Oprah’s 12 Most Frequently Asked Questions on Narcissism

Oprah’s 12 Most Frequently Asked Questions on Narcissism
The Oprah Winfrey Network interviewed me recently for their OWN Show, which I have to admit was an amazing experience. I sat down in their studio and answered a series of questions, 12 of which are in today’s post below. I wanted to share these with you because when a spouse, partner, colleague or family member is showing narcissistic characteristics they can often go unrecognized and many times you could end up thinking there is something wrong with you… I hope this guidance and advice helps you on your journey through Rethinking Narcissism.

Original Post


The One Sign of Pathological Narcissism You’ve Never Heard Before

The One Sign of Pathological Narcissism You’ve Never Heard Before
Narcissism seems to be born of neglect and abuse, both of which are notorious for creating an insecure attachment style (for more on attachment, see here and here

But the very fact that narcissists, for all their posturing, are deeply insecure, also gives us an easy way to spot them. Insecurely attached people can’t talk coherently about their family and childhood; their early memories are confused, contradictory, and riddled with gaps. Narcissists often give themselves away precisely because their childhood story makes no sense, and the most common myth they carry around is the perfect family story. If your date sings their praises for their exalted family but the reasons for their panegyric seem vague or discursive, look out. The devil is in the details, as they say — and very likely, that’s why you’re not hearing them.

Production notes ;-): I’m living in temporary housing with my family while we get things fixed up after black mold/renovations, and it’s been challenging for lots of reasons to make videos (the fact that quiet moments have become exceedingly rare might top the list). I shot this one a few months ago but struggled to find a surface where I wasn’t looking down at my laptop. There aren’t many convenient well lit places to set up. I wasn’t happy with the angle but I’ve never found time since to reshoot, so here you go. I also experimented with just using Bluetooth mic since, despite the fact that I’ve always used a studio mic (samsung) I get occasional complaints about the audio level. Let’s see if this is better.



How to Overcome Echoism: Healthy Anger

00:00 How to Overcome Echoism: Healthy Anger
1:58 What is Primary Healthy Anger?
6:35 Experience vs Expression of Anger
8:50 How Healthy Anger Empowers Echoists

Are you An Echoist?
Take the test to find out!

Recently, I’ve been inundated with requests from journalists to discuss “echoism,” a term I introduced in my book, Rethinking Narcissism. Articles on the subject are trending, and a new book, Echoism, even devotes itself to understanding the topic in depth. Echoism support groups, therapists, and workshops are springing up, and demand for information appears to be growing. But what does the word mean?

I’ve compiled my answers to nine of the most frequently asked questions about echoism.

1. What is echoism? Echoism is a trait that my colleagues and I have begun measuring, and like all traits, it exists to a greater or lesser degree in everyone. People who score well above average in echoism qualify as echoists, and their defining characteristic is a fear of seeming narcissistic in any way. Of all the people we measured, echoists were the most “warm-hearted,” but they were also afraid of becoming a burden, felt unsettled by attention, especially praise, and agreed with statements like, “When people ask me my preferences, I’m often at a loss.” Where narcissists are addicted to feeling special, echoists are afraid of it. In the myth of Narcissus, Echo, the nymph who eventually falls madly in love with Narcissus, has been cursed to repeat back the last few words she hears. Like their namesake, echoists definitely struggle to have a voice of their own.

2. Can echoism exist without narcissism? Regardless of how it begins — and there are many childhood causes — echoism, like any trait, persists regardless of whom people spend their time with. Still, echoists are often drawn to narcissists precisely because they’re so afraid of burdening others or seeming “needy” that to have someone who relishes taking up all the room, as narcissists often do, comes as something of a relief; but it’s a high price to pay for a respite from their anxieties. When narcissists become abusive, echoists sometimes blame themselves for their mistreatment (“I expect too much”; “I’m being overly sensitive”; “I shouldn’t have gone back”; etc.). No one deserves to be abused, whether they stay in a relationship or not — abuse is 100 percent the responsibility of the abuser — but echoists can mire themselves in abusive relationships, because they feel responsible for their mistreatment.

