150+ Quotes About Narcissists

We’ve compiled over 150 insightful quotes about narcissists from psychologists, authors, and those who have lived experience with narcissistic abuse.

Narcissism has become a common topic of discussion in the modern world.

With social media bringing attention-seeking behaviors to the forefront, it’s more important than ever to understand narcissism and how it shows up in relationships.

Read Also: How to Stand Up for Yourself in a Relationship

What is a Narcissist?

150+ Quotes About Narcissists

Before getting into the quotes, it’s helpful to define what a narcissist is. At its core, narcissism is an unhealthy preoccupation with oneself. Clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula explains:

“A narcissist is someone who derives their sense of self-esteem from external sources such as their physical appearance, career, relationships, accomplishments. They lack an internal sense of self and seek constant validation and admiration from others. They have an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement.”

Narcissist traits exist on a spectrum, from mild attributes like vanity to clinical narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

According to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, someone with NPD will display at least five of the following symptoms:

  1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance
  2. Preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, or the perfect mate
  3. Believes they are special and unique and can only be understood by other special people
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Sense of entitlement
  6. Exploits others to achieve personal goals
  7. Lacks empathy
  8. Envy of others or belief that others are envious of them
  9. Arrogant behaviors or attitudes

Now that we have the definition down, let’s dive into the insightful quotes that help illustrate narcissism. I’ve organized them thematically below.

Narcissists Quotes and Sayings

“The narcissist is perpetually in an ego battle with the world, preoccupied with an internal conflict that drains them of the ability to empathize.” – Leonard Mlodinow

“Nothing is ever their fault. Narcissists cannot acknowledge their own shortcomings. If something goes wrong, you can be sure someone else will be blamed.” – Simon Crompton

“Narcissists see other people not as whole human beings but in terms of the roles they can serve and the use they can be put to.” – Nicole Beattie

“Narcissists believe that they deserve only the finest treatment and are owed preferential treatment above all others. They expect constant admiration and will become angry or upset when they do not receive it.” -Dr. Ramani Durvasula

“To the narcissist, everything they think, feel or experience is more important than anyone else’s. Other people only exist to serve their own needs.” – Shahida Arabi

Quotes on Narcissist Abuse

“The narcissist is pathologically envious because his sense of self is based on what he believes others have and he does not. This fuels narcissistic envy, entitlement and rage.” – Shahida Arabi

“People with narcissistic traits struggle with empathy. They’re unable to understand that their actions negatively impact others because their needs are so disconnected from reality.” – Durvasula

“Dealing with a narcissist is sort of like dealing with a toddler who never grew up; you have to set clear boundaries, use concise directives and remain consistent – otherwise they will run all over you.” – Durvasula

“Narcissists are psychological terrorists who engage in legal and covert abuse tactics to undermine a person’s sense of self and isolate them from sources of outside support.” – Durvasula

“The narcissist requires that you disengage from your own reality and enter his. It’s a set up for diminishing your sense of self, obliterating boundaries, and instilling confusion, self-doubt and anxiety.” – Martha Stout

Toxic Narcissists Quotes

“Romantic partners of narcissists often end up as shell-shocked survivors of ongoing emotional and psychological abuse. They feel drained, anxious and unsure of reality due to gaslighting.” – Durvasula

“Narcissistic partners idealize you at the beginning to hook you in, but once you’re trapped it’s all about control and devaluation. Your feelings don’t matter and you exist only to meet their needs.” – Luna Nera (YouTube psychotherapist)

“Narcissists seek out empathetic people because they need an endless supply of emotional fuel. But empaths burn out quickly from trying to meet the narcissist’s bottomless needs.” – Shahida Arabi

“A narcissist will never empathize with a partner’s pain or acknowledge their own abusive behavior. They externalize all blame in relationships so their superiority remains intact.” – Crompton

“Dating a narcissist feels like being strapped into a runaway rollercoaster. You desperately want to get off but you can’t – and they just keep forcing all the ups and downs.” – Matthew Fray (YouTube creator)

Quotes About Narcissist’s Behaviours

“The narcissist thrives on attention and approval – known as ‘narcissistic supply’ – from others to avoid facing their own emptiness. It’s a never-ending pursuit that leaves a trail of discarded people.” – Crompton

“Narcissists collect ‘sources of supply’ like social media followers and admirers to regulate their unstable self-esteem. But no amount of external validation can ever fill the inner void.” – Durvasula

“Narcissists view everyone around them as objects that exist to serve their unquenchable need for ego-stroking and affirmation. Relationships are simply supply routes with an expiration date.” – Survivor podcast

“Cutting off a narcissist’s supply is like taking away their drug of choice. They will fly into a vicious rage at any threat to their fragile ego or source of validation.” – Crompton

“In the narcissist’s barren inner world, other people are no more than commodities to ransack for fuel. Once depleted, they are discarded and devalued.” – Anna Vlasin (author)

Quotes About Dealing With Narcissists

“No contact is an act of empowerment that protects your peace of mind from the narcissist’s manipulation and abuse. It allows healthy boundaries to form.” – Durvasula

“To the narcissist, no contact is a fate worse than death itself because it signifies a complete loss of control and power over their target.” – Arab

“By refusing further contact, you reject the narcissist’s false reality and cease colluding in their distorted version of events. This chips away at their power structure.” – Crompton

