliments don’t come naturally.

Commonly referred to as fishing, the narcissist reaches for compliments about his or her appearance, cooking, career, or life.

Although they seem confident on the surface, self-doubt consumes them. If praise doesn’t come at regular intervals, they begin to feel slighted.

This makes them push to get more compliments.

The narcissist needs someone who constantly puts the narcissist on a pedestal. Early on, their superficial charm makes them a crowd favorite, so compliments come to them more easily.

However, the adoration phase never lasts long because a bottomless pit couldn’t contain the narcissist’s need for praise.

Unfortunately, if the narcissist doesn’t receive the amount of praise he or she expects, the narcissist resorts to rage.

For the narcissists who actually become physically abusive, this rage often represents the first step in the cycle of abuse.

Narcissists will get adoration and praise by charm if they can. If they cannot, they resort to other, often very harmful and sometimes even dangerous, tactics in order to get what they feel they deserve.

If the opposite happens, that is, the narcissist receives criticism, the situation often turns explosive.

Again, the narcissist may exhibit symptoms of anger bordering on rage.

Sadly, the person at the receiving end of the rage may not have criticized the narcissist at all. Instead, the narcissist perceived the person’s comment or behavior as a slight and reacted to the slight.

All of this arises from the narcissist’s low self-esteem. Given the amount of hubris that many narcissists display, it’s difficult for their victims to believe that the narcissists’ low-self-esteem cripples them. It does.

Many narcissists go to great lengths to stroke their own ego and to get the praise they need.

This is one of the most obvious signs of narcissism. Some narcissists need praise and adoration so much that they pursue high-profile careers in business or politics to fill this need, according to Psychology Today.

This insatiable hunger for adoration stems from a damaged and wounded inner child. This wound caused the child to create a false self in order to be accepted and to feel safe in an unsafe environment.

An attack on the narcissist’s false self feels like annihilation to the narcissist. The way the narcissist keeps these feelings of inferiority at bay is by getting compliments and praise from others.

7. It’s Everyone Else’s Fault

Shaming and blaming count as two very important tools in the narcissist’s manipulation toolbox, according to Very Well Mind. With these toxic twins, the narcissist exerts control over his or her victims.

In the narcissist’s mind, making someone feel shame allows the narcissist to have an elevated position in a relationship. It’s always a one-up situation for the victim.

If the victim somehow upsets this balance of power, the narcissist pulls out all the stops to reset the power differential so that it favors the narcissist once again.

The narcissist achieves this power by being rude, by putting a person down, by hiding behind cruel jokes, by criticizing and by sabotaging. For example, the person who feels insecure about his or her weight becomes the butt of the narcissist’s fat jokes, or the narcissist may forego the joke and just be blunt.

However, the narcissist often couches the comments as well-meaning. “I’m just concerned for your health,” a narcissist might say after humiliating someone about his or her weight at a public lunch.

When the victim protests, the narcissist shames him or her into silence, again by reminding the victim that the comment was meant for the victim’s own good. To really pack a punch, the narcissist may add that the victim is too sensitive.

This stops the victim from protecting him- or herself from the narcissist’s abuse, which, unfortunately, opens the victim up for even more abuse.

What’s additionally disturbing about some of these incidences is that this kind of public shaming opens up the possibility that others within earshot will jump on the bandwagon. When that happens, the victim doesn’t just face the narcissist’s shaming tactics.

He or she faces the shaming tactic of the whole group.

In more covert narcissists, there is also a tendency to blame everyone else for the narcissist’s behavior and shortcomings.

The child that gets a “B” on his or her report card gets blamed for making the parent look bad. A victim of physical abuse gets blamed for making the narcissist behave that way. If the narcissist has a neglectful spouse, it’s the child’s fault for taking the spouse’s attention away from the narcissist.

In these scenarios, it is never the narcissist’s fault. Everything that others do wrong, whether the slight is real or imagined, reflects poorly on the narcissist.

Blaming others also relieves the narcissist of any responsibility for their lives and their actions. It is rare for a narcissist to see the role that he or she played in a negative situation. People who don’t play by the narcissist’s internal, well-orchestrated script mean to intentionally cause harm to the narcissist. This is what the narcissist believes.

However, most of the time, this internal script is unknown to those around the narcissist until the narcissist blows up when someone goes off-script. Such an attitude sets the narcissist up to constantly have someone to blame and abuse. It also puts the narcissist in the seat of power.

The people around the narcissist must constantly walk on eggshells. They never know when the narcissist will dream up an offense to blame them for, which constantly keeps the narcissist’s victims off-guard.

