Have you confronted a Narcissist?

Have you confronted a narcissist about their disorder? What were the results?

I recently confronted my narcissist and told them I believe them to have NPD. It was quite shocking to them and was the first thing I've ever said to them that made them stop dead in their tracks. Since then, they have been sweet as pie, attentive, complimentary, nothing like they were previously. It's too soon to tell how long this will last but it has been a very strange occurrence thus far.

Have you ever confronted a narcissist with the term "narcissistic personality disorder"?
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  • Yes, my mother. She actually took it very well and when I explained the symptoms to her she was very quiet for a little bit, then she told me she understood and she brought it up with her psychiatrist. Ever since then she's been much easier for me to deal with.
  • I have a friend that has NPD, he was the one that told me he had it. Before that I had no idea that such a thing ever existed. I seriously doubt, from what I have experienced with my friend all these years, that anyone with malignant NPD would ever be nice about anything you could confront them with. Especially if it was about them directly.

    This disorder causes the people that have it to be hyper sensitive of anything at all they might feel is a criticism. In fact you can say something very innocently and if it hits a trigger they will go off on you like a rocket. To the best of my knowledge a person with NPD can only be approached and interested in help when they have hit rock bottom. Because they believe they are bulletproof rock bottom is not that common, it takes a very serious life event to make it happen. Then maybe, they might consider some sort of treatment.

  • Unless the person has hit rock bottom it is better to leave them alone. As @SunnyDaze said they probably are only approachable when they have hit rock bottom. She also pointed out they do not take criticism well, so it isn't a good idea to confront him before he hits rock bottom. It will not end well, and in some cases you could be in physical danger.
  • You make a good point about being in physical danger - that should certainly be something to careful about.

    In my situation I am far removed from my narc, I only see them on occasion and have limited contact through email. They are in a vulnerable position in their life, and they know they need me greatly, and I no longer need them. I think that when I confronted them, and when they thought about things, they could possibly see me detaching and untangling myself from the emotional web they had attempted to spin around me for years. So in my situation I think they are now scared to lose me, so have begun being extra sweet in an attempt to lure me back in.
  • You should actually never do this.  It was the worst thing I ever did.  She turned from Jekyll to Hyde instantly and an evil demonic look I had never seen before, even in the ten years I'd known her, came pouring down over her face and then a manic outburst of narcissistic rage, "oh you have been doing your studying haven't you, you twisted little ****!" - those words, the look on her face and the way she screamed it at me was behaviour I never thought she would ever be capable of.  Obviously, she already knew what she was.
  • I haven't said the clinic term to anyone, but yes, I've told someone that she had an ego problem, which she vehemently denied.  Her denial was funny to me, because it is obvious from the constant statements she makes like, "I'm prettier than her" , among other things, that there is definitely something amiss. 

    I've dealt with many narcissists, and I wish that I had called more of them out on it.  
  • I have met a few narcissists before and seriously I can't really deal with them. I am impatient by nature with quite an unstable temper. The best choice for me when I was around those people was to ignore them. Its not because I dislike them or anything but instead I hate how horrid I can get when I'm not in control.
  • It's a bit difficult to confront someone who suffers from a disorder that by definition makes them think so highly of themselves that they will not be willing to hear anything bad said about them. Perhaps the best way to go about handling such a situation would be to employ the help of close friends and family members. They may be the only persons who the narcissistic person will listen to.
  • @JuruDi
    Not a chance of that happening either!  Even family members and friends of narcissists are just pawns to be used in their game that they call life. Most of those family members and friends probably don't even realize that they're being used in such a way. Even the people closest to a narcissist are just sources of narcissistic supply (primary, secondary, etc).
  • Well, if I confronted someone with that expression most likely they would laugh on my face because if in fact they have that disorder they will never admit it. 
  • @Glow
    Exactly! Narcissistic Personality Disorder is mainly characterized by denial and repression. Not only will a narcissist never admit that they are a narcissist, but they won't be willing to even consider that they may have the disorder (or any disorder for that matter) - it's everyone else who's crazy!
  • Talking to my narcissistic friend is like getting trapped inside a maze. You always end up where you were before - as though you're in a never ending circle. She would always repeat the past - how people adored her beauty, her numerous admirers, her good grades, how everyone was jealous of her abilities and achievements. I want so much to tell her start getting interested in the world outside of her only to end up going back to square one. My narcissist friend is already in her mid-thirties. She was never clinically diagnosed but plain as the day, she comes across as a narcissist to everyone she meets and no one has the guts to tell it straight to her face.
  • Excuse me while I take this train to another set of tracks.

