You Cannot Communicate With A Narcissist

The narcissistic personality lives in a delusional world of his creation. Although he/she gives fine speeches and is highly articulate in his profession, he is incapable of the give and take of true communication. I am talking of a meeting of minds. The narcissist is of one mind—his. That is all that exists at the center of his universe. You share his reflected light only if you can provide him with major narcissistic supplies–becoming an adoring spouse who acts as his servant, provide him with sources of power and paths to wealth, introduce him to influential movers and shakers. If you are in his life and cannot fit his bill, especially if you are a spouse or child, you will be treated with disrespect, dismissiveness, constant ridicule, searing criticism, verbal assaults, mental gaslighting and psychological sabotage.

The current narcissistic society gives these individuals a large pass, especially if they are successful academically and professionally and are highly confident. Recently I had an encounter with a narcissistic fellow. I had spoken to him previously and suspected that he was a narcissist. Every word that he uttered was about him. He bragged incessantly about his entry into a medical residency. I made an effort to engage him in a conversation but it was impossible. At one point I mentioned a renowned surgeon who was in his field of study and he didn’t make a verbal or nonverbal reply. It appeared that he was unable to hear anything that I was saying except the sound of his own voice. He flashed a pasted smile with pearly teeth every time he spoke about his grandiose ambitions. He was obsessed with his perfect false self. I talked about a person whom I knew that had a medical problem in his prospective specialty. He was uncommunicative and disinterested.  I watched him puff himself up like a peacock as he spoke about his future. When he did mention others there was a sharp disdain in his voice and nonverbal demeaning gestures signaling his superiority.

I left the Prince’s throne room and went outside into the night and gazed at the twinkling stars —so beautiful, magnificent and real.

Study the narcissistic personality in-depth.You will learn how to recognize them much sooner. Trust your intuition as well. It always speaks the truth. Work on your own self entitlement, clear boundaries and demand self respect. You are a person of many gifts and have unique value. You are empathic and each person you meet is fortunate that you have passed their way. Stay on the road less traveled, the one that leads to higher consciousness and inner peace.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.


17 thoughts on “You Cannot Communicate With A Narcissist”

  1. Comment:From Marchelle
    Thank you for this opportunity. I am sad to say, that I am married to a narcissist and working my way out of the marriage. I will make it, because I am strong and have God in my life. I have a question: Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder a mental illness and if so what type of mental illness and if not, what is the difference between a personality disorder and mental illness? One needs all the knowledge there is available, in order to become free from the entrapment of being with such a sick individual.

  2. Hello Marchelle,

    I do not call narcissistic personality disorder a mental illness but there are variations in how this disorder can be defined. For example, schizophrenia has been historically described as a form of mental illness due to the tremendous debilitations that those who suffer have in their lives and for many, there is inability to communicate with others due to their paranoia, delusions and hallucinations.

    I view the narcissist as a severe personality disorder who often functions at a very high level in our society today, especially since our current culture rewards narcissists handsomely. There is an epidemic of narcissism in this country today. A recent study by Twenge indicated that young college students statistically are highly narcissistic.

    The narcissist, especially those who have a highly developed false self that is charming, socially smooth and believeable, is able to function very well in this world. He or she is a method actor who believes he is perfect and superior t everyone. He/she is always right–everyone else is wrong. This person does not have a conscience and very importantly, completely lacks empathy. That is their signal trait!
    Narcissists are highly manipulative, controlling, exploitive and parasitic. They will use anyone to get what they want and shove everyone else aside, including family members. They do not seek treatment because they don’t believe there is anything wrong with them. They lead lives in the fast lane—causing everyone else extreme stress, emotional distress and psychological problems.

    I know that you are going to heal. You have God in your life and you are strong. I am so proud of you. You are becoming free. Bless you. Linda

  3. Comment: From Erin
    I’ve read many of your posts, but not all. Have you written anything about a person’s child being a narcissist?

    My ex husband is so clearly this being, as well as some other sociopath uglies. Over the last 10 months he was able to take my children (both with autism, the older one, more asperger’s with a mood disorder as well) from me legally and physically. I was a stay at home mom for 10 years. I was always the primary parent advocating for all of their needs and services. Advocating and interpreting for my children became my world. I love them beyond all I thought possible. They are the one thing I have been a real success at.

