How Narcissists See Themselves (Their True Self And 3 Love Stages)

This post may be controversial and silly, but it may resonate with a lot of people. It relates to how narcissists think about themselves, how they behave in romance, and what their true nature is.

This topic can be somber, but I want to lighten it up for you while staying relevant.

I like to think that humor can be as healing as listening to music, or sleeping off a bad phase in your life, like one that involved a an ex narcissistic friend or an ex romantic interest who drained the heck out of you. 

Introduction

I get a lot of post inspirations from songs that I listen to on the radio. Yes, sure… Radio songs can be light, shallow, and silly, but sometimes they trigger ideas.

Take “Wide Awake” by Katie Perry, for example. Not only is it a great catchy song, but the lyrics are very existential and speak of a duality of some sort. I really like the song.

 

It was playing earlier, and it inspired me to write this post.

In essence, the song says that you can fool someone for a while, but at the end, they will wake up and realize that things are not what they appeared to be.

“I wish I knew then, what I know now,
Wouldn’t dive in, wouldn’t bow down,
Gravity hurts, you made it so sweet,
Till I woke up on, on the concrete,

Falling from cloud nine, crashing from the high…” (Katie Perry)

3 love stages of narcissists

There are a lot more narcissistic men than women. That is for sure. Yet, the behaviors of narcissistic women can be as damaging as those of narcissistic men.

Friends can be narcissists, so can exes, siblings, family members, people you work with, and even your own children.

If you are unfamiliar with what narcissist traits are all about, read our post titled How To Spot A Narcissist (12 Signs Of A Toxic Person).

How Does A Narcissist Think And See Him Or Herself? 

The characteristics below may not all apply to the mild narcissist male or female in your life, but they may apply to someone who displays severe and malignant narcissism.

Without further ado, here is how a narcissist might think, and what they might say.

1. I love and adore myself.

Do narcissists love themselves?

The narcissist might think: “Wouldn’t you love me too? I simply cannot imagine anyone who doesn’t love me.”

I can see Kristen Wiig or Kate McKinnon doing comedy sketches about it. Saying this as a joke is OK, à la Saturday Night Live sketches, but saying it as a matter of fact is a red flag.

2. I work so hard at doing things for you.

The narcissist might tell you something like: “Do you remember I did the dishes last week? I just hope that you appreciate me. I hope you appreciate all that I have done for you so far.”

Sadly, the narc might remind you of everything they did for you since they met you, and they might always be fishing for compliments. It gets really annoying and old.

Some “low key” narcs may not want a lot of attention from people, but some others may love it.

3. Never ever question me in front of anyone. 

The ego of a narcissist can be bigger than Mount Everest! The narcissist might threaten you with this: “If you ever criticize me again in public, I will make sure that you (fill in the blank with usually something hurtful.)”

4. I remember what you said to me a year ago about my clothes.

The shallow narcissist might be hurt over something that you don’t even remember, and say something like: “I will never ever forget what you said or forgive you for that. That really hurt my feelings that you thought I looked like a (fill in the blank, i.e. farmer) at that party a year ago.”

We can all have our feelings hurt a times. It’s normal to want to be liked, included, and loved. The point here is that the narcissist will get hurt because of any criticism directed at them, constructive or non-constructive, and they will attack back, rather than try to absorb the information and reflect on it.

5. Look what you just made me do.

Noooooo. We’re not going to sing a song by Taylor Swift. Alright, alright, le’ts check out the awesome video.

 

They will say something like: “Your working hard and late made me (fill in the blank of a negative thing, or an unforgivable thing that they have done, like, oh… have an affair).”

The person with narcissistic disorder will blame you for something totally obnoxious that THEY have done. They will reverse things around and accuse you of having drama (for example) when they, themselves brought in all the drama to the table.

Without their selfish behavior, the situation would not have occurred to start with. Projection is important to a narcissist because that directing things back at you will remove their responsibility from the situation. And if they ever apologize, the apology will be half-assed and will not be genuinely sincere.

Genuine + Narcissist =  0 (They are two opposing words). It takes a long time for a narcissist to reach deep into themselves to recognize their faults.

