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The Narcissist’s Alphabet

A is for Awesome, B is for Brilliant . . .

Narcissists view themselves entirely differently than others view them. The contrasts can be eerie.

To illustrate this, here are two alphabets. On the left are some of the self-aggrandizing and inflated qualities narcissists would ascribe to themselves. On the right are some of the not-so-glowing descriptors of behaviors and traits many of those in narcissists’ lives would use to describe them.

As you read through these, you may wish to note which words resonate with you in describing narcissistic people you know.

Note:  I omitted Q, X, Y and Z. Those letters sent me scurrying to the thesaurus, finding applicable but way-too-obscure words. I welcome your additions to these alphabets.

Narcissists view themselves as:

Others view narcissists as:

 A

Awesome
Arrogant

 B

Brilliant
Boorish

 C

Commendable
Condescending

 D

Desirable
Dangerous

 E

Exceptional
Entitled

 F

Fabulous
Fake

 G

Gifted
Grandstanding

 H

Heroic
Hurtful

 I

Important
Inflated

 J

Jet-setter
Juvenile

 K

Knowledgeable
Know-it-all

 L

Laudable
Lacking a filter

 M

Magnificent
Manipulative

 N

Noble
Narrow-minded

 O

Outstanding
Overbearing

 P

Perfect
Petty

 R

Remarkable
Rude

 S

Superior
Shallow

 T

Top-notch
Tactless

 U

Unique
Untrustworthy

 V

Virtuous
Vain

 W

Winner
Wearying

Reading these dueling alphabets may bring a range of feelings: perhaps amusement, sadness, anger, validation.

Narcissists are on a mission to convince, charm or coerce others to view them in superlatives. Their shaky self-esteem depends on it.

At the same time, narcissists’ attempts to demean and take advantage of others are painful to those around them. Their inability to take responsibility for their self-serving actions only adds to the pain.

In dealing with narcissists, it can be helpful to recognize that there are often no perfect choices. Instead, the best approach may be to ask yourself which choice among an array of imperfect choices will best take care of you.

 

Mirror man photo by Moriz
Nametag by IQoncept

The Narcissist’s Alphabet

Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., MFT

Dan Neuharth, PhD, is a marriage and family therapist and best-selling author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has more than 25 years’ experience providing individual, couples and family therapy. Dr. Neuharth is the author of If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. He writes two blogs for PsychCentral: Love Matters and Narcissism Decoded. He is licensed as a marriage and family therapist in California, Florida, Texas and Virginia. His website: DrDanMFTcounseling.com


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APA Reference
Neuharth, D. (2017). The Narcissist’s Alphabet. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism-decoded/2017/06/the-narcissists-alphabet/

 

Last updated: 15 Jun 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jun 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.