Exposure – 5 Ways To Flush Out the Narcissist




You never see us coming. You do not know what we are when we ensnare you. You have no idea what is actually happening when we push and pull you through the bewildering experience that is devaluation. You make no sense of what has happened when you have been discarded in the dust, hurt and dazed. When we return, riding back into your lives like the triumphant king we regard ourselves as, you still do not know us for what we are. How many times have you rued the fact that if only you had known earlier? How often have you remarked at how obvious it now seems with hindsight, when the eventual moment of revelation arrives, long-delayed and overdue as it often is. How frequently have you bemoaned to friends and family that if only you have seen the signs you might have done something to avoid what had entangled with you. Wishful thinking indeed and such thoughts go on to pollute your future engagements with those prospective intimate partners. At some future point you may eventually dip a toe in the pool of intimacy again in the hope of finding someone who is as far-removed from us as possible, but what if one of our kind comes a calling? You know you identified the tell-tale indicators with the one of our kind who ensnared you, but what is Lucifer comes in many guises? Would you have the craft and skill set to out one of our if he locked on to you? Would your empathic traits override the caution? Would the old adage of lightning never strikes twice play through your mind even though it strikes several times when it comes to our kind? At the outset of your engagement with that interesting and exciting person, there are of course the many Red Flags which exist and about which I have written in greater detail. You ought to acquaint yourself with them, since not all of our kind will always exhibit certain indicators. Neither does it do any harm to avail yourself of additional ones should you find yourself becoming the attention of the Greater of our kind, if hitherto you had been involved with a Lesser of Mid-Range. Utilise these five early door tactics to expose whether you are at risk of being ensnared.

  1. Create jealousy

Make reference to an actor or celebrity and comment about how he or she is talented and handsome. Consider admitting you have a crush on this person and if they walked in now you would be smitten and so forth. Observe the reaction.

A Lesser will struggle even during the seduction to contain the effect of his criticism and will lash out with a comment such as,

“Him? He is a homosexual, yes, well known in the industry, of course his fan base cannot know.”

“Him? Had a lot of work done you know.”

“Him? Really? He is nothing to look at. You’ve got off taste if you like him.”

A Mid-Range will fall silent and then move the topic on to something else. He has the situation just about under control but remains wounded, hence the withdrawal through a brief silence and then going to a different topic.

The Greater. Watch for the very brief flicker of fury in the eyes. A narrowing of the gaze or slight sneer before the control is exerted. The Greater will smile (but there will no warmth) or there will be a hollow laugh before he will say,

“Not a patch on me though eh?”

“I could have been an actor you know.”

A normal person would respond with: –

“Yes, he is a handsome chap, I agree.”

“Do you think so? I’m not so sure, but I can understand why you might say that.”

  1. Place Your Attention Elsewhere

Either fiddle with your ‘phone repeatedly or keep smiling at the waiter and chatting to him when he serves you. It need not be excessive as even a fairly minimum distraction in this way will irk our kind. Whatever situation you are in, find a way to put your attention on someone or something else.

The Lesser will put down the third party at the earliest opportunity by suggesting service was slow, the seats are unsatisfactory or will grab the phone from you and put it to one side. He will not be able to contain the ignition of his fury at such an early juncture.

The Mid-Range will try to compete by talking to a different waitress or by using his own ‘phone, doing his best to conceal the wound you have created by effectively ignoring him.

The Greater will start talking loudly about himself so you are forced to return attention to him. Boasts and outlandish comments will be made along with denigrating the offending person/item.

“It must be hell waiting on for a living, I am delighted I am able to have so much control over my work.”

“You know those ‘phones have been setting on fire. Yes, a manufacturing error. Clearly an inferior make. Now, take my ‘phone for instance.”

The normal person would politely ask you to stop using your ‘phone as much or would not smile pleasantly at your interaction with other people as noting it as just being friendly.


  1. Get the Details

We will make various boasts about what we do, who we know and what we like and the latter will be frequent as we endeavour to mirror you. In such a situation where we have ascertained what you like through our prior targeting of you, do not, as so many people do, accept it at face value as being true and accurate but instead politely press for some more details. If we explain that we engage in fencing because you do, mention some of the relevant equipment and terminology to draw us into providing more detail.

The Lesser will fudge it, lacking the preparatory depth to know anything much beyond what you like. He will backtrack saying it was some time since he had done it or such like. He will become agitated as his fury starts to ignite because your challenge, notwithstanding its politeness, will amount to a criticism.

The Mid-Range will change subject and ask you to talk more about it. Reject this and invite his comment. He will withdraw as he keeps control and moves on to a different topic or makes an excuse to go to the toilet or to point out something else happening.