    My problem here is that we, as a society, seem to have no problem with labeling this state of mind, narcissism, as a disorder that needs medical treatment. We all know what that means. Pills. Pills that may have the ability to also make people addicted to them. 

    Call this for what it is.......A state of mind. I don't agree with narcissism, but I don't not agree with it to the point where I think it's a medical condition. Why does everything have to be a medical condition anymore that can only be treated by prescription drugs? It's BS.  
  • I don't believe there is any medical treatment or drug made to deal with narcissism. It is a serious disorder and if you ever get tangled up with a narc then you'll know how severe it is. It is a state of mind and it can't be treated. I read somewhere that if a narc really was able to see the truth about themselves and the pain they have caused others, they would have severe mental collapse. They need to keep their narc identity in order to survive, and there is no cure, drugs or therapy. Therapy would probably just teach them better manipulation strategies.

    More interesting though is a new condition being thrown around, called "narcissist abuse syndrome". That condition is probably treatable and drugs could certainly come into play, as it shares a lot of symptoms of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. 
  • @Loveistheanswer
    You seem to completely misunderstand narcissism.. There is healthy narcissism, a perfectly natural human trait which we all require, and there is malignant narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) which is definitely, undoubtedly and unquestionably a lot more than just a state of mind. Also, there is no pill or medical treatment for NPD.  It's a severe psychiatric disorder which causes a lot of unbearable pain and suffering to many people and as a victim of narcissistic abuse for well over a decade I can tell you that I had my identity, family, friends, possessions, self-worth and sense of identity stripped away from me over the course of those years by the narcissist in my life, the very person I was in a relationship with who was a pathological liar, an emotional/mental abuser and a person with absolutely no empathy whatsoever - that is no different a state of mind than the state of mind of a psychopath.  All rapists and murders are narcissists (but not all narcissists are rapists and murderers). Does that mean that being a rapist or murderer or even a paedophile is simply just a state of mind?  Or is it a psychiatric problem?
  • I think it has to be understood that many people that end up with NPD have experienced some form of trauma in their early life that caused this outer persona to develop. To them it truly is a survival mechanism that as I understand it is tripped only when the feelings for someone or something gets to close for comfort. @androl you are totally right this is a very serious psychiatric condition that to date has no successful method of treatment.

    Does this mean that if you know someone with this condition you should run for the hills? My feeling and decision was not to do that.Sometimes you just can't if it is a family member. While it is true they will do whatever they can to make your world as topsy turvy as they can, the truth of the situation is there is a deeply vulnerable person  that really needs help. You just have to keep it in your head at all times this is a person that appears to have no empathy and will try to get under your skin and break you down. It is also possible that the behavior may not be exclusively that of NPD. There are many other types of behavioral problems where a erson may have narcissistic tendency but not necessarily NPD. It is my understanding that in some cases people with Aspergers can have similar traits as those with NPD but the actual severity and methodology is very different.
  • It's actually very tricky to confront narcissists; it's like confronting a religious person of their hypocrisy. It can go very violent sometimes because the image of their ego is dissonant from what you or I view and they try to resist it violently. I don't usually confront narcissists but I'm actually very good at manipulating them, just for fun of course. They are very single minded individuals and put their ego above all else. Soothe their ego or raise them up and you can order them around without them knowing. Just be very subtle, once they get wind, they'll be suspicious forever.
  • @TommyVercetti, I'm intersted how you could order a narcissist around, even if you have pumped their ego. Maybe that is a different kind of narcissist than I have experience with. In my experience there is no way to order a narc to do anything, the relationship is always one sided and involves you doing their bidding, not the other way around. I have never seen a narc being controlled by another person.
  • @Diane Well it's not exactly ordering them around as much as manipulating them into doing stuff. You will never be the dominant in your relationship with a narcissist if you want it to continue. If you're looking for examples of narcs being controlled by another person, I'll give you the most famous examples:

    Talleyrand, always outmaneuvering Napoleon by stroking his ego and playing a submissive;

    a buddhist monk who was made the chief adviser of Genghis Khan by praising his policies while interjecting some of his own;

    Joseph the dreamer of the bible, who got to do as he pleased by attaching his accomplishments to the pharaoh.