    After 3 years, and an 18 day trial lasting over 10 months….the courts bought his story. Not one person had anything bad to say about me or my parenting. He managed, with much money, to put on the production of a life time. The results were that I was overwhelmed and seemed flighty. After 3 years of the badgering, bullying, etc. from both him and his attorney…I am allowed visitation with my children that live 5 miles up the road from me.

    My oldest son is now 13, and he is becoming more and more like his father. His compulsive lies are more constant. His respect for me is decreasing to almost none. The verbal abuse from this one has always been around, but I assumed it was picked up from his father. His father also has a very disgusting co-dependent and toxic relationship with his mother. He is rude, even cruel to her. In front of the boys.

    It almost seems like a fine line between narcissism and having no theory of mind. I’m not sure if this is clear or not. I do not know what to do about my oldest’s behavior. His outbursts and rages set my other son off because of his sensitivities to noise, but especially to other’s emotions.

    I wish I knew someone in this area that could look at this whole horrid picture and assist me in how to manage all these pieces.

    Thank you for your commitment to this subject. You validate so much of what I have experienced. I’m sure you do so much for so many.


  4. Comment:From Mary
    I’m so thankful I found your website. I am a 56 year old female. My parents I believe are narassists. I am an only child that built my dream home which I have lived in for 30 years. next to my parents. Little did I know that after all of the years of them telling me they loved me they disowned and disinherited me in 2013.They don’t want to have anything to do with me or my family. I have been depressed most all of my life, seen counselors, took medications. There have been seven suicides in my family. My parents are very well off, they say I was spoiled that was not true, they have manipulated my life so much with emotional ups and downs it is very difficult. I am no longer on any medications and I do still see a counselor occasionally. I’m trying so hard to leave my home. I know if I could move and I could be released from some of the pain of seeing their home(the home that I grew up in) everyday- as I have to drive by it to get to my home. My home has so many memories-our children grew up there how do I let go of it? This situation has taken a toll on my health and my husbands. I have tried to reach out to my parents still. I know I need to stop. It is not a healthy situation. It is thru my faith, family, friends that I have survived this 56 years and I think it is going to take a great leap of faith to leave it all behind. I have lived on this land for 50 of my 56 years. I just wish I knew the answer to why my parents did this to me. I think that there were always signs of the narassists acts or things that they did to me all along and I didn’t recognize that this was destroying my life. I was a good kid and a good person. I am beginning to try and find peace with this situation. Your e-mails have helped me so much.

  5. Comment:From Lisa
    Thank you so much! You have no idea how much I needed this today. Still suffering the effects of a relationship with a narcissist and am the daughter of one (big surprise). Everyday seems to get a little better, but still suffer the self-doubt a lot. Keep up the great work I enjoy reading your posts.

  6. Doug

    Hi, Erin,
    I think I might have a pretty good feeling of what you’re experiencing. My mother is a Covert Narcissist (NC), my older brother is mentally handicapped and my younger brother escaped early on into the streets…I was the golden child, the one she knew she could use and manipulate for her needs. I know what it’s like to have no one believe you when you speak against these pretenders. They’re expert liars because they have to be. They don’t really have an identity other than the one created in place of their severe deficit of being. You ask about seeing the whole picture and hoping for some help in managing it all. I’ve tried most of my life to “manage”, or make attempts at getting my mother to see another point of view. This is literally impossible with a Narcissist. As Dr. Linda has said, this condition is fixed, it’s permanent. My only solace has been to come to the realization that I have to let go, abandon not only my mother, but my brothers (my father died when I was 15) as well. My mother treats my older, handicapped brother as a burden and doesn’t have the insight to see that she’s the cause of most of his troubles and my younger brother, being emotionally strong, plays her like a violin. It’s something to behold because she seems to be getting what she needs from him but it’s not on her terms so it’s a love/hate thing with her. He doesn’t care either way. Another thing thing I’ve come to see is that these illnesses of the mind will overlap. I can’t just end it by saying my mother is a CN…she also exhibits OCD behaviors and others…it took me 48 yrs, through a severe drug addiction and of course the confusing insanity my mother reeked on me my entire life to find this Blog and put the last piece in the puzzle. I know understand my life in its entirety and although I’m still not at peace with it all, I’m on my way. Best to you, Erin. I hope we can serve one another via Linda’s blog. It’s been truly my life saver.