3. Are some people more apt to become extreme echoists? Echoists appear to be born with more emotional sensitivity than most of us — they feel deeply — and when that temperament is exposed to a parent who shames or punishes them for having any needs at all, they’re apt to grow up high in echoism. A client of mine had a narcissistic father who grew enraged whenever people didn’t do exactly what he wanted — a misplaced dish was enough to set him off — and as a result of his lessons (my way or the highway), she wasn’t just afraid to say what she needed or wanted. She didn’t even know what that was. This is typical with extreme echoists — they’re so afraid expressing their needs will cost them love that they lose touch with their own desires.

continue with article

For more on echoism, see:



Stop Doing This if You’re with a Narcissist

00:00 Stop Doing This if You’re with a Narcissist
00:40 Defining Echoism (Take the test!)
01:47 Don’t do this with a Narcissist!
03:27 Where You Learned the “Figuring Out” Strategy
04:39 Seeing the Problem More Clearly
06:52 Do this Instead 🙂

One trap for #echoists when it comes to leaving bad (narcissistic) relationships is a species of self-blame: the figuring out response. “I wonder if s/he meant it? Does s/he have NPD? Was that real?” The reality is that echoists learned this strategy in their family of origin. Rather than being encouraged to trust their gut, they’re often pushed to try to think about what their narcissistic caregiver is thinking or doing or feeling–in other words what makes them tick. But in healthy loving relationships, if someone does something upsetting or disappointing, we’re not expected to think about why or try to prevent future hurts by understanding the psychology of the person we’re close to. Healthy intimacy involves saying “ouch” when hurt.

If your son or daughter was hurt by a friend, you likely wouldn’t ask them “Why do you think they did that? or What do you think they were thinking? Or do you think they did it on purpose?” You’d say, I’m so sorry. That must have really hurt.” And comfort them. But #echoists had to survive experiences by hoping that if they figured out their narcissistic caregivers they, themselves, could prevent being hurt. And as adults they often do the same with their partners. I

It’s not your job to figure anyone out but yourself. And doing so is often a well-cultivated habit, to protect yourself from attack after simply saying ouch–and protect narcissistic friends and partners from feeling hurt simply because you dare to say “I didn’t like that.”

Recognize the *figuring out* response as what it is– and always was: yet another way of shouldering responsibility for someone else’s bad behaviors.

For more on echoism, see:



The 11 Telltale Signs Of A Narcissist Quiz (Updated 2020 NPD Test)

The 11 Telltale Signs Of A Narcissist Quiz (Updated 2020 NPD Test)


There are many telltale signs that someone is a narcissist but 11 of them really stand out.

You need to know them and understand what they mean and how they impact your life.

These 11 signs are serious and are the basis of a quiz I have put together for you so you know the severity of narcissism you are dealing with.

Because this is the stuff that all narcissists do!

And … so that you can get to the bottom of all of this to understand if what you’re dealing with is mild, moderate or really, really extreme abuse, you can take a quick quiz to get your answer!

The quiz only takes a couple of minutes and is going to bring you so much clarity!

Can’t wait to share all this crucial information with you in today’s episode.



Video Transcript

I’m so excited about today because it’s taken me quite some time to work out exactly what I’m going to be sharing with you.

Namely, in my opinion, the top 11 telltale signs of a narcissist, and what they are and what they mean.

Not just from the narcissist’s perspective, but also the impact that this has caused in your life.

Then, at the end of this episode, I’m going to connect you up with a very simple two-minute quiz, that will allow you to know with full clarity what level of narcissist you have been with, or are still dealing with.

Okay, so let’s dive in and check out the 11 signs that I believe conclusively identify narcissistic behaviour, starting with the first.


Number One: Refuses to be Responsible and Remorseful for Actions

This one is incredibly common with people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

How this manifests is as a refusal to be accountable. The narcissist will use all sorts of deflections and diversions to dodge taking responsibility for their behaviour.

And, because this person is not accountable, responsible or genuinely remorseful about how they hurt other people or the fact that they are committing pathological, manipulative and even criminal acts, they do not learn from their mistakes.

A narcissist simply does not grow up and become responsible. The same problems, the same behaviours and the same catastrophic effects continue to happen to them and other people in their lives.

If you’re with somebody like this, you will be tearing your hair out trying to get them to realise what they have done and apologise and make amends for it.

And you’ll be blown away regarding how this person continues to re-offend.

Any apology comes as a false apology. It comes way too late, and it may be used when nothing else will work to try to keep you hooked as narcissistic supply.

And when an apology does come, it will usually come with invalidating statements like, “I said I’m sorry! What more do you want?”

Which seriously is not an apology at all.


Number Two: Takes Offence to Real or Perceived Criticism

Narcissists “pop open” on a hair-line trigger.

They get bent out of shape by things that normal, emotionally mature adults just don’t get upset about.

Of course, everybody can have a bad day, when under stress. But narcissists consistently get moody, sullen and aggressive.

When a narcissist perceives that you said the wrong thing, they take umbrage, dish out tit-for-tat comments or punish you with the silent treatment. Or they exit the scene altogether as a way of abandoning you.

