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.



  1. So I did all of this and then I changed my number and for about 4-5 days he left me alone. Then he got my boss’s number. And started calling my job yelling at the manager asking if he can speak with me. Then he made fake numbers and started calling. How long does a narc Harrass you before he gets tired ?

    1. It all depends on the Hoover Triggers and Hoover Execution Criteria – you can do much to influence this through a solid no contact regime. A consultation with regard to your specific situation will assist you.

  2. You must have reasons for withholding comment on the current lesser/mid ranger who is making such a mess of things here across the pond. Even so, I often wonder what you think and what the outcome will be between your kind, differing schools of course, when it comes to world dominance. It must be so clear to you. Perhaps you have written something already that could be applicable to the situation?

    Many thanks,
    Jennifer from
    Los Angeles

    1. Hmmm, let me think. Have a look at the article A Very POTUS Narcissist written some time ago.

  3. I have done all of these. Check, check, double & triple check.
    HG, quick question for you :
    What would make a upper mid-range narc completely snap?

  4. HG, this is one of the more useful articles I’ve read on narcissism. Thank you very much.
    However, my narc wouldn’t fit into this lesser-greater description. He would play it off every whichway, whatever brought him the biggest benefit in the moment. He was a master at keeping me off balance. I was slow to understand what was happening because he manipulated me with such ease. He would do whatever was required to force my acquiescence. Eventually the pattern was so obvious, no one could miss it.
    Human understanding of psychological/ mental issues must be somewhere equivalent to Civil War concepts of surgery and anti-biotics – poor. Very poor. Or if we understand anything, we don’t know what the hell to do with the information, how to apply it in the big picture.
    When the bible says we are “born into sin,” this means to me that we are bound by our humanity. We are born with our unique failures. The “sins of the fathers are passed down unto the fourth generation.” So not only are we stuck with our inborn shortcomings, we are also born into the shortcomings of our parents – which they, in turn, got from THEIR parents. Throw some normal tragedies into the mix and voila: social chaos. Sometimes I wonder how humans have survived at all.
    Time to re-watch “Starman.”
    Muddle on, everybody, muddle on! And celebrate survival as much as you can.

  5. HG, as for no. 4 (ex’s chapter) isn’t that explainable sometimes when he/she is still emotionally thinking? I ask because this is how I explained myself his bitterness on ex wife (she was the only one he talked about first time we met, because he received my question on “why are you divorced?”. He didn’t called her names at all, only said she was very mean to him; he also said she was intelligent and that’s why he chose her (she was also very young and naive, I think he was her first man-at 20 yo., that’s why he “owned” her for 9 years).
    One “admitting to failings on his part”, as you said, really goes a long way…

  6. Ladies, why??? I am finally getting out from an upper-elite narc (or whatever label you would like to put on them) WHY?? It is painful, degrading- and that is why we are here- to learn- to get over them- why would you want to put yourself in quicksand? I am sure he is very engaging and elegant- but he has already told you he is a monster and some of the things he has admitted doing to ladies are horrendous! The worst things I have ever heard of (mine was cruel in different ways). WHY? I honestly do not understand.

    1. Empress, I think we are talking here about narcissists along a continuum. It’s popular to throw that term around, “narcissist.” But as this helpful article on exposure points out, there are many different levels.
      My particular narcissist has Narcissist Personality Disorder. Or is a Malignant Narcissist. Or maybe a Narcopath. Or a sociopath. I’ll never know. But I do know that he has tried and continues to try to destroy me every way he possibly can. This includes my finances and my reputation. My family and friends are concerned that he will try to kill me.
      So there you go.
      I will encourage those near and dear to me to beware. Each of us has to decide how intimately we will be involved with others, who is trustworthy. That’s your decision. But I know I am going to be much more guarded in the future.

  7. Clarece

    I understand your willingness to meet with HG and agree that there is much benefit in learning to co-exist with them as they really can raise your game and show great leadership in the right situations. It is inevitable that we will have to deal with them and there is much to be gained from interacting with them if we have our own house in order first. Having healthy boundaries and being able to defend them is a good start. intimate relationships not so much, and I know thats not what you would be looking for, so being able to experience him in person would be fascinating. He has given us the tools here to be able to accomplish a meeting, but youd still have to make sure your Narcshield is activated and it wouldnt hurt to have NarcAngel Cockblock Inc on speed dial as Im sure he is ever the charming wordsmith lol.

