Why the Narcissist can Dish it Out, but Can't Take It

This is an excellent article from "Psychology Today" that helps us understand how the narcissist perpetuates his own worst fear - being alone - by the way he responds to the people in his life who care about him the most.

"Blaming and excessively criticizing others to shore up an extraordinarily vulnerable ego--and reacting antagonistically in the face of anything regarded as critical of themselves--they keep others at a distance that renders any true intimacy impossible. The way they "set things up" in relationships, particularly intimate relationships, makes their self-created dilemma unsolvable."

This does not give us permission to feel sorry for them. Only serves to help further our UNDERSTANDING of why narcissists behave the way they do and why we must stay away to protect our own sanity.

Leon Seltzer sums it up perfectly:
"So they remain emotionally and spiritually unfulfilled, hungry for a nebulous something they can't even conceive. Lacking the ego strength that would allow them to be genuinely vulnerable to others--the prerequisite for the intimacy they secretly long for--their relationships demonstrate a level of detachment not entirely dissimilar from their original so-hurtful disconnection from their parents. But this time they're not just the victim but the 'perpetrator,' too.
~ Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D

Please take a read!

by Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D

June 28, 2013 - 10:48pm

Another good article

If only I'd known this 20 years ago. *sigh*

"Another way of putting this is that, exquisitely susceptible to criticism because it endangers their frail sense of internal validation, they take great pains to devalue or invalidate the person criticizing them. To achieve such dismissal of the threatening other, they'll do everything possible to negate their viewpoint. And this can include much more than blaming or indignantly challenging them. For narcissists, when their position has been exposed as false, arbitrary, or untenable, will suddenly become evasive, articulate half-truths, lie (actually, as much to themselves as others), flat-out contradict themselves (and to a degree that can leave the other person gaping!), and freely rewrite history (literally--and audaciously--making things up as they go along). This is why at such times they don't seem adults so much as six-year-olds. And in fact, when others inadvertently trigger mini emotional crises in them, there's little doubt that, both cognitively and emotionally, they can regress to a maturity level of that age (or less)."

I can no longer deny that my FM's are also disordered. No more denial
Thanks for this link,

November 13, 2011 - 1:21am

Poster Child

I swear my ex should have been on the cover of that month's PT issue. It is so helpful to understand that they are the whack job and not us. Yet, it is easy for the co-dependent in us, to feel sorry for them, too. It's a fine line....

October 16, 2011 - 4:53am

Can dish it out but can't take it...

Reading this I am actually wondering if I am the narcissist, :( I have always pushed people away from me, to varying degrees. Yet, I do know I feel empathy towards others.

I couldn't find the story in the link.
Any suggestions?

And could it be I am a narcissist who just suffered at the hands of one more skilled than I ?
He really did a number on me, and his lack of empathy for anything I was going through is what eventually broke me and drove me away....

Am new here and think I posted in the wrong place. Please bear with me while I learn to navigate this site.

December 26, 2011 - 11:13am (Reply to #6)

Still wanting to be with him.

Why do I still want to be with him when he has made me feel so hurt and so bad and he want's nothing to do with me now I've finally left?

November 8, 2011 - 6:36am (Reply to #5)

TV Show on Narcissism topic.

Firstly this website and the audio has helped me so much in the last 12 months. Interestingly, I hardly ever hear about Narcissism in the media, only when described as a trait or if some sort of crime has happened. On one of our local channels here in australia though they had a whole show on Narcissism as a trait AND Personality disorder. Was so happy to see it being discussed in the open and saying they were emotional vampires. Helps to know I am not alone and that more people can be educated about it and hopefully protect themselves from what we've went through.


October 16, 2011 - 12:50pm (Reply to #1)

Here's the link

I'm glad you found our site, PBF. You can post comments here as well as the forum. Anywhere is fine. Sorry the link wasn't working earlier. Here's a link that works:


I'm sure you're not a narc. It's important to understand that narcissists are master manipulators who use projection as a weapon. You doubting yourself right now and whether you are a narcissist is a direct result of your ex-narc projecting all of his issues onto you.

Narcissists love causing us to doubt ourselves. They live for it and get on off it. It takes awhile to deprogram from them and stop doubting ourselves, but with time, you'll get there! Being here is great start. Knowledge is power!


October 25, 2011 - 9:38pm (Reply to #4)

Sometimes I question myself

Sometimes I question myself too. Is he right.. How wld I know. And then I think the reason I am such easy prey is because I question myself too much. I want to do the right thing so badly. I doubt the narc ever feels this way.

October 17, 2011 - 8:37am (Reply to #2)

Thank you

Was able to find the link on one of the forums. It proved very informative.
I now know why I did some of the things I did while involved with my narc, and whereas I won't excuse my own behaviour, I do understand it and accept responsibility for it... so it won't happen again.

October 25, 2011 - 9:42pm (Reply to #3)

I have certainly engaged in

I have certainly engaged in behaviors I never thought possible while trying to defend myself from having my soul raped. Ha ha we are only human beings.

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