8. They Fear Abandonment

Most things a narcissist does is done to ensure that the narcissist never gets abandoned. Being abandoned is the narcissist’s greatest fear.

However, as weird as it sounds, the abandonment often comes at the hand of the narcissist, who will break things off with people, often out of the blue. In the narcissist’s mind, it’s often a matter of leaving before they can be left.

That being said, these breakups, though initiated by the narcissist, rarely last. Victims of this breakup, then makeup cycle must understand that several factors cause this cycle.

First, the narcissist needs his or her narcissistic supply in order to feel good.

To the narcissist’s way of thinking, it only makes sense to come back to someone he or she has discarded.

The narcissist already has that person trained to give them the praise the narcissist requires.
Second, the act of repeatedly leaving and coming back wears the victim down.

After a while, the victim’s self-esteem takes a real hit. The cycle of leaving and coming back eventually makes the victim dependent on the narcissist. This ensures that the victim never abandons the narcissist.

The narcissist creates these feelings of dependency in the victim by coming on very strong at first. This is called “love bombing.” It’s the stuff that bad romance novels are made of and one of the most dramatic signs of narcissism.

No one loves the victim as much as the narcissist loves the victim. Indeed, narcissists direct such intense attention at their victims that the victims themselves believe that no one will ever love them as much as their narcissist loves them.

Because love bombing creates such a high, the victim comes to crave it.

However, for the narcissist, this stage is just part of the valuing, then devaluing phase for the narcissist.

Basically, the narcissist puts people on a pedestal at first. The object of the narcissist’s attention can do no wrong.

Things go sour very quickly, however. For the narcissist, the fear of abandonment never really goes away.

Over time, the narcissist begins to devalue his or her object of devotion.

By doing this, the narcissist is trying to mitigate the effects of the abandonment that the narcissist perceives to be around the corner.

Again, the narcissist may break things off with the victim in order to avoid being abandoned by the victim.

However, the victim may turn the situation on its head by breaking up with the narcissist.

This act kicks the narcissist into high gear. More love bombing occurs to keep the victim in the narcissist’s clutches.

In the most severe cases, the narcissist lashes out at the victim for breaking up with him or her. That’s when the narcissist may start a campaign to damage the victim’s reputation or try to steal the victim’s friends.

In the worst scenarios, physical abuse can arise when the victim leaves the narcissist because the narcissist cannot allow anyone to leave.

Physical violence or the threat of it often puts a stop to the abandonment, at least temporarily.

9. The Narcissist Lives in a Fantasy

Because the narcissist often possesses delusions of grandeur, the narcissist will create elaborate fantasies about his or her great life.

They’re fantasies the narcissist expects others to participate in and to confirm to be true. The narcissist’s delusions run the gamut. According to the narcissist, he or she may be more beautiful and talented than anyone else, as well as being smarter and richer, and certainly, more important.

Often to support these fantasies, narcissists will make up stories about events that never took place, or if the event took place, they’ll change the details of it to make it seem bigger, better, brighter than it actually was.

In the narcissist’s world, they hobnob with governors, millionaires, and movie stars. Adoring fans fall at their feet. When and if someone points out that the fantasy is a lie, this unleashes a tirade from the narcissist.

This comes from a need to protect the false self that the narcissist created so long ago.

While their behavior often damages the people around them, the real damage began a long time ago when the narcissists originally received their narcissistic wound.

That wounding forced the narcissists to create a new, more acceptable self in order to survive whatever trauma the narcissist experienced.

The fantasy life the narcissist creates supports this false self. If the support for the fantasy erodes, then the narcissist’s false self crumbles.

This doesn’t excuse the narcissist’s often poor behavior.

However, it does provide an explanation for why the narcissist’s fantasy is so important.

10. There Are Always Strings Attached

Victims who have wised up about the narcissist’s ways know that no gift comes without strings attached.

The uninitiated find this fact out the hard way. Unsolicited gifts from the narcissist are later used to manipulate the victim into doing what the narcissist wants.

The narcissist never gives a gift just to give a gift. Gifts, whether tangible or intangible, are given with the intention of getting something in return.

The narcissist always makes sure that the receiver knows that the gift is from the narcissist.

There is also an unspoken agreement with the narcissist, which is that the narcissist will collect at a later time.

It’s even better if the person on the receiving end is a bit down and out.

The narcissist can rescue this victim of dire circumstances. In exchange, the receiver pays and pays and pays.

The narcissist gives to create loyalty, which ensures that no one ever leaves the narcissist. At times, the narcissist gives so much that it makes some people dependent on the narcissist.

