Common Terms In The World Of Narcissism

Common Terms In The World Of Narcissism


A narcissist loves to provoke a reaction from you, especially in public. They will provoke you into responding in an angry or emotional manner, (Your angry response is further evidence of your unbalanced state of mind).


Black Sheep

The black sheep is blamed for just about everything that goes wrong within the dysfunctional family. They can’t do anything right. Their achievements are not recognized by the narcissistic parent and are swept under the carpet.



Boundaries are a code of conduct or an unwritten set of rules which we consider to be reasonable behaviour from those around us and our response when someone steps over the line.



The individual characteristics vary from person to person. Some of the more common characteristics would include trying to avoid making decisions preferring to rely on others. Co-dependents are often perfectionists who tend to put the needs of others above their own.


Cognitive DissonanceCommon Terms Final

Cognitive dissonance occurs when one holds two or more contradictory beliefs or values at the same time.  Sometimes people hold very strong beliefs and when they are presented with evidence which opposes those beliefs, they find it impossible to accept evidence to the contrary. Dissonance is often strong when we go against our own moral standards, for example, if someone believes that they are a good person and goes ahead and does something wrong or bad, the feelings of guilt and discomfort are known as cognitive dissonance.



Dissociation from mild to moderate is a detachment from reality, usually in the case of abuse, it is a defence mechanism.



Emotional abuse may be referred to as psychological violence or mental abuse, which involves subjecting someone to behaviour which may result in psychological distress or trauma such as chronic depression, stress, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.


False Flattery

Narcissists love to be admired and receive compliments, so they assume that everyone needs this too. They will tell you that you are special, no one can understand them like you do and put you on a pedestal. I’m not saying that you are not special but don’t be fooled by their compliments. They are all part of the game!



An enabler is someone who by their action or inaction, they encourage or enable a pattern of behaviour to continue or remove consequences of bad behaviour.


Flying Monkeys

Flying monkeys are people who have been convinced by the narcissist that he or she is the real victim. They inflict further harm on the real victim by submitting to the narcissist’s wishes and demands. They may threaten, torment, discredit or add fuel to a smear campaign by spreading lies and gossip.



Gas-lighting is a manipulative tactic where a mentally healthy individual is subjected to conditioning behaviour so that they doubt their own sanity. The target starts to believe that their perception of reality is false. The narcissist may simply deny saying something didn’t happen when it did, tell you that you heard wrong or lie about an event or situation. Over time a victim starts to think they are confused and going crazy. They come to rely more and more on the narcissist to keep them right.


Grey Rock

Grey rock is a term used to describe your behaviour when trying to cut contact with a narcissist. The aim is to be utterly boring so that the narcissist no longer sees you as good supply and subsequently disappears.



The term, hoovering, is derived from the Hoover vacuum cleaner which describes how a narcissist attempts to suck their victims back into a relationship. They will use every trick in the book to get you back under their power and control. Hoovering often takes place after you have left them or after a period of the silent treatment. They often promise to change their behaviour or say that they have already changed dramatically.



Invalidation is a manipulative tactic used to get a target to believe that their thoughts, opinions and beliefs are wrong, unimportant or don’t matter.


Love Bombing

Love bombing is a term used to describe the typical initial stages of a relationship with a narcissistic personality where the narcissist goes all out to impress their target with flattery, holidays, promises of a future together having the target believe that they have met their perfect partner, their soulmate.



A narcissist will mirror what they see in you from your mannerisms to your dress sense, your behaviour and your likes and dislikes. They basically become just like you.


Narcissistic Supply

A narcissist is lost without narcissistic supply. They need supply like a plant needs water. Supply consists of attention, admiration, respect, adulation and even fear. Without these vital nutrients of life, the narcissist will become dysfunctional.


No Contact

No contact is put in place by a victim in order to give themselves time to recover. It is not in any way similar to the narcissist’s silent treatment. A narcissist who initiates the silent treatment is doing so as a punishment and to exert power and control.

