How to Spot & Escape a Narcissistic Abuser

Narcissistic abusers hide in plain sight. They can be cunning and charming. Most of the time you can’t spot a narcissist unless you get to know their motives. Narcissists can be dangerous master manipulators.

For the purpose of the piece below we are going to assume these are not people who are seeking help for their condition. Many narcissist see nothing wrong with their behavior and will not seek treatment or admit they have a problem.

How to Spot a Narcissistic abuser

Narcissists are self-focused. – Narcissists tend to think of themselves first and don’t care about the feeling and comfort of others. They tell stories about themselves. Often the stories will paint the narcissist as either a hero or a victim. The narcissist is never wrong and they always paint themselves in a positive light.

Gaslighting – Narcissists are often master manipulators. Gaslighting is emotional abuse. A narcissistic partner may that causes you to question your own instincts, judgment, and even sanity. A narcissist wants the power to control you. When you lose your ability to trust in your own perceptions, it becomes easy for the narcissist to get you to do the things they want.

Narcissists play the victim. – Nothing is ever the narcissist’s fault. Whenever something bad happens in the narcissist’s life someone else is always to blame. The narcissist’s problems are always blamed on someone else and they never take responsibility for their own actions. The narcissist will give you one excuse after the other to avoid being responsible for anything negative that happens to them.

Narcissists are defensive. – Narcissists don’t like people who disagree with them. The quickest way to cause a narcissist to erupt is to tell them that they are wrong. If you don’t agree with them they will accuse you of being against them. Narcissists are used to getting their way and may lash out when they don’t.

Narcissists are selfish – although they may pretend they are selfless. Don’t let these charmers pull the wool over your eyes. A narcissist will never put someone else’s feeling above their own. Narcissists may act kind and compassionate but often this is just a ruse to paint themselves in a positive light and win people over.

Narcissists don’t care if they hurt your feelings. – Narcissist craves ego stroking and is incapable of understanding how their actions impact others. Narcissists don’t respect your boundaries. They may borrow your things without asking and take loans from you and not pay you back. Narcissists feel like they own and are entitled to everything around them.

Narcissistic parents – often see their children as an extension of themselves and treat them more like property instead of individual people.  The narcissist will always put their own needs before the needs of their children.

Narcissists feel entitled. – They expect to be put on a pedestal and want others to cater to their needs. Narcissists think the world revolves around them. They may mock and put down people around them in order to boost themselves.

Lastly, a narcissistic person most likely has no idea he or she is a narcissist.

How to Escape a Narcissist. 

The best way to escape a narcissist is to pack up and leave. Cut all ties, get a new address, change your phone number and remove yourself from the toxic situation. Unfortunately, there are certain circumstances where an immediate exit may not be possible.

If for any reason you are stuck with your narcissist flattery may be the best way to avoid conflict. Remember arguing with a narcissist is pointless because they will always blame everything on you. Keep your head low and act normal as you plan your escape.

The first step in escaping a narcissist is to free yourself mentally. A narcissist’s strength comes from their ability to manipulate and control. When you become immune to their mind games you leave a narcissist powerless.

When you are ready to cut the cord it is best to do so without warning. When a narcissist feels like they are losing control they may lash out, trying to suck you back in. They will do everything they can to manipulate you. If the narcissist is unable to control you they can result to name calling and bullying as they try to deflect the negative light back on you.

Remember the narcissist loves control. – When a narcissist realizes that they can no longer control you they may leave. Narcissists need to have control over everything and everyone in their life. People who don’t obey or placate a narcissist are often cast out as unworthy.

Confronting a narcissist can be very dangerous. If you ever feel that your life is in danger get out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your narcissist becomes violent call the police.

The National Domestic Abuse hotline takes calls  24 hours a day 7 days a week. Depending on where you live there may be additional resources in your area.

National Domestic Abuse Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Find domestic violence help and shelter near you here at

Additional information about emotional abuse can be found here at




83 thoughts on “How to Spot & Escape a Narcissistic Abuser

  1. A lot of what you describe seems to be a sociopath. I think most people can be narcissistic ( I may be projecting). I think a lot of narcissists are also super insecure and are looking for validation from others. Maybe if someone had issues with codependency than a narcissist could be dangerous.

