Do narcissists have triggers?

Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota, studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Answered Jan 16

I believe that often, narcissists do have triggers. In fact, I think that there are a number of different things that could trigger the narcissist.

For example, they can be triggered by you expressing your feelings or needs, because narcissists feel that another person’s feelings and needs are an offense to them and an imposition on them.

The narcissist can be triggered by you saying “no” to any of their demands, because they believe that they’re entitled to have whatever they ask for.

The narcissist can be triggered by you giving them a consequence for their bad behaviour, because they firmly believe that they should be able to do whatever they want to do, without experiencing any consequences.

The narcissist can also be triggered by watching you be successful in any aspect of your life. They tend to be extremely jealous and competitive and will resent your success, as they believe that it takes something away from them.

The narcissist can be triggered by your self-confidence, as they’re deep down, extremely insecure, and it can be threatening to see someone else be so confident.

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Marcia Sirota

Psychiatrist, author, speaker


Studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Lives in Toronto, ON

155.5k answer views9.2k this month

I was called a narcissist but I am far from it. Could it be the person calling me a narcissist is in fact the narcissist?

Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota, studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Answered Jan 12

There’s something called “projection.” This is when someone is incapable of seeing the truth about themselves and they imagine that the other person is embodying certain negative traits that they’re denying within themselves.

Often, it’s uncanny how accurately they’re describing themselves when you find them accusing you of some type of bad behaviour.

How easy is it to manipulate a narcissist?

Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota, studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Answered Jan 12

The advantage to knowing that someone is a narcissist is that you can quite often anticipate their behaviour. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be very predictable in their actions and reactions, so you could, if you wanted to, use this knowledge to your advantage.

Of course, each narcissist is an individual with their own unique traits. Maybe the one you know is invested in being seen as superior; maybe they always need to be right; maybe they need to be seen as a “good guy.”

Knowing what the narcissist in your life values and desires can enable you to be strategic in your dealings with them. You can use this knowledge to make certain choices that would evoke more optimal outcomes for you.

You must remember that the narcissist is never driven by love, compassion or empathy. They’re always self-focused and self-serving. If you let go of your hope that they behave like “normal” people and see that they march to the beat of a very different drummer, you can get the upper hand around the narcissist(s) in your life.

So the answer to this question is yes, a narcissist can be fairly easy to manipulate. If you understand what they want, how they typically respond and what they want to avoid, you could theoretically bring out behaviours in them that would suit your particular needs.

When a narcissist says “I adore you”, do they mean it?

Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota, studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Answered Jul 16, 2017

If someone is a true narcissist and not just someone with a few narcissistic traits, then by definition, they are incapable of adoring another person.

A true narcissist only sees people in one of two ways: as a pathway to getting what they want or as an obstacle to getting what they want.

If the narcissist says that they “adore” you, it’s for the same reason they’d flatter anyone: to get you to give them whatever it is that they want.

True narcissists will flatter you, praise you, even occasionally do something “nice” for you, but only ever to get you to give them what they want.

The only person a narcissist adores is themselves, and then only on a very superficial level, because the true narcissist is, deep down inside, totally insecure and devoid of self-worth.

Is a narcissist the same as a sociopath?

Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota, studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Answered Jul 9, 2017

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (a toxic narcissist) and Antisocial Personality Disorder (a sociopath) are two different diagnoses, but they share some common features.

Both lack empathy. Both lie with ease and tend to exploit other people. Both are capable of doing great harm without a shred of remorse.

A narcissist can have several sociopathic traits and a sociopath can have several narcissistic traits.

In general, the sociopath tends to be more of a rule-breaker, more impulsive and reckless, more irritable and aggressive, and they usually don’t care if others don’t like them or approve of them.

The narcissist tends to feel overly-entitled and superior to others and they need constant attention and admiration. They’re extremely invested in how other people see them and can get very upset if they perceive others as being critical.

Because these are clinical disorders with many overlapping features, the only person capable of distinguishing one from the other would be a trained, experienced and objective mental health professional who has done a thorough, in-person, examination of each individual.

Why do narcissists get into relationships with people if they don’t love people?

Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota, studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Answered Jul 9, 2017

True narcissists get into relationships for one reason alone: to use people. They are incapable of real love and are unable to take a genuine interest in another person. They enter into relationships solely in order to take advantage of what the other person has to offer, whether this is money, social status, fame, political power, or something along the same lines.

What do narcissists want?

Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota, studied Psychiatry Residency at Maimonides Medical Center

Answered Jun 20, 2017

What narcissists want can be explained by understanding what makes them who they are. A narcissist is someone who wasn’t given the love, validation and acknowledgement they needed while growing up.

They have what’s called a “narcissistic wound,” or an empty place within them that constantly craves what they never received from Mom and/or Dad.

The narcissist is unconsciously driven to heal their wound through obtaining love, approval and validation, but sadly, they’re convinced that the answer lies outside of them.

They believe (whether consciously or unconsciously) that other people (as opposed to themselves) are responsible for giving them these things.

So, the narcissist wants to be loved, admired, highly thought of. They constantly crave approval, validation, reassurance that they’re seen in the best possible light.

They have little tolerance for criticism or rejection. They become enraged with people who disagree with them. They need others to fawn over them and make a fuss. Otherwise, they’re reminded of the emptiness inside them that hurts so much.

The narcissist really needs to take responsibility for their own self-healing and self-love. Sadly, though, they keep seeing other people as the solution to their problem.

The narcissist will keep on using people to boost their self-esteem, but tragically for everyone, the narcissist will end up being angry at them because external validation can never heal their wound.

The narcissist wants the other person to make them feel good about themselves, but no-one can do this. Only the narcissist can heal their own wound.

The sad truth is that the narcissist is trapped. They’re convinced that approval and validation from others is what will heal them, so they never turn inward and love, validate and reassure themselves.

They are doomed to feel empty and miserable for their entire lives and they’ll blame the people around them for not loving them or validating them “enough,” even if these people are doing their very best to shore up the narcissist’s fragile ego.

Leslie Johnson

Jun 21, 2017 · 7 upvotes

Why are they doomed to feel empty and miserable for the rest of their lives? What if the narcissist is aware that they have the issues of not being loved or validated as a child and forgives themselves once they learn the truth? How can the narcissist learn to not rely solely on external sources for their happiness?


Marcia Sirota|50x50

Marcia Sirota

Jun 21, 2017 · 25 upvotes

The true narcissist is incapable of insight or taking responsibility for themselves.

A person can have narcissistic traits and be capable of insight and growth, but a true narcissist blames everyone else for their problems and expects everyone else to solve them, which is why they’re doomed to misery.