  7. Comment:From Jrenee
    I am curious whether it is possible for a narcissist to honestly even participate in counseling. If they express that desire to a family member who has drawn clear, unwelcome boundaries, might their ensuing request for family counseling not just be another mechanism for control and abuse? Can a narcissist really change?

  8. Dear Jrene,

    You are absolutely right!
    Narcissists do not benefit from counseling and will not authentically participate in it. They play the part and often leave the counseling so they can say they did it or they sabotage the process.Sometimes they get the counselor to go along with them and cause greater chaos.
    Narcissists do not change. This is a fixed personality disorder.
    You are very knowledgeable on this subject. Always, take very good care of yourself. You come first in your life. I appreciate your comments. Thank you. Linda

  9. Comment:From Jean
    My fiance recently discarded me and broke off our engagement. He was never verbally abusive in the relationship, but most other narcissistic traits were spot on. It wasn’t until after he broke up with me that his hot volcanic rage spewed. He let out everything negative about me he was bottling in. He accused me of berating and belittling him – things most would take with a grain of salt. He was incredibly sensitive and took any criticism very offensively. I had no chance of explaining my intentions or trying to work towards a resolution. His sister even told him to cut me off completely. In the idealization phase, I was put on a pedestal, and I was his “soul mate”. But literally overnight, I became his enemy. Now he has completely stonewalled me, cutting off all contact and communication. We work together, and he goes so far as to park in a separate lot and take different routes simply to avoid me. He has dated two other women in the office, one right after the other. He discarded his last girlfriend when I came along. While outwardly, he is successful professionally, very articulate, confident and put together, his lack of empathy and inability to communicate emotions early on were very evident. He was also very organized and had a place for everything in his home. Even being engaged, I felt like a regular visitor and strangely felt like an accessory in his life. While I enjoyed his companionship, I never felt there was 100% connection. Afraid of feeling judged, I often felt like I was walking on eggshells with him. Couple questions: 1) Do you think he is indeed a Narcissist? 2) Do you think there is any opportunity for reconciliation? I loved this man very much and feel very blind-sighted by the breakup. I feel there are a lot of words unsaid and wish I could at least try and talk things out. I’m not sure if an e-mail would be well-received. Thanks.

  10. Comment:From Daphne
    All of this is so helpful for me. I am currently going through a divorce with a Narcissist. I read this book 2 years ago, when my husband and I were separated, and look at me.. I’m back at it again. You would think I have learned by now that He will NEVER change. We have 2 young children together and one with special needs. It makes the situation much harder. We have been married for 6 years. I don’t have many good memories. Most of my memories are fights and him screaming at me, and the next morning I get some form of apology. “I am sorry, but I wouldn’t have done this or said that if you hadn’t have started it, or had been so negative. I was always accused of being negative. Constantly. I was made out to be the crazy one, something is wrong with me. It made me feel like a failure. I am an excellent mom. I take care of our children 90% of the time, to accommodate his needs. He just completed his MBA. He decided to go back to school while we were separated and didn’t even have a full time job. It’s all about image to him. How people look at him and think of him. He won’t even put our home address on his resume, because he thinks that impacts his ability to get a job?! Are you kidding me? We do not live in a Rich area, but a nice suburb. I have never seen him cry. Not even when our children were born. Not even when we found out our son has special needs. He has been physical. He has yelled at me at the top of his lungs name calling me. The next day said he didn’t mean it. And he justified all the times he was physical. He said I restrained him. He comes from a very wealthy family.
    He has zero empathy. He shows affection, and says that he would give more if I was affectionate. He is one of those that needs praise to give. Does all this sound familiar to anyone else? I have to free my mind of him. It’s toxic to have him in my life. I will never live a happy, fulfilled, positive life with him in it. Yes, I find myself breaking down a lot. I still love him, and I have no idea why!