    Basically, you play a courtier to the king. You are the king behind the king as it were, which suits me just fine because my ego doesn't need to be appeased.
  • Narcissist have what is often described as a "super-human" capacity for manipulating others - comparative to the influential powers of a psychopath. Adolf Hitler was a narcissist. It's possible to learn how to manipulate narcissists by knowing how their minds operate and acting as though they're attempts at controlling you are working and then leading them into a desired outcome by acting that way. However, by even attempting to do so you are putting yourself in the firing line and if they realize what you are doing you can look out - if you continue to be a threat to their pathological false self for long enough then they will not think twice about killing you - without laying a finger on you! Learning how to manipulate a narcissist is very much like developing a "super-human" capacity for manipulation yourself (i.e. you become narcissistic).
  •  I googled “high maintenance friend” which is what I have always called her (for 33 years) and now realize she is most likely NPD. I have heard the frightening stories of her childhood where she was not allowed to attend a high school football game and was told by her mother that because she wanted to go to the game, she was a slut. Her father did not allow her or her sister to ever cry for any reason. Her and her sister are estranged because she started dating her sister’s ex-husband!
    We have been on and off friends for years, I moved (thankfully) and we did keep in touch and a couple of times went on vacations together, which were an absolute nightmare! Then the last couple of years we have been very close, although thankfully living four hours apart from each other. I attended her ten year cancer-free party, then she attended my 60th birthday party (which she totally took over the kitchen and everything else – I let her but it made me crazy). She will keep me for HOURS on the phone. When I try to say I have to go, she gets pouty or pissy.
    So this latest blow up was the end, it happened a couple of weeks ago. She offered to let me stay at her house while in town for a high school reunion and to see my kids. But things turned ugly when she wasn’t the center of attention and she began complaining about me wanting to actually spend time with my kids. My daughter thinks she is very wierd anyway (about 4 years ago my daughter and I stopped in to see her when my daughter was pregnant and she (the NPD) raised her shirt to show off her reconstructed boobs. Talk about a shocker – no warning – just lifted the shirt. My daughter has never forgotten that lol).
    Anyway, we had a big argument and I left without her to see my son who lives about an hour away since she was pouty and said she would just stay home. I said good! I was glad! When I got back she was drunk as a skunk (as usual) and so pouty and whiny it was how a small child would behave. She scooted her chair all the way across the room and turned her head so as not to face me and continued to wail. FOREVER! I was flabbergasted. I wanted to get the hell out of there but it was dark and I can’t see well at night. The next morning I was preparing to leave (on schedule) and it was tense and as I was loading my suitcase, I opened the flap and it hit the wall behind and knocked down her mother’s framed needlepoint of a cat. I felt really awful, apologized and told her it was an accident, which it was. She was in the other room when it happened. I offered money, to help clean up, to pay for a new frame, she wouldn’t hear of it.
    Then when she finally sent me all the 250 photos she took at my reunion (which no one asked her to take and several friends came up to me to say she was being very annoying), I knew she would make an issue of giving up possession of those photos. She was very much in control of them and I needed them so I knew she would really get off on that! She did finally send them about a week later, then texted “well I’m glad you get all the credit.” I totally lost my cool and emailed her saying things I had been keeping in for YEARS.
    A few days later, I of course sent a very heartfelt apology for losing my cool. A week went by with no contact which was fine with me, I just wanted to clear my conscience, and she called last night, with the smuggest attitude ever! Announcing loudly that there will be some groundrules! She will allow no more cussing from me. Really? That is my huge crime…that is all she could come up with. Oh the other horrible things I did were I used her as a hotel, even though she invited me, and I only wanted to see my kids, even though that was the purpose of the trip. And I didn’t say thank you more than once for the time she drove to my house after announcing on a Friday she was coming, I of course said yes, after all, she was very upset about her married boyfriend whose wife is dying of cancer, and she needed me, right? Anyway, she offered to buy groceries if I would agree to let her come. Which I did. So my big sin was that I didn’t thank her for buying the groceries MORE THAN ONCE. I DID thank her when we went to the store. And she acknowledged that. But she requires MULTIPLE thank you’s and strokes of the ego you see.
    But when she let it slip (she was drunk) that she told her mama (age 80) that what happened to her precious needlepoint was that I was mad and knocked her needlepoint off the wall intentionally, my brain split in half! I came unglued, then she denied saying it. I told her she was a liar and mean and I did not want a mean friend and hung up on her. This was yesterday afternoon. I have been a basket case over this! Last night I did get some relief by talking about this to an old friend who knows her and still works with her. Believe me, she totally understood what was going on, because she knows her. But I awoke this morning at 4 am filled with rage and anger and wrote a scathing, cruel email that said everything under the sun because I want it to END! She will tell everyone how mean I am and how I have mistreated her I’m sure. But everyone knows her and they won’t buy what she is selling I’m sure. And I DON’t CARE! I’m done. Whew, that felt wonderful!
    My history I believe contains several NPD’s which I am figuring out now. First hubbie (6 years) was physically abusive (may have been BPD). I suffered from (diagnosed) PTSD for at least 20 years after that one, nightmares of him chasing me, etc. Second hubbie (12 years) was passive aggressive, cheater, emotionally vacant. Third rebound hubbie (2 years) major passive aggressive and fourth rebound (9 mos-cheated on me-met him at AA) was most definitely NPD, same childlike behavior witnessed. So when I saw my girlfriend do it I remembered that. Anyway, this article made me see that I AM on the road to recovery! I get it. I am married now for 8 years to a wonderful man and we have a very healthy loving relationship. It took some work the first couple of years, but I can feel myself healing. I think that is why the last two years with this girlfriend have been so maddening is that I FINALLY GOT HER NUMBER! And I let her know it. I started calling her on all the little snide comments she would make. She did not like that, and would always deny that she meant it in the way I took it. Whatever.  I mentioned passive aggressive behavior to her and she totally denied it.  I'm sure if I mentioned NPD she would be accusing me of being NPD.  
    I feel great.
  • I had a narcissist friend once but I never bothered talking to her about it. I was pretty young and she was too out of control so I kind of just gave up on our friendship. I probably could've helped her, but it wasn't worth the time since I was pretty young.
  • It's not even worth your time confronting the,. Everything you say will be twisted around. You will be made to blame for everything because they see themself as perfect and unable to do any wrong. They will say everything you say they do, you actually are the one doing. It's crazy making and frustrating.
  • I’ve never done that directly, but there was a confrontation that made me realize someone who used to be in my life may have had traits of a malignant narcissist. Going off like a rocket when I stated some of the things I was having trouble with, that was a big one, as was having everything thrown back in my face. In fact, I was TOLD to just leave, and that I’d done the worst thing anyone ever did to this person. So I did leave, saying “There’s obviously nothing I can say or do to make this any better.”

