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5 Ways Narcissists Project and Attack You

Most narcissists generally lack self-awareness. Indeed, their sense of self-esteem and self-worth depends on how others perceive them, and they tend to deny flaws in themselves and blame others for their own shortcomings, mistakes, and misfortunes. This is called projection, and people with narcissistic tendencies are projection-heavy individuals.

26 thoughts on “5 Ways Narcissists Project and Attack You

  • September 27, 2017 at 12:38 am

    I recognize all 5 of these things very well. I have experienced these very things with my narcissist. I remember how confused I would be about his accusations as and then rt repeatedly telling me to stop turning it. I now fully understand what he is doing.

  • October 2, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Spot on! Narcissism is tossed around on a societal level these days but your clinical evaluation is so accurate! I have a sibling with NPD and the above described him explicitly.

    Thank you for sharing and helping those who are close to a narcissist.

    • September 11, 2018 at 5:33 am

      I agree with your assessment. I too have a sibling that’s an NPD.. unknown to me at the time. Who gave me the silent treatment while I was going through my divorce. Since NPD’s don’t look at us like people ( individuals) . My sister didn’t have time or want to take the focus off herself . Just one of the things mentioned in the article I’ve been subjected to by both my father, Sister, & my ex husband.

  • October 2, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    I lived that life of hell for 5 years. You can’t forget the walking on eggshells all the time afraid you will say the wrong thing to set them off; but the #1 punishment the narcissist LOVES to give is the Silent Treatment!!!!

    • April 2, 2018 at 1:30 am

      Narcs Love to dish out the Silent treatmeng,as they Hate getting it (Silent Treatment). When you cut All contact with them, they go into Maximum overdrive with Stalking- following you, calling 50 times a day, showing up at your job-work-anothers house, Unannounced & Uninvited, launching a Full on Smear Campaign on You. They are Pure Evil.

  • November 19, 2017 at 1:33 am

    The only thing worse than discovering you were with a narcissist is seeing the traits show up in their offspring. The guilt for bringing a possibly harmful person into the world can be immense. The most frustrating thing is realizing they believe their self-delusions like no other, and they can’t see that they’re sick. There’s no talking to them. You just wait for the legal age when you can evict them. It’s astounding and horrifying to witness. Therapy is a game for them. They’re either manipulating the situation or practicing their deceptions on the therapist. The years have felt like a total waste, so much unhealthiness. I would have been better off lonely and with a dog, rather than lonely a decade stuck with horrible memories. It takes all you got to move on, with or without relationships. I even want to leave my home town and let the narc son & father have it! Losing my roots hurts, but it’s worth the peace of mind. I just wish my remaining family didn’t have to deal with them. Their powers of manipulation are insane. I hope in the future this gene can be turned off, just like certain cancers. Or maybe their empathy gene can be turned on. Either way, these people bring so much misery that something has to be done to protect everyone else. I find that only people who have lived with a toxic person understands how hard it is to describe the type of abuse they dole out.

    • April 2, 2018 at 1:47 am

      You are right in saying that People who have Never been in contact with/lived with a Narc, have No idea, & cant Even begin, to imagine what its like. Some have a hard time believeing you.
      It is harder when you have a child with the Narc, & the child begins to behave Exactly as the Narc parent did. You think you have escaped him.
      I had to tell my child/young teen that I Divorced her dad because of His Taunting, Berating & his thinking that He Owned me, & I wasnt going to tolerate it with her. “I” am the ‘Mother’ & She is the child. She would calm down, a little, for a day or 2, & then go right back to her narc ways. After she became an adult, I finally had to cut her out of my life. I couldnt stand her Narcopathy another day. She thinks she’s done Nothing wrong. Its heart breaking.

  • March 23, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Such a twisted and dysfunctional relationship is difficult enough for adults.
    Imagine being a child with a narcissistic parent projecting, twisting, raging, denying and manipulating the child’s psychological identity and reality.

  • April 1, 2018 at 7:19 pm


  • April 12, 2018 at 10:30 am

    After 13 months I saw a true narcissist. He verbally / emotionally tore me apart twice now. I’m planning my no contact strategy now. Wish me luck.