No contact is a self-imposed set of rules whereby there will be absolutely no contact with the toxic person, (No texts, no emails, no phone calls, no snooping on social media). It has been likened to building a wall between you and a toxic individual. You will not care or even be aware of what happens on the other side of this wall. (Minimal contact is advised in circumstances where one has to co-parent with a narcissist).



A narcissist is an expert at projecting their own character flaws or bad behaviour onto others. They will not hold themselves accountable for any wrong doing and will blame others for the very things that they do themselves. The main objective is to make themselves feel superior.



The scapegoat is blamed for just about everything that goes wrong. A child in a family may be singled out and subjected to unwarranted negative treatment.


Trauma Bonding

This term comes from a real life hostage situation where a number of hostages became emotionally attached to their kidnappers, (The Stockholm Syndrome). Trauma bonding is a misplaced loyalty where a victim is emotionally bonded with their abuser and finds themselves unable to leave an unhealthy or dangerous relationship. The victim remains loyal to someone who has betrayed them time and time again.


Self Esteem

Self-esteem is the overall judgement one holds about their own self-worth which would include pride in oneself, self-respect and self-assurance.


Strings Attached

There’s a reason for everything a narcissist does. If they do something for you, they will remind you somewhere down the line. They will want something from you in return.



Narcissists thrive on chaos. They provoke rivalry and jealousy between people, creating triangles in order to boost their own ego.



Closure in a normal relationship involves open and honest communication about what has gone wrong, you wish each other well, say goodbye and move on. After a relationship with a narcissist ends a target is left with so many questions and no answers. It feels like the book has been closed before the story has ended. We cannot expect any form of closure from the emotionally immature narcissist who is completely lacking in empathy with no regard for your feelings. The only closure in this type of relationship is the closure you give yourself.

Written by Anne McCrea


Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon US

24 thoughts on “Common Terms In The World Of Narcissism

  1. Nice layout of terminology – I’m in the process of divorcing my narc and find that my most important work is holding my boundaries, refusing to be hooked with any of the emotional displays that come at me. Truthfully, I now see through them and find them disgusting. I won’t be existing on an emotional diet of “scraps only” ever again. It’s been an interesting journey, but five months in, I’m finding ME again and using his total silent treatment (no contact initiated by the narc) to my advantage – to build ME back! Spend a lot of time with people you can be honest with, and then BE HONEST. And then ask them to hold you accountable IMMEDIATELY if you start to slip back . . . life goes forward, and we narc victims need to do the same thing.

    1. I am also in the process of divorcing mine as well. I don’t like to say that I was pulled back in to try and “work” on things. I have sense cut off all communication with him except for it involving the kids. And even then I’m scared too. Now that this has taken place and he doesn’t have control, He has told me that he won’t give me my divorce. And I just want out! I’m tired.

      1. The judge will give you your divorce. If he refuses to sign, the judge will sign for him and you get what ever you want. He is manipulating you.

      2. Kristen, i am in the same boat, but without underage children.
        I have lived in constant fear for many years. He is denying request for divorce while i have moved to another state with a protected address. What makes me so sad is that he uses PTSD as a disabled Viet Nam Veteran as his excuse. I too, want out, but the courts in VA have been repeatedly on his side, and have taken the assault “under advisement” even though he has broken the protective order. Good luck, keep your children close and document everything.

      3. The judge will grant you the divorce but if he’s anything like my first narc he will drag it on for 10+ years if you have kids and if he’s like my 2nd narc he will try to take all the assets and leave you with all the debt… because he was able to afford an attorney and I couldn’t (also the attorney said that this could never happen, but…)he was successful to a point… leaving me with most of the debt… don’t underestimate these guys manipulation… both of mine oozed with charm and the 2nd one always layered on an air of ‘feel sorry for me, look how wrong I’ve been treated’ and the judge bought it… Actually… they both put this on… one just comes across more pathetic than the other because he never laid a hand on me… it was all manipulation and psychological abuse…

  2. Thank you for this accurate breakdown! It really gives validity and clarity to everything I’ve tried to figure out, THIS IS CLOSURE. I really don’t need details from my narc(s), but because I had never recognized my involvement with a narc (being the empath that I am), all that I was going through; trying to identify everything and ensure that I wasn’t accountable, was really important to me. Since I hadn’t had anyone who could figure it out or relate to my experiences, I felt it was necessary for me to hang on. It’s still hard to grasp how mentally ill people that are so seemingly strong are! But this makes absolute sense and really helps to rid myself of the dreadful “what did I do to deserve this” syndrome I had developed while I still chose to cling to my love for my abusers. All the info here and other social pages had really added to the blessing and healing I’ve received from the good Lord. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Keep spreading the word.