    Of course, once that happened and this person realized I really didn’t need them… they decided to try and get back into my good graces because they realized they needed my validation far more than I needed theirs. Which I’d actually known for some time but just didn’t want to acknowledge. I still wouldn’t say with 100% certainty that this person was a narcissist, just that there were glaring red flags I’d been choosing to overlook until I couldn’t anymore. In any case, I am not here solely to feed someone else’s ego, so I didn’t let that happen. It would just be an exercise in futility and frustration.
  • @Alianna
    That's exactly right, you are completely wasting your time by even trying to communicate with a narcissist in such a way anyway - it's totally pointless. Like you said, everything - every little thing you mention - will be twisted back round on you and by the time that happens, half the time you won't even know how you got there! They simply just deflect it all and project it all back on to you and it absolutely is crazy-making. Gaslighting is another mental abuse technique they also use.
  • I haven't done that because I haven't allowed that kind of people to stay in my life,  I'm tired of drama because my life is hard enough the way it is.  So I have succesfully cut that kind of people from my life. No regrets at all so far, I did what I had to do in order to be happy, if I had stayed they'd have surely sucked all the happiness out of me. 
  • Well, I'm not really sure if this person has a narcissist disorder but few years ago I used to have a boyfriend who was a really manipulative and selfish person, he made me think that he was the best guy for me and I actually left my girlfriend to be with him... I remember this one time when we had a fight, a physical one, I'm a really skinny guy and he was stronger than me, so I got really scared, he had this really creepy look in his eyes and I knew that he was not going to stop, so I calm myself down and I started to kiss and hug him so he would calm down and I could get out of that situation safe, and it worked he calmed down and we go back to his apartment... But I left him after that night, it's been four years and I haven't heard from him.
  • @anorexorcist20 ; If it has been four years and he has not managed to somehow try to come back the guy probably was something other then a narcissist. One of the things that a true narcissist will try to do is suck you back in, (This is called hovering) maybe it will be a week, maybe a few months, perhaps even a year. But they always do come back. It is not unusual that people that have gone no contact have to literally move away. If you enter into their mind it is as if they become obsessed all over again, they will say anything to get you to let them back in, and they can be very convincing. Then just like that -without warning- they will turn around and discount and discard you only to show up yet again like a bad rash at some other point in time.
  • great question and i enjoyed reading the responses. i agree that you cannot treat narcissism with medication....and a true narcissist won't really even be able to see his narcissism or be willing to attend therapy....one good thing is that you can learn some valuable lessons about yourself when dealing with a narcissist....like, you can learn how your self-worth is by how you react to the narc abuse....(if it occurs)...low self-worth accepts the abuse...gets stuck in the relationships...can't set boundaries...and more...but you can learn to love yourself enough to lay boundaries and/or cut ties with the person.

