Marc Hubs is a writer/researcher on mind, science, and conspiracy. He is the author of "Know Your Enemy: Reflections of NPD."
In the same way that the term 'malignant self love' can actually be quite deceiving leading many people into believing that narcissists are simply vein and big-headed people, narcissists are also just as deceiving as the term itself leaving many people completely oblivious of their true destructive nature.
Friends and family of narcissists who have stayed close to them throughout their lives remain fooled by the angelic facade that they present and wholly believe that such seemingly good, honest and caring people deserve their respect despite what few mistakes they may have made throughout their lives. The narcissist knows otherwise. If their friends and family were to discover the real amount of damage that they'd caused, anyone who tried to confront them would most certainly feel their wrath. It would be shocking, potentially devastating.
Covert or stealth narcissists leave a secret trail of damage behind them everywhere they go in life yet this trail remains invisible to their close family and friends. These family and friends will most likely be the only real friends that the narcissist has left by the time they reach about 40. Malignant narcissism is a disorder that develops from a very early age and is therefore highly unlikely to develop in someone who has reached adolescence.
Overt narcissists are less cautious about revealing their secrets and openly display their narcissistic behaviour. Although friends and family may pick up on this the narcissist generally uses shock tactics and large volumes of alcohol as an excuse for being out of control, they claim that they didn't know what they were doing. However, after one-night stands and on irregular occasions they continue to have affairs in secret with as minimal an amount of people knowing about it as possible.
They may even blackmail anyone who finds out into keeping quiet and may disguise the affairs by committing them on special occasions when people would least suspect it including Valentine's Day or while their partner is attending a funeral. If their partner was to accuse them of sleeping with someone else while they were at a funeral the claim would seem outrageous and the narcissist would use the accusation to convince everyone around them that their partner is paranoid.
Narcissists commonly damage relationships, marriages and families with their lies, cheating, and deceit secretly using distortion campaigns to destroy their victims reputation without the victim even being aware of it. They act promiscuous and sleep with people they 'bump into' in life that they know are not going to stick around forever.
People who won't be there in the future to reveal their secrets, people that they can use as a source of narcissistic supply. This often leads to their victims personal lives, reputations, jobs and even marriages falling apart yet the only people aware of the real abuser are the victims whilst the narcissists close family and friends remain fooled their false exterior. This can go on for decades.
Anyone that has remained in a relationship with a narcissist for a long period of time is also sure to have had their reputation, friendships, relationships and identity destroyed by cleverly plotted distortion campaigns so that the narcissist can continue to get away with their perverted behavior doing whatever they want and using and manipulating anyone around them whilst successfully playing the victim.
Narcissists fabricate and develop stories over time that can be used to divert the blame onto other people for damages caused in the past who would never suspect them of their lies or false accusations.
- eBook by this author out now: Know Your Enemy: Reflections Of NPD
- Personality Psychology: The Narcissist In All Of Us
- Narcissistic & Sociopathic Ideology Within Bloodlines
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) - Malignant Self-Love
- Recognizing Narcissistic Abuse
- Recognizing The Narcissist
Pedal To The Medal on May 06, 2015:
The camera is actually installed inside the screen! My computer & phone in custody Writing this on crap old phone b/c this creep is a nosy voyeur . Don't dare use the Internet here. Anyway, have a secret board on pinterest w/all of my PI resources I plan to share here later. I'm BK'ng this page & I'll be back in a few weeks. I'm doing all of this myself as he has isolated me from any support. This whole ordeal has raised my level of respect for myself. Local police dept. useless & he tried to use them as abusers by proxy. My best advice is if you get an ignorant/naïve officer on a domestic call, call the police on the police. Call the dispatchers on 911. Never allow an officer into your home. These fungi are skilled liars & we all know that many cops are abusers & emotionally unstable & think nothing of blaming the victim. Your narc has smeared you to the responding officers. You fell for the narc's act & you're more astute than a p.o. Talk through a window & never let the officers step foot in your home. I'm in a suburb outside NYC. Can't tell you how many crazy cops I've encountered through the years. You cannot trust the police in the US. The standards/bar for the career are set too low.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on July 19, 2013:
I do agree with a lot of vaknins work... But definitely not all of it. Vaknin claims to be a "self admitted" narcissist - a contradiction in itself. He also got himself diagnosed with Anti Social PD. He has SOME valuable material but for the most part you should take it with a pinch of salt. Vaknin is, technically, a fraud - his (fake) qualification comes from a diploma mill. He seems to talk more about sociopaths/psychopathy than he does narcissism. It's not contagious, it's just reflective behaviour which the narc invokes in their victim - it's usually temporary.