    I think a lot of narcissism is constructed in people and not inherent like a sociopath.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree…I know Narcissist’s who are diagnosed, but a Narcissist Sociopath is entirely a different breed all together. For me, I have been trying to learn the art of coexistence…for me, the hardest part was realizing that life as I knew before would never be the same as life after. Acceptance of this and learning how to incorporate that in everyday life without losing trust and belief in all people was 2/3’s of my journey, but for me at least, had to interact and get more comfortable around people that I now can accept (not entirely joyously I might add) will be in my life or in the background and training my mind to see the good in that without a pity party. Having someone in your life for ETERNITY at first sounds unbelievable…but once you somewhat accept the fact and then start incorporating how that works for you, the process gets more manageable in my opinion. I think it affects all people differently but some people hold more interest than others for the purpose of mass destruction and since it’s the Narcissist’s world and we merely live in it, figuring out the balance is key!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I have found a lot of positives, but it takes a while with sorting out what you are dealing with – when that clicks, there is a lot of processing that goes on as really it’s quite complex. As my journey started as as full-time stepmom to a son who was diagnosed recently, I get to see a lot of the positives as well but am mastering working on how to keep my positives from being corrupted into negatives – I will be writing a blog post soon on the best relationship to have with a Narcissist based on works from my favorite online blogger on the subject who spends a lot of time outlining it all that I like very much but that is the best advice I can give you – a lot of people view narcissist’s in a negative light, but I do not because I have hope for my stepson and others diagnosed although the first key to that is acceptance and also learning the art of co-existence (in my opinion).

          Liked by 2 people

          1. When you get that blog post finished, please send me a copy. I have NPD (identify with seven of the nine traits for it) but have always had shame in admitting it because narcissism/egomania has such a negative connotation.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I don’t keep negative people in my life any more. As I’ve grown up I’ve become more aware of the bad people in the world. People who bring trouble and negativity are sent out quickly. I don’t have to deal with them and that is the most empowering thing I’ve ever learned.


        2. Sure! I have a weird perspective as I never have dated a Narcissist which should be stated as I am sure those that have would have a remarkable different perspective and therefore my advice is NOT APPLICABLE TO ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS AND SHOULD NOT BE ADHERED.

          However, it is not just a romantic boyfriend/girlfriend in which a relationship with a Narcissist can commence as my personal and professional life have led me that direction so my perspective is rendered from that angle ONLY – my perspective is for those that wish to master co-existence like being in a stepfamily, or have a family member who is a Narcissist, or a co-worker, or maybe someone they consider an acquaintance/friend, etc.

          I just wanted that to be clear because most all authors recommend a DO NOT GET INVOLVED WITH A NARCISSIST. This is for those that do not have a choice, but naturally, the do not get involved is the wisest advice for most all people so never want someone to get confused on that.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Struggling with this right now. I think that I have a tendency to behave like a narcissist when I’m upset, because that’s how I grew up – I was raised by narcissists, my siblings are. However, I think, I’m actually much more empathetic, I pick up on things about people, etc. Is it possible for narcissism to essentially be a trained response? I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore by my behavior, regardless of where it came from.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely believe narcissistic behavior can be changed. With a lot of work and persistence, I have seen narcissists become great people. It truly starts with awareness which you already seem to have. As she said, narcissists don’t know who they are. When you know the truth about what your behavior does to people and how it affects your relationships, it makes you take a step back and reflect on your life. My husband is a narcissist. We have four kids, two are step-kids, and all of them, except my naive 4-year-old, can’t stand him and want to leave. They don’t need to grow up becoming trained narcissists. And you don’t have to behave in ways that you know hurt yourself and the people around you. Good luck!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A narcissist will only change if he or she wants to change and more often than not they don’t because deep down they really do not know who they are anymore. I have known a few narc’s in my time and those that I know are not really worried about how they treat others, they just carry on doing what they are doing without a care in the world and just leaving other people out there to suffer as a result. I would love to meet a reformed narcissist!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this awesome post. You must know my husband lol. I’m in a tough financial position where leaving is just not an option right now. And I have left before and I kick myself for coming back. I’m looking forward to the day where me and my children can be completely free. I wish I could completely cut ties but we have two children together (and I have two children older children from my ex). I have never made good choices in partners. Hopefully I’ll be able to save a little money here and there and free myself of this mess one day. Thank you for the post. All of it is right on!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. shudders I was married to one, long ago. the gaslighting was unreal- I was clueless about what was happening to me. I had to leave repeatedly, go back, suffer more until I got crystal clear that what he said about me wasnt my truth. Don;t underestimate how dangerous these people are!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For Christa and for my Neurodivergent Texas connection in spirit and soul star, it is humbling and deeply moving to know that you find grace and love and kindness in my words and art offerings. Please continue to look for, share, and enjoy that which I set out for the good of the world and those in need of loving, nurturing comfort. Star Rose Divi