    those that suffer narc abuse have much to offer in terms of helping us learn about narcissism and abuse....
  • @SunnyDaze actually he tried to come back a couple of times few days after we broke up, and it was kind of difficult to say no, because he knew how to convince me, but I ended up ignoring him.
  • I think this is a really relevant post for this web community because many addicts present narcissistic personality traits or are suffering from NPD. Having been in a very destructive relationship with a narcissist (that drove me completely crazy and caused me to act in ways I am not proud of) I can look back and see that -- if I had been able to control myself and not get so angry with this person -- I could have confronted her about her NPD by doing the following: 1. stating that I am sorry she suffered so much. Narcissists are messed up because they perceive themselves to be victims and they refuse to see that they have actually become predators. 2. talking about my understanding of her suffering (why she suffers, how hard it must be, etc) 3. telling her i want her to get help so that she can stop hurting, and also because she may not realize it but she is hurting me and our relationship. 4. state how important the relationship is to me (if true). 5. reinforce her, tell her how many gifts she has etc and that by getting help to deal with her pain she will make herself an even better person. I often wish I had done this because even though the woman hurt me and treated me callously, I still value her and understand she did so because she has a disorder. 
  • Great question since it's challenging me to recall past events and confrontations alike. I must personally say that I've never confronted a narcissistic person before (well, I didn't attempt much, more spefically) because, first of all, it is just senseless. It's very likely that they be stuck-up in their own world of superficiality and you would be better off if you simply didn't interfere with it. Odds are you would be stuck up as well in the very core of their world... and trust me, it isn't enjoyable. 
  • The real tough thing about narcissists is that they are predatory in nature and tend to seek out "victims" who already have problems, insecurities or life issues which can be exploited. Not only are they self-absorbed, self-centered and lacking in empathy but once they've managed to get in their grasp, they will use all those insecurities, life issues and problems to corner you into a situation which you can seemingly never get out of because they have exploited those insecurities to cut you off from all your resources (family, friends, finances, etc). That is how you tell you is really a true narcissist or not.
  • The most that I have ever really confronted a narcissist about their condition in mentioning it in passing or making light of it, and I have to say that it did not go well.  I am kind of a subtle person all around, so I was hoping they might just get the hint, but I think that they just put it aside.  In the end though I think that they knew the reason but they chose not to address it.
  • I haven't yet but only because this person is super close to me. He constantly talks about himself, himself and himself. Whenever we talk, I am the lower person who has nothing achieved and he's the better one. He has all these achievements I don't even see the proof of. His family is perfect, at least for him and he has a perfect sister as well. They're the perfect family, lol. Whatever, I just cannot deal with confronting him right now since I have lots of problems to tackle first.
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