  8. ‘It’s a strange feeling”… it sure is Clarece. So double. But you never know what would have become of you when you had not known them. My narcs hurt me so intensly, but also taught me very important lessons.
    It sure is a strange feeling. I feel sorry for the woman, but also for her employer who’s trust she betrayed.

    1. No doubt Blank. The family my former friend stole from suffered tremendously. She had become an integral part of their family as “friend” also. To the extent of when the wife of one of the owners had gone through 5 miscarriages with her husband over a 3 year period, she had to start taking hormone shots to try to hold a pregnancy better. My former friend was the one who would give her the shot everyday because she was too squeamish and she didn’t want to make her husband do it.
      So imagine thinking the person you are trusting with that kind of personal information is secretly skimming off your books. It goes to show how they will entrench in your life to what you hold most dear while simultaneously deceiving you.
      The betrayal factor is indescribable for the family and it has been a hellish year.

      1. Clarece, you make important points.
        One aspect of NPD interaction, “no contact,” has to be understood on the level of “no entanglements.” No shared emotion. No financial relationship. If it’s a work situation, no contact outside of work. When you have to interact with an NPD, make sure you are not alone or that your correspondance is written. Keep a copy. I would actually recommend this with ANY new contact, any new person, until you have sound evidence. Since my NPD debacle, I find myself less open. That’s a good thing.
        Also – I used to think most people were “normal” and there were a few crazies. No. Now I think everyone has their dysfunctions. It is best if you can identify them and work to … evolve – if you can.
        But the point is, everyone has good and bad points. The worst of us can still do good things. As a society, we need to figure out how to get the most good stuff from each other as we can, and minimize the damage.

        1. Ohiograndma

          But the point is, everyone has good and bad points. The worst of us can still do good things. As a society, we need to figure out how to get the most good stuff from each other as we can, and minimize the damage.

          Yes. Agreed.

  9. HG, if we met you IRL, are you as charming, witty and engaging upon first meeting as you are here?

    When I first met the narc, none of the arrogance was evident. He was very subtle, even reserved and very polite, likeable.

    It seems the higher functioning narcs are not that easy to spot.

      1. I would be so bold to meet HG in real life over a drink or a meal and for some good conversation. During my time here on the blog and other reading and research over two years, I’ve come to trace back that since childhood I have had 6 other Narcs spread throughout my life in all capacities, bosses, relatives, best friend and then intimately. I can’t think of a period or stage of time where I wasn’t navigating around some kind of narc relationship and actually doing a pretty good job of it (not knowing it was narcissism vs. hot-headed or “difficult” type personalities). Until my divorce and then meeting JN. Too many other emotional factors circling that relationship which made me very vulnerable and I hit the wall.
        This past week a former best friend of a decade who I haven’t been in contact with for about 4 years, was just sentenced to Federal Prison for 3-1/2 years for embezzling and wire fraud of $1.2 million dollars from a past employer we both worked for. I found out that was why she pushed me away five years ago when she was getting deeper into her scheme and did not want me to catch on. At that time she blamed me and created a falling out which coincidentally was around the time I met JN.
        The thing is, they are everywhere and as important as it is to not get too close to them, sometimes it is impossible due to school, work, social circles and family ties and you do have to figure out a way to co-exist with them on some level. Which apparently I’ve been doing my whole life.
        I’m very conflicted about my former friend. We had met at one job where we were both in lateral positions and peers and became very close. After I had my daughter and took a year off from work, she had changed jobs and hired me at the different employer that she ultimately stole from. It was then, she was not only best friend at the time time but also my direct Supervisor. I’m hearing people call her a monster now. That she is a sociopath for the level of the wire fraud she kept up for about 8 years. I had some outstanding times with her and she was one of the strongest women I had ever met and really encouraged me in ways no one had done before. She also broke me into general accounting and bookkeeping which is the path I stayed and am doing for my current employer. No one else would have given me that chance or hired me without having a background in it. I know all about her abusive and wretched childhood and can now plainly see how all those events led her to end up being a 55 year old woman going to prison and losing everything. I feel a great sadness for her and I don’t hate her even though she deeply hurt me when she pushed me away. I’m also a better person for the things I learned from her that were good and beneficial for me. It’s a strange feeling. Not sure if I feel that way one day about JN. I’ve had more time and distance away from this particular friend so I’m more at peace with the outcome.