  11. Comment from Mary
    All of this is very helpful to me. I am currently in the midst of a divorce with my narcissitic husband. He left me after 27.5 years of marriage and 3 children. He left in July and I filed for divorce in August after finding out that he was having an affair with a co-worker. I ignored all the signs of his very controlling, manipulative, abusive ways until he left me and a family member and both my psychiatrist and therapist told me I have been married to a narcissist. He always blamed me for everything, tried to control my every action and even my thoughts, never accepted fault for anything he ever did, never showed remorse, cheated on me 2 times that I know of and whittled away at my self-esteem until there was none left. He left me blaming me for the demise of our marriage, claiming that he has never failed at anything in his life. I do accept responsibility for my part in the breakdown of our marriage, yet he claims it was all my fault and that our lives always centered around me. I now recognize that his mother is a narcissist and he was her golden child. He served 32 years in the Marine Corps, and I think that contributed to his arrogance and abusive ways also. I have since discovered MANY issues with tax evasion and now know that he has always felt that the rules (ALL RULES) don’t apply to him. He now treats me as the enemy and he has walked away from our life, me and our adult children. He has replaced me with his mistress and her 3 young children for our 3 adult children. He has completely forgotten the good times we did share in our life together and has walked away and never looked back. He has told me so many lies and I truly believe that he believes everyone of them to be true. I don’t know how he keeps them all straight. I try to keep any communication with him to a bare minimum, only that needed to get through the divorce process. He still insults me every chance he gets whether it is in emails or in person. I have learned to not react to his putdowns and I let him know the truth/reality of a situation whenever he tries to tell me his version of what happened. He is constantly projecting his inadequacies onto me; telling me I broke promises to him throughout our marriage, that our lives centered around me, etc. I was devastated when he left but have slowly realized the peace I now have in my life since I am no longer under his abusive control. I have even grown so much as to realize that I should have left him years ago in order to rid myself of him and his abusive ways and I look forward to my new life ahead. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Once a narcissist, always a narcissist. They will never change because they feel that they are perfect and that they are entitled to do what they do. I am so relieved to know that I am no longer his narcissistic supply. I wonder how long it will be before his mistress catches on to who he really is. About six months prior to his leaving, I had made a conscious decision to stop trying to work at our marriage. I felt like such a failure, nothing I did was ever right. I believe he recognized that I had given up immediately. He had become so abusive to me and cruel in the way he interacted with me that I started to have suicidal ideation. I was miserable. He told me that he was leaving me because he deserved to be “happy”. Five months after he left, I asked him if he was happy now. He answered that he was “happier” but not happy. The truth is that he will never be happy. A true narcissist loathes themselves deep-down. He has moved on to fuel his narcissistic supply. It is only a matter of time before he will have to “refuel” again. I think that what is so infuriating for me is that I feel that I am the only one who knows the real him. He has everyone fooled. None of his family members, close friends, or work associates know the “real” him. He has put on such a great show that he has them all believing that I was the crazy one and the most selfish person he has ever encountered. He has even tried to poison our grown children against me. Fortunately, they have seen how he treated me over the years and know what is the real truth. I look forward to the day when he is out of my life. Because we share 3 children, I know that I will have to interact with him at some points in the future. But I now know how to effectively deal with him and not let him use me as a victim.

  12. I have recently been with a woman for a year and let me tell you she is everything you describe , a triathlete to boot and never has time for anything but her …she has 4 children and spend more time working out and doing make up than speaking to these young kids . The only reason im commenting is because im SO SICK OF THE ” HE ” IN YOUR POSTS!!!!!! IT PISSES ME OFF BECAUSE IM CURRENTLY SITTING HERE LIED TO CHEATED ON AND HAVE BEEN THRU A YEAR WITH THE MOST NARCASISTIC , SPYCHOPATHIC ” WOMAN ” … I have only begun to understand and as I type am sitting alone devastated, confused , and after all i did for her and her children. Reading your posts are helpful but also painful because ” YOU ARE SO QUICK TO POINT THE FINGER AT THE MAN” FACT IS MEN ARE ABUSED BAD!

  13. I am always baffled when I hear about someone /anyone being able to stay married to a Narcissist for any length of time. 27 years! How did you do it?

  14. Thank you Doug for your words of support.

    Almost a year later, I have a clearer grasp of the madness in which the the N lives in. I understand there is no hope of enlightening him with rational proof. My constant pain that exists now is watching and knowing what he puts my boys through. If I could cut ties with him, I would. We only communicate once a week through a “report” we are court-ordered to send each other. My oldest son knows he is a pawn, but is powerless against it. The easy route for him is to side with his Dad (unless his Dad is traveling and can’t be witness to him showing me affection towards me). The younger one with high functioning autism (fully cognitive, just doesn’t use as much expressive language) is being swept to the side, ignored. He’s a mama’s boy. I can not give up knowing that I can still try to rescue them. I know I may have to change my mind about this at some point….with no funds to even try to show the courts. For now, I’m still trying to figure it out.
    Congratulations to you for knowing you need to get out and cut ties with your situation, regardless of the pain it caused you.
    Was part of your struggle going from being seen as the golden child that could do no wrong, to knowing you’re seen as the bad guy for removing yourself from the situation?

