Self-centered, narcissistic people create confusion and chaos for others around them. This is true whether in the family, at work, or in any group they belong to. Since narcissists only believe in the vertical pronoun “I,” they are only self-interested and self-invested in any relationship. They are unaware of this bias as it is unconscious.
They have been trained and shaped to be in this role since infancy. Along with narcissists’ self-referential penchant is their continual plaintive cry for others to do the work in giving them what they want. They do not put out much effort themselves. They make a tremendous hue and cry for others to do their bidding so that they may benefit. So, they will demand many things of many people. Others will work diligently to meet narcissists’ requests but the narcissist will remain rather inert. He or she is good at “demanding” but not good at “doing.”
Another attribute that narcissists have is capriciousness. They change their demands according to their latest whims. A narcissist will demand something and then the next moment may demand the exact opposite be done for him. He sees no inconsistency in his new expectation. He justifies his capricious thoughts by saying, “I changed my mind. I want this now.”
Co-workers and family members become emotionally tied in knots when dealing with narcissists. People around narcissists become exhausted from all the effort they put out trying to accommodate the narcissist’s wishes. These other people also become very confused with narcissists changeability of mind. With no consistency and no predictability others find they are working at cross purposes. They are on an emotional roller coaster.
We all know the narcissistic spouse or friend who commits to be somewhere with us or to do something with us and who changes the whole plan at the last moment and expects us to accommodate to their whim to alter plans with no good reason.
We have also worked for narcissistic bosses who demand extraordinary effort from us – working late and working nights and weekends – for a pet project they want done. Then when you turn the project in these bosses will not want that particular project done anymore. They will have changed their mind. And, they will be upset with you for not reading their minds.
It is no wonder confusion reigns around narcissists. They abdicate effort and are whimsical, leaving to others to pick up the pieces and be frustrated and exhausted in the process.
Do you function this way? Or do you know a narcissistic person who creates chaos around him or her?
I think I was in a relationship with a narsasist he just left me with no good reseon,no explanation are anything I’m emotionally exhausted and very confused
That behavior is very common with self-centered people. They do not feel responsible for giving anyone an explanation for their behaviors. Thanks for your comment. It is a good one.
Consider his leaving you as a gift!
He did you a favor because otherwise you will go through a lot more sufferings until he may actually break you. Run for the hills, never look back. Good luck!
A good point for any relationship, whether a “he” or a “she.” Thanks for your comment.
I KNOW I was in a false relationship with such an individual. I was constantly and consistently told to do more, work harder, move faster, think smarter, etc. They where sooo needy. it was exhausting, until I said” ya know what? No.” There was an extreme emotional backlash from this person. As punishment I was attacked verbally, drug to court and ridiculed to my family. I have no contact with this person now, and couldn’t be happier.
Thanks for your comment. It will help others to know that ending these difficult relationships can make people happier. You are brave for taking the risk to live in a new way.
Great article , Dr Adams. Personality disorders are so exhausting and challenging for those who work with them , or are in contact with them regularly.
I agree completely. I think we need better ways of understanding such disorders and treating them also. I hope my book co-authored with my mentor will help therapists and people with personality problems. Thank you very much for your comment. Please feel free to sign up for my newsletter about our book’s progress.
I enjoyed reading your comments about narcissistic personalities. I’d like to read your book.
Thank you for your comment. Self-centered people are everywhere so it is important to understand how they think and operate. The book by Homer Martin, MD and me is coming soon. It is titled LIVING ON AUTOMATIC: HOW EMOTIONAL CONDITIONING SHAPES OUR LIVES AND RELATIONSHIPS. I will notify you in the E-newsletter when it is published and available for purchase. Thank you for your interest in understanding people’s relationships.
I would like an email on the book
Check out Amazon to learn all about my book: “
This sounds like a very helpful aid in dealing with individuals or difficult people in a group.
Thanks for letting me know. I had hoped the blog post would be helpful for all kinds of relationships.
Hi Dr. Adams,
Can you tell me how to create boundaries or function in group with a narcissist?
Thanks for your question. This is a complex topic and can’t be answered simply. You might want to read my recently published book, written with Homer Martin, MD—Living on Automatic: How Emotional Conditioning Shapes Our Lives and Relationships. We talk about people who are self-centered and how they got to be that way. You may find new ideas that will help you answer the question you have asked.
Don’t know if my current partner is a covert narcissist or not….this is the 3RE time she has left to stay at her friends… the 1st to punish me for some thing I said (3 days), the 2nd because she didn’t want to go on our holiday (2 weeks) weight issues so she didn’t want to go…. but said yes let’s go at time of booking. … and 3rd because I reacted to what I believe to be a gaslight incident where she scratched the interior of my new car then blamed me for my reaction….. I had just paid a deposit for a years holiday in the sun….. she ran to her friends again… and is still there…. with depression?? (9 weeks and counting) no indication she acknowledges here are two people in the relationship… like I don’t matter. Narc or not?? Fed up. Want me to hang in until she gets well??? Meanwhile my life is on hold….
Thank you for your comment. I would recommend a good therapist who might help you sort out the dilemma you are in.
My npd wife did this often, just doing homework with the kids became impossible when she was present. Always different, but always same outcome, say ide read kids journal test on Monday test on Friday. The npd argue it differently, even with written proof from teacher with dates..doesn’t make sense, kids get upset, the npd storm off in a huff..saying she can’t stand me, I’m left bewildered, kids derailed emotional..takes half hour get them back on track. Why? Does the npd do this.
Thank you for your question.
Dr. Homer Martin’s and my recent book, Living on Automatic,Living On Automatic Book discusses how distinctly different self-centered impotent personality people are from their opposite personality mates. They think, use emotions, and use language differently.They are emotionally shaped differently in childhood. You may find our book helpful for your understanding.
I’ve been married for 35 yrs. & now we are separated. He is the biggest narcissist. He won’t answer any of my questions, won’t even look me in the face to talk. He continually lie’s & yells at me to make it look like it’s my fault for everything. He’s also a big gaslighter as well. Those 2 don’t go well together.