Anon on July 19, 2013:
Yes, but full blown NPD can work as defense mechanism that how malignant narcissists are born. Sam said that pathological narcissism is a reaction to childhood abuse. The more severe abuse is, the stronger narcissistic defenses become and the greater is likehood that you will become addicted to narcissistic supply. NPD can also be also classified as behavioral addiction. For example many victims of abuse start to self medicate with alcohol and other drugs to withstand emotional pain (analogous to self-medicating with narcissistic supply), the more severe and prolonged abuse is the more they will self medicate to the point of becoming more addicted to alcohol. This is what happened to me in high school, I wanted to alleviate my emotional suffering from abuse by thinking that it might not be such a bad idea if I start to indulge in fantasies of brilliance, power and perfection, for me these fantasies worked very much like drug induced high. On neurochemical level this is because of endorphins produced by the brain, which are also the reason people become addicted to pornography, video games, etc. Endorphins are natural opioids that have similar chemical structure to morphine and bind to same receptors in the brain (mu opioid), they both release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that forms the basis of substance and behavioral addictions. Interesting fact about dopamine is that dopamine is the reason why people who overdose on LSD, Methamphetamine and Cocaine have megalomaniacal feelings of power, invulnerability, omnipotence, and Cocaine is a commonly abused drug by NPD sufferers. Narcissists also use combination of projective identification and silent treatment as emotional blackmail. In subtle way they send you a message: "If you start to think, believe and behave like I do, I will start to talk with you and be more nice to you." In other words if you become pompous and arrogant like they are they will stop abusing and ignoring you, but this of course is not true because they will continue to abuse you anyway. Besides I can attest from personal experience that Sam's article "Narcissism by proxy" is true because I went through much of what he describes in it my self. NPD is contagious because proxy narcissist transform others in to a malignant narcissists for the same reason their narcissistic abuser manipulated them into becoming malignant narcissists. Their victims put them though humiliation of narcissistic injury and now they want their victim to experience the same thing in revenge. Narcissist in the end disinhibits their victims completely - As Vaknin said "The narcissist can, thus, derive, vicariously, through the lives of others, the Narcissistic Supply that he so craves. He induces in his army of zombies criminal, romantic, or heroic, impulses. He makes them travel far and fast, breach all norms, gamble against all odds, fear none – in short: he transforms them into that which he could never be." Narcissist tried to do exactly the same thing to me! He destroyed my self confidence and self-esteem through constant abuse, knowing that I have strong need to restore it he subtly encouraged me into risky and reckless behaviors to prove my self worth (his worth of course). Dissociation that resulted from abuse trauma eventually worked in my favor, enabling me to resist his manipulative influence and abandon him before he did any serious harm in this way.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on July 18, 2013:
To be honest, I disagree with some of Sam Vaknin's material (as do many others). Narcissism is not contagious - infectious, maybe... but definitely not contagious. Victims find themselves becoming more narcissistic because their defenses are up after the abuse - but this is just self-protection and not full-blown NPD. It tends to disappear towards the end of the recovery period.
Anon on July 18, 2013:
I always found comparison of narcissists to children perverse and contradictory because most children have empathy, but it explains why I often felt pity and remorse to my narcissistic abuser even though he behaved l like a jerk.
Anon on July 17, 2013:
Sam said in that article:
"To their horror, these victims discover that they have been transmuted and transformed into their worst nightmare: into a narcissist.