Or, the narcissist lines you up with a cruel ferocity that leaves you reeling.

All because you said something that their unreasonable, insecure False Self didn’t want to hear.

Maybe, you spoke up for your highly compromised violated needs or values.

Which of course, is not what the narcissist is in a relationship for. It’s fully all about them, and when you are not serving the monstrous ego adequately this is when you will see a narcissist unravel into childish and extreme behaviours.


Number Three: Is Critical, Hard to Please and Verbally Abusive

With a narcissist you are damned if you do and you are damned if you don’t.

You may try to twist yourself into the shape of a pretzel to appease this person, keep them happy or at the very least stop them from abusing you.

But it just isn’t possible.

The truth is the narcissist is such an inner seething pit of insecurity, pain and malfunction that he or she will lash out at close intimates.

The narcissist, trapped in such unconsciousness, believes you are the cause of their emotional disruptions.

Nothing could be further from the truth, yet the narcissist refuses to see it any other way.

Of course, being on the receiving end of such inhumane, devastating and maliciously cruel treatment will cause you to break down under such senseless and unrelenting abuse.


Number Four: Shows Disdain for Regulations and Makes Up Own Rules

Narcissists believe that they are a law unto themselves.

They hate being pinned down, and answerable to anybody.

The narcissist believes that if he or she were to fall in line, that this would reduce them to being “the same as everybody else”, which their False Self finds incomprehensible.

How can a False Self retain its fictitious engineered construction of vast superiority, if having to do what one is told?

Narcissists regularly flaunt their own way of doing things. They break the rules. They tell people what they want to hear and then do the exact opposite.

They even engage in criminal activities that fulfil the agendas of garnishing the energy, acclaim and things that the narcissist relentlessly chases.


Number Five: Is Charming and Loving then Devaluing and Discarding

A narcissist can switch from adoring you, to abhorring you on a dime.

This leaves you reeling.

One minute you think how loved up this person is with you, and then this person hates you and tells you why they don’t want to be with you anymore.

Or, if it’s a non-intimate partner narcissist, somebody else in your life, you may have felt like you’ve just had a breakthrough and got some kind of acceptance and understanding with this person, and then they turn on you mercilessly again.

It’s not normal, and it is one of the most devastating things to go through, thinking finally you have some safety and sensibility with this individual, and then they pull the rug out from underneath you harder than ever.

When the narcissist is full of supply they can be the most delightful, loving creatures you could ever imagine. However, any high of temporary “fullness and happiness” is short-lived.

As soon as the narcissist starts plummeting into being low on narcissistic supply, then the demons erupt. This is when the narcissist will lash out at close intimates who are easy targets if they’re already hooked.

To try to escape their own self-annihilating feelings, narcissists project out onto you lots of insane accusations and assumptions, including what they are doing themselves.


Number Six: Engages in Pathological Lying and Cheating

Narcissists lie. It’s just what a False Self does.

The narcissist knows, conceptually, that other people think lying is unacceptable, yet the narcissist believes that lying is fair game to secure the agenda that is needed to get narcissistic supply.

This means that a narcissist will tell anybody exactly what they want to hear, to be able to snare them as an energy source and fulfil their own agenda. It also means that the narcissist will withhold, twist and turn facts and divert blame to avoid the narcissistic injury of being held accountable for wrongdoing.

In the devaluing stage, when the narcissist projects their wounds onto somebody, they can come up with the most outrageous lies about that person in order to discredit them and to try to destroy their life.

In the final discard stage, this is incredibly apparent.

Narcissists are equally capable of adultery and sexual promiscuity, without any remorse at all. It’s a very rare person who hasn’t discovered the pathological lying and cheating that a narcissist has done.

Naturally, this is incredibly shocking, especially when a narcissist will look you straight in the eye and tell you that they have never done these things.

It’s a huge shock to discover that they certainly do.


Number Seven: Uses Defence Mechanisms When Confronted

Narcissists twist, turn, abuse, confuse, blame and attack when confronted about wrongdoings.

There are in fact around twenty defence mechanisms that narcissists use, and they all make you feel like your head is going to spin off your shoulders and explode.

It’s beyond mental!

If you are arguing with somebody who refuses to stay on topic, completely invalidates your feelings, uses tit-for-tat retaliations, and brings in allies real or imagined to back up their arguments, and twists and turns facts in ways that are nonsensical and completely delusional, this is a sure sign that you’re dealing with a narcissist.

You truly would get more sense from an angry five-year-old.