This suits the narcissist because it means that he or she always has multiple sources of narcissistic supply.

Unfortunately for the victim of this narcissistic tactic, it becomes difficult to accept gifts from anyone.

The fear that those gifts come with strings always lurks at the back of the victim’s mind.

This makes it difficult for the narcissist’s victims to trust the intentions of others even when the intentions come from a good place.

Concluding Thoughts on Characteristics of Narcissism

Despite its status as a recognized psychological disorder, there are still many uncertainties and unknowns about the condition.

Unfortunately, those with NPD are defensive about their character and often resist attempts at intervention or treatment.

Even so, recognizing the signs of narcissism is the first step towards finding a resolution to an unhealthy and potentially life-changing disorder.

Additionally, those who are impacted by the narcissist’s behavior must also take steps to mitigate the damage the narcissist causes. First, for those who have been victimized by the narcissist, it’s important to set boundaries.

By their nature, narcissists exploit people because they feel no empathy toward the plight of others.

They seek to get their needs meet, often by unsavory means. In order to survive this, those around them must put down solid and clear boundaries and be willing to enforce them.

Second, the narcissist’s victims should know that what the narcissist does never reflects the victims’ worthiness. While the narcissist may heap on abuse that feels very personal, it isn’t. It arises from the narcissist’s deep sense of inadequacy.

This isn’t to say that the person being victimized by the narcissist shouldn’t defend him- or herself. However, this action should arise from a stance of self-care.

Finally, self-care can mean walking away from the narcissist.

Sometimes, it’s enough to limit the amount of exposure a person has to the narcissist.

However, sometimes it means that the person being victimized by the narcissist decides not to see the narcissist anymore.

Walking away becomes a little easier for the person who knows the characteristics of narcissism: The person who truly understands what the narcissist is about sees the signs as the warnings they are.

Is The Narcissist Spying On You? Tips To Know For Sure

After the narcissist discards you, you may have mixed feelings. Maybe you’re feeling relieved after struggling with whether or not to leave the narcissist, but they saved you the trouble by discarding you first. Or maybe they’ve left you, and you’re still really, really sad, and you wish you could be with them again. Perhaps you’re still with the narcissist and they are actively neglecting you, attacking you, or giving you the silent treatment, but you don’t know why.

Either way, you might have noticed something kind of odd: somehow, the narcissist seems to know every detail of what you’re doing even when they’re not with you – and that seems to be happening even about things you did or said when you were totally alone in a room or your vehicle. What the heck is going on?

In This Article

Here is the unsettling truth. The narcissist that you thought disappeared from your life might have decided they don’t want to let you go. Or they might feel they need to spy on you because they don’t trust you. Or they could just be incredibly controlling and paranoid, causing them to feel obligated to know what is going on

Whether or not you’re still in the relationship, the narcissist might decide they still need to keep tabs on you. They might feel they need to know what you are doing. The same obviously applies to the case of you going no contact with them. How do you know if the narcissist is spying on you for sure?

Watch for Suspicious Vehicles Near Your Home (and Elsewhere)

Do you notice an unusual car that is parked near your home often, one you’re sure doesn’t belong to a neighbor? Do you ever see the same vehicle around town or in parking lots of places you shop or do business? That is fishy. It’s possible that this is the narcissist, using a different vehicle to spy on you – one that is not recognizable to you. Or, it might be one of their flying monkeys, doing the narcissist’s bidding for them.

If you’re worried that you’re being followed, don’t just assume you’re crazy. The narcissist did their best to make you doubt yourself, your perception, and your sanity. But if you feel that someone is spying and following you in a vehicle you don’t recognize, take down the license plate information and if you can, have a good look at the person in the car – even if the car has tinted windows. Even better, try to snap a few photos of the car and license plate with your smartphone.

Don’t hide what you’re doing if you choose to snap photos, and be sure to snap pics each time you see the car in different places and on different days. This will allow whoever is in the car to know that you’ve got proof of what they’re doing – and it’ll provide potential evidence in case you need to file for an order of protection.

Narcissists Manipulate Through Your Smartphone Or Devices

If you notice something is abnormal with your devices such as your smartphone, tablet, or computer, there’s is a chance they’ve been bugged. The narcissist could have discovered a way to bug your device to spy on you – and it’s not difficult or too expensive to figure it out these days.

For example, they may have a program installed on your phone to copy them on everything you’re doing, or they might have access to your social media accounts because you shared your passwords in the past, or because you didn’t remove your password information from a shared computer or device.

