15+ Weird Things Narcissists Do That Make You Watchful

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Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), a complex mental disorder, could lead to conflicts in relationships, be it personal or professional. Hence, it is crucial to know and be watchful of the weird things narcissists do to protect yourself. A person with NPD shows certain abnormal traits and odd habits, such as exaggerated self-importance and need for admiration from others or preferential treatment over others (1).

Most people exhibit a couple of narcissistic behavior or traits, but if you know someone who shows most of the following narcissistic traits and bizarre tendencies, it would be wise of you to exercise caution around them or find a way to let them seek professional help

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15+ Weird Things Narcissists Do

Narcissists can perform some unusual actions or behavior, which may be an indicator of their personality disorder. Here are a few unconventional traits that should make you alert and watchful.

1. They are not interested in listening to you

Not listening is one of the weirdest things narcissists do

Image: Shutterstock

One of the distinctive behaviors of a narcissist is self-obsession. They can be so self-obsessed that they only like to talk about themselves and are hardly interested in listening to you. When you speak, they may often cut you off and divert the conversation to the topic they are interested in.

Mari, a licensed marriage and family therapist, recounts her encounter with a colleague in a professional setting. She says, “I experienced this when presenting on a panel discussion at a conference. One of the therapists on the panel is a narcissist by his own admission. He interrupted each speaker on the panel, both male and female, he used toxic charm, pressured the moderator, took over the podium for 10 minutes with a sales pitch, and grabbed the microphone out of turn several times (i).”

2. They are sore losers

Losing is not an option for a narcissist. And when they lose, they sulk about it. They display peculiar behaviors such as blaming others for their loss or making lame excuses to hide their shortcomings. Their superiority complex makes it difficult for them to digest a loss or a setback.

Recounting an encounter with her friend, Mari says, “My growth, my education, my goals and new interests, my personal and professional successes, my human challenges, and most of all, my evolving voice, opinions and boundaries felt intimidating to her (friend). She was not able to celebrate my achievements. Instead she needed to cut me down to size in order to protect her own ego. She needed to remind me who was boss. When that no longer worked to stunt my growth, she fled.”

3. They dismiss your plea for help

When you need help from them, they may exhibit unorthodox patterns of behavior, becoming furious at you for causing them unnecessary trouble. Since they do not care for anybody but themselves, they will not hesitate to dismiss your plea for help.

4. They walk before you

They deliberately walk ahead of you

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A narcissist enjoys causing distress to people through their aberrant actions. When you are out in public with them, they may deliberately walk faster and ahead of you. And when you panic after losing them, they may enjoy your distress from a distance. On returning to you, they may blame your slow pace of walking for the confusion.

5. They admire dictators

Because of their eccentric tendencies, a narcissist believes that they are above everybody else and find it difficult to relate to others’ problems. This exaggerated sense of self-worth makes them admire dictators who misuse their power and cause hardship to innocent people. They identify with such dictators and exhibit a sense of grandiosity (2).

protip_icon Quick fact
Covert narcissists appear insecure and self-deprecating, making it challenging to spot them. Being friends with covert narcissists is difficult because they keep comparing themselves to others.

6. They blame you even for their mistakes

Anything that goes wrong with a narcissist is someone else’s fault because they firmly believe that they are always right. Their idiosyncratic tendencies makes them shift the blame to others. For instance, if you both get late for a movie because they have reached the theater later than the scheduled time, you will be blamed for booking the wrong time slot to watch the movie. Forget admitting their mistake, they won’t even own up to their faults.

7. They malign your name for their benefit

A narcissist’s offbeat actions revolve around their desire for admiration and approval. To ensure that you follow them, they will first ruin your relations with others by spreading false rumors about you. Then, they will ascertain that others lose trust in you and you are eventually left alone. Once you have no friends, you will have no option but to befriend the narcissist, who will ensure that you stay under their thumb.

8. They don’t have a straight answer for any question

They counter-question, weird things narcissists do

Image: IStock

Ask a narcissist a question, and you will get a counter-question in return. It is because they do not like answering questions, especially if they expose their negative traits. They avoid questions fervently and get defensive for no reason.

9. They use the silent treatment to abuse

If a narcissist is aware of your emphatic or kind-hearted nature, they will exploit it to their benefit by making you capitulate to their wishes. They do this by giving you the silent treatment. They will refuse to speak with you and give you cold vibes until you cave in and yield to them.

protip_icon Do remember
The purpose of the silent treatment is to make the victim feel confused, inadequate, and guilty so that they would do whatever the narcissist wants them to.

10. They hold grudges

Know that if you tell a narcissist that they are wrong, they will remember it for a lifetime and hold a grudge for the longest time. This is one of the curious habits that they possess. They do not forgive even minor slights and feel good about themselves only after exacting their revenge on you.

