Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How to Identify a Narcissist

  1. Step 1
  2. See if they have the signature trait. A narcissist will try to convince the world how wonderful and great they are. They appear to be deeply in love with themselves.

  3. Step 2

    Observe if they always seek compliments. Narcissists constantly place themselves in situations where their grandiose self-concepts can be affirmed.

  4. Step 3

    See if they are self promoters. They will constantly point out the evidence of their self superiority. They will also amplify positive feedback and downplay the negative.

  5. Step 4

    Observe how they act around others. Narcissists have a cynical and unsympathetic view of others. They are insensitive to other people's concerns.

  6. Step 5

    See how they act around loss. When defeated, they will put down their competitors, even if it they face long-term social consequences for their actions.

  7. Step 6

    See if they try to convince you that everyone loves them. Narcissists walk around try to convince themselves that everyone loves them when they actually have a hard time believing that is possible.

  8. Step 7

    Observe how the person talks to you.


By Mayo Clinic staff

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. They believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and in other areas of their life, such as work or school. In particular, narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, in the same category as histrionic, antisocial and borderline personality disorders. Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around psychotherapy.


By Mayo Clinic staff

Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:

  • Believing that you're better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you're special
  • Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, it's not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal. In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don't value themselves more than they value others.

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may have a sense of entitlement. And when you don't receive the special treatment to which you feel entitled, you may become very impatient or angry. You may also seek out others you think have the same special talents, power and qualities — people you see as equals. You may insist on having "the best" of everything — the best car, athletic club, medical care or social circles, for instance.

But underneath all this grandiosity often lies a very fragile self-esteem. You have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make yourself feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and efforts to belittle the other person to make yourself appear better.


By Mayo Clinic staff

It's not known what causes narcissistic personality disorder. As with other mental disorders, the cause is likely complex. Some evidence links the cause to a dysfunctional childhood, such as excessive pampering, extremely high expectations, abuse or neglect. Other evidence points to genetics or psychobiology — the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking.

When to seek medical advice

By Mayo Clinic staff

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn't fit with your self-image of power and perfection. But by definition, narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of your life, such as relationships, work, school or your financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and confused by a mix of seemingly contradictory emotions. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling. If you notice any of these problems in your life, consider reaching out to a trusted health care provider or mental health provider. Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.

Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic staff

Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms, as well as a thorough psychological evaluation. Your doctor or mental health provider will ask you to describe the signs and symptoms you're experiencing — what they are, when they occur, how intense they are and how long they last, for example. You also might discuss how your life is affected or limited by your symptoms. And you may be asked to fill out psychological evaluations or questionnaires.

Although there's no laboratory test to diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, you may also have a physical exam to make sure you don't have a physical problem causing your symptoms.

Some features of narcissistic personality disorder are similar to those of other personality disorders. Your mental health provider will take care to make sure you get the proper diagnosis. It's possible to be diagnosed with more than one personality disorder at the same time.

To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

Criteria for narcissistic personality disorder to be diagnosed include:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power or beauty
  • Believing that you are special and can associate only with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Inability to recognize needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner


By Mayo Clinic staff

Complications of narcissistic personality disorder, if left untreated, can include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Problems at work or school

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Types of Denial

Denial of fact: This form of denial is where someone avoids a fact by lying. This lying can take the form of an outright falsehood (commission), leaving out certain details in order to tailor a story (omission), or by falsely agreeing to something (assent, also referred to as "yessing" behavior). Someone who is in denial of fact is typically using lies in order to avoid facts that they think may be potentially painful to themselves or others.

Denial of responsibility: This form of denial involves avoiding personal responsibility by blaming, minimizing or justifying. Blaming is a direct statement shifting culpability and may overlap with denial of fact. Minimizing is an attempt to make the effects or results of an action appear to be less harmful than they may actually be. Justifying is when someone takes a choice and attempts to make that choice look okay due to their perception of what is "right" in a situation. Someone using denial of responsibility is usually attempting to avoid potential harm or pain by shifting attention away from themselves.

Denial of impact: Denial of impact involves a person's avoiding thinking about or understanding the harms his or her behavior has caused to self or others. Doing this enables that person to avoid feeling a sense of guilt and it can prevent him or her from developing remorse or empathy for others. Denial of impact reduces or eliminates a sense of pain or harm from poor decisions.

