Maddening and Bizarre Things Narcissists Do Explained

Many of us are familiar with the narcissistic personality’s classic traits such as grandiosity, callousness, and trigger-happy rage, but there are other things narcissists do often mistaken for individual personality quirks that are actually explainable aspects of pathological narcissism.

See if you recognize these weird things narcissists do and the reasons behind them:

1. They fat-shame. From judging you about your weight and eating habits, to controlling your food choices and portions, to eating food off your plate, narcissists have funky food issues relating to body image, shame, and control.

2. They walk ahead of you. They literally walk in front of you or way ahead because they’re so impatient and/or need to show their kingly/queenly superiority.

3. They value the opinions of strangers over family. They are always looking for the next new person to idealize as a source of validation and status while devaluing those close to them because reality disappoints.

4. They speak in an affected way. They speak in a theatric, haughty, or otherwise self-important way to get attention and convey their exceptionalism. Some even adopt an accent.

5. They’re weird about gift-giving. Their self-centeredness and manipulativeness lead them to

  • not give you anything at all;
  • give or regift cheap or random things that show they have no idea or concern about what you like;
  • give you things they would want that you have no use for;
  • give excessively to show how thoughtful/generous/tasteful they are, particularly when trying to ingratiate themselves;
  • buy one for you and one for themselves; and/or
  • attach strings to your gift.

6. They’re prone to conspiracy theories. They, particularly closet narcissists, view themselves as victims and project their envy, paranoia, cynicism, and bankrupt motives onto others.

7. They admire totalitarian leaders. They respect dominance, view people hierarchically, and believe in an entitled class of superiors lording over the worthless masses.

8. They don’t answer questions directly. This keeps you off guard while allowing them to avoid responsibility.

9. They rewrite history. They interpret events according to how they need to see things rather than as they are, and the past is open season for distortions, omissions, and outright lies.

10. They traumatize you before your important events. Whether you’re graduating, having an audition, or getting married, they need to make it all about them and sabotage you.

11. They sleep with and/or stay in touch with your ex. Does your father still keep in touch with your ex wife/husband? Did your mother have a “special” relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend? Did your ex sleep with your best friend? To hell with boundaries; what a perfect way to feel superior and in control while humiliating you!

12. They interrupt. In particular exhibitionist narcissists feel compelled to dominate the conversation; are easily bored because they miss nuance and lack empathy; have low impulse control; think they have more important things to say than you do; and believe they have greater entitlement to speak.

13. They show poor sportsmanship. When they win, they gloat because they feel superior. And when they lose, they pitch a fit, pout, make excuses, or challenge the outcome because their self-worth is on the line.

14. They’re too involved or not involved enough when you need help. You know this one: They get angry at you and/or abandon you when you’re sick, hurt, or in trouble because it’s a pain in their a** and they really don’t care. Or they use your illness/misfortune to get attention for being a long-suffering victim/saint great humanitarian.

15. They see things naively. Yes, they’re cynical and often calculating and sneaky, but their simplistic black-and-white thinking, compulsion to deny reality, and need to idealize certain types of people can make them childlike and absurdly naive about life, love, and human behavior.

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