They might also have installed spying apps on your smart home devices or have hidden cameras and/or voice recorders around the house – even ones that could be motion or sound activated and feeding the information they gather to the narcissist’s phone or computer outside the home. That means that as long as the batteries work (or as long as its plugged in), the device could continue to feed to the narcissist indefinitely.

Don’t believe me? I get it. Here’s how you can fact-check me here: just get on the internet and look around. For example, a quick Amazon search using the term “spying devices” returns a whole host of affordable and easily hidden cameras, voice recorders, and more.  There’s this very average looking pen for less than $40 that is secretly a voice recorder.

And this tiny camera appears to be a little bigger than a quarter – which means you could hide it almost anywhere. And let’s not forget the little box you can attach to someone’s car to find out where they’re going when you’re not with them– all for under twenty bucks.  Would you even recognize this if it were placed under your vehicle or even in the trunk somewhere? Honestly, I don’t think anyone would.

  • If the narcissist has installed some kind of listening device or recorder on your smartphone, you’ll hear a slight echo while you are on calls.
  • If the narcissist has bugged your smartphone using a spyware program or even a hidden geo-locator app,  your phone might feel hot to the touch, especially when the narcissist is actively tracking you.
  • If you charge your phone and the battery starts taking a lot longer than usual to charge, you could have spyware on your phone.
  • If your battery suddenly starts running out faster than it used to, they might be tracking you.
  • If you’re getting weird texts, new ads, and are using additional mobile data, they might have installed something to follow you or listen to you on your phone.
  • If your phone suddenly slows way down or no longer performs as it did before, it can be a red flag of some kind of spy app.

Device-Specific Tips for Discovering Spying on Your Phone

Tips for Android Users

For Android users, you can find spyware by looking in your phone’s settings: Go to Settings, then Applications, then Manage Applications or Running Services. Look for services or files that you don’t recognize, but be careful not to delete anything important. Note that the most effective tools will be difficult to see as they probably have fake names in order to hide them.

Tips for iPhone Users

For iPhone users, it can get a little more complicated. Since iPhone has a built-in system to prevent spyware and the like, your narcissist will have to get a little more creative. They might just know your passwords and access everything from their own computer, or they might actually have done a “jailbreak” on your phone, meaning they’ve corrupted the system. More likely is that they’ve had access to your phone or account and have secretly installed something to track you or listen in. This could be easily figured out by reviewing your installed programs.

Check with Your Service Provider

In either case, a factory reset of the phone can remove spy programs. It might also benefit you to go to your service provider’s store or office to have the phone checked out – and worst-case scenario, you can always replace your phone. Better yet, get a second phone and keep the original one for awhile. Just stick it in a drawer in a quiet room and check that it’s charged every couple of days. This way, the narcissist won’t know the new one exists and they won’t know what you’re up to.

Has Your Computer Been Hacked?

Even if the narcissist is not good with technology, they can hire a hacker to hack into your computer. If you see odd things such as popup ads or toolbars that you never installed, there is a good chance the computer was hacked. Unfortunately, skilled hackers can bypass the firewall. If your computer runs very slowly, that is another sign of hacking. Certain protection programs and antivirus programs might help, but to be safe, you should have your computer examined by an expert in the field to know for sure.

Does Your Home Have Hidden Cameras & Listening Devices?

A narcissist can find a way to install a hidden camera in your home. But there are several ways you can test whether you have hidden cameras in your home. Here are a few to start with.

  • Turn off the lights around you and notice if there are unexpected LED lights, usually red or green.
  • Look at your mirrors to see if there are small spots that might hide a tiny camera
  • .You can even install a bug detector that will reveal whether or not you have a hidden camera.
  • This article from Turbo Future offers a comprehensive list of tips for discovering in-home spying devices and hidden cameras.
  • This one from Howell Law Firm offers some additional really helpful tips for figuring out if your house is bugged or if your smart devices are being used against you.

The idea of being spied on by the narcissist is scary, but if you notice any abnormalities in your home, on your devices, or that someone is following you – then there is a good chance that the narcissist is spying on you.