Denial of awareness: This type of denial is best discussed by looking at the concept of state dependent learning[2]. People using this type of denial will avoid pain and harm by stating they were in a different state of awareness (such as alcohol or drug intoxication or on occasion mental health related). This type of denial often overlaps with denial of responsibility.

Denial of cycle: Many who use this type of denial will say things such as, "it just happened." Denial of cycle is where a person avoids looking at their decisions leading up to an event or does not consider their pattern of decision making and how harmful behavior is repeated. The pain and harm being avoided by this type of denial is more of the effort needed to change the focus from a singular event to looking at preceding events. It can also serve as a way to blame or justify behavior (see above).

Denial of denial: This can be a difficult concept for many people to identify with in themselves, but is a major barrier to changing hurtful behaviors. Denial of denial involves thoughts, actions and behaviors which bolster confidence that nothing needs to be changed in one's personal behavior. This form of denial typically overlaps with all of the other forms of denial, but involves more self-delusion.

DARVO: A common strategy of abusers who Deny the Abuse and then attack the victim for attempting to make them accountable for their offense, thereby Reversing Victim and Offender. ""...I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior. This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of law suits, overt and covert attacks on the whistle-blower's credibility, and so on..... [T]he offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed... The offender is on the offense and the person attempting to hold the offender accountable is put on the defense." [3].


Friday, May 1, 2009

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The serial bully displays behaviour congruent with many of the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity and self-importance, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, people with narcissistic personality disorder overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious, whilst correspondingly underestimating and devaluing the achievements and accomplishments of others.

Often the narcissist will fraudulently claim to have qualifications or experience or affiliations or associations which they don't have or aren't entitled to. Belief in superiority, inflating their self-esteem to match that of senior or important people with whom they associate or identify, insisting on having the "top" professionals or being affiliated with the "best" institutions, but criticising the same people who disappoint them are also common features of narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissists react angrily to criticism and when rejected, the narcissist will often denounce the profession which has rejected them (usually for lack of competence or misdeed) but simultaneously and paradoxically represent themselves as belonging to the profession they are vilifying.

Fragile self-esteem, a need for constant attention and admiration, fishing for compliments (often with great charm), an expectation of superior entitlement, expecting others to defer to them, and a lack of sensitivity especially when others do not react in the expected manner, are also hallmarks of the disorder. Greed, expecting to receive before and above the needs of others, overworking those around them, and forming romantic (sic) or sexual relationships for the purpose of advancing their purpose or career, abusing special privileges and squandering extra resources also feature.

People with narcissistic personality disorder also have difficulty recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and are dismissive, contemptuous and impatient when others share or discuss their concerns or problems. They are also oblivious to the hurtfulness of their behaviour or remarks, show an emotional coldness and a lack of reciprocal interest, exhibit envy (especially when others are accorded recognition), have an arrogant, disdainful and patronizing attitude, and are quick to blame and criticise others when their needs and expectations are not met.

The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:

A. A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of:

1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, ie unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, ie takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The First Type of Serial Bully

The Attention-Seeker

Motivation: to be the centre of attention
Mindset: control freak, manipulation, narcissism
Malice: medium to high; when held accountable, very high

  • emotionally immature
  • selectively friendly - is sickly sweet to some people, rude and offhand to others, and ignores the rest
  • is cold and aggressive towards anyone who sees them for what they really are or exposes their strategies for gaining attention
  • overfriendly with their new target, especially in the initial stages of a new working relationship
  • overhelpful, ditto
  • overgenerous, ditto
  • manipulative of people's perceptions, but in an amateur and childish manner
  • manipulative with guilt, ditto
  • sycophantic, fawning, toadying
  • uses flattery to keep a person in authority on side
  • everything is a drama, usually a poor-me drama
  • prefers not to solve problems in own life so that they can be used and re-used for gaining sympathy and attention
  • capitalises on issues and uses them as a soapbox for gaining attention
  • exploits others' suffering and grief as a vehicle for gaining attention
  • misappropriates others' statements, eg anything which can be misconstrued as politically incorrect, for control and attention-seeking
  • excusitis, makes excuses for everything
  • shows a lot of indignation, especially when challenged
  • lots of self-pity
  • often as miserable as sin, apart from carefully constructed moments of charm when in the act of deceiving
  • demanding of others
  • easily provoked
  • feigns victimhood when held accountable, usually by bursting into tears or claiming they're the one being bullied and harassed
  • presents as a false victim when outwitted
  • may feign exclusion, isolation or persecution
  • malicious
  • constantly tries and will do almost anything to be in the spotlight
  • includes Munchausen Syndrome
  • the focus of their life is to be the centre of attention

