As I mentioned in my post last week, my mother was an overt or grandiose narcissist, so I will begin with this one.

Overt or grandiose narcissism

Grandiosity is one of the defining characteristics of narcissism. It is so much more than just vanity or simple arrogance. Grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of superiority and my mother was a very typical example. Narcissists truly believe they are unique or “special” and can only be understood by other special people – as everyone else are beneath them anyway. They also feel that they are too good for anything that is merely average or God forbid, ordinary. They only want to associate and be associated with other high-status people, places, and things.

Grandiose narcissists tend to be extroverted but also uncooperative, selfish, and overbearing. Their exaggerated self-image and portrayed high self-esteem allow them to at least appear confident and assertive. However, they’re also likely to overestimate their own emotional intelligence.

When you read this you may think that these people are horrible – and you would be absolutely right – and that these people should be easy to spot – and here you would, unfortunately, be wrong.

Overt narcissists or extreme takers have many traits and qualities that make them quite attractive to others. While they are absolutely toxic to relationships, they are often able to surround themselves with admirers, friends, and sycophants.

The overt narcissist can seem so very charismatic because often they have many, many friends – or so it appears – which makes them seem popular and makes others want to be around them. The trouble is, the grandiose narcissist has very few if any real friends. The people surrounding them are merely fans, groupies, or sycophants. There is a very simple reason for this. An overt narcissist lacks empathy. They are much too self-centered and see themselves as too far above others to experience empathy and other people are merely a means to an end. What you need to know is that when they call you a friend, you’re actually just a member of their very own personal fan club.

However, the overt narcissist is often charming, smooth-talking, likable, and very convincing. They desperately need other people as a supply for this admiration and praise because, despite their grandiose persona, the overt narcissist suffers from low self-esteem. They need positive affirmation and need constant validation. This is where other people come in! The charms of this type of narcissist are always an act. When they appear to care and even listen, it is simply a clever mask they wear.

So, when the overt narcissist is charming, generous, or kind it is never without ulterior motives. And as they are obsessed with their public persona, and often that persona includes being a great humanitarian they are extremely good at faking. They can appear to be good listeners, generous, sensitive, loving, and faithful. These are some of the qualities why so many people are drawn to the overt narcissist, that will nevertheless keep others at arm’s length. They don’t want your friendship or love, they want your admiration or even demand it from you. Admiration and praise are prerequisites for having a relationship with an overt narcissist.

Verbal and emotional abuse are often tools the overt narcissist uses to gain and keep relationships. And yet, because the grandiose narcissist often has a larger-than-life personality, people will tolerate abuse to be near them. Part of the overt narcissist’s desire to be perceived as larger-than-life is being perceived by others as “successful”. Often they don’t just provide others with their winning personality, but with perks and fringe benefits and are happy to share the wealth. Weekends at their beach house, fine dining, expensive cars, gifts, etc. But the generosity of an overt narcissist always comes at a cost. And if you refuse an overt narcissist, you will not only do without, you may face other consequences.

If denied admiration and praise, the overt narcissist will often use their wealth and privilege to exact revenge. They will never let you easily leave their fan club of friends and admirers. Because if you have the audacity and do dare to desert an overt narcissist, others could follow suit and expose the charade and their house of cards could fall.

If you attempt to shatter the public persona of an overt narcissist, they will in turn attempt to ostracize you from friends, family, and other valuable relationships. The only relationship they can have is a shallow one.

There is one quality that the overt narcissist has perfected and that is being a very good actor. They are so good that they can play the dutiful lover, a loyal friend, or a trusted mentor – even for a longer period of time. But to control these relationships, they must keep them shallow by all means. True love and friendship mean making yourself vulnerable, accessible, and open to constructive criticism. The overt narcissist rejects all of these. Never forget that narcissism is about controlling and manipulating others.

At the end of the day, all relationships are ultimately disposable to the overt narcissist. 

My personal experience with overt narcissists is the one I had with my mother and the other in a relationship that lasted six years.

The first one and a half years of this relationship were great – he kept up his facade very well. Then things started to change and I wanted to end the relationship several times. I had made the huge mistake though, of giving him the means to manipulate me by confiding my greatest vulnerabilities and he used them all against me.