Turning It Around: Ways to Find Proof You’ve Been Cheated On 

More Helpful Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Related Articles for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse
  • Protect Yourself From a Stalker
  • 6 Surprising Places a Camera Can Be Hidden
  • 101 Struggles Only Narcissistic Abuse Victims and Survivors Will Understand
  • Narcissistic Abuse and Isolation: Feeling Alone in a Crowd
  • Believe it or not: This is THE Most Soul-Crushing Part of Narcissistic Abuse
  • Lonely After Narcissistic Abuse? How to Make New Friends AND Keep the Old
  • Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Get Out of the Fog with Mindfulness
  • Surviving Narcissistic Abuse: 65 Things You Might Say to Your Narcissist If You Could

Get Help and Support in Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
  • QueenBeeing’s PLAN to Leave a Narcissist
  • QueenBeeing’s Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Resource Center
  • Are you dealing with narcissistic abuse? Find out by taking our self-assessment.  
  • 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.
  • Where Are You in Recovery? You might not be sure exactly where you fit in and what level of recovery you’ve achieved. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out this self-assessment to help you determine exactly where you fall in the stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse. Once you finish and submit the assessment, you will be given resources for your own situation, along with recommendations of which groups to join.
  • Which Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program is Right for You? If you aren’t sure which program you want to utilize to facilitate your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this self-assessment will help you decide.



  • Angela Atkinson

    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 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 and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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signs, causes and how to respond

Recognizing a person with covert narcissism is not an easy task. We tell you what signs indicate this type of personality and how to properly interact with such people.

Valeria Skripko


Sometimes we can recognize a daffodil right away. This is usually the one who is in the spotlight, for example, loudly tells incredible stories about his achievements, thereby arousing a sense of admiration in others. And can we meet people within the same room who are obsessed with their importance, but in whom it is not so easy to discern a narcissist? Yes, in fact, this is another narcissistic personality type, only with less obvious characteristics. nine0003

Contents of the article

Narcissistic personality traits

The term "narcissist" is often used to describe those people who seem to us to be a little self-centered. However, in terms of clinical psychology, a person must meet certain criteria in order to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

Common narcissistic traits include

  • a sense of self-importance,
  • fantasy of popularity and fame,
  • exaggeration of one's abilities, talents and achievements,
  • craving for attention and recognition,
  • manipulating people and lack of empathy,
  • preoccupation with beauty, power or success.

In general, people with narcissistic personality disorder are concerned about their own success. They also find it difficult to build or maintain relationships with others due to their manipulative behavior and lack of empathy.

Who is a covert narcissist?

A covert narcissist is one who craves admiration and attention and does not feel empathy for others, but may act differently than an overt narcissist. Analyzing the behavior of narcissists, it is difficult to imagine that any of them can suppress their nature. The covert narcissist appears modest or withdrawn in appearance, but his ultimate goals are the same as those of everyone else.

Causes of covert narcissism

The exact causes of covert narcissism are not entirely clear, but it is likely that a number of circumstances contribute to this condition. Experts suggest that narcissistic personality disorder is due to factors such as:

  • genetics,
  • childhood abuse and trauma,
  • parenting and relationships,
  • personality and temperament.

One study found that people with narcissistic personality disorder were more likely to grow up with parents who were highly focused on social status and achievement. Future narcissists felt their superiority over other children and considered themselves special, and all this carried over into adulthood. However, it is still unclear why narcissistic behavior is sometimes hidden rather than open. nine0003

Differences between open and covert narcissism

Covert narcissists differ from others only in that they tend to be more introverted. An open narcissist is easy to recognize: they tend to be loud, arrogant, indifferent to the needs of others, and always crave compliments. Such a person exhibits more extraverted behavior when interacting with people.

However, both covert and open narcissists have a sense of self-importance and dream of success and fame. In addition, each of them is unable to regulate their self-esteem. nine0003

Signs of a covert narcissist

Here are some common traits and behavioral patterns that will help you recognize a covert narcissist in everyday life.

Low self-esteem

If an extroverted narcissist does not hide an inflated sense of self-esteem and an arrogant attitude towards others, then everything is not so obvious with a hidden narcissist. The latter, of course, craves attention and admiration, but in the eyes of others it may look different. Such individuals make ambiguous compliments and deliberately downplay their achievements or talents so that people will convince them otherwise. nine0003

An open narcissist will attract attention, while a hidden narcissist will use softer tactics to achieve the same goals. He needs people to praise his talent, skills, and accomplishments.

Blame and shame

Blame is a tactic used by narcissists to secure their high position. An open narcissist will take a more obvious approach to gaining leverage, such as belittling and criticizing you, being rude and sarcastic. The introverted narcissist, in turn, will calmly explain why you are to blame for something, and not him. This type of person may even pretend to be a victim or emotionally abuse themselves in order to get support and praise from you. Their main goal is to make the other person feel worthless. nine0003

Creating confusion

Some covert narcissists enjoy being confused by others. They may not blame or shame anyone, but they will make you doubt yourself. Covert narcissists use similar tactics to elevate themselves and maintain power over people. If they make you doubt yourself, it becomes easier for them to manipulate you.