  15. Aaron,

    I have not read all of these blogs….but I thought I had seen some with “he/she” instead of just the “he”. I could be wrong. You are definitely not alone. I had to witness my brother married to an N. At the time I didn’t realize what I was seeing, but now that I know….it is very obvious what he was dealing with. I have seen a handful of friends in similar situations. It is definitely NOT gender specific.


  16. My nephew (over thirty yr old, highly manipulative, two-faced backstabber, and my mother’s GOLDEN grand-CHILD) can come across as a quiet, unassuming, nice guy, untill you get to know him. Seeing him several times a year throughout his life made me think I knew him, but I was SORELY mistaken. He moved down to where we live to take advantage of us, and my elderly mother. He’s done a very good job of that, as he’s completely ripped up our family for his monetary gain. Before he executed his evil plots upon us, he spent a lot of time at our house. We came to realize exactly what this article is about. That he was incapable of true communication, that he never really listened and that he lives in his delusions. Somehow no matter what the conversation was or what we said, he would find a way to immediately bring the conversation back to something about himself, something he did, something he knew, something he thought. Then he would talk and talk. He could go on for a long time without pause. In fact, if you didn’t interrupt him, he wouldn’t stop. Then if you could get in a few words, he’d go right back to his monologue again. At first I tried to be understanding and would listen to him go on and on, but after awhile I realized nothing I said mattered, whatsoever, and I just couldn’t waste so much time trying to be polite. So I started keeping the “conversations” shorter, by stating I had to get things done. He would then start following me around my house talking incessantly as I did chores. I didn’t mind this as much, but it was odd to me. I’d have to go to the bathroom to get him to stop, and sometimes he’d be waiting for me to come out so he could resume talking. And the delusions seem almost comical now. For a few months he was claiming he was going to shoot himself “with a shotgun” because creditors are calling him, about bills he can’t pay. Then he would be seriously pretending he’s a successful brilliant entrepreneur who’s DESERVING of all respect. He’s a chronically unemployed bartender. The only entrepreneurial deals he’s ever made were really made by my husband trying to help him use the last of the money his father left him to invest in properties. He sold one of them at a profit, and obviously sees that as HIS brilliance, not my husband’s wise decisions. Since turning my mother and family against us, the other two properties he owns have been taken over by the city due to him failing to pay the taxes on them for a couple years now. He probably doesn’t even know they’ve been taken over because he ignores his mail. His irresponsibility almost exceeds his greed. The drama he created for us has been quite devastating to me, but it brings me TRUE JOY to know I will never have to listen to him go on and on about himself ever again.

  17. I thought I’d add a couple more examples of his delusions to the comment up above. He quite seriously stated several times that he would eventually become The President. This when the only things he has under his belt is an unused business degree, and a medical discharge from the army, for being obese, having rotting teeth, and complaining about knee pain. (Though his knee seemed perfectly fine, after being discharged.) When I TRIED explaining to him that he would need to accomplish a great deal more before having any chance at being The President, he looked at me and sounded as though I just do not understand how things work. He also claimed several times that he was going to be the first trillion-aire. This when he can’t hold down a job, sleeps late into the afternoon everyday, then gets his Grandma to pay for them at a restaurant or picks up fast food, then spends the rest of his time watching movies or playing on his computer late into the night. Trillion-aire material? If not for our helping him, then his taking advantage of us, and his continuously taking advantage of his Grandma, he’d be on the streets. He even drives her Lincoln towncar around as though it’s his because he LOVES people thinking he’s rich. He use to own a second hand Mercedes and would brag about how much respect he felt he got for that. My mother has to go along with whatever he wants, in order to avoid him throwing a major temper tantrum. I’ve repeatedly thought about going to the services to report his gross exploitation of her, but I know SHE would spin it all around to make us out to be the bad guys who are out to cause her poor sweet innocent grandbaby trouble. It seems she will protect and cater to this monster she created till her last breath. Another DELUSION he had was that we would act like all the vicious lies he told about us to the rest of the family were true. He was, mistaken. Beware of anyone who doesn’t seem grounded in reality. They maybe quirky or down right CRAZY.

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