He was incredibly skillful in that he never attacked me directly. When he realised that I wanted to end the relationship, he would say things like: “Without you and the children, I have no reason to live anymore”. He knew that my best friend had taken his own life when he was 20 and that I was the last person to see him alive. He was also there when I found my brother lying dead in his flat.

When I confronted him that I was not responsible for his life and that I found this veiled threat that he would take his own life if I didn’t stay with him, cruel, he argued that he had never said that and would never do that. Why should he do something so hurtful to me, he had absolutely no reason to. Somehow he always managed to make me seem like a crazy person – it’s what they do.

I am really anything but stupid – as most people who fall for a narcissist are not stupid – and yet he managed to stay for another four and a half years.

At some point, he lost his job and I was responsible for everything on my own. At a certain point, I lost myself completely and just somehow functioned.

My wake-up call came when I realised how much he manipulated my children and I am ashamed to this day that I did not protect my children better. This is my biggest regret in life. But when I finally woke up, there was no turning back.

He went for a walk late one Sunday afternoon and when I fully realised what he had done, I sent him a very short and clear text message: “YOU WILL NEVER COME BACK HERE!

Anyone who thinks that was the final end is mistaken.

First of all, he didn’t take me seriously. I stayed at home the next day because he still had a key to our flat. Since we have a locking system, I couldn’t just change the lock. Then I put his things in front of the door for him to pick up. Then he tried to get at my children and said that, since he had been in their lives for six years, he had claims – by the way, he is not the children’s father.

I must admit that I was afraid of him for a while, as were my children. A narcissist that was discarded can be dangerous as THEY want and need to do the discarding. I was very lucky that he had already groomed another supply, in other words, there was already another woman.

Narcissists are persistent though, especially if they have been denied the discard. Time and again he tried to force his way into our lives when, for example, there were chocolate bunnies at the door for the children at Easter. When he found out that my mother had died, I found a condolence card in the letterbox that began with the words: “Dear family…
I immediately threw it in the rubbish bin where it belonged, just like I did with everything else that came from him. The last thing I heard was a few years ago when he sent a message to my children on New Year’s Eve saying “No matter what your mother says about me, I love you” or at least it was something like that, I can’t remember the exact wording. I went straight to the police on New Year’s Day and got a restraining order. The police were very helpful, even though I couldn’t get a permanent injunction through the courts. But it was the last time I heard from him and I hope it stays that way. Narcissists are shameless when they want something. They don’t care how they achieve their goal.

I know that due to my history with my mother, I am unfortunately quite susceptible to manipulation by narcissists, it is familiar territory for me and it takes time and strength to defend against it.

I fell for a narcissist one more time, this time for a covert or vulnerable one. I will write about the covert narcissist next week.

There is one thing that all narcissists have in common, no matter what type of narcissist they are – and sometimes the types blend together. They all lack self-esteem, they don’t have empathy but can fake it, and they all detest any form of critisism.

🎶My Song of the Week

Is, You’re So Vain by Carly Simon – very fitting I believe!

It’s also here on the Spotify playlist

📚My Poem of the Week

Is by Elisabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Pain In Pleasure

A THOUGHT ay like a flower upon mine heart,
And drew around it other thoughts like bees
For multitude and thirst of sweetnesses;
Whereat rejoicing, I desired the art
Of the Greek whistler, who to wharf and mart
Could lure those insect swarms from orange-trees
That I might hive with me such thoughts and please
My soul so, always. foolish counterpart
Of a weak man's vain wishes ! While I spoke,
The thought I called a flower grew nettle-rough
The thoughts, called bees, stung me to festering:
Oh, entertain (cried Reason as she woke)
Your best and gladdest thoughts but long enough,
And they will all prove sad enough to sting !


The beauty of Lake Starnberg

For personal reasons, I will be concentrating a large part of my work and expertise on helping people that have become victims of narcissistic abuse and helping them find the road to healing. I would be happy to take the time for a speed coaching call that you can reserve right here go to my website or simply hit reply and get in touch with me directly.

Thank you for your time and for reading this post. If you know anyone that has been subjected to narcissistic abuse, please share this post.

If you enjoyed this post, leave a ❤️ and a comment! I wish you an amazing weekend and look very much forward to hearing from you.


Tanja 🤗

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