Covert narcissists will do everything to make the whole world revolve around them. It is no coincidence that they tend to gravitate toward caring and compassionate people. The covert narcissist sees this as an opportunity for manipulation. nine0003

Instead of directly telling you that you are not important to them, they may ask you out, respond to messages at the last minute, always be late, or never make clear plans at all. They show no respect for your time or interests, so you start to feel small and vulnerable.

Pursuit of specific goals

Narcissists find it difficult to invest energy in something that does not bring them any benefit. Covert narcissists present everything in such a way that you feel like they are helping, but this behavior is shown with the intention of getting something in return. nine0003

Emotional indifference

Narcissists are unable to build and maintain emotional bonds with others. And the covert narcissist is no exception. While they may seem kinder and less obnoxious than their extrovert counterparts, they are not emotionally available or responsive.

Most likely, they will not bestow flattering words on you. Covert narcissists are always focused on staying on top of themselves in order to maintain their sense of self-importance, so it will be difficult for them to compliment someone. Usually, narcissists don't pay attention to anyone's abilities or talents at all. nine0003

Although covert narcissists appear to be more emotionally available, they tend to only pretend and do so in order to make the other person feel worthless due to neglect, blame, or shame. Because lack of empathy is a hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder, the covert narcissist will not respond emotionally to their partner in a healthy way.

How to Deal With a Covert Narcissist

You may now be in a relationship with a covert narcissist, be it a family member, co-worker, or someone else. Although you cannot control their actions, you can manage your behavior and interact differently with such people. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself when dealing with a closet narcissist. nine0003

Don't take it personally

No matter how painful the covert narcissist's manipulative behavior may be for you, it's important to remember that it has nothing to do with you. Narcissists want you to take it personally because that's how they maintain leverage.

Set boundaries

Narcissists don't have healthy boundaries. Because covert narcissists lack empathy, they exploit others, and personal boundaries are what can get in the way of their goals. The more you practice setting boundaries with the narcissist, the sooner you will be able to convey that his tactics are not working. nine0003

Setting boundaries can be very difficult. Remember that this is just a way to communicate your values ​​to others. Understanding why you set certain boundaries will help you be more confident and stay on track if someone tries to violate or ignore them.

Protect Yourself

It's easy to lose your voice when dealing with a covert narcissist. Since interaction patterns are too manipulative, it may take you a while to realize that you are not protecting yourself at all. nine0003

Define your values ​​and goals. Strengthening your relationship with yourself is the key to interacting with a narcissist. When you start to defend yourself, the narcissist realizes that you know about their tactics, which may cause him to retreat.

Create a healthy distance

Relationships with a covert narcissist can be frustrating and overwhelming. There are times when creating distance between you and that person seems impossible, such as with a family member or colleague. nine0003

Restricting face-to-face contact, asking to be moved to another location in your office, taking breaks at different times, or simply ending interactions is a solution if you are suffering from someone's narcissism. The purpose of creating distance is not to harm the other person, but to protect yourself.

Are there hidden daffodils among your acquaintances?


who is a perverted narcissist? - T&P

Moral violence, or abuse, in the Russian context is considered almost a phenomenon that lies within the framework of social norms - however, in reality, it is often the result of a narcissistic personality disorder.

For a healthy person, such communication can be very destructive and can cause deep depression. T&P talk about how to identify a moral abuser and fight back. nine0078

What is narcissism?

The very word "abuse" is translated from English as "violence" and "abuse". Abuse in interpersonal relationships is familiar to most of us - but not everyone knows that they may not be the result of neglect, but the result of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which affects one of the participants in the relationship. This pathology occurs in a significant number of people: from 1 to 8% of the total population of the planet, according to various estimates. According to the DSM-V international classification of diseases, it can be defined by the general signs of a personality disorder (grand conceit, fantasies of unlimited power or ideal love, belief in one's "exclusivity", the need for an exaggerated expression of delight in one's address, the illusion of one's own special rights, a tendency to exploit people, lack of empathy, envy and arrogant attitude towards people), which are accompanied by specific disorders in the work of the individual and in the process of building interpersonal relationships. nine0003

A person with narcissistic disorder is self-focused, obsessed with the idea of ​​his own greatness and superiority, clinically incapable of empathy and does not feel guilty for wrongdoing. He devalues ​​what is connected with others and idealizes what is connected with himself. At the same time, the narcissist does not suffer from hallucinations, does not show signs of manic states, and generally gives the impression of a completely healthy person.

Perverse narcissists do not choose weak or insecure people as their "victims". Their target audience is bright wise men and smart people. nine0003

Of course, not every person with NRL will start doing atrocities if you get close to him. As with any mental health diagnosis, this one has a fairly wide gradient, so that the patient may or may not be aware of the problem, or may not be fully aware of it, fight or not, stubbornly change therapists in search of a truly effective treatment, or methodically bring partners to suicide.