      2. Thank you for sharing your experience, Clarece.

        You’re right.. we can’t simply avoid them all.. and while I understand *cognitively no contact, it doesn’t seem practical for many situations..

        I still consider myself a novice on this topic, so perhaps I will develop a better understanding as time goes on .. thanks to you, the other kind people & HG.

        I would love to meet HG. As simple as that. I wouldn’t think about being in danger bc that would imply I met his criteria, which I doubt.. and that he met mine – which is not possible 😉

        No fury ignition, HG, “you know I love you & I always have”

      3. I’d know there were red flags, but I’d still be putty in your hands. I’m starting to realize I may have been involved with other narcissists. I think deep down I enjoy a “challenging” relationship.

  10. Julie:
    “Within the constraints of not losing your freedom
    Imagine a life with no appliances”

    So true Julie.

    I was thinking the same thing. A narc is a prisoner of the very people he thinks he is the master of.

    I can’t image my life with such an dependence on other people. I can truly do as I see fit.

      1. I agree, Angel. It’s amazing how long it took me to recognize this – my dependence on others for validation. I am just fortunate that my life has turned out as successfully as it has because it could have been very different. Until an empath realizes what he/she is doing, there can be no forward movement and remains an easy target. We all need to get whole. Every. single. One.

        1. Hi ohio and narc a and HG
          Disagree, not all empaths are codependants
          Some of us have a high level of narcissim. A lesser would never make it with me, they are not attractive enough, easy rage and low intelligence, their grandiosity isnt based on much. hot heads dont appeal, mid to upper yes, have a mid ranger now on a spectrum, but i would never in a romantic relationship, be attracted to NPD or BPD, sociopathy. I will be atttacted to someone on the spectrum. Someone who does want to control to a degree, manipulate, but not be malignant as to destroy confidence and use and abuse to feed them..hence supernova or super empath
          The only person i allow intermittent fuelling or feeding is my mother, as she has the disorder. Cant go no contact as there are finances and property involved.
          HG could try and intermittent fuel but he would not get into my life as for me to give up money, lifestyle, property, my career etc is never gonna happen. My own rage wont allow it, no matter how many hermes scarves he buys and places his scent on hehe
          As i know the signs and manipulations, criticisims, triangulation etc. Just because you grow up dysfunctional doesnt mean you will end up codependent, needing constant validation, more often then not you prefer being alone and you have a healthy cynicism about relationships
          More to life than a man, let me tell you!

          1. Julie P

            I’ll amend my comment to: Some/most empaths have huge dependence on other people and validation……

            As with anything there are exceptions. I never said constant, and Im aware of the different types of empaths so know that not all empaths are Co-D.

            I’m glad to see you have created boundaries for yourself and hope that you enforce them rigorously. Youre preaching to the choir.

            Super Empath

          2. Narc A
            No need to amend as you are not wrong – being an empath is a good thing!
            Your a tough cookie
            Read alot of your comments 😊

  11. Thank you HG! Great info! My n told stories of neglect resentments anecdotes victimization. He wanted sympathy for how terrible it was . He never stopped blaming them and anyone else lastly me and my children . Pattern of blame shift. His sister says their childhood was good no abuse.

  12. Although I’m always in the mood for a bit of a challenge HG, I’m not about to hug a tiger any time soon.

    So although meeting you in real life (and I mean the real you, not your polished version) would be fascinating indeed, I’ll leave that one for your unfortunate IPPS’s.

      1. But as I was cheated out of a proper Golden Period by my cheap ex-narc a day with your polished version in full force would be a treat indeed.

        You should offer “Golden days with HG” next to your consultations.

        You would make a killing 😉

        1. Uh, you’d love my former BF then, Iris. The down side is there is a price to pay in ever tangling with them — so not worth it! (Case in point, I am now paging a Greater for help).

