6 Common Traits of Narcissists and Gaslighters

“Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others.”  —Paramahansa Yogananda

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that a narcissist is someone who has “buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self.” This alternate persona often comes across as grandiose, “above others,” self-absorbed, and highly conceited.

Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and to ultimately lose one’s own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. A gaslighter’s statements and accusations are often based on deliberate falsehoods and calculated marginalization. The term gaslighting is derived from the 1944 film Gaslight, where a husband tries to convince his wife that she’s insane by causing her to question herself and her reality.

Multiple studies have been done on the impact of narcissism and gaslighting on relationships(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6). While each of these often destructive pathologies is unique, there are certain behavioral overlaps. Following are six common traits, with references from my books: “How to Successfully Handle Narcissists” and “How to Successfully Handle Gaslighters & Stop Psychological Bullying”. Not all narcissists and gaslighters possess every characteristic identified below. However, chronic narcissists and gaslighters are likely to exhibit at least several of the following on a regular basis.

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