The Greater will be harder to trap in this respect because he or she will have undertaken a greater depth of preparatory work and also their higher function enables them to think on their feet more readily, but a continued gentle cross-examination will expose some deficiency eventually. Once this nears the Greater will apply greater charm towards you in order to deflect you from probing too deeply. Expect a string of compliments, a flourishing gesture (“how about some champagne?”) or praising your evident knowledge of the subject before moving on to something else.

The normal will talk easily and extensively about this interest without bragging or evasiveness because it is true.

  1. Ask about the Ex

It may appear a little forward but this is a useful indicator to determine who you are with.

The Lesser will be unpleasant about her because the memory of this treacherous person annoys him and therefore you will be subjected to a volley of explanations about how terrible she is.

The Mid-Range will be dismissive about the request. He knows that if pressed he will not be able to help himself and pour out how horrible she has been to him, how crazy she is and how he is trying to put himself back together again after a horrendous experience. He knows enough that this is not the ideal topic of conversation at this juncture but so long as he can maintain control, he need not spill the beans. He will comment that there is not much to say and change the focus. Bring him back to the focus and observe what happens.

The Greater will be complimentary since he or she knows that to portray the ex in such a light at this early stage of the seduction is a sensible move. This will of course change in due course once there is triangulation and you are embedded, but prior to this he wants you to recognise he is a “good” person and that it didn’t work out and will provide some woolly and amorphous reason why that is. The Greater will not be able to help himself comment that she couldn’t cope with his brilliance in some way and then use it to compliment you.

“We got on but she ultimately wasn’t as clever as me, not like you, you and I are exactly on the same intellectual wavelength, it is marvellous.”

“She wasn’t a bad person but she struggled with how hard I work. I know you are not like that because I can tell you are diligent and admire hard work.”

The normal will provide a brief and honest explanation, often admitting to failings on his part as well or explaining that he and her remain on friendly terms. There will be little bitterness or rancour even if the relationship was difficult, this person will have moved on.

  1. Ask About Our Childhood

We often do not like to discuss it or certainly certain elements of it. Much of it will be patchy and disjointed to us. References to other family members will be limited unless pushed and they will not be spoken about in warm or fond terms

The Lesser will make sweeping comments about how it wasn’t happy but fail to provide any detail or say it was nothing special. He will not divulge any memories of it as he struggles to do so.

The Mid-Range will be dismissive and want to talk about your childhood instead. Anything he does say will be anodyne in nature as he prefers not to revisit it.

The Greater will talk about his childhood but it will all be boasts about what he achieved, how many friends he had, how good he was football, the fact he was top of the class and so forth.

The normal will recount a handful of anecdotes, speak well of his family, link the fact that his childhood means he sees a lot of his family now or if he does not, because of death or distance, the fact he misses them.


25 thoughts on “Exposure – 5 Ways To Flush Out the Narcissist”

  1. I am really enjoying this feeling of his unknowable behaviours suddenly being demystified. Tappan Zee is so right – cookie cutter responses, once we know what to look for. The more information like this I garner, the more my trajectory changes. It moves me another degree away from the agony. It’s funny in a way, too, that I accused my narc of pulling my strings like I was his private marionette. It seems that I (albeit unknowingly) was was also making him react with reliable responses.

    I like the graphic.

  2. Can I ask you a few questions about sleeping in the other room or on the sofa?
    Is it just another manipulation or does it mean the discard is on it’s way?
    It is done to get an emotional reaction but are there other reasons?
    Does it mean the narcissist has a new prospective IPPS for example.

    Does sleeping in the other room ever happen early on, or after a few years?

    1. 1. By all means.
      2. It is a manipulation. You are in devaluation which means if you are an IPPS that disengagement will occur at some point but it is not imminent.
      3. It is done for fuel and control.
      4. Not always.
      5. It depends on how well-fucitoning the primary source is.

  3. I would have passed these tests when I was about 22
    but now I would see these behaviours as red flags and not make excuses for them.
    The repeatedly messing with the phone and innapropriate smiling and chatting to the waiter is what narcissists do in restaurants.

    1. Actually, taking another look at the article it says “even a minimum would irk the narcissist”
      OK I would probably pass the test now then, I would only get a bad feeling if it was done innapropriately.

        1. Brian,
          He showed extreme friendliness toward her. The service was terribly slow and she kept forgetting to check on us, refill drinks etc but it was really busy and they were def understaffed. He didn’t speak negative or complain or devalue. Despite less than stellar service he was so polite and charming and friendly. He wanted to order dessert but I told him I was full. He said he was going to order it to go for himself then. He then asked the waitress what her fave dessert on the menu was and he ordered that. I honestly thought he was just being polite. He was always so polite. To everyone. He’d randomly say hi and smile to total strangers. I’ve never seen him cut down or be negative to anyone in public even behind their back after they walked away.