They find out the hard way that narcissism is contagious and many victims tend to become narcissists themselves: malevolent, vicious, lacking empathy, egotistical, exploitative, violent and abusive."
So its not actually rare for people to become narcissists later on.
I acquired narcissistic traits during adolescence from my narcissistic abuser in high school, but this is not adolescent narcissism that it is typical for developmental stage of teenagers, In fact I was quite decent and modest in my teenage years, but I became narcissist because I was manipulated by my narcissistic abuser. Teenagers tend to outgrow their developmental narcissism but I did not because I became addicted to narcissistic supply and still am in my late 20s.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on March 28, 2013:
I'm sorry you've also had to deal with covert NPD, it's most certainly the most difficult to deal with and most damaging form of the personality disorder. I have also personally had to deal with a covert NPD long-term, as you can probably tell from my writing. Unfortunately there isn't a great deal written about it so it's hard to find good information but I do have a lot of work in progress on this subject. It can be a daunting and lonely experience and it can be virtually impossible to get anyone to see the truth behind the lies but I assure you, there are many people out there who know exactly what you have been through. Be strong.
joco3958 on March 27, 2013:
I feel so much better since reading these blogs. My sister is a covert narcissist; I am 56 years old and had no idea until approximately 9 years ago. I found out that she has been maligning me since we were in high school! She is a year younger than I am, and I was shocked to learn how vicious she really is. She always was super nice to me, and all the time she was lying about me so much that my brother did not speak to me for several years. He (inadvertently) found out the truth, and he is the one who told me what was going on. I was devastated, as was my mother. I did not speak to her for 3 or 4 years, than I gradually let her back into my life...and guess what?? She is still doing it, and apparently has been all the while. I have completely severed our relationship. So glad there are people that understand the hell I have gone through, and the damage she has done to my character.
madashell on July 11, 2012:
I have been with the NPD for 20 years. It has been hell and don't know why I ever stayed with the xxxxxx. Partly was due to having my daughter. After 20 yrs, I found out he was having an affair. My daughter alerted me about his cheating. She borrowed his phone and walked in on him and his "girlfriend". He told me he wanted to do whatever he wanted, which meant going out with other women. I asked him what about us intimately? He said yes, we would still be intimate. I told him he wasn't touching me if he wanted to do whatever he wanted. I also told him he had to be a responsible father of 2 teenage kids. The following week, he told me to move out because it was his house.
snozcumber on June 02, 2012:
Thanks for all your articles. I finally split from my ex a few months back as I recognised this in him. He is also an alcoholic so for years he blamed the disease, and I excused the abuse as the disease. Then he was sober for some years and the same abuse picked up again as soon as I started challenging him. Unfortunately my grandfather was one as well I think, and I felt some kind of need to try and fix him for a long time before I acknowledged this was only breaking me and with two children now involved it was time to give in and get us all out.
I now am just aloof and as civil as I can be, I make it quite clear I don't like him and will never trust him and will not allow any more than a weekly day time visit to the children and I will only deal in facts and actuals.
This is exactly what he wants, he only wants to play good time Dad one day a week for a few hours and hand them back as he said when I left he never wanted to be a father, implying I somehow forced him into it. So it makes me angry when he tells people I try and stop him seeing them, and all the rest, and he is busy lying about me on a daily basis to anyone on twitter who will listen and he hopes may fall for his false persona.
I am so happy to be out, and that we got out before the children were old enough to be affected, and we are all so much happier and healthier. I have just started some counselling to work it all out a bit. I find the thing that continues to feed my anger is that he is out there deceiving others now, and some other girl/s will now be caught up in his nasty ways and come out scarred and that he lies and lies about me, what happened and so on, and that he then expects me to be civil and reasonable, I really think I am and still he tells everyone I am not!
I am sure that over some time I will find a way for the way he is to just be water off a ducks back, he will never change and all I can hope for is that I no longer care!
