“Narcissists want to be the center of attention. They will boast, brag and tell exaggerated stories about themselves to make out that they are brilliant. They will often mix lies with truths or half-truths which may make it difficult to catch them out.”
Engaging in a conversation with a narcissist can leave someone feeling like banging their head against a brick wall. This may sound like an exaggeration; but, in truth, a brick wall may possess the same levels of empathy, understanding, and validation that a narcissist does. Why? Because these people couldn’t care less about what you’re saying; no matter the logic or meaningfulness behind your intended dialogue.
Conversing with a narcissist can be described in four ways: confusing, dizzying, infuriating and meaningless. As for the effects of such conversations, narcissistic people possess the innate “gift” of shifting any sense of their own insecurity and unworthiness to anyone who will listen. Apparently, the oft-felt repercussions of conversing with a narcissist leave the victim (and victims, they are) feeling far worse off than having become involved in a conversation with such a character in the first place. Another “talent” of narcissists is evoking a sense of blame, doubt, and uncertainty – all primary objectives of such a deluded, manipulative individual.
Make no mistake; narcissists know exactly what they’re doing. Not only are they privy to their ambitions, but narcissists also experience an elevated sense of superiority and invincibility for having duped someone else.
One underlying trait of almost all narcissists is the need to be at the center of attention. The psychological term for this insatiable necessity is “narcissistic supply,” or the need for continual reaffirmation of self-perceived value. In this article, we narrow the focus to the conversational. More specifically, we’ll discuss a few telltale signs of narcissism from a conversational perspective. In particular, we’ll discuss some commonly exhibited behaviors of narcissists that illustrate their irrational desires to be the center of attention.
Here are five behaviors narcissists exhibit to become the center of attention:
1. Reverse Projection
Before knowing that we’re in the company of a narcissist, we’ll relate to the person as if they’re rational human beings. As we don’t purposely deceive or manipulate people, we innately trust that others will reciprocate such qualities.
However, when this trust is violated, we’ll often feel confused, hurt and – in a way – responsible for the narcissist’s behavior. The horrible thing is that this is exactly what narcissistic people want.
Without diligent caution, a narcissist can quickly “twist the conversation,” making you take on the burden of guilt. Meanwhile, the narcissist subtly reverses reality of the situation and takes on the role of an innocent victim. In other words, they reverse roles.
2. Incessant Blaming
Narcissists will intently switch sensitive topics (e.g., work responsibilities) to divert your attention. They do so to put you in a defensive position, regardless of merit behind such tactics. They’ll interrogate, focusing on any and all real or perceived faults.
In turn, you’ll rightly defend yourself. Meanwhile, the narcissist will continue to hammer away at their inconceivable notion about you “being in the wrong.” Concurrently, they’ll refuse any accountability for their behavior and leave you in a resistive state. All the while, they’ll justify their “blame game” by pointing their fingers at you for having created any drama or problems in the relationship.
3. Shock And Awe
When a narcissist apparently displays anger or rage, it is their intention to bully you into submission. This is an enigma, as narcissists typically don’t exhibit such vocal or physical behaviors.
The intent here is to confuse and intimidate their victim. Rational people, especially those not usually accustomed to such outbursts, may become confused and intimidated. As a result, the victim may let down their defenses and become susceptible to suggestion.
A weakened state is what the narcissist wants, as it leaves you vulnerable to their unquenchable need for control and dominance.
4. Playing the Victim
Deceitful people love playing the victim, and narcissists certainly fall under this category. Narcissists accomplish this by garnering undeserving pity. The tragedy is that this manipulative tactic is executed at the expense of another – a person who is often the deserved recipient of goodwill from others.
Though narcissists are an emotionally-neutral group, they acutely understand the power of human empathy. This knowledge is used to counter any real or perceived “threat” to their self-glossed superior standing. In the event that they hurt someone, they’ll take on a defense position – this often involves the emotional manipulation of those close to them.
Narcissists have an insatiable desire to be the center of attention at all times. When the topic at hand does not involve them, they’ll quickly interrupt the dialogue and attempt to refocus the conversation back to themselves.
If someone vehemently interjects, attempting to redirect the conversation, they’re quickly neutralized by the narcissist and rendered to silence. This is a narcissist’s optimal result. Should such a malignant attempt fail, the individual will immediately be placed on the narcissist’s “hit list” – a perceived threat to be dealt with according to the narcissist’s distorted view on what’s truly important…them and them only.