6. Nobody measures up to me.

The narc will think to themselves, or even out loud: “I am the best, and unfortunately, there’s no one like me. My mother told me how special I was as a child, and it’s still true to this day. I am the smartest.”

Beaker of the Muppet Show summed it all up in his Me Me Me Me song. Enjoy, because if you’re under 30, then you probably don’t know what the heck I’m talking about.

 

7. Your friends are so low class.

The narcissist will attack your friends and say something to the effect of: “I don’t want you to see those people again, because I only associate with the best. Starting today, you have to find better friends.”

Depending on their upbringing, the narcissist will look down on people with no money, or people who might be struggling or come from developing countries. A lot of their values are based on looking good in the eyes of others, and on having status or money.

8. Do as I say, not as I do.

In some cases, the narcissist may be malignant and very toxic. They only criticize, but don’t apply what they preach.

The mean wife might say something like: “Get off the couch, you big fat slob. Why don’t you go work out or something?” She says this as she eats a bag of potato chips. She is also obese, and weighs a million pounds. She is, at minimum, double the size of the person she’s verbally and emotionally abusing at that moment.

9. Don’t bore me with the details.

How Narcissists See ThemselvesThe narcissist will ignore your struggles and say something to this effect: “So you got laid off! Soooooo big deal, you’ll get another job. My day was horrible because my assistant took the day off, and I had to do all the work. I am really having a hard time focusing on you right now.”

Refer back to the Me Me Me Me song…

10. I know that you thought that pathetic homeless woman needed help.

The narcissist will judge others and say something like: “She is homeless because she brought it on herself. She doesn’t want to work. Leave her alone and don’t give her any money.”

Of course, you expect the narcissist to say something like this, because they usually are unable to place themselves in other people’s shoes. Some lack empathy more than others.

11. I know that people think that I am a selfish and arrogant person.

Narcissistic people may admit to being narcissists by saying this and adding: “Who cares what people think anyway? They are inferior to me. Hey, at least I am not like you, weak.”

12. Rules? What rules?

Narcissism disorder and boundaries don’t usually mix.

The narcissist will break the rules that were agreed upon and say to themselves, or even out loud, something like: “Rules are for suckers. I am superior to everyone, and rules don’t apply to me.”

For example, they will break rules about promising to help you out financially with your school tuition, taking more responsibilities with the bills, honoring kids’ visitations rights, or respecting post-relationship behaviors that you may have established with them.

Eventually, the sh** hits the fan and the narc gets called on their B.S.

Narcissistic Relationship Cycle

What about a love relationship with a narcissist?

If you had the misfortune of crossing a romantic path with a narcissistic person, then you probably recognize some of the stages in the next section.

The phases of a narcissistic relationship are very different than those of a normal relationship.

To a non-narcissist, working on the current relationship is more inviting and reasonable than going out in the cold dating world, finding someone new, and starting everything all over again.

In contrast, to the person with a narcissistic personality, fresh love is more appealing than working on a current relationship, where sweat, tears, effort, and growing up is required from the narcissist.

  • The narcissist may not be capable of reaching deep into themselves and going outside of their comfort zone. This means that negotiating responsibilities and rules after an argument may be out of the question.
  • A relationship with a narcissist will have very little chance of lasting.
  • A relationship with a narcissistic person differs in the sense that it usually ends badly.

The 3 Narcissist Relationship Stages (I Love You, I’m Not Sure, I’m Out Of Here)

Narcissist relationship cycleTo a narcissist, there is very little room for working on a relationship.

This is because a narcissist indirectly processes love in 3 stages. These stages are rigid and predictable.

Stage 1: I Love You…  The Short Period Of Love Idealizing

This is the “love bombing” stage where all boundaries are broken and a strong bond is formed immediately.

If you end up being intimate with the narcissist very quickly, then you might already be in this phase.

The narcissist will want to move very quickly, so beware.

Stage 2: I’m Not Sure… The Narcissist Devaluation Stage

This is when the narcissist will start finding faults in you. It could be how you drink coffee, or the colorful socks you wear. Their attention goes elsewhere.

Feeling devalued in a relationship should be a red flag. The relationship is about to go sour and the “Bye, Felicia” phrase might be even heard across the room.

