Narcissism Symptoms Checklist
How to Spot An Emotional Vampire
In my opinion, the DSM IV criteria (listed at the bottom) for Narcissistic Personality Disorder do not really help the average person. Sometimes people have narcissistic traits that overwhelm us, and we feel drained by their behavior. When an aura of confusion surrounds an encounter with someone grossly narcissistic, it helps us to recognize this red flag, and to take measures to deal with that person. Narcissistic Personality Disorder does not run rampant in our population, but dealing with narcissistic people may be a challenge for many of us across our respective lifetimes.
The cues, the verbal abuse and emotional abuse, and the manipulation, can be subtle and insidious; our sense of self erodes over time as the narcissist slowly undermines us.
Albert Bernstein’s book, (see website: Emotional Vampires) has helped me immensely to see narcissistic people for what they are and how to cope with that knowledge, and them. And it has also helped me to recognize that there may be hope for them as well as those of us dealing with them. Even if it means letting go of someone beloved, because they are not self-aware, and because to remain means we progress in feeling astoundingly diminished and damaged and small till nothing seems left of us. ~Invicta, 08/20/03
The Narcissistic Vampire Checklist
THE SMARTEST, MOST TALENTED, ALL-AROUND BEST PERSON IN THE WORLD TEST:
True or false? Score one point for each true answer.
1. THIS PERSON HAS ACHIEVED MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE HIS OR HER AGE.
2. THIS PERSON IS FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT HE OR SHE IS BETTER, SMARTER, OR MORE TALENTED THAN OTHER PEOPLE.
3. THIS PERSON LOVES COMPETITION, BUT IS A POOR LOSER.
4. THIS PERSON HAS FANTASIES OF DOING SOMETHING GREAT OR BEING FAMOUS, AND OFTEN EXPECTS TO BE TREATED AS IF THESE FANTASIES HAD ALREADY COME TRUE.
5. THIS PERSON HAS VERY LITTLE INTEREST IN WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE THINKING OR FEELING, UNLESS HE OR SHE WANTS SOMETHING FROM THEM.
6. THIS PERSON IS A NAME DROPPER.
7. TO THIS PERSON IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND ASSOCIATE WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
8. THIS PERSON TAKES ADVANTAGE OF OTHER PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE HIS OR HER OWN GOALS.
9. THIS PERSON USUALLY MANAGES TO BE IN A CATEGORY BY HIM OR HERSELF.
10. THIS PERSON OFTEN FEELS PUT UPON WHEN ASKED TO TAKE CARE OF HIS OR HER RESPONSIBILITIES TO FAMILY, FRIENDS, OR WORK GROUP.
11. THIS PERSON REGULARLY DISREGARDS RULES OR EXPECTS THEM TO BE CHANGED BECAUSE HE OR SHE IS IN SOME WAY SPECIAL.
12. THIS PERSON BECOMES IRRITATED WHEN OTHER PEOPLE DON’T AUTOMATICALLY DO WHAT HE OR SHE WANTS THEM TO DO, EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE A GOOD REASON FOR NOT COMPLYING.
13. THIS PERSON REVIEWS SPORTS, ART, AND LITERATURE BY TELLING YOU WHAT HE OR SHE WOULD HAVE DONE INSTEAD.
14. THIS PERSON THINKS MOST CRITICISMS OF HIM OR HER ARE MOTIVATED BY JEALOUSY.
15. THIS PERSON REGARDS ANYTHING SHORT OF WORSHIP TO BE REJECTION.
16. THIS PERSON SUFFERS FROM A CONGENITAL INABILITY TO RECOGNIZE HIS OR HER OWN MISTAKES. ON THE RARE OCCASIONS THAT THIS PERSON DOES RECOGNIZE A MISTAKE, EVEN THE SLIGHTEST ERROR CAN PRECIPITATE A MAJOR DEPRESSION.
17. THIS PERSON OFTEN EXPLAINS WHY PEOPLE WHO ARE BETTER KNOWN THAN HE OR SHE IS NOT REALLY ALL THAT GREAT.
18. THIS PERSON OFTEN COMPLAINS OF BEING MISTREATED OR MISUNDERSTOOD.
19. PEOPLE EITHER LOVE OR HATE THIS PERSON.
20. DESPITE THIS PERSON’S OVERLY HIGH OPINION OF HIM OR HERSELF, HE OR SHE IS REALLY QUITE INTELLIGENT AND TALENTED.
Scoring: Five or more true answers qualifies the person as a Narcissistic Emotional Vampire, though not necessarily for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality. If the person scores higher than ten, and is not a member of the royal family, be careful that you aren’t mistaken for one of the servants.
By ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D.
The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are: (don’t try this at home, folks):
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of the following:
1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
1. KNOW THEM, KNOW THEIR HISTORY, AND KNOW YOUR GOAL
The way to anticipate vampires is by knowing how they’ve acted in the past. Chances are pretty good that they’ll do the same thing in the future. The big mistake you can make with vampires is assuming, without evidence, that though their record has been bad in the past, that they have learned their lesson, and will do better this time. When you deal with vampires, always ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish and why. If you’re not sure, don’t do anything until you’ve thought about it carefully.
2. GET OUTSIDE VERIFICATION
Vampires want you to listen to them alone. To control you, they’ll try to isolate you from your usual sources of information. Always check out what they say with a trusted friend, especially when you’d rather not. Vampires can’t operate in the light of day.
3. DO WHAT THEY DON’T
To prevail over Emotional Vampires you must rush in where they fear to tread. Your greatest strengths lie in doing the things you can do that vampires can’t.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO ACTIONS, NOT WORDS
What vampires say is often very different from what they do. To avoid being drained, always focus on what they do.
5. IDENTIFY HYPNOTIC STRATEGY
Vampires are consummate hypnotists. When you see through the smoke and mirrors, their illusions don’t work nearly so well.
6. PICK YOUR BATTLES
To be an effective vampire fighter, you have to be able to pick the important battles and ignore the rest. You also have to avoid fighting battles you can’t possibly win.
7. LET CONTINGENCIES DO THE WORK
A contingency is an if-then situation. If someone does a particular thing, then certain consequences will follow. The only way Emotional Vampires learn anything is by experiencing the consequences of their own behavior. If you’re ever tempted to rescue a vampire, think about what you’re teaching him or her about how the game of life is played.
8. CHOOSE YOUR WORDS AS CAREFULLY AS YOU PICK YOUR BATTLES
With Emotional Vampires what you say, how you say it, and when you say it are all crucial to the outcomes you are likely to achieve.
9. IGNORE TANTRUMS
When vampires don’t get their way, they throw tantrums. They can explode into all sorts of emotional outbursts whose only purpose is to get you to give in. Don’t.
10. KNOW YOUR OWN LIMITS
Dealing with Emotional Vampires requires a lot of effort. They may be worth it, they may not. Only you can decide. Sometimes it’s better to run away, or not get involved in the first place.
albernstein.com PSYCHOLOGY THAT WORKS