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Really dangerous for others is a type called "perverted narcissist". This definition was first voiced by the French doctor of psychiatry, specialist in the field of victimology and criminology, Marie-France Yrigoyen, author of the book Moral Harassment. A distinctive quality of perverted narcissists is the ability to turn any situation on its head, distorting its details and partner's conclusions ("perverted" - from the Latin "pervertere" - "pervert, twist"). It is they who choose moral violence as an instrument of interpersonal relations, and it is not easy to get away from them without crippling the psyche. nine0003

How do you spot a perverted narcissist?

Perverted narcissists do not choose weak or insecure people as their "victims". Their target audience is bright smart people, open, successful, impressionable, full of optimism and vitality. Often relationships with perverted narcissists end for their spouses and friends with clinical depression and suicide, even more often with psychological traumas that then heal for years, if they heal at all. nine0003

A perverted narcissist can be identified by their distinctive behaviors, which they usually fail to fully disguise despite their developed adaptive skills and brilliant image. In general, the following details should alert the potential “victim”.

1) The person speaks negatively about past partners, verbally blaming them for problems or a breakup.

2) A person is not inclined to plead guilty and shifts responsibility to others. nine0003

3) After getting to know this person, the partner began to sleep less, eat poorly, lose weight, become dizzy in his presence, or faced other unpleasant changes in well-being. It is generally accepted that lovers and friends of perverted narcissists begin to lose psychosomatics early, and this happens even against the background of an apparent absence of problems.

4) A person seeks to bind a partner to himself as early as possible, up to marriage or moving.

© Sara Andreasson

5) Perverted narcissists sometimes have "inhuman reactions", although in general such people carefully monitor their behavior. Like patients with psychopathy, they do not experience emotions in the conventional sense of the word, but they imitate them perfectly. Narcissists are able to observe those around them, calculating successful mechanisms of influence, but in unusual circumstances they can show insensitivity, a lust for power, or anything else that lies outside the scope of normal reactions. For example, such a person is able to tell how “well” he punished the offender (and the punishment will look disproportionate to the offense), how witty he used someone, or how interesting it is to watch other people suffer. nine0003

How does abuse work?

The first stage of a relationship with a perverted narcissist is sometimes referred to by researchers as the "honeymoon." During this period, a partner can come to visit his “superhero” and find that he has prepared his favorite dish from childhood, or find an exact copy of a long-lost precious pendant on his desk, or get tickets to Bora Bora for a birthday party.

The honeymoon looks perfect, but it can't last forever. After all, in the place of self-esteem in a perverted narcissist, figuratively speaking, there is a gaping bottomless hole into which all the delights of others and his own achievements are sucked in vain. Due to a personality disorder in the depths of his soul, such a person feels insignificant, experiences desperate envy and anger. The lack of empathy does not allow him to empathize, and the illusion of his own greatness does not allow him to perceive other people as equals. For a while, the narcissist manages to hold back negative feelings (solely for strategic reasons), but then his patience ends. nine0003

The laws of communication are depreciated, respect disappears, and from a precious chosen one or dear friend, the second person quickly turns into a disenfranchised violator.

The moment this happens, the "honeymoon" ends and the so-called "ice shower" stage begins. A prince or princess suddenly, often in just one terrible day, turns into an unpredictable aggressive creature that attacks a partner with the cruelty of a chimera and manages to turn his whole picture of the world upside down in a few hours. The laws of communication are depreciated, respect disappears, and from a precious chosen one or dear friend, the second person quickly turns into a disenfranchised violator. nine0003

As is normal for a mentally healthy person, a lover or friend of an NPD patient in such a situation is likely to begin to suspect that there is some guilt in what happened. This is exactly what the perverted narcissist needs. At the second stage of the relationship, his task is to destroy the partner’s self-esteem, humiliate him and thus assert himself. This is why such people tend to keep partners close, resurrecting honeymoon circumstances as necessary, and then reassuming their basic aggressive form. nine0003

Boycott and inexplicability

Despite the fact that from the point of view of the victim the behavior of a perverted narcissist looks unpredictable, in reality this person uses recognizable tricks, which are described in detail in the first Russian-language book on communication techniques for patients with NPD - "Be afraid, I you” by the writer and journalist Tatyana Kokina-Slavina:

• “an attack of anger”, when a narcissist in a harmless situation suddenly shows wild rage;

• gross violation of an important promise or defiant failure to fulfill obligations; nine0003

• "accidental" disclosure of a shameful secret, which becomes available due to the stuffing of compromising evidence;

• pause in communication not agreed upon with the partner, i.e. boycott;

• a statement about an alleged breakup or a frank hint that a breakup may occur, presenting a list of conditions;

• perceptible but unmotivated cooling of relations.