To anyone feeling they are with someone like this, who feels they are in mind games, and ends up asking themselves, is it me, am I mad, am I unreasonable. Get some distance, as soon as you do you realise how very abnormal the situation actually is, you become so 'used't to it. I am so angry with myself now for putting up with it for so long and letting this person steal 6 years of my life, and for giving my sons such a man for a father. When the realisation hits, only deal with them about issues which are not emotive, and if they are on twitter/facebook, wherever try not to look!!
knowingispower on May 24, 2012:
Thank you very much for your comments. You are so right about relationships. I stopped dating several years ago because I always seemed to attract self-centred, controlling men and I didn't know why. My mother and I have shared a house together for several years and we've talked about everything-my sister's lies, exagerations, etc. I wished we had talked sooner because she has always realized that my sister lies, exagerates, etc. In fact, my grandmother had mentioned it years ago. Recently, my mother did confront my sister about one of her lies and now my sister is no longer talking to her and didn't send her a Mother's Day card. Hopefully someone can offer some advice. Should my mother try and call her? My sister has cut every member of the family out of her life, but I never thought that she'd do it to my mother. I had really hoped that my mother would be the one person that could talk to her about her behaviour. If not, perhaps it would be better if my mother went back to never confronting my sister so that they can have some kind of relationship?
Christine Louis de Canonville on May 24, 2012:
I am delighted that you are working out what is happening with your sister, and don't blame yourself for not knowing sooner..... I think every victim could say the same. It is wonderful that the "lightbulb moment" happened for you, because now you can continue to study the behaviours of this type of personality.
I am a therapist, and I can tell you that there is a lot of good information on the Narcissistic Forums, so join a few like minded people and get more answers to your questions. Your sister may not have ful-blown NPD, but she does not have to in order to do damage. Narcissists are drawn to "nice" people in the same way a moth is to the flame. Nice people have the qualities that they lack, that is why they need them for there "narcissistic supply".
Unfortunately you have learned to dance with her since childhood, but the good news is that you can change your behaviour......AND STOP DANCING!
Do a little reading on Co-dependent and Pleasing Behaviour...... because these are likely to be how you dance with your sister. Learn also about "Boundaries", because you will need to set new boundaries yourself. Don't get into self blaming, victims of narcissistic abuse use unconscious defense mechanisms as a way of survival, especially when young.... and the behaviours are incredibly intelligent. However, at this stage of your life you could do with making those changes within yourself so that you are not as easy to take advantage of. Your sister is not the only narcissist that will treat you in such a manner, you need to watch out for others who have these same traits, because you are likely to dance with them as well if you don't make the changes within yourself.
knowingispower on April 20, 2012:
I'm very thankful that I came across this blog. Only recently I realized that my sister is a narcissist. I'm even confused about why it took so long for me to figure it out. There were numerous signs but as you stated it can take decades. Maybe a part of the reason it took so long was because she was my baby sister and I always babied her and partially because my mother didn't like confrontations so I learned not to upset my sister (or mother) and didn't say anything when she lied, denied, fabricated stories, controlled everything, etc. Two years ago I did confront her on the fact that she has missed and never acknowledged my children's birthdays and yet I've never missed one of her children's birthdays. She denied it and I let it go. About 6 weeks ago she was visiting and discussing her children's birthdays and I mentioned it again. She went into a rage, called me every name in the book, stated that I would never see her face again and I would become a lonely old woman. Since that time, so many things have come together for me right back to when I was a teenager and she had always blamed me for her quitting school. I was very shy and she said that she was defending me one day against the principal, threw her books on his desk and left the school. The thing is I was no longer in high school at the time because I had already graduated. I don't understand why it has taken me so long. I spent years trying to change myself thinking that I would feel better if only I wasn't shy, etc. and I worked on changing so many things. Now that this light bulb has gone off, I'd like to confront anyone that I know for fact is lying to me; even at work. I'm sure that it will get better with time, but I would appreciate any advice. I'd like to see a councellor, but can't afford it at this time.