  • May 3, 2018 at 11:45 am

    This is an excellent article and very accurately depicts the behavior of a narcissist. I do have a comment about the use of the word projection. It is my understanding that true projection is largely unconscious. It is my experience that narcissists are entirely aware of their actions and thoughts although they would like you to believe they’re unaware of the harmful, antisocial things they think and do.

    I find it helps me to think of their ‘projection’ (which causes me to want to explain, defend, rationalize with them so they can ‘see’) as the prism of their prospective. They lie, aggress, control, manipulate, attack, are selfish, unempathetic, lack compassion, ect and they think everyone else is doing it as well. The narcissist in my life has taken the time to ‘set me straight’ that I’m just better than he is in pretending (imitating). Now maybe he is ‘projecting’ but that piece of information certainly created the insight for me to see his behavior and actions as a predictable pattern consistent with that belief.

    They are very disturbing individuals that create a lot of damage.

    • May 18, 2018 at 9:32 am

      this article is spot on for me, an Charlie your comment is insightful, I have seen and feel like you said that they don’t know or at least don’t realize what they are doing, I have asked my N right afterword’s what was said and they could not tell me, could not remember with out my provocation, seems it just comes naturally.
      Also the thinking that everyone else is doing it all so, very important to remember when dealing with them, and there is no convincing them otherwise.
      How can you talk or repair, there thoughts with this.

  • May 13, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I live with what I call a “part-time” narcissist. He is generally an (almost) normal, decent, generous man most of the time. Then, like a pot on the stove that gets too hot, he periodically boils over. Then I see it all: the blaming, the gaslighting and projecting, the irrational rages, the need for control–all of it. Classic textbook narcissism. Sometimes, when I refuse to buy into this insanity and totally ignore him, the adult disappears and the 5-year-old child emerges–the “poor me” act–along with sobbing, temper tantrums, and an actually visible regression into young childhood. Needless to say, this is an appalling spectacle.

    Usually I have no idea what prompts these situations, but I’ve figured out that he is angry and (most importantly) feeling impotent over some real or imagined slight that I had nothing to do with. He lashes out at me because I’m convenient and he needs to relieve the pressure that’s boiling over in his head.

    Not fun, but I’ve learned to consider the source and have also learned how to deal with it. He’s very irrational and verbally abusive during these episodes but has never been physically abusive. (He’s also incredibly paranoid. I suspect he’s too afraid of the potential consequences. I once told him I’d find a way to kill him if he ever hurts me.)

    Naturally I don’t love him any more. That died years ago. I could probably leave, but it would be difficult. A handicapped adult son lives with us who is unable to work and money would be tight. I would just be trading one problem for another. So I stay. He’s old now. So am I. Maybe he’ll die one of these days and leave us in peace. I can’t say I wouldn’t miss him because he has many good qualities, but as the saying goes, “If I had it all to do over again…” Meanwhile I just try to enjoy his “good” days and make myself scarce on the bad ones.

    • May 18, 2018 at 9:43 am

      that is so sad, remember your never to old, I keep telling myself that as I make plans to be finally free. I’m glad you have found a way to cope that works for you.

      I think you might be onto something with your comment of ((( what I call a “part-time” narcissist )
      I think it is always there, just resting for the next episode. how long in-between ?
      mine varies, usually a couple of weeks or three, then I could be a couple of days
      best of luck

      • May 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        Hi Bob. Episodes occur on average three or four times a year, unless something happens to trigger one. Then all bets are off. I manage to cope (and remain quite upbeat) because it isn’t more frequent. As I said, he has many good qualities otherwise, but mental problems are becoming increasingly more noticeable as he gets older. His “normal” days are less normal but, thankfully, not in a narcissistic way–if that makes sense. It’s definitely worrisome, but I don’t think I could just bail on him. My two adult kids and I are all he has.