      1. Just because your a narcissist sociopath with a bit of psychopath mixed in… for good measure… doesnt mean you can be sexist
        Postie (australian term) or the mail person….
        Thank you ☺

          1. Within the constraints of not losing your freedom
            Imagine a life with no appliances

  13. I think greaters are almost impossible to flush out, because their act is polish to perfection.

    I wonder what would be HG’s Achilles heel……

  14. I met a guy on holiday last summer and my narc-dar went off immediately, because he paid a lot of attention to his hair and beard (he was a hipster) and he bragged about going to the gym a lot.

    This off course doesn’t make him a narc per se, so I tested him.

    I asked him about his hair and he talked about that for at least a quarter of an hour, I kid you not! That was box one ticked.

    Then I asked him about his work and his colleagues, he immediately went on and on about how incompetent they were and he off course had to save the day repeatedly. Box two ticked.

    And I ended it by casually asking him about his previous relationship. She was high maintenance off course and everything had to be done her way (projecting much? 😉 ) . He tried and tried (poor him), but he finally had to let her go.

    Bingo 🙂

    1. Hi iris…definite red flags! My narc used the “my ex was high maintenance” bit on me oh but theyre still “friends”.
      The bragging is a defjnite red flag. My mil is a chronic bragger and always saves the day.
      The somatic part this is what tricked me with my narc bc hes good looking but actually quite shy when you first meet him. He never brags either except about his idol trump.
      I found it sweet how he was unsure of himself when we met but now i know it to be part of his bait. Ive since seen him and one on one he is nowhere unsure of himself. Hes very covert in his manpulations.
      A somatic wouldve been a huge red flag. Ive met so many and they turn me off instantly. Somatics i right away dont trust.

      1. I don’t think I would ever get involved with a guy who actually took care of his looks beyond shaving and putting on a clean shirt. Facial cream for men? Ew. Arranging his hair in the morning with hair gel? Ew ew. Just no. No way. Working out in order to look good? Ugh. Those types of guys gross me out.
        A somatic is thus completely out of the question for me.

  15. Four of the five for mid -level…. sure wish I had this list several years ago. Hopefully people pay attention.

  16. HG do you have any pets? In my experience narcs usually don’t have pets or even have any desire to ever have one. I almost sigh in relief when I find out any guy I like has a pet.

      1. He has human pets jackie
        And flying monkeys
        But no fluffy cute kittens or puppies or bunny rabbits

      2. My MMRN didn’t like attention being put on his dog instead of him, nor was he pleased when his dog wanted to lay beside me. When his puppy kept trying to get me to play with him he said, “I feed him, I walk him, I take care of him and look at him.” I think he enjoyed the fuel he received from having a dog.

    1. I’ve known narcs to have pets. My Mid ranger experience had a cat and the Lesser somatic had a dog, albeit he would leave the dog with whatever current chick he was ‘dating’ at the time.

      In one instance, the somatic had this girl fawning all over him, wanting him to ‘commit’ to her, which he would not do, and so she watched his dog while he was away (and messaging other women during that time no less). She was watching it as a means of trying to earn his love. How very sad.

      While I love animals, I would never watch some guy’s pet in the hopes that doing so would get him to want me. You only get attached to the animal and then when he leaves you for someone else, the animal is gone too, making it all the sadder.

      They can also use their animals as bait, share photos–aren’t they cute? As a means of appearing kind.

      1. Hey Bibi.. my mid ranger also has a dog, but i doubt that he is very genuinely kind to her.. he only posts fb pics of him and the dog to attract attention from empathetic animal lovers. Anyway earlier this year, he wanted me to look after his dog while he went overseas, and when i said ‘why doesn’t ur ex look after her?’ (they had previously shared the dog).. he made up some bs that she can’t. Lo and behold i found out the real reason why she cldnt look after that dog..because she was also going overseas with him, and strangely enough he still lives with her after he had said they had broken up!! He is the most fake and cheating person to walk this earth and aside frm the woman he still lives with, i see he is targeting new supply and has another IPSS on the side..all off whom have bought his fakery…

      1. Whoa. That happened to me, but for triangulation, no hoovering. I thought it odd and usually recognize triangulation more directly, thank you for pointing that out.

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