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an excellent list. I’m stuck with my BPD Narcissist, as she’s the mother of our son. I take the approach of “Gray Rock,” which is not showing emotion and giving very short answers. No pointing fingers, complaining, frustration, feelings, or anything. If I must respond, I give a dry “yes” or “no.” If a response is not necessary, or I don’t want to deal with it, then I do not reply at all. I’ve forced email as the only mode of communication, too.

    I’m not certain if any of these shelters will help men who are being abused, since most don’t. When my ex beat me up, I dialed 911 and they threw me in jail.

    Getting out and leaving is the best thing. I lost everything, but it was worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Dharma Bum Diaries and commented:

    Narcissitic Personality Disorder is probably one of the most undiagnosed and untreated mental illnesses. I feel that we are in an age of rampant nacissism and depression and anxiety. I am related to a narcissist, and the traits outlined below deccribe her to a tee. If you are fortunate enough to be a happy well adjusted individual, be thankful, and have sympathy and compassion for the sea of troubled humanity that surrounds you. Unfortunately, those people haven’t yet discovered the secret. Keep calm and karma on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you got out of that alright. I feel like NPD is the most undiagnosed condition out there – probably because Narcissists are not aware they are “not quite right”. I try to have compassion for them by keeping my distance. It’s really all you can do.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I consider myself an expert on this subject. Way too many of them in my family and my past. Had to let go of all of them. Thanks for posting. People need to understand how dangerous this type of person can be.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Same! Too must experience. While I agree with everything, I would add a lot more caution on the leaving part. They are no longer being fed supply and admiration. They are losing control and will do whatever it takes to hold on to it. This is often the most dangerous time of a persons life and very often ends up in death, serious injuries, or stalking. They often become so obsessed with losing control and making you pay that death is the ultimate control over your life.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. More and more this subject has come to light. I wish I had known way back when what I know now. Regardless, I am happy to be here, safe, sane, and thriving. Healing is a long process sometimes though. No one is immune to a narcs traps because they can be so convincing. I thank God for those who bring awareness!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Without doubt the best article I have read on narcissistic behavior and I have read a few. Identifying the traits of narcissism in another human being can be a game changer for their victim/s. Please keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’ve had my run-ins with Narcissists, and I ultimately figured out that it is my Codependent nature that attracts them. Your blog is spot-on with regard to how to spot them and how to get away. On top of learning how to spot and avoid Narcissists, I’ve also been working on myself so that I won’t look so appealing to them.

    I decided to do this after reading about how pedophiles won’t just molest ANY child, and instead seek out what is called “safe victims.” That’s the one who is least likely to talk or struggle. After reading this, I figured that maybe Narcissists are attracted to me for the same reason. I’m a safe target.

    This is a great piece, and I can’t say it enough, but must since it seems to have gotten some negative responses on Twitter [based on your comment]. I wonder how a Narcissists can get upset by this, when most Narcissists are not self-aware. Maybe there are those who have been diagnosed, and then accept the diagnosis. But it makes no sense. I’ve seen the same thing on Borderline Personality Disorder [BPD] videos on YouTube. My life was destroyed by my ex-wife, who is BPD, but there was no shortage of people who claimed to have BPD. They got offended because they were “clearly the victims,” and the victim status stopped with them. This meant that they could continue to abuse their victims, but that’s okay because they are victims first and foremost, as if it’s a competition.

    Anyone who is harming someone else is not allowed the luxury of leaning on an excuse for protection.

    But I also have to wonder how many of these outraged people are self-diagnosed, and therefore not really Narcs or BPD. My ex-wife could never acknowledge her BPD, and thought I was crazy. Also, a Narc with whom I had a falling out yelled at me, saying that I was the one who was always thinking of himself. The amount of projection was mind-numbing.