Christine Louis de Canonville on April 07, 2012:
Thank you Sparkster. I am a fan of your work too. What is needed to help combat this form of abuse is education, so putting our energies together helps to keep the posts going..... and it keeps me motivated to write more, so thank you.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on April 06, 2012:
Many thanks for your comments Christine, you clearly have great understanding of this disorder. Thank you for the link also, I urge everybody to visit and read it as it provides some very enlightening and accurate information which I couldn't have put into words any better myself. I am happy to link to your page from my hubs on this topic.
Christine Louis de Canonville on April 06, 2012:
I am sorry so many of you have had personal experience of narcissists. Everybody needs to know how to recognize a narcissist when they meet them first. It is not as hard as you think when you know what to look for. It is official that narcissism is on the increase in our culture, and it applies to women as well as men.
It is not too late to learn, even if you have been a victim there are things you need to know if you are to protect yourself in the future. I work in the area of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, and re-victimization is a common occurrence. The reason for this is that narcissists pick a certain type of person as their Narcissistic Supply, they are more likely to pick someone who has already been primed to respond to their convoluted dance and "gaslighting behaviour". Victims are unconscious that they are even dancing the narcissists dance. Without awareness it is hard for victims to change their own behaviour, and this leaves them vulnerable to further abuse. I have written several articles on the subject, I am putting up a link if you would like to read them.
Jeff Hileman on January 24, 2012:
Thanks for the kind comments. You go girl! Chalk one up for the good guys. Glad that your keeping him involved. I agree it's the right thing to do. I thinxs having a support group is great and a necessity. Until I found "here", I was alone and "no-where". Hope you stay with us. Gonna hop over and read one of your hubs too. Cheers!
womanatthewell on January 24, 2012:
I appreciate the response. comment you made, about putting yourself in the line of fire, was particularly beautiful. Mey ex has tried to force distance between me and my children, thankfully the state intervened, because he is also diagnosed schizophrenic, (it was funny to watch him try to convince the court that I was the crazy one, while they were going through his medical records.) I know that my girls are in for a wild ride with dad, but I am determined and committed to maintaining joint physical custody, for their sake alone. There will be a time, when they will need to be able to have somewhere to flee, and a person that they know understands their plight and knows that they are not to blame. thankyou for your encouragement, and for sharing your expirience, you hang in there yourself Jeff!
Jeff Hileman on January 24, 2012:
womanatthewell, it's difficult when children are involved. My mother is NPD. I am 42 and most of my romantic relationships, were with NDP types. Including the mothers of my children. There has been no other choice but to keep contact with those children at a bare minimum. Unfortunately financial destruction caused by the Narc can leave things where you have no other choice but to make distance. In my 42 yrs experience the narc makes a conscious decision to participate in the particulars of NP behaviors. They will use children.
The following is not advice:
I even recorded the primary Narc in my life. It still only left me being the bad guy. "It is all in my head ya know". So, what I do now, when the main narc starts talking about someone in an ill manor around me. Is just say, Hmmm that's not the way I see it. Then let the Narc vent and rampage. The narc will act bullyish. Pound on the counter or slam things down. I just don't respond. It's hard to keep my cool when the subject of my kids are involved though. So I learned what subjects to bring up. Turning the narcs attention towards that planted subject. It's sacrificial but necessary. Even if the planted subject is me. Like some birds in the wild will act injured to distract a potential predator from their young. I take the full brunt of it to protect them. Conscious is not local. That being said, the idea of cursing someone exist and I will not allow the main Narc in my situation to continue to target and use my children. Those kids have gone through enough.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on January 23, 2012:
Womanatthewell, I feel for you and know all too well how difficult it can be. You are not alone. Many people who find their ways to these hubs are going through similar experiences.
Minimal contact is always the best but most difficult way to go. Obviously children are involved (same as me) so ties can't be completely broken. Don't try to confront them or get them to admit anything - it won't be worth the hassle. Just try to remain conscious of the fact that anything they said could be an attempt at manipulating you.