Monday, April 27, 2009

The serial bully

serial, bully, profile, psychopath, psychopathic, sociopath, sociopathic, behaviour, behavior,  signs, symptoms, corporate, workplace, industrial, manipulator, intimidate,  attention, seeker, wannabe, guru, administrative, psychos, suits, snakes, work,  workplace, bullying, antisocial
Constant criticism, nit-picking, no empathy, control freak, denial, charm, glib, compulsive liar, devious, manipulative? Read this

The serial bully
How to spot signs and symptoms of serial bullies, sociopaths and psychopaths
including the sociopathic behaviour of the industrial psychopath and the corporate psychopath

Types of serial bully: The Attention-Seeker, The Wannabe, The Guru and The Sociopath

"All cruelty springs from weakness."
(Seneca, 4BC-AD65)

"Most organisations have a serial bully. It never ceases to amaze me how one person's divisive, disordered, dysfunctional behaviour can permeate the entire organisation like a cancer."
Tim Field

"The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance my deride it, but in the end, there it is."
Winston Churchill

"Lack of knowledge of, or unwillingness to recognise, or outright denial of the existence of the serial bully is the most common reason for an unsatisfactory outcome of a bullying case for both the employee and employer"
Tim Field

I estimate one person in thirty, male or female, is a serial bully. Who does the following profile describe in your life?

The serial bully:

  • is a convincing, practised liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment
  • has a Jekyll and Hyde nature - is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target of the serial bully's aggression sees both sides; whilst the Jekyll side is described as "charming" and convincing enough to deceive personnel, management and a tribunal, the Hyde side is frequently described as "evil"; Hyde is the real person, Jekyll is an act
  • excels at deception and should never be underestimated in their capacity to deceive
  • uses excessive charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present (charm can be used to deceive as well as to cover for lack of empathy)
  • is glib, shallow and superficial with plenty of fine words and lots of form - but there's no substance
  • is possessed of an exceptional verbal facility and will outmanoeuvre most people in verbal interaction, especially at times of conflict
  • is often described as smooth, slippery, slimy, ingratiating, fawning, toadying, obsequious, sycophantic
  • relies on mimicry, repetition and regurgitation to convince others that he or she is both a "normal" human being and a tough dynamic manager, as in extolling the virtues of the latest management fads and pouring forth the accompanying jargon
  • is unusually skilled in being able to anticipate what people want to hear and then saying it plausibly
  • cannot be trusted or relied upon
  • fails to fulfil commitments
  • is emotionally retarded with an arrested level of emotional development; whilst language and intellect may appear to be that of an adult, the bully displays the emotional age of a five-year-old
  • is emotionally immature and emotionally untrustworthy
  • exhibits unusual and inappropriate attitudes to sexual matters, sexual behaviour and bodily functions; underneath the charming exterior there are often suspicions or hints of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, perhaps also sexual dysfunction, sexual inadequacy, sexual perversion, sexual violence or sexual abuse
  • in a relationship, is incapable of initiating or sustaining intimacy
  • holds deep prejudices (eg against the opposite gender, people of a different sexual orientation, other cultures and religious beliefs, foreigners, etc - prejudiced people are unvaryingly unimaginative) but goes to great lengths to keep this prejudicial aspect of their personality secret
  • is self-opinionated and displays arrogance, audacity, a superior sense of entitlement and sense of invulnerability and untouchability
  • has a deep-seated contempt of clients in contrast to his or her professed compassion
  • is a control freak and has a compulsive need to control everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe; for example, will launch an immediate personal attack attempting to restrict what you are permitted to say if you start talking knowledgeably about psychopathic personality or antisocial personality disorder in their presence - but aggressively maintains the right to talk (usually unknowledgeably) about anything they choose; serial bullies despise anyone who enables others to see through their deception and their mask of sanity
  • displays a compulsive need to criticise whilst simultaneously refusing to value, praise and acknowledge others, their achievements, or their existence
  • shows a lack of joined-up thinking with conversation that doesn't flow and arguments that don't hold water
  • flits from topic to topic so that you come away feeling you've never had a proper conversation
  • refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer
  • is evasive and has a Houdini-like ability to escape accountability
  • undermines and destroys anyone who the bully perceives to be an adversary, a potential threat, or who can see through the bully's mask
  • is adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise collate incriminating information about them
  • is quick to discredit and neutralise anyone who can talk knowledgeably about antisocial or sociopathic behaviors
  • may pursue a vindictive vendetta against anyone who dares to held them accountable, perhaps using others' resources and contemptuous of the damage caused to other people and organisations in pursuance of the vendetta
  • is also quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account
  • gains gratification from denying people what they are entitled to
  • is highly manipulative, especially of people's perceptions and emotions (eg guilt)
  • poisons peoples' minds by manipulating their perceptions
  • when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression
  • is arrogant, haughty, high-handed, and a know-all
  • often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic attention-seeking need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behaviour and treatment of others; the bully sees nothing wrong with their behavior and chooses to remain oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen and how they are seen by others
  • is spiritually dead although may loudly profess some religious belief or affiliation
  • is mean-spirited, officious, and often unbelievably petty
  • is mean, stingy, and financially untrustworthy
  • is greedy, selfish, a parasite and an emotional vampire
  • is always a taker and never a giver
  • is convinced of their superiority and has an overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership but cannot distinguish between leadership (maturity, decisiveness, assertiveness, co-operation, trust, integrity) and bullying (immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, manipulation, distrust, deceitfulness)
  • often fraudulently claims qualifications, experience, titles, entitlements or affiliations which are ambiguous, misleading, or bogus
  • often misses the semantic meaning of language, misinterprets what is said, sometimes wrongly thinking that comments of a satirical, ironic or general negative nature apply to him or herself
  • knows the words but not the song
  • is constantly imposing on others a false reality made up of distortion and fabrication
  • sometimes displays a seemingly limitless demonic energy especially when engaged in attention-seeking activities or evasion of accountability and is often a committeeaholic or apparent workaholic


