Is Your Person a Narcissist (or are You Crazy)?

If a tornado snapped all the trees in the woods but no one saw it, guess what? 

It still happened. 

You’re not crazy. 

Like a tornado passing in the night, you don’t always see narcissistic abuse while it’s happening. 

What you CAN see, once it’s gone and the light dawns, is the trail of destruction: 

  • Abandoned loved ones 
  • An ex-partner or child who says “sorry” all the time 
  • Kids who have no sense of self and have difficulty trusting anyone 
  • Exhausted family members who have given their all with nothing to show for it 
  • Partner and kids without the ability to see themselves as deserving of love 
  • Kids who sense the mood in any room out of sheer self-preservation 

If you aren’t sure that your person is a narcissist, the first sign that they probably are is that you are asking the question. It probably took you a long time to realize you weren’t happy, and then to start figuring out why. And this search may only have started only after people who love you asked you some rather pointed questions that upset you at first. 

You didn’t want to believe it because you are a good, kind, decent person. 

But you are also very, very tired. And your kids are probably acting out in some ways that are very concerning. 

What other signs of narcissism can you look for after asking the question? 

In my experience, narcissists share certain key traits: 

  • A lack of empathy 
  • A lack of remorse 
  • A lack of self-awareness 
  • A lack of joy 
  • The need to be right 
  • The ability to turn on “charm” as needed 
  • A lack of a stable identity—they NEED compliments to anchor them 
  • A frequent twisting of the truth 
  • An obsession with status—how others see them 
  • An inner “black hole’ that they cannot fill emotionally 
  • The inability to be alone for long 
  • The need to wear a “mask” at all times, no raw authenticity unless enraged 
  • A need to surround themselves with people who make THEM look good and meet THEIR needs 
  • An atmosphere of heaviness, confusion, and anxiety wherever they go 
  • Dark sense of humor–insult people and then claim to be joking—“you’re too sensitive” 
  • A trail of unresolved traumas in their wake 
  • Family members who assume a mask of perpetual “cheerfulness” because that’s all that was allowed 
  • Loved ones who live with a constant sense of doom and fear 

What now? 

Now you get to claim the rest of your life. It starts by knowing what happened to you, getting to a safe place, learning to deal with the narcissist on an ongoing basis safely if coparenting, and then healing layer after layer after layer of damage. 

But you get to choose. You get to be free, no matter how painful the healing process is. 

Because your kids (and the world) need you to be okay and to help them heal from this toxic pattern so that it doesn’t get passed down ANY LONGER. 

You’re not alone. Many of us have walked this path and are ready to help.


Big thank you to Elizabeth Park for submitting this great article!

Elizabeth Park

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