  • June 8, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Dealing with one now in my family. I “poked the bear” and he is putting in work. He’s an in-law that I discovered was cheating and have proof. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband that gives me lots of support. Everyone else doesn’t want to deal with it, and choose to stay “neutral.” I can’t help but look at them as disloyal, as I am an integral person and his attacks are lies. He clipped bits and pieces of my Facebook account to say I was talking about him. Complete lie- my Facebook is proof!!! So, the family being neutral is hurtful. My best defense is to walk away- it’s just sad.

  • September 5, 2018 at 12:02 am

    I’m balling as I write this.. you have perfectly described my ex wife. She is so damaged and so hurtful. She has kicked out most of her own family and is not allowing my children to talk with them. She has burned so many bridges and hurt my children. Can anyone pleas tell me how to deal with this constant nightmare? My girls deserve better.

    • September 11, 2018 at 11:35 pm


      Dealing with these difficult and often toxic personalities is beyond difficult. As I am unsure of your exact situation such as how old your girls are, who they live with and how often they interact with their mother, advice or suggestions is difficult to provide.

      I can tell you the best advice given from any mental health professional experienced in the trauma created by individuals with narcissistic personalities is no contact. Low contact only if it’s necessary.

      I can also tell you that seeking professional help for (Complex) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for you and your girls is also recommended and is wise. The damage they create to our sense of self, safety, and functioning takes both time and a lot of work to unravel or we end attracting this type of person again and believing they’re different, they appreciate us.

      Doing all the giving to someone who does all the taking becomes so normalized that it becomes a comfortable place to function from particularly from a safety standpoint. The tantrums, the rages, the hateful nastiness that follows when a narcissist does not get his or her way often causes us to adopt a maladaptive defensive coping mechanism of anticipating their needs before they recognize a need is not being met. This gives us the illusion we are able to make sense from nonsense and bring order to chaos, basically some resemblance of control over our environment. The narcissists ‘happiness’ of our care of them positively reinforces our behavior until it’s so ingrained it’s automatic. Be very aware, the tantrums are punishment for not giving them what the believe they are entitled to when they believe they are entitled to it. They are absolutely training us to take care of their wants and needs.

      It’s my opinion, this is operant conditioning that transitions into classically conditioned behavior on our part and it has to be unlearned, desensitized, and recognized for us to stop doing it.

  • September 11, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    I have been reading about narcissism for 4 years now but have not been able to find the help I need. My X is a narcissist and the nightmare I lived while married to him is beyond most peoples imagination. My only concern now is getting help for my 5 year old daughter. I have been to court so many times I’ve lost count. My pocketbook is empty and I don’t know what to do. As unbelievable as it may sound he is now with a woman who has millions and they drag me to court every chance they get. Early on I was advised to document his behavior for the court. My experience has been judges don’t take time to read the volumes of documentation I provide to prove my case but instead insist we go to mediation that lasts all of 10 minutes always with the same results “let’s set a new court date” which so far has always resulted in him wanting to settle the day of a hearing, then a couple of months pass and I get a new RFO. I am told he can take me back to court as often as he wants, and as I said he has access to unlimited funds. He has had 4 high priced attorney’s who have all been let go after siding with me. The one he has had for the past 2 years must like the money as there appears to be no end in sight. You can’t prove narcissism to a court that won’t take the time to review 4 years of documents that prove your case. I have never spoken ill of our daughters father to her as I don’t know how to explain what is going on to a 5 year old. She constantly returns home with new accusations her father has made about me and I can see his tactics are working. I am afraid of the courts because I am constantly being threatened with losing custody. One quick example is when the case started I brought the courts proof of his drug use, the case took 6 months to go to trial, because 6 months had passed I was told my evidence was too old and if I didn’t have current proof they would not make him test. During our most recent court appearance I had called the police 3 times in a 6 month period to enforce court orders he was violating (again something I was told to do by my attorney, law enforcement, and advice blogs) the results were the judge chastising me for my actions and ordering me not to call the police over custody issues. I know that may hard to believe but it’s a fact and I have the court minutes. In case you think I’m being ridiculous the last time I called was because our daughter was scheduled to be with her father for the weekend. I myself made plans weeks in advance to go out of town because our daughter was going to be with her father. He text on Thursday that he would not pick her up Friday after school to begin his weekend, I told him I was leaving Friday evening for out of town so he needed to come or she would need to go with me. He insisted I stay home until Saturday afternoon when he could come get her. When I refused he threatened to call the police if I took her with me, I then filed a report showing police the text conversation and asking if I was within my rights to go for my scheduled weekend and take our daughter with me. The court order and text where reviewed by the police and I left with their blessing. Only to be criticized by the judge for making the report, and ordered by the judge not to call the police in the future for custody issues. My x quit his job to avoid paying child support and I am the working parent providing for our child. The court has ordered I can’t enroll her in any child care program without his consent, we are in week 3 of trying to get his consent for a YMCA program for after school care. My last communication as of this morning is I do not consent to the Y if you enroll her I will take you back to court. PLEASE, can anyone offer advice? I’m out of money for attorney fees and have lost all faith in the system.

