Less obvious signs that he/she is a narcissist

  1. Hero complex and playing the victim.

While not as common, some narcissists have a hero complex, while all narcissists play the victim. My narcissist had both a hero complex and played the victim.

He wanted to be the hero and help people to make himself look, but not because he genuinely wanted to help people. He always had to share his good deeds with everyone, including his thousands of Facebook friends, otherwise it wasn’t worth it. These occasional deeds would help boost his reputation and hide the fact that he was a narcissist.

He especially liked to be a hero to his obsession. He would “save” her all the time- helping her paint, move, demo her bathroom (he even secretly used our employees to help), pay her mortgage, drive her anywhere she needed, let her dog out if she was stuck at work, and so on. He was happiest when he could be her savior because then he felt needed by her and had a glimmer of hope that maybe she would want to be with him.

The difference between the hero narcissist and a person who just wants to help others, is their motivation. If the reason behind their action is to improve their reputation and have others think highly of them.

When my ex-narc would get caught with her or doing anything that he shouldn’t have been doing, he instantly became the victim. Narcissists like to use any previous hardships to escape responsibility for their actions- whether that’s lying, cheating, abusing you, or acting out. Some of the victim statements that he used included him not getting enough love as a child or from past girlfriends- so he didn’t know how to love or how to accept love (this was after getting caught with his obsession). He also liked to use the stress of work and being a business owner as an excuse to get blackout drunk, yell and scream or drive like an asshole. Tears would always start flowing after he was caught lying or cheating and especially after being kicked out. He was the victim, just like he is now, even when it was his own fault.

2) Walking ahead of you

Generally, narcissists walk ahead of you for two reasons- lack of patience and to show that they are in charge. If they were to walk next to you, that would show you as equals and that is not what they want to portray. I never thought of it this way when we were together, but he did always walk in front of me and make fun of my short legs. I never realized that it was a form of control- so be mindful of this!

3) No guilt

Narcissists don’t have remorse for their actions, no matter how badly they hurt you. This stems from their lack of empathy. The only time they will apologize or break down in tears, is when they have been caught and/or discarded. And they don’t consider themselves caught for a while, since they don’t feel bad about lying. I would show actual proof (phone records showing calls to her, credit card statements for dates that I didn’t go on (wine tastings, dinners, etc.), messages from other people telling me that he was out with another woman, etc.) and he would still deny, deny, deny. This is a combination of their lack of empathy, pathological lying and gas lighting (to make you feel crazy). It’s important to know that narcissists are highly skilled at faking compassion for short periods of time to throw you off, but believe me, they don’t give a shit.

What sticks out in my mind is a young, attractive female who started off as a customer years ago and then he started regularly texting her, Facebook messaging her and later on giving her free service and even bringing her coffee when he would go there to complete work. None of the work was ever on the schedule, or in the system- I only found out when I looked through his phone. When confronted, he told me that her daughter had a school fundraiser and he told her to put the money to the fundraiser instead of paying for the service. I found that comical since this was happening for years. It was even more comical when we ran into her at a bar, and he was visibly nervous and uncomfortable. I casually asked her if she needed any service and she said that it was already done, and she had no idea that I had anything to do with the business. Just one of many times, that I felt like I wasn’t important. He never admitted to doing anything wrong or inappropriate and it was my fault for being nosey.

I still look back wondering how I could ever tolerate this treatment, especially now that I am treated like a queen and no longer feel like I am competing for love and attention.

4) Emotionally unbalanced & overly sensitive

Although narcissists portray themselves as very confident, they actually lack self-esteem. They can’t handle any criticism, even if it’s constructive criticism. They will become withdrawn or extremely angry if their personal life or work is criticized. It will always be that the person criticizes them is the problem.

If any customer ever had anything negative to say about the work completed at their home, it would go one of two ways- either the employee who completed the work is an idiot or the customer is a piece of shit. It was never, ever his fault. There were times that I could confirm that he was the only one on the job site, but he would still blame someone else. If you are offering constructive criticism to your partner and they react this way, look to see if they have any of the other red flags.

5) High anxiety and frequent rage

Narcissists don’t have very good coping skills and when things don’t go their way, they become extremely stressed and very angry. Their mood changes very quickly and it makes those around them feel uncomfortable. Narcissistic rage is common usually reveals itself as intense anger or aggression. If they aren’t outwardly aggressive and angry, they are passive aggressive.

My ex-narc had many angry outbursts that were so loud, and intense that it would scare me and anyone else that was around at the time. He could go from zero to a hundred without any warning and if I didn’t react, it would make it worse. I preferred to ignore it and leave the scene when it was happening, but that caused him to get louder and follow me around while continuing to yell.

There are so many things I am grateful for being out of the relationship, but what I am most grateful for the not having to listen to that rage anymore.

I thank God every day that I have a kind, patient, loving man who makes me feel special every day. I can’t imagine living in this hell ever again and I smile every day knowing that I don’t have to.

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