Number Eight: Engages in Smearing and Discrediting You

Narcissists like to learn about the deep mechanics of other people. Things such as their past, their secrets and what makes them tick.

If there are any vulnerabilities or cracks, the narcissist holds onto these like aces in a poker game.

Once you’re in the devalue and discard stages, a narcissist will use personal information against you to get narcissistic supply and attention from other people, to discredit you and even to try to destroy you.

This is all about fulfilling the narcissist’s agenda, of outing you so that the narcissist can take over your position, or dismantling and destroying you when the narcissist has decided that you are no longer appropriate in his or her life.

Absolutely outrageous lies can be used, as well as stretching the truth and only giving one side of a story.

Anything that you have said or done in retaliation can and will be used against you, making you out to be the crazy and unstable one.


Number Nine: Glorifies Achievements and Self

Narcissists talk about the Glory Days, meaning any of their past notable achievements, real or fabricated. It’s the same stories over and over and over about how wonderful, incredible or special they are.

The narcissist hangs onto this as a shiny penny, designed to self-medicate when low on narcissistic supply or to suck energy from others.

Narcissists also take over conversations. They are terrible listeners, are not interested in your life at all and can’t wait to butt in and switch the conversation back to themselves.

The narcissist knows more, has done it better, and is a greater authority than anybody else.

He or she is not interested in you (apart from in the love-bombing phase where attentiveness makes you bond with them) and is only interested in sucking energy from you, while they talk all about themselves.

A narcissist starts feeling low on narcissistic supply if anyone else is getting the energy and the attention. If the conversation is not about the narcissist, they will have to steer it back to them, disrupt everyone, or leave the room.


Number 10: Is Unable To Express Genuine Compassion and Empathy

A narcissist can pretend to be compassionate and empathetic when trying to secure an agenda.

However, you will discover that this person simply does not have the resources to be genuinely compassionate and empathetic.

A narcissist will regularly step on people’s toes, without having the filter to even realise that they’ve done so, and then are totally void of any compassion or empathy afterwards.

People are objects to a narcissist; they are not real individuals. As far as the narcissist is concerned people are there to serve her or him and are not valid in any other way.

A narcissist may dissolve into a show of incredible compassion and empathy when you’re walking out the door, you’ve had enough, and the narcissist is terrified about losing you as narcissistic supply. But if you succumb and fall back into the narcissist’s arms, things before long will be back to normal. In fact, even worse than ever.


Number 11: Is Capable of Atrocious Behaviour that Damages People and Their Resources

Speaking of having to lash out and hurt you, narcissists do this all the time. Either purposefully or inadvertently.

It’s purposeful when the narcissist has decided that you have not appeased the False Self adequately.

How dare you not grovel, succumb, or jump over higher and higher hoops to serve his or her Majesty. If you try to do things your own way, then the narcissist will take massive umbrage.

As far as the narcissist is concerned you need to pay for this with a level of maliciousness that certainly doesn’t match the supposed crime.

The narcissist’s punishment is inadvertent when the narcissist is simply going about the business of being a narcissist, which means nobody else figures in the equation. If there are a few corpses thrown into gutters along the way, so be it.

This means taking what is yours and using it to feed themselves. Everything is up for grabs, including your sanity, body, health, Life Force, time (months, years, decades), resources, money and contacts.


These 11 Signs Are Serious

I know that if you are dealing with a narcissist in your life, as you watch this episode, you will relate to so much of it. Because this is the stuff that all narcissists do!

These understandings quite possibly go much further than the usual criteria that the general public may know about, or even the psychological community talks about.

I believe it is crucial that you understand what you have really been going through.

Okay, so now the exciting part is you can get to the bottom of all of this, the really true answers regarding the level of narcissism that you are dealing with. Is it mild, is it moderate or is it really, really extreme?

As a result of taking this quick quiz, you will get your answer!

So all you need to do is go to this link and fill the quiz out, it’s really simple.

Then, after you complete this quiz, you will also receive my seven-day Narcissist Freedom Guide, which will come each day straight to your email.

This guide is cutting-edge information, tailored specifically for your situation, regarding whether you are dealing with an intimate partner, a family member or another type of narcissist, as well as the level of narcissism that you are dealing with.

It is some of my best information, condensed down into a powerful seven-day series.

This, including the quiz results, is all completely free and carries no obligation whatsoever. Please know that you can unsubscribe at any time.

I hope that you enjoyed this episode and that it has enlightened you a lot.

Okay so go to the quiz, it will only take you a couple of minutes. It’s going to give you much-needed clarity.

And, as always, I look forward to answering your comments and questions below.