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Is Your "Friend" a Narcissist?

Posted Feb 04 2010 12:00pm

Many people have narcissistic friends who are taking advantage of them and who cannot be trusted with confidences or personal information. High level narcissiststhose who are socially very smooth and highly successful in the worldcan be difficult to detect. Here are a few clues to narcissistic psychopathology among your friends
Total self-absorption - The narcissist is totally self-focused. Everything in his internal or external environment is about him---life experiencesprofessional accomplishmentsacademic achievementssuccessful investmentsperfect familiesand the list is endless.  There is a grandiosity and superiority to the self-absorption of a narcissist. He bragsflauntsstruts---always moving about the stage to catch the center of the spotlight. You remain in his or her shadow.

There are individuals who are self-absorbed but are not narcissists. In conversation you notice that they are not capable of listening--taking you what you have to say.You make a commentthey move on to their next subject or they give you a very brief thoughtless response and resume their monologue. An individual who takes over the conversation is not a narcissist. If this friend is loyal to youcares deeply about your welfare and is empathic and kindhe or she is very unlikely to be a narcissist.

Lack of Empathy - This is the key human quality that is missing in the narcissist. Having empathywe are capable of putting ourselves in the other person's placeemotionally and psychologically. We leave our ego needs and psychologically sense what they are experiencing and feeling. In a waywe become that personso that we can understand what is happening to them. Empathic people have a beautiful willingness to let go of their lives in order to help someone else. Their focus is not on what they can get from a relationship but what they can do or say that will alleviate another person's suffering. The narcissist never developed this quality. Don't expect that he or she will ever become empathic.

Lack of Genuine Warmth - Narcissists are cold and manipulative. They can appear to be charming and ingratiating------even irresistible. But this is a trap. Watch the follow-up to the great rush of warmth thats coming at you. Does you friend drop the ballforget to call you. Do you have to initiate all of the contacts between the two of you? Does your friend cancel engagements with you or act out by being a "no-show" and expect you to make excuses for him/her.

Exploitive - All relationships with narcissists are exploitive. "The narcissist is a master at extracting the pulp and juice of others---their timetalentcreative ideasenergies---to serve his purpose alone. Believing that you have a genuine relationship with a narcissist is an illusion. This is the harsh truth. Narcissists are talented at pretending that they care about us. But this is masterful deception on parade.

These are several of the most significant clinical characteristics of the narcissistic personality disorder. Trust your intuition with "friendships." Learn more about the narcissistic personality. Visit my website:


Linda Martinez-LewiPh.D.

Telephone Consultation


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