Are you struggling with a narcissist in your life? You are not alone. Writers, poets, researchers, therapists, philosophers and others have weighed in on narcissism since early human history.

Here are some of their best quotations on narcissism and narcissists.

“Narcissism has more in common with self-hatred than with self-admiration.”
— Christopher Lasch, author

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. . . .They justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”
— T.S. Elliott, writer

“Withhold admiration from a narcissist and be disliked. Give it and be treated with indifference.”
— Mason Cooley, essayist

“Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.”
— Elizabeth Bowen, writer

“Underneath the so-called narcissistic personality is definitely shame and the paralyzing fear of being ordinary.”
— Brené Brown, researcher

“There is simply no winning with a narcissist. He will treat you so horribly that you will become withdrawn and depressed and then he will turn around and say, ‘You’re no fun anymore, you’re always so depressed. I need to be with someone more positive.’”
— Susan Williams, writer

“Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders . . . but by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.”
— Jeffrey Kluger, writer

“When people are driving themselves crazy, they have neuroses or psychoses. When they drive other people crazy, they have personality disorders.”
— Albert J. Bernstein, psychologist

“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego.”
— Amanda Torroni, writer

“Narcissism is voluntary blindness, an agreement not to look beneath the surface.”
— Sam Keen, author

“Because narcissistic parents are experts at making everything look good, the child of the narcissist may not know anything was wrong. A common response in therapy is ‘I had a great childhood with caring parents. I should be happy.’”
— Heather Sheafer, writer

“If you want to go from being adored to devalued in the blink of an eye, simply insult the narcissist.”
— Tigress Luv, blogger

“Parents are supposed to give the child back to herself with love. If they’ve got duct tape over their eyes because of narcissism, it doesn’t happen.”
— Jane Fonda, actor

“When narcissists behave in an exhibitionistic manner, they are seeking the same sort of admiration as toddlers, and for the same reasons. They want attention. Some examples include inappropriate dress, talking too loudly, or gesturing in expansive and space-intruding ways.”
— Mark Ettensohn, therapist

“Over and over again, I have learned how damaging, how unrelenting, the aftermath is from these pathological, quietly undermining relationships.”
— Sandra Brown, therapist

 

“You might as well bang your head into a brick wall if you expect the narcissist to be reasonable, empathetic or human in any way. If you sense or witness any of these traits, there is an ulterior motive. When the narcissist is being nice, it’s because they have something to gain.”
— Tina Swithin, writer

“I know now that one of the characteristics of evil is its desire to confuse.”
— M. Scott Peck, writer

“No matter how socially skilled an extreme narcissist is, he has a major attachment dysfunction. The extreme narcissist is frozen in childhood.”
— Samuel Lopez de Victoria, therapist

“The narcissist would love nothing more than to know you are eating uncooked Top Ramen out of a dumpster for dinner tonight while wearing yesterday’s underwear.”
— Tina Swithin, writer

“I have a very simple question to people . . . who seem to suffer from excessive narcissism: Please name three other persons who are smarter and more capable than you, in the field you work in. In most cases they are utterly unable to answer that question honestly.”
— Ingo Molnar, computer hacker

“Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful, but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading.”
— W.H. Auden, poet

“The best way to upset a narcissist is by ignoring him.”
— J.B. Snow, writer

“Narcissists install a mental filter in our heads a little bit at a time. . . . ‘Will he get upset if I do/say/think this? Will he approve/disapprove? Will he feel hurt by this?’ Until we can uninstall the narcissist-filter, our actions are controlled by narcissists to some degree.”
— Sam Vaknin, writer

“There’s a reason narcissists don’t learn from mistakes and that’s because they never get past the first step which is admitting that they made one.”
— Jeffrey Kluger, writer

“He was like the cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.”
— George Eliot, writer

Photo of Numero Uno man by Ron Leishman