Of course, all of the above can happen in a relationship without NPD, healthy or not, for a variety of reasons. The following criteria can be used to correctly assess the circumstances and test them “for narcissism”:

• the presence of a strong negative emotional response,

• the suddenness of the antics and the absence of clear motives,

• the denial of what happened on the part of the alleged narcissist.

Such denial can take the form of gaslighting, one of the methods of psychological abuse, which is designed to dissuade the partner from what he clearly saw, confuse him and lead to false conclusions. Typical phrases in this case sound like “there was nothing like that”, “I don’t understand what you mean”, “you complicate everything”, “you overreact to ordinary remarks”, etc. As a rule, such an onslaught greatly deprives balance, so that a person really begins to doubt himself. nine0003

An ugly scene after the "honeymoon" completes the first circle of relationships, and after that communication becomes cyclical. The positive phases begin to gradually narrow, the negative phases grow, so that the relationship becomes like a manic-depressive disorder, and codependency forms between partners. “Be prepared for more and more frequent cycles,” says Israeli writer and narcissist researcher Sam Vaknin, author of Surviving the Narcissist, Malignant Self-Love, How to Divorce a Narcissist and a Psychopath, and more. The narcissist idealizes, and then devalues ​​and discounts the object of its original idealization. This sharp, heartless depreciation is aggression. The narcissist exploits, lies, makes no sense, insults, ignores, manipulates, controls. The narcissist is built almost entirely on control. This is a primitive and immature reaction to circumstances in which the narcissist, most often in childhood, was helpless. nine0003

© Sara Andreasson

Perverted narcissists often refer to their partners as being "hypersensitive" and prone to creating problems out of the blue. A person is steadily losing his rights in communication with him: the right to ask questions and receive answers, to talk about his feelings and get angry. Anger and discontent turn out to be "unreasonable" or "irrational." Indeed, in order to gain complete power over the partner and legitimize the absence of human feelings, the perverted narcissist needs to depersonalize him, destroying his "I". nine0003

In the second stage of a relationship, the perverted narcissist has two recognizable tools: "holding tactics" in dialogue and "waterboarding." The first technique is usually expressed in the fact that the discussion of relationships, as well as the ability to express one's thoughts and feelings, is blocked. The narcissist diverts the topic of conversation, digresses into other things, reduces the conversation to a joke, puts it off for later, taunts, complains about feeling unwell, and devalues ​​the interlocutor in other ways. For example, patients with NPD often display a hostile coldness that is denied. This strategy allows them to make their partner angry and cry, then to ridicule his anger and thus humiliate him. nine0003

"Water torture" performed without raising the voice. In the process, the narcissist twists, turns inside out, and brings to the point of absurdity the partner's words without removing the bored haughty mask. Of course, not everyone can stand such treatment, so many narcissists lose their victims at some point. This causes fear and even panic in them, so that the methods of moral violence are instantly replaced by a new "honeymoon". This game can go on for many months or even years.

How to deal with a perverted narcissist? nine0014

The only way to escape moral abuse from a perverse narcissist is to stop communicating with him. You need to understand that such people behave this way because of mental pathology, and they cannot be re-educated, changed, healed, remade or saved. His problem can be partly solved only by a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, who is also capable of prescribing the necessary medicines. Today, doctors do not know why patients develop narcissistic personality disorder. Some experts are sure that it is genetically transmitted, others believe that it is only a matter of upbringing, when a person is not paid attention in childhood, or, on the contrary, they evaluate him too harshly. In addition, there is a theory that the prevalence of NPD increases during unfavorable periods of history. One way or another, none of the narcissists is to blame for getting sick, even if they behave like a sadist. Although this, of course, does not mean that you can allow him to torture himself. nine0003

As with any painful relationship, it is better to leave this relationship with the support of a psychologist, and even better, a psychotherapist. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help: after all, we do not hesitate to show our injured ankle to the surgeon instead of applying psyllium leaves to it for weeks. Talking with a specialist will help you get over the pain of humiliation and loss, start putting everything in its place, understand what exactly happened, and find ways to cope with it.

The only way to escape moral abuse from a perverse narcissist is to stop communicating with him.

An intermediate option: to leave the narcissist in place and improve oneself, unfortunately, does not exist.

Learn more