11. They resort to emotional blackmail

They blackmail you emotionally

Image: IStock

When a narcissist becomes aware of your insecurities and vulnerabilities, they will use it to blackmail you emotionally. For instance, they will blame you for something and make you feel guilty to such an extent that next time you tow their line without any protest.

12. They apologize only for their benefit

A narcissist exhibits uncommon mannerisms or atypical characteristics when required to offer an apology. Their rare apology is often half-hearted and intended only for a purpose. For instance, you tell them you felt bad about something they did, and they apologize, cursing themselves for being such a horrible person to you. This instead will make you feel awful for seeking an apology in the first place.

13. They are hypocrites

They are hypocrites

Image: IStock

A narcissist exhibits strange patterns when it comes to rules and accountability. For them, rules that apply to you do not apply to them. For instance, they will chastise and yell at you for a small mistake you make, but it is no big deal when they commit the same mistake. In fact, when you confront them about it, they will get into a fit of rage, so you regret calling them out at all.

protip_icon Quick tip
As narcissists do not respect rules and boundaries, it can be challenging to handle them when you are in a relationship with them. However, letting the narcissist know your values, what is important to you, and which behaviors you do not appreciate is essential.

14. They are different with different people

A narcissist displays weird conduct or anomalous actions by adapting their personality to fit different individuals. They will be extremely caring and considerate to one person and abusive and indifferent to another. In fact, one moment, they will be charming with their friends, and the very next moment, they will be screaming at you for a petty reason.

15. They ghost you only to return back

A narcissist thrives on your misery and resorts to mind games for some cheap thrills. For instance, they will disappear without any warning and will abruptly cut off all contact and communication with you, leaving you heartbroken and devastated. After a few days, they will return to you, acting as if nothing ever happened.

16. They gaslight you

Gaslighting is a manipulation tool used by narcissists. A narcissist will try to make you doubt your feelings, memories, and experiences. Gaslighting phrases like “You are imagining things,” “You are so sensitive,” “I never said that,” etc. may make you confused and question yourself. Narcissists use this tactic to gain control over you. Gaslighting is done subtly, making it hard to notice. It is a way for narcissists to manipulate your thoughts and get you to do things for them. If someone is making you feel like you’re wrong all the time, trust your instinct and seek support. Gaslighting is not okay, and recognizing it is the first step to protecting yourself from this harmful behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does silence do to a narcissist?

If a narcissist is treated with silence, they may either ignore their target or become more toxic and humiliate them for attention. They may try to manipulate you and trick you into being close with them again.

2. How does a narcissist react when they can’t control their target?

If narcissists can’t control their target, they become angry and frustrated. They may start intimidating them and criticize them for everything. They may even set unrealistic boundaries and threaten to end the relationship.

3 What happens when a narcissist knows I figured them out?

If a narcissist is exposed or understands that you know their nature, they will never accept their mistakes. Instead, they will blame you for all that is happening and try to create a scenario where you would feel guilty and accountable. Their quirky actions may lead them to twist the truth and try to manipulate you.

Narcissists often indulge in self-praise and glorifying themselves while putting others down and disregarding their presence. However, the negativity of a narcissist does not stop just here. They may go a step further and try to gain control over your life too. Not listening to you, blaming you for their mistakes, and holding grudges against you are some weird things narcissists do. Being with such a person may affect your physical and mental health. Hence, it is essential to figure out some coping strategies or take professional counseling to deal with a narcissist.

Infographic: Thought-Provoking Quotes About Narcissists

One may never really understand the moves of a narcissist. They can get you doubting yourself while spewing lies and use their pretentious charm to have their way. While some of us may not understand them, these quotes below have perfectly explained the behavior of a narcissist that sometimes misses the eye.

quotes that perfectly describe a narcissist (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • A person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) tends to be a hypocrite.
  • As they cannot relate to others’ problems, they admire high self-worth people, such as dictators.
  • They place themselves before you and may even blame you for their mistakes.
  • Steering away from a narcissist is beneficial for your mental health.
weird things narcissists do_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Do you feel you are being manipulated by a narcissist? Narcissists exhibit common traits and say peculiar things that hint at their narcissism. This video will help you identify a narcissist’s words and behaviors so you can protect yourself.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. E Ronningstam; Borderline Personality Disorder; NPD Basic;
  2. Anxiety.org; The Psychology of Dictators: Power Fear and Anxiety;
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Monk Sadhvi Nishtha Om is a practicing psychologist and psychotherapist in India with ten years of experience. She has worked with children, adolescents and adults using tools such as Therapeutic Meditation, Inner Child Healing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Emotional Empowerment Technique (EET) in a career spanning more than a decade.

Read full bio of Sadhvi Nishtha Om