          “I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever meet Gabrielle” he said that to me frequently. Ugh.

      1. If you feel like it was innappropriate it probably was.
        Like who cares what her favourite is, they might have different tastes, sounds like mirroring! He might have contacted her behind your back and congratulated her on her reccomendation. Who knows?
        When I go to a restaurant and the waiter is an attractive male we have to go into where he is from, his life story.. ad nauseum.

        1. Yes the conversations like she was sitting AT the table with us. He asked her tons of questions about herself. Then it was “you’re here on shift until 2am? Wow you must be so tired by then, I give you a lot of credit for dealing with this type of work”….. I believe I heard most of her life story as I waited patiently for her to finally retreat. The place was already busy and far behind, I am sure he was keeping her from checking on the rest of her tables. I think he talked to her more than he did to me. But as I said he was like that with everyone. He would say hi to strangers in the parking lot and ask how they were doing.

          He would spot them from afar and say to me “Oh that person does not look too friendly, I think he is staring me down and feels threatened by me. He looks like he’s going to take out his phone and call the police or something. He must think I am some shady guy up to no good…” I did even notice other passerbys! I am like “what? where?” he points across the parking lot and says “that man over there”. We walk toward the restaurant and he passes the person, nods his head and says so charming and politely “Good evening sir, how are you tonight?” and flashes his smile. The guy nodded back and said “fine, thank you, have a nice evening” and kept on walking past us.

          And yeah at the time I thought nothing of it. Okay overly friendly. But a Narc? I never knew what that word even meant before I found this blog. I figured it was someone who liked the way they looked and were egotistical of themselves. He had a horrid self esteem and put himself down constantly. I never put 2 and 2 together there until I came here to read the articles. I figured he was just an overly friendly polite guy. Also he lives in the south where people tend to be more friendly so I also attributed to that (I am a Northerner, people are def. less friendly in my area…so whenever I travel to the South the friendliness feels weird to me since I am not used to it)….I also figured this was just the “stereotypical nice Southern gentleman”. And my friend who knows him (which is how I met him) just laughs and says “Oh him? He is just a flirt! It’s his personality, he is harmless!”

          Yeah. Harmless indeed. Meh.

      2. yeah that ‘asking tons of questions’ behavior is triangulation abuse in my opinion.
        If you’re so interested in waiter’s life stories then go to the restaurant by yourself and have at it 😀 lol

  4. 100% playbook material. The more I learn here the more cookie cutter they are, and the more validated, yes but also creeped out that they fit such an assembly line similarity. It’s everpresent how narcs are like a car lot of vehicles all different makes and models for sale or lease. Some fully loaded. Some not. Still? All the same under the hood. Weird. Odd. Bizarre. Scary. Freeing (with knowledge) once I stop tripping up on my emotions.

  5. Oh my Gawd #5: he constantly asked me about my childhood when I tried to learn more about his!!!!

    HG, are you able to share any suggestions for specific questions to ask a mid range Narc about his childhood?

  6. My ex, who I believe to be a lesser narc, went into great detail about how horrible his childhood was on our first date. His dad was shot and killed during a mugging on narc’s 8th bday. Mom kind of lost it. Narc and his brother ran wild, drinking, getting in trouble. No supervision. Eventually his mom was told by a juvenile judge that she needed to send them to a boarding school that could help w psych and behavior problems. She chose one and sent the boys sight unseen. Turns out it was horribly abusive and there have been books and movies about it. She never visited for 4 years. But he adores his mom now. If she says jump, he asks how high. This didn’t strike me as narc behavior right away. Yes it was odd, but I was happy he was so open and as an empath and codependent, I wanted to show him so much unconditional love and consistency and kindness. His story totally sucked me in. But it doesn’t fit any of the descriptions here. Isn’t there a type of narc who plays the victim?

  7. I said the stupidest thing I’m I Gina be early on I actually said to him “at what age did you realize you were special?” Of course he loved that and rolled with it I had no idea he was a narcsite and I have no idea what possessed me to say that no wonder he choose me as a source

  8. Is it possible for a narc to have some characteristics from both the mid range and the greater? I am trying to classify him and he seems to fall into both?

    1. A narcissist may have characteristics from one or more schools, because certain characteristics appear in all schools, for example, all narcissists use silent treatments but Mid Rangers use them extensively. Some traits only belong in one school but a narcissist may have traits drawn from different schools with a PREVAILING school which they belong to.

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