    • September 14, 2018 at 2:10 pm


      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having such a difficult time with your ex. It is unfortunately not surprising as narcisstic personalities are often petty, spiteful, and vengeful.

      It is also not surprising that you are having difficulty with judges and the courts. I have learned narcisstic personalities often stick together and are supportive of one another. Those that are functional are often attracted to power positions and attorney and judge positions certainly fit the definition of power positions. We also have, in the the U.S., which I assume you are from, issues with disparate treatment regarding gender equality.

      My guess, from what you’ve described, is that you are being regarded as ‘hysterical and difficult’ with an ‘unreasonable’ expectation regarding the following of the court order by your ex and the documentation you provide. I would expect any flexibility regarding the court order would not be applied to you in the same way. The Internet blog’s are full of stories much like your own.

      From what I have seen from other women in your situation on the many different blogs regarding narcissism is that some women have found relief through a court appointed ‘guardian ad litem’ and, unfortunately, others have experienced problems with their child’s guardian ad litem being unduly influenced by the narcissistic parent. It may be something you want to check out and consider if you haven’t already. I find it surprising the court has not focused on the fact your ex has money to take you to court but not for child support.

      I will say that expecting a narcissistic individual to follow a court order or any societal rules while reasonable is unrealistic. It is both an exciting challenge to manipulate an authority like the court and due to their superior, entitled belief system disrespect and disregard such limitations. There is no higher power than themselves. It is also great fun (as well as a source of narcissistic supply) to harrass, exhaust, and frustrate you in the process. In short, just know he’s getting off on your pain, getting over on the court, and your child is simply a tool to use for his machinations.

      It may help to shift your perspective to what’s best for the child instead of fighting for the following of the court order. It would appear from what you described the court is not interested in fighting for their own order which leaves you out in the cold. Fighting for what’s right, validation, and fair treatment is also a problem we face after extricating ourselves from the sphere of influence of these toxic personalities. This technique most often works against us even as it works for the narcissist, which I have found to be very confusing, but realistic.

      I sincerely hope something I’ve written gives you a new place to work from in such a difficult situation. I have found there are no easy answers, no silver bullet, no savior, and certainly no sense of fairness in dealing with toxic individuals.

      I have also found managing my expectations to low expectations regarding their behavior and results is extremely helpful for my own mental health. I have found that low expectations sometimes create a dynamic that I’m pleasantly surprised with better results. I believe it comes from the the fact that they so often love to prove us wrong. So I may have handled your example of interrupted weekend plans with a calm statement of ‘I’m not surprised, I already made other arrangements’ or ‘oh, that’s fine, I wasn’t certain I wanted to go anyway’ or ‘I figured there would be an issue from your end so I already rescheduled.’ Because your expectations were low these statements would all be true. You have accepted and anticipated your ex is someone who cannot be counted on and will certainly make things more difficult for you anytime he can. And he may need to prove you wrong.

      • September 20, 2018 at 7:32 pm

        Charlie I’ve noticed your responses a number of times in the comments section, and wished to say a wholehearted thank you for your considered and supportive responses. You and Darius are providing information, support and solace which is so necessary. The experience of relating to a Narcissist, particularly when you are the child, or a child is involved, is deeply traumatising.