Learning how they do this and becoming more aware of it is a good place to start.
womanatthewell on January 23, 2012:
I still struggle, thinking that it was my fault, even though it was him who cheated on me and put our family through untold hardships. The week he kicked me out of our home, he manipulated a close friend of mine into moving in and sleeping with him, by convincing her that I was not a true friend, and secretly hated her. all of this in front of our two children. his mother, who I was very close to turned away from me, blamed me for everything. He told lies about me to his family and long time friends of ours, defaming my character. To this day, I have to deal with him in my life, because we have two children. I have gotten in the habit of never objecting to anything, or he does and says things to emotionally weaken me, and becomes irrate. Do you have any advice for those of us who are forced to have to deal with these relationships on an ongoing basis? Any advice on how to subtley confront them in regards to the welfare of the children? Any way to keep the peace?
Jeff Hileman on January 16, 2012:
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on January 16, 2012:
Thanks for the comment Jeff, I also have a similar problem to you regarding our 14 year old son. He has even started to display narcissistic traits himself but he's a very intelligent boy and he realizes that there's something just not quite right. He realizes that, as a family, we never lived the same sort of life as others. He realizes that we didn't take annual holidays or have any kind of financial security, he realizes that his mother was not around at times when she was needed most and he also thinks that most of her family are 'weird'.
This is not something you can just sit down and explain, it requires some sort of understanding of psychology and would be too much for a teenager to take in. It would probably also seem like you could be trying to turn your daughter against her mother, it's better to be as subtle as possible and let nature take it's course.
Jeff Hileman on January 15, 2012:
Any suggestion on how I should tell my daughter. I spent time homeless because of the NPD person in my life. My daughter would say...why this or that when she was younger. Actually clear up to age 16. But, I couldn't tell her. My daughter has the personality where she may confront the patriarch in my family who is the NPD type. Which would be disastrous. Sorry for what you went through with your (x) fiancée. Your hubs are very helpful to me. Voting up.
Lisa Kroulik from North Dakota on November 22, 2011:
Interesting fact about not really knowing until they were around 40. I was married to an N for 16 years. I was 40 and he was 42 before the full force of what I was dealing with hit me. It just nauseates me how he has gone on to make some other woman think he's god himself. He hates me because I finally saw him for what he was while his parents and others see what they want to see.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on September 12, 2011:
Thanks kimh039, unfortunately the abuse is so subtle and hidden from the victim that it can be years before they realize that there is something wrong. They have suspicions but these will never be proven and the narcissists convinces everyone that their victim is crazy or paranoid without the victim's awareness. Literally everyone around them is oompletely fooled by their facade.
Kim Harris on September 12, 2011:
Interesting read, sparkster. Thanks. I'm surprised anyone stays in a relationship long enough to identify all these hurtful behaviors! It seems their time would be better spent focusing on getting themselves healthy!
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on September 09, 2011:
Indeed it is lundmusik, the narcissisnt's self-worth has to be regulated to give them a feeling of superiority and to provide a defensive barrier that hides their true emotons
lundmusik from Tucson AZ on September 09, 2011:
I understand that narcissism is a defense mechanism that covers varying degrees of inner emptiness, low self worth, and emptiness. Several of my counselor friends say it's absolutely the most difficult neurosis to treat.
Thanks for the hub!!
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on September 09, 2011:
Thanks Terishere, I'm sorry you've had to deal with such people. They really can, as you say, inflict a great deal of suffering upon their victims.
Terishere on September 09, 2011:
I've personally dealt with narcissistic types. The covert ones are the worst!! And if you do unmask them, there is hell to pay. And yes, they will distort the truth or fabricate stories about you to try and discredit you. They hope others will believe their distortions, so as what you say cannot be true about them.
And you're right, narcissists blame everything and everyone for their behavior.
They can damage many people if you're not aware of what's going on.
Great hub! Voted up, awesome, interesting and useful. I'm now following you!
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on September 08, 2011:
L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on September 08, 2011:
In my experience, most narcissists blame all problems on external sources and take the glory themselves for positive events.