    Anyway, I’m writing a blog on your blog now, but that’s how much your writing spoke to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I wonder how a Narcissists can get upset by this, when most Narcissists are not self-aware. Maybe there are those who have been diagnosed, and then accept the diagnosis.” – The person upset was DX. When someone gets upset it is a reflection of themselves NOT the target of their aggression. Sometimes the truth can be infuriating – and I don’t think that is a bad thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Interesting article! It’s amazing how people can be so self-absorbed and not understand the impact they’re having on the people around them.
    I know people who are almost exactly like this– except that you describe the most extreme version. The worst person I know would live up to 85% of what you’re describing. Still hurtful, still self absorbed, but with SOME ability to care and love.
    Thanks for the article!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Your words hit the nail on the head. I am one and know the damage I have done to people in my life (and now to myself) because of it. The anger, brooding, vengeance, and “air of superiority” were great until I couldn’t do the mental gymnastics to stay one-up on people, then depression and anxiety set in and put me in a psychiatric hospital. I had an awareness of my NPD close to 10 years ago, but never got treatment for it. Now I will.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am also diagnosed NPD. I agree with a lot of what you said, but do take issue with “Narcissists don’t care if they hurt your feelings.” I think it’s a big myth that people with NPD don’t have a conscience or feel guilty. I always cared if I hurt someone, but most of the time I just didn’t understand why they were hurt because I was only really able to see my own perspective. It was never out of malice though–it was more an issue of cognitive distortions coupled with low empathy (neither of which I realized was a problem for me.) This is all before “waking up” though, I now see things a lot differently.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you so much for you comments and for adding some valuable insight to the conversation. I am actually glad to hear that you do care when you hurt someone. The people in my life, who inspired this post, most definitely did not share your compassion. Maybe you’ve just taken a better turn in life then they ever did. You have given me something very deep to think about. I truly appreciate your wisdom. I am contemplating this deeply.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow! I didn’t know you knew my ex husband.
    I can joke about it now but eight & a half years ago it was no joke. For me or my daughters. It took time but we are safe and he is two thousand miles away. We are even dealing with our PTSD better these days.
    Thank you for this awesome post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing my post! I appreciate the compliment. I agree cut ties. Sometimes it can be a parent child thing and those relationships are always more complex or bothers and sisters who see each other at family gatherings. Not being lured back in is key but the Narcs can be VERY tricky and manipulative. 🙂


  15. Thank you for the insight! Great post and spot on. I escaped and I am in the process of healing and gaining the knowledge of who and what I was dealing with has been the catalyst in healing my body, mind and soul. I didn’t know anything about NPD while we were together, I was devastated when it was over, left with no closure, but I knew I needed to get away. When He went to jail for domestic abuse, I knew it was my escape. I sold my home in New England, purged everything that would be a reminder of us and moved 1300 miles to my new life. You gave some great advice in your blog! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I swear, its like you were stalking me. I’m in a relationship with a Narcissistic ass. We have had more bad days than good. He make me feel alone, and when he says things that are out of line he tries to make me feel stupid for being angry. I am getting so fed up and that is when he acts like he doesn’t care. But right when things are falling apart and says he doesn’t know why hes with me he acts like he wants us to work on things. He says its a mistake to give up on us and how he wants this amazing future with me.

    Things between my S.O. and I were rough the first year and a half, and the last 6 months have shown a lot of improvement. But last night make me feel like we’ve gone 100 steps back.

    We got into a fight last night because he was in a bad mood and started talking shit the exact moment he walked through the door. With a back injury due to car accident last month, I washed the mountain of dishes he left and still made him dinner per his request and my phone was on silent. Since I didn’t answer his texts he got fast-food although he KNEW he asked me to make him dinner. I blew up. Yes, I was loud but not wrong in what I was saying. I proved my point and he was tongue-tied and told me to get out and go away. He always starts fights with me when he comes from working a long week and when I told him that he found every answer in the world to try and blame me.

    I feel so alone today. I’m so tired of feeling alone. I don’t know how to get out of this with my head above water.


  17. Many of your blogs really hit home for me, and are really awesome to read. My father has severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and I have now had to cut off ties with him completely. Thank you for sharing this—I hope others read this and it helps them know what to do in this situation, and how to spot a narcissist in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

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