Stage 3: I’m Outta Here… The Narcissist Discard Phase

The discard phase of a narcissist is the last stage before you start your journey on licking your wounds and healing from this experience.

This is when the narcissist stops working on the relationship (if you can call it a relationship) and most likely drops you, but often not before they secure another person, or “supply”.

The behavior of the narcissist becomes toxic resulting in confusion, tears, and hurtful actions. Just note that there are certain deal breaking behaviors that should not be tolerated, but you will know which ones you can and cannot accept.

For You, It’s The End And The Beginning Of Better Things 

Hopefully, you will end the relationship before they do it to you, and if they do it to you, then find the strength to move forward and to never look back.

Cheating comes to mind as a deal breaker behavior, gaslighting, emotional abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, and verbal abuse are all forms of deal-breaking behaviors (at least in my book). Of course, if you have children together, then stay civil, but definitely keep your distance and your sanity.

At first, it will sound very harsh and hurtful to be taken for granted and discarded in such a short period of time.

The narcissistic person may have already moved on to the next love interest.

They can even be engaged, or married by now in as little as a few days, weeks, or months after you stopped being their number one person.

This Is What You Will Most Likely Feel Like After Being Discarded By A Narcissist

  • Embarrassment in front of others. You actually fell for the charm of a narcissist. You think to yourself “I am a dumbass”. Trust me, at some point you will start laughing at the situation.
  • Embarrassment within yourself that you were gullible. Time will change that, as you become more experienced and wiser.
  • Feeling sorry for yourself. After all, your choices have sucked so far. You may have had red flags from this narcissistic person early on, but you ignored them because the love felt deep and real (at least on your side). If you start feeling sorry for yourself for any of these reasons, stop it.

Stop feeling terrible about your choices. They are all amazing gifts of growth and progress. Read our article titled How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself (7 Life Changing Tips).

Sure, you feel like an idiot, but it’s OK. You’re embarrassed at how much you allowed yourself to trust someone with your emotions. All you wanted was to share the love, and all they did was wreck you! Uh-oh… another song is coming on the radio and I’m about to make a fool out of myself singing it out loud!

You too will soon be laughing it all out, and singing and dancing…

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was break me
Yeah, you wreck me. (Miley Cyrus)

Well, here’s probably a more fun version by Anne Hathaway, lip synching to it.

DON’T EVER FEEL THAT YOU WERE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM. IT IS the narcissist who is NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU.

Don’t underestimate your value and your worth.

So, now it’s time for “so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight” (Sound of Music). But no more cuckoo cuckoo times!

It’s now time to take really good care of yourself above all other people, unless you have kids, pets, and plants (water your dang plants). Helpless lives come first.

Be good to yourself and love yourself a bit more. Treat yourself well, don’t put yourself down, and take time to heal and be whole again.

Final Thoughts On How Narcissists See Themselves

So, how do you survive the presence of a narcissistic person?

By understanding them better and by knowing what they are really all about, how they think vs. their true self. Also, by being prepared for the big bang, in case you become interested romantically in a narcissistic person.

Whether you have had a non-romantic relationship, or a romantic one with a narcissist, going “gray rock” (becoming non-reactive) helps. This is in case you want to end your story with a narcissist, or when you simply don’t want to give them any more room to keep hurting you.

Maybe you can be acquaintances with the narcissist in the future because of certain circumstances (i.e. Kids in common, family, common friends, etc.)

For that to happen, you will need to be OK with everything that has transpired, with or without a genuine apology from them. Most likely, you won’t get a genuine, self-reflective one.

Most importantly, you will need to truly stop giving a hoot about what they do or don’t do. Are you there yet? I doubt it.

So, going grey rock is the only way to maintain your safety and your sanity when you deal with a narcissist who has a tendency of breaking all boundaries and all rules.

With that, Katie Perry fades us out of this post…

“I’m wide awake, yeah, I am born again,
Out of the lion’s den, I don’t have to pretend,
And it’s too late, the story’s over now, the end.” (Katie Perry)

What about you? Do you have an experience with a narcissistic ex friend, or an ex romantic person? An ex husband or wife? An ex partner? A current relative that you simply just ignore because they have narcissistic tendencies? Share your thoughts below and let us know.

Be well.

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