      • September 23, 2018 at 8:31 pm

        Thank you Fiona. I know first hand the pain, confusion and despair created in a narcisstic relationship. I hope what I’ve offered from what I’ve experienced helps in a small way to lighten the burden.

  • September 18, 2018 at 5:13 am

    When the narcissist has joined more people that do actually serve him for his position, maybe his money, and I become the victim of crowd stalking, is there anyway of conving him he needs to be in jail. I need them in jail, helpers and all but is difficult , is been more than 15 years he doesn’t stop the stalking, he’s delusional, worse he became university dean ( high positions are the worst for a narcissist ). He met me once in his life we talked a few days 16
    years ago, he became obsessed with me only in 2008, he decided to crash my computers, he hacked my designs , my texts. The narcissist with help his so called friends and co-workers ruined my career. I really do not know how hypnotizing they can get, I became alienated they used my friends to send their intrusive communication. In the end I was left with no friends. he bugged my phone , stole even my designs and made clothes for himself. My friends just obeyed the moron he sent to talked to them. HIs helper probably more psycopath than him, sent thieves to stole my cameras, my money. They made my life hell, the work , he ruined all my art. He became obsessed with my career. to go after it all I did, he ruined my income. Is still happening he tricks people into doing things for him , art posts and in the ends is to show he’s been there and harass me. They never got bored, they had my dog killed. I need people to stop helping them . I’m severely traumatized, is really hard to work. when you are in tears with your mouse in your hand crying your eyes out , you don’t understand why he picked you ? why did he picked me? and why people all over the world help him that or the people he delegates. He want to be gigantic and give and image of terrorising he’s all over the world , all over the art world. The inhumanity of people is really disappointing, no one should be helping the dean or his kid spreading all over. In this site some people I bet they know, they have fallen for the intrusive communication scheme. How come he gets university teachers to help him, journalists, artists, etc. The law has not catched them they still do it. I suffer post traumatic stress, but not post . I’m afraid to update my website I feel the mind block, a break there is used to flow smoothly. But they hacked my blogs , my master thesis, he posted pictures with my stolen jacked. I want people to testify against him and his crowd. I terrible how he spreads in the artworld. They hacked my facebook , they took people out of there, important people for my career. Still no law has been able to stop them. I feel Dan here in the blogs knows something about it. I have no contact with them . This narcissistic stalker does not appear, he hacked my email account, very much obsessed with ruining my life my work , my mother’s, my income. This pages tell me nothing knew that I haven’t come to a conclusion myself just watching from afar his, and their actions. one how do I get my mind without the fear, I think that trauma comes from it , he tries terrorising me in galleries, when they reply back to me ( like them telling me we are with the jerk ) my career social life is impossible if they are not in jail . How to get them in jail , and whet to tell people not to help them . I need to work as I used to , I need to be a fearless workaholic again. Terrible is I need to work online, the kid he uses is like obsessed with harming me to prove something to my original stalker. I post calls and their people get to them to harass me. The idiots , retards want me to feel surround them. The narcissist is too coward to speak because I did tried it, even though I know one as the victim is not supposed to. I see people surviving the narcissist, if they are not in life is there anything I can do to get them from stalking me. My life depends on not having a low profile. That’s what they wanted for me to have a low profile, be less talented, not to have any success, be poor. I want to be able work without the fear , i think they are going to sabotage everything, they eventually do. They obviously do not want to get caught. And the original dean stalks , with that intrusive communication like I’m going to love you ( WTF ? ), but i’m going after all your career.

  • September 23, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for your article. I appreciate how accurate and easy to read it was. My children and I are currently overcoming a lifetime of narcissistic abuse. The thing is I never understood that there was a place where this didn’t occur until recently. Narcissism ran so deep in my family that I naturally gravitated to partners that were narcissistic. I’m just grateful that this topic has come into light and people are able to learn more about this devastating behavior.

  • October 16, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    This is so incredibly accurate! Thank you for your insightful, articulate dissertation of a narcissists personality traits. After three years of my journey of awakening and enlightenment, this sums up the dynamics perfectly! I will refer back this article as the basic gospel🙏🏻


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