  3. I see how all of these are associated with my narc ex. We weren’t married but we have children together and it is very hard to coparent with him. How do you coparent successfully with a narc?

    1. You don’t co-parent with a narc, you parallel-parent and keep contact minimal and preferably via or a similar court acceptable communication service.

  4. I have been with one for over 5 years. I can not think of one good memory really. He wants to dangle me around, however, he has never been there for anything important, anything with meaning, unavailable! Why does someone like this want to stay in my life just to tell me “NO” he is too busy, doesn’t want to do whatever or just flat out lies about why he can not do something. He gets angry if you try to kiss him, hug him, like literally gets angry. He will not show any affection, love but then when I bring it up I get “why do we always have to discuss our relationship” or “you just have mental issues” or “we will discuss later” well, later never comes. I bent over backwards for the first three years, treated his son just like my own when my child always on the back burner unless of course it was to entertain his child. Everything he has done is to benefit him only and when called out, it’s I’m just crazy and then he goes incognito for awhile. He lies about everything! I guess I could go on for days about how he has treated me, but the big question is, how did I get caught up in staying with someone who clearly does NOT care about me or my family, but says that is untrue. It is all about him, everything! I have been better at staying away, but he does not go away easily and only makes up more lies to get my attention again. I am tired of being the door mat and the sucker who goes back to Being set up for failure and disappointment again.

      1. Something that seems should be so easy to get rid of, is one of the most difficult things to get rid of. I am hoping that this last incident will give me the strength to keep him away as I just had a major spinal surgery and the day I was released from hospital he left me to fend for myself. Not only did he NOT help me with one thing that night but instead he was downstairs planning a trip he clearly knew I would not be able to go on and that was his excuse for not even mentioning it to me. He is in this trip as we speak and has been texting me every day of how great the place is, not one concern about how I am doing. So far j have not responded and hope this will put an end to a horrifying 5 years of hell. I know he will not go away so easy!

  5. this is very informative and helped me to put missing puzzle pieces together.
    I understand my narcissist husbands behavior and tactics a lot better now.
    I have filed for divorce and anticipating moving forward with my life now.
    thank you

  6. I believe that I might be a narcissist. When I was younger they diagnosed me with bipolar disorder, however as I got older my moods drastically changed and I started to get mean. I would make the people I love cry, make them sad just so I could have the upper hand. After a few years without medication I decided to seek a therapist/psychologist to get a direct diagnosis of what is really wrong with me.. They said I have borderline personality disorder, but to me, it’s way worse. My boyfriend did research and came to the conclusion that I’m a narcissist. This is threatening my day to day life and my relationship.. I just want to know if there’s help. At times I feel like myself but then again I’m lost and can’t control what I’m doing.

  7. My advice would be to go to your doctor and explain your concerns. They should be able to point you in the right direction for the help that you need. Many psychologists and therapists are not up to scratch on the subject of NPD. Make sure that the medical professional you are referred to is up to speed on this disorder. Treatment for NPD involves a lengthy period of therapy.

  8. I believe my daughter is a narcissist. She is driving us crazy and we don’t know what to do about. We have a granddaughter so we don’t want to cut ties with her. Info would gladly excepted

  9. My ex used the the rooms of AA for his supply. He utilized every one of these techniques. The devaluation phase coincided with my questioning his actions that were in contrast to his words. Sadly (for myself) I did return to him (briefly, thank God!) for period of time. I allowed him to think that he had “discarded” me but in fact I was just bidding my time to ease out of the relationship. It was only when he was hoovering me (many, many attempts) that I started to gain understanding and was able to utilize research to understand his mental condition. He added going to Al Anon to seek new supply all the while he continued seeking new victims in AA, found a new victim and continued hoovering me and other women. When it became apparent that I was grey rocking him, he redoubled his efforts to entice me back while simultaneously engaged in a new relationship and then with her and his other flying monkeys he retaliated. He used opportunities in his “shares” to denigrate me and also used coded words and phrases that only I would understand to have a maximal and hurtful effect. I have since relocated after I went no contact blocking him and his latest victim on social media and have also unfriended every person associated with him. I finally feel free and I am so grateful that I no longer have to avoid him and his current victim.