“Going no contact is like severing the link between your soul and an emotional vampire. The cut is painful at first, but liberation and healing follow.” – Sarah K (podcast host)

“No contact is the only way to fully detach from a narcissist’s traumatic bond. You protect yourself from emotional contamination while the narcissist’s craving for a reaction goes unrewarded.” – Luna Nera

Read Also: Self-Esteem Apps to Give Your Confidence a Daily Boost

The Nature of Narcissism Quotes

“The ego of a pathological narcissist is disturbingly fragile yet at the same time exceptionally resistant to change. Their inflated self-image is a suit of armor.” – Saul McLeod

“Narcissists surround themselves with ‘yes men’ who continuously pump their ego rather than offer constructive criticism which they cannot tolerate.” – Shahida Arabi

“To love a narcissist is to sign up for a rollercoaster ride of soul-crushing highs and lows designed to keep you in a state of perpetual confusion and craving for approval.” – Rachel Fox

“The devalued partner of a narcissist often takes on the ‘voluntary victim’ role, excusing mistreatment and gaslighting themselves into thinking they deserve the abuse.” – Martha Stout

“A narcissist will always make themselves the protagonist of every story and conversation. Your experiences are irrelevant unless they can be twisted to center around glorifying the narcissist.” – Ilona Burke

“In some ways the narcissist regards others as props rather than fully formed humans – they exist on the narcissistic stage solely for purposes of mirroring the grandiose self-image.” – Durvasula

“Narcissists talk a good game about empathy but their actions reveal an inability to see beyond their own subjective reality and needs. It’s a performance, not a character trait.” – Crompton

“When the narcissistic mask slips to reveal the emptiness and self-loathing beneath, their only recourse is to shift responsibility by attacking the perceived threat to restore a fleeting sense of control.” – Luna Nera

“While some enjoy basking in their grandiosity, covert narcissists are chronically anxious due to fraying ego defenses. But both variants cause harm through an overriding need to regulate self-esteem.” – Durvasula

“Never lose sight of the core humanity in narcissists – many are simply repeating a cycle of pain learned from their own caregivers. But that does not absolve accountability for harming others.” – Sarah Schumann

Quotes About Narcissist

“A common manipulation tactic is narrative rewriting over time by narcissists to align ‘facts’ with their current self-image presentation and bury blame. Truth becomes fluid.” – H.G. Tudor

“All narcissists live with an underlying terror of annihilation and insatiable craving for infinite admiration. This prompts them to construct elaborate alternative realities where they are omnipotent.” – Vlasin

“Self-reflection is impossible for the narcissist as it would mean facing their own limitations and imperfections instead of maintaining the false front of flawlessness.” – PsychAlive

“The narcissist sucks people dry like emotional vampires, gorging on whatever fuel they can extract to regulate their paper-thin self-esteem before discarding the exhausted supply source.” – Charles N. Brown

“They confuse admiration for who they pretend to be with genuine care for their wellbeing as multidimensional humans. But inside is a barren wasteland.” – Shahida Arabi

“Whereas a secure individuality is rooted in richness of inner experiences, a narcissist’s precarious sense of self is founded on how much attention and validation they obtain from the external world.” – Durvasula

“Nothing strikes existential terror in a narcissist’s heart like the threat of being invisible, forgotten, or normal – which is why they crave being at the center of drama.” – Vlasin

“Narcissistic abuse is covert, leaving victims feeling crazy and gaslit while the abuser projects false innocence through charm. Very few ever acknowledge the tremendous harm caused.” – Crompton

“A narcissist’s constant idealization and devaluation of the same person mirrors their fickle, capricious nature – nothing is consistent but their bottomless need to regulate self-esteem.” – Shahida Arabi

“While shame is a given for any human, a narcissist’s fragile ego structure makes minor slights intolerable existential experiences triggering volatile defenses.” – Durvasula

Quotes on Narccissit Relationship

“They have perfected the art of exploitation – gathering intimate details about others that they cynically use as ammunition later during rage-fueled tantrums.”- Arab

“Narcissistic projections involve attributing one’s own negative qualities, behaviors or motives onto another as a defense mechanism against facing hard truths.” – Oren Jay Sofer

“The narcissist’s greatest fear is being seen as average or ordinary – so they concoct grandiose fantasies and self-important facades to stave off the terror of mediocrity.” – Vlasin

“Often there is underlying sexual dysfunction with narcissists born from self-loathing. But they wield sexuality as a weapon, using seduction and mystique as more tools of control.” – Luna Nera

“The narcissist feasts on others’ approval and admiration because deep down exists a hollow void created by a missing or neglectful caretaker early in life.” – Durvasula

“They lack basic empathy due to being so disconnected from their own inner emotional landscape, yet expertly exploit others’ empathy for fuel through manipulative displays of vulnerability.” – Lisa A Romano

“Be wary of love bombing by narcissists – it’s a ploy to intoxicate targets and lower defenses before the inevitable devaluation stage.” – Crompton

“Narcissists are unable to regulate their own emotions in a healthy manner and self-soothe during distress. This fuels frenzied attempts to control external supply sources instead.” – Durvasula

“Any act open to interpretation poses a threat to the narcissist’s carefully crafted image. So they attack dissenting views and doubt with immense vitriol to assert dominance.” – Vlasin

“People erroