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Narcissist the label

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Nowhere it seems more common than USA where people claim someone is a narcissist. Anything that evolves there, comes here quite quickly now with social media and internet influences.

I read recently a question from a member of an international forum - "My narcissist boyfriend has gone silent for 2 weeks, does that mean it's over?"

What followed was numerous answers all centreing on all actions a narcissist does, like using the silent treatment as a weapon, manipulation and grandiose reflections of themselves. Yet no one asked what actions the man labelled a narcissist actually did to deserve that label apart from having no contact for 2 weeks. Was the man using silence/absenteeism as a weapon or was he needing a break from a toxic relationship? Was he batheing in confidence or does he have a narcissist grandiosity demeanor? Does he manipulate or does he over suggest things due to not giving enough feedback?

Google "narcissist meaning" there is 9 signs of one-

Nine Signs and Symptoms of Narcissism
Grandiosity. Exaggerated sense of self-importance. ...
Excessive need for admiration. ...
Superficial and exploitative relationships. ...
Lack of empathy. ...
Identity disturbance. ...
Difficulty with attachment and dependency. ...
Chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom. ...
Vulnerability to life transitions

I'd suggest most people claiming their partner is a narcissist, wont satisfy most of these symptoms. So the label is overused, inflammatory and unjust... bullying.

E.g. A woman marries a guy that, later on has proved he is (in her eyes- lazy, looks in the mirror hourly, need constant praise, doesn't show empathy for her struggles and relies on her career success for financial stability. They have had 3 kids and just separated.... He exercises his rights to 50% custody which is opposite of her desire of full custody.

His partner labels him a narcissist. He loosely fits some of the 9 signs, enough for her to justify it.

Little did anyone realise that HIS symptoms also mirrored depression, lack of confidence from a poor upbringing, stares at the mirror because he has social barriers, feels shame and has a loud voice. Friends believe her.

That example might draw a long bow but claims by many that a narcissist is one when they are not is also a long bow...even longer!

The message here is evidence, if not presented to endorse the label someone uses...It's likely a gross exaggeration. Best not to fall for others claim someone is narcissistic imo.


24 Replies 24

Community Member
there's an articulate essay about this called the missing missing reasons for your concerns about lack of evidence. 

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
eight - could you please clarify your post. I tried googling "the missing" - is this the name of the essay? Thanks, Katy

the missing missing reasons by issendai

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Eight

You've misread. My post is about those not a victim of narcissism but claim to be.


I'd like to clarify my original post.

Victims of narcissists is a terrible position to be in. In fact a good portion of those victims are in desperate need to get help as walking away from their partner (or boss) is not easy.

Narcissist is the new "buzz word" used by many that feel hard done by. If it was proven narcissists make up say 10% of the population I'd say it is at the popularity levels people claim.

Hence this thread- that if someone is labelled a narcissist and isnt one, then it is a cruel label especially if used aimed at the demonising of a parent to their children but also friends and family. Those adults dont know the reasons for a marriage breakdown so when the "N" word is used they easily jumped to conclusions like he was controlling, a stand over type, manipulative and self centred etc.

Labels used as weapons is hurtful to those that wear them without choice. We should be compassionate enough as human beings to be careful how we tag others as a level to portray ourselves as the innocent party. We are all here to seek help, some ongoing help at that. Members labelled narcissists or even diagnosed narcissists that seek help to change their ways, are entitled to the same help. After all if a person is a true narcissist then that isnt their fault just like other mental illnesses or personality defects.

You cant help a narcissist until he/she wants it and has insight into their faults and that is a rare event. Regardless they are human beings so if they reach out here I hope to help even if it is a basic recommendation.


Community Member

Hello there White Night...I do admire your posts.

This is a very interesting topic and can be more opinionated and factualised, unless one is diagnosed by a health professional. For someone who has a back-ground in human behaviour and a partner who at times experiences difficulties managing their behaviour, I can relate to people who claim to see some of the symptoms outline in your post. Again, unless one has the knowledge, it's best to seek a professional diagnoses.

However, I do personally agree that Narcissism term is widely used, even by people who experience behavioral difficulties, that sometimes it's not relevant for our particular situation(s). You see, we are all humans and no human is perfect. We tend to look for a label instead of pausing and seeing the situation for what it is. We all experience difficulties and we all have doubts about who we are. What matters is how we resolve the issue to live a happy and prosperous life.

So back to NPD. For myself and the person I love, it's a fine line between pleasure and pain. For healthy spouses, it can be very difficult to navigate their partners behavioral difficulties and that is exactly what personality illnesses are - behavioral difficulties; we all have them which is why we are not perfect and this comes back to why the term Narcissism can be over-used.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Tony and everyone...

I agree with you Tony..That If a person that’s diagnosed as a narcissist is trying to get help..and has come here for support they are entitled and do very much deserve all the support that they can get.....without judgement...

I have also found the word narcissist used more and more to label people who could be just an angry person or self centred...at times but not really a narcissist at all..as Jsua says...a behavioural problem...

Living with a narcissist is like living with the game Russian roulette..you never know if today or tomorrow you will survive them...Each day your living in fear of being physically, emotionally, sexually abused...scared to say anything at all just in case you use the wrong tone, or the wrong words..then if you don’t talk to them....trouble is on hand...I remember I learnt to make him the centre of attention with constantly praising him, for even the simplest and tiniest thing...

They find fault with everything you do...if you hang the clothes wrong..expect them to be thrown on the ground to be re - washed and hung properly ..if you miss a piece of dust on the floor..he emptied the ash tray onto it and rubbed it in with his feet..to be re polished...If you dish up something he doesn’t like..then it’s tipped all over you...

Silence they say is golden...being totally ignored for weeks or months at a time..is something that is so cruel that you feel nothing more then a useless tiny speck of dirt....and that’s putting it nicely...

The above is some..just some of what surviving a life with a narcissist is really like...oh there is so much I could write here.... I know Tony..that you also are a survivor....

If you say your living with a narcissist ..it’s an understatement...Maybe they are just self centred, greedy people..because you can’t live with them...you can say that you survived living with a narcissist...

If a person on here who has narcissistic traits..and are reaching out for help....they know they have a mental problem...and it’s in out power to help and support them in any way we can...without judgment, and with our care...after all they are people...doing it hard withbtheit mental health...


hot the nail on the head there. Behaviour difficulties...makes sense. Such difficulties likely from the environment they grew up in.

You're also right in that we are all imperfect, but some imperfect enough to get labelled. I think traits of narcissism is a problem only if it's ongoing and no treatment sort. Commonly narcissist don't seek help though so the victim/s continue to suffer.

So a true narcissist have big issues to be remedied. They are frowned upon. Little wonder why a non narcissist labelled as one is received with humiliation.

Grandy, yes the silent treatment I endured for 11 years. But actions that you listed in addition to silence would have been horrific.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Couldn’t agree more. I think that diagnoses should best be left to the experts. I think part of the problem is that everyone now has access to the internet and so many sites list qualities of a narcissist that don’t actually fit the correct definition. And they don’t have the correct skills to distinguish a medical website from an untrustworthy source. So when they punch in the “symptoms” of any bad behaviour that they don’t like, out comes the narcissist label.

I think that “narcissist” is now really used to condemn any time of behavior that the labeller finds offensive. But labeling someone else with a psychological diagnosis that hasn’t been given by a medical professional may be considered a manipulative behavior in itself. I’m reminded of a quote I once read “people often go to therapy to learn to deal with the people in their lives who refuse to go”. I don’t doubt that some people are nightmares to their partner, but everyone’s reality is also subjective and that’s why it’s best to have an independent psychologist there to mediate.