  10. I am also in the process of divorcing my narcissistic abusive husband! He has basically sucked the life out of me for the last 5 yrs. I did go back to him 6 times, in my case he would never say things would change or even apologize for the abuse because i was the blame of our problems. He even told me he choked is ex wife unconscious and gave me every excuse that he was in the right. He abandon the two kids he had with her and also justified that as well. The last I took him back he did say he changed, he even got back into shape because i did try to not communicate with him but he sucked me back in with every tactic possible. He emotionally, verbally and physically abused me. He would record me crying secretly at that. Tell me i was going crazy and I actually believed it was me and I was. He blacked mail me to get me fired. This last time he started a big agrument and baited me to fight back so i did and he caught me on video throwing my ring towards him on his desk and now I’m going to court for domestic battery. Even though I was the one with the bruises. I never touched him. He is a monster and we have three children together but for now I have no contact with him, he still tries to bait me into arguing through emails and text. Everything described in this article is what my kids and I have dealt with. Now I just want to get the help I need to move past all the traumatic emotional abuse I have endured for the last 5 years. I know one day I will be ok, I pray or it! My fear is now that my children will be like him especially my only son.

  11. Thank you so much for this easy to read and understand list. My abuser got in first with cries of being abused by me, which never happened and there’s plenty of evidence as to who the abuser is. What started as an adult tantrum over not getting their own way has turned into a number of years of abuse on blogs, social media and in person. So many things on your list resonates with their behavior. I’ve enforced a no contact boundary for a long time but this doesn’t stop my abuser from yelling at me in public and the like. My therapist said they’d move on to someone else in time, but I’m still waiting….

  12. The strangest thing is you will never have a peaceful mind until you do not have contact and you can’t stop the contact until you realise it is easier to lose everything and everyone for your sanity and finally at that moment this is when you realise also that you do have many people around you that are genuine because they allow you to think and focus on your own goals in your future without forcing your hand to move in their direction unless you have had time to assess things, no one is making you do anything anymore just you. Only you can make it right so start by giving up instead of trying to carry on. I understand all of the terminations used here and the GAS -LIGHTING one when you begin to feel quite mad and then the discovery of how many people around you are false and you have no clue of the complete amount of damage that one person was continuously doing to you through all those people you thought you trusted around you. Let go get out however hard it seems as you look back and see you just know it’s always best but stay strong do not beat yourself up for others downfalls and nasty behaviour you know you are and have always been better. Well done keep going forward, never backwards as nothing to gain forwards is the road to your sanity and best use of your own awakened understanding of the world you feel sensible and safe 😉 .

  13. The important thing here, is that due to all these observations we are now able to recognise these people, and put strategies in place to counteract their controlling behaviour! It is still very difficult to truly believe that you have been duped by someone you once believed in! Stay strong and refuse to be hoovered back into any such relationship! Good luck everyone!

  14. I’ve tried my best to be there for no other reason other than I care. I can see right through all of it. I’ve dealt with mind games and manipulation my whole life so it’s not hard to see. I know someone has tried interfering in our marriage, this person has done this over the years to me in several different situations in my life. It sounds absurd but, it’s true. I don’t know what was said or implied or even flat out lied about. I haven’t been perfect but there is no understanding here. Right now I’m dealing with knowing I’m being hurt and lied to. Thinking back, I almost feel directly after we were married he started to sabotage our marriage which was extremely strange to me. I’ve never cheated on him but it doesn’t matter, he feels justified. I know what’s coming and what I feel has been happening for quite some time now. All I can do is realize I sound crazy and be prepared.

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.