The serial bully appears to lack insight into his or her behaviour and seems to be oblivious to the crassness and inappropriateness thereof; however, it is more likely that the bully knows what they are doing but elects to switch off the moral and ethical considerations by which normal people are bound. If the bully knows what they are doing, they are responsible for their behaviour and thus liable for its consequences to other people. If the bully doesn't know what they are doing, they should be suspended from duty on the grounds of diminished responsibility and the provisions of the Mental Health Act should apply.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Internet stalker profile

If you've been wooed by a cyberstalker, this profile will bring you back to reality:

  • lives in a 1-room apartment which hasn't been cleaned for months - if ever

  • has stacks of pornographic magazines in his or her bedroom area

  • has poor personal hygiene

  • has poor table manners

  • has poor social etiquette

  • hasn't changed the sheets on his bed for months, which are now best described as crusty

  • has a bathroom, the state of which doesn't bear thinking about

  • lives on pizza and beer/coke, the remnants of which litter his apartment

  • may have an unusual pet (eg ferret) which has free run of the apartment

  • is either significantly over- or under-weight

  • has a small moustache or other facial hair

  • has not held down any job for more than a couple of years, probably less

  • has no friends

  • has no life outside the Internet

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cyber Stalking

Ever met a troll on the forum? Not sure? Here is the definition:

"Troll. The Troll's purpose is to be given more credibility than (s)he deserves, and to suck people into useless, pointless, never-ending, emotionally-draining, ranting discussions full of verbal loops and "word labyrinths", playing people against each other, hurting their feelings, and wasting their time and emotional energy."

Are you being harrassed online? Reporting Cyberstalking:

"Cyber stalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone which can be reported as a computer crime or harassment. A cyber stalker does not present a direct physical threat to a victim, but follows the victim's online activity to gather information for forms of verbal intimidation. Cyber stalkers target and harass their victims via websites, chat rooms, discussion forums, open publishing websites (e.g. blogs and Indymedia) and email.
The attorney generals office and the FBI state that Cyberstalking is a crime and recommend that you contact your local law enforcement agency computer crimes division immediately.