– In today’s article, I’m diving into 10 signs of a destructive narcissist personality pattern. Let’s dive in.
I want to start off by clarifying that the narcissist you’re dealing with may or may not display all of these destructive attitudes and behaviors all of the time. Some will certainly stand out and be more prevalent while others seem less obvious.
The point is, if this is the experience you’re having on a regular basis, with the problematic person in your life, chances are you’re dealing with a person who at the very least lands on the spectrum or continuum of destructive narcissism. In other words, someone who has a destructive narcissist personality pattern. And, let me be clear, this isn’t about diagnosing anyone. I’m a life coach, not a doctor, and chances are you’re not qualified to diagnose anyone either.
But, here’s what’s true, you don’t actually have to be a doctor of psychiatry in order to be able to discern whether or not the person you’re dealing with fits the bill of having a destructive narcissist personality pattern. Armed with the right information, you can discern this for yourself based on your own personal experience, while we leave the diagnosing of antisocial personality disorders to the doctors who actually specialize in those types of mental disorders.
For now, all you need to know is how many of these attitudes and behaviors speak to your personal experience on any given day with the problematic person in your life.
So, let’s talk about 10 signs of a destructive narcissist personality pattern.
Number 1: Has a superior attitude.
People with a destructive narcissist personality pattern believe they’re better than everyone else or at least they want to. Subconsciously, there’s something else entirely going on with them in terms of deeply buried guilt, shame, and self-loathing.
But, on the surface, they work really hard to convince themselves and anyone else who might be paying attention just how superior they are, or, in the case, of the covert narcissist, they attempt to camouflage this full sense of superiority with a self-effacing, poor me, ongoing and never-ending victim story. Don’t kid yourself; the superior attitude is still there, right beneath the mask and covert perception manipulation.
Number 2: Believe others are contemptible.
You know you’re dealing with a destructive narcissist when the person is generally contemptuous of both you and others, even without reason, cause, or provocation. For no good reason, other than the fact that it’s the way they’re wired, they literally feel entitled to treat others with unprovoked and unwarranted contempt and disdain. They go through life looking down their nose at anyone and everyone, unless, of course, they’re looking at someone who might be able to benefit them in some way.
But if in their mind you have nothing to offer, or you’re of no use to them, you’ll be treated to a healthy dose of toxic contempt, because, you know, the narcissist is ever so superior, and you, well, you’re beneath them. And, it’s important to them that you know that, that you know your place on the totem pole of the narcissist’s life.
Number 3: They’re arrogant.
Now, this trait shows up in their tendency to criticize, patronize, and condescend at every opportunity, lest you forget your place on that totem pole. Not only do they find subtle and not-so-subtle ways of boasting and bragging, but they have a fervent need to be right. They’ll ignore other people’s opinions, often dismissing not only the opinion but the person entirely. They refuse to give credit where credit is due and are generally disagreeable. They become incensed, if not enraged, at the slightest hint of constructive feedback, which they perceive as criticism. And, they especially have a, my way or the highway attitude.
Number 4: They’re green with envy.
Narcissists can’t be happy for you, any good you carry, or anything good you might have going on in your life or going for you. Being genuinely happy for others just for the sake of being happy for them, it’s not something that narcissists can do. If it doesn’t benefit them somehow, anything good you have going for you will trigger their deeply buried disowned shadow self, and ignite their envy and jealousy.
And, they assume you are just as envious and jealous as they are. They expect you to have the same jealous reaction that they would have and can’t, for the life of them, figure out how you manage to go through life genuinely happy for someone else’s good fortune. This is not a concept they have the capacity to grasp or understand.
Number 5: They demean and devalue you.
Depending on the relationship, they may do this outright to your face. But, if, for any reason, they know they can’t get away with that, no sweat. They’ll simply diminish, demean, and devalue you behind your back, all day long, to anyone who will listen. The truth is both male and female narcissists are full-blown gossip addicts and not the harmless, how’s so and so doing kind of gossip that most of us engage in from time to time.
No, you know you’re dealing with a destructive narcissist when they’re routinely shredding whoever happens to not be in the room at the moment to smithereens. So, ask yourself, how superior can they really feel deep down if this is their favorite pastime? Obviously, not very.
Number 5: They’re self-absorbed.
People who land on the spectrum of destructive narcissism are selfish and self-centered to the extreme. Completely self-absorbed. Nose firmly embedded in naval, while they hang on their little toesies, no matter how old they are. In fact, they get worse, not better with age, especially in this regard. So, this becomes no fun at all for those who feel any sense of loyalty or obligation to these selfish, empathy-impaired humans as they get older, which brings me to my next point.
Number 7: They’re empathy impaired and lacking in conscience.
Now, people often ask me whether or not the narcissist is aware of their toxic and destructive behavior and very real consequences, as well as the impact others suffer as a result of exposure to them. Here’s the thing, the issue is not whether or not they’re aware, although, in my view, they absolutely are. And, this is evidenced by the snide smirk and look for the satisfaction you’ll often notice on their face, especially if they’ve succeeded in diminishing someone. You can’t miss this look if you’re paying attention.
So, again, the issue isn’t whether they’re aware, they are. The real issue is they don’t care. They could care less. In fact, more often than not, they rather enjoy the detrimental effects their toxicity and the abuse have on others. It reminds them they’re alive and gives them a sick sense of power and importance. It’s how they meet their fundamental human need for significance. Because, more often than not, they fully do not know how to meet that need in any other way.
Number 8: Attention-seeking behavior.
Whether it’s overt or covert, the narcissist has to be the center of attention. Now, whether that’s via grandiose boasting and bragging or crying victim all day long, either way, no matter what’s going on, they have to be the focal point, main feature, star of the show, so to speak, and they’ll find the most fantastic, unhealthy, and bizarre ways to accomplish this end.
Number 9: They’re highly manipulative.
Narcissists manipulate others to win admiration, to control their perception, to control their behavior, to control outcomes and circumstances, as well as to control the narrative. In fact, the more high spectrum they are, the more manipulative they’ll be. And, this is where paying more attention to what your body is telling you in this person’s presence will be far more helpful and important than what you’re telling yourself cognitively. Your mind will lie to you all day long, but the body never lies.
So, when your stomach is in knots or your skin is crawling, don’t ignore that, your body’s telling you something’s up, and it’s up to you to pay attention and take care of yourself accordingly.
Number 10: They’re highly insensitive.
Being in any relationship with a narcissist means accepting that you’re engaging with someone who will be completely, constantly, and perpetually insensitive to your needs, once the initial love-bombing phase is over, of course. Your desires, wants, wishes, and very healthy and legitimate needs will have to take a backseat if not go entirely ignored, as long as you’re engaging with a narcissistic person. Any attempt on your part to have your needs honored, respected, or satisfied in any way by the narcissist will be an exercise in absolute futility and frustration.
And, for that reason, it’s vital that you stop looking to the narcissist to get your needs met, and instead, learn how to meet your own needs independently of the narcissist. As the old saying goes: “Stop going to the hardware store looking for milk”, or as I like to say: “Stop hoping, wishing, and praying for unloving people to love you. Instead, work on learning how to love yourself. In the case of the narcissist, they don’t have it to give.”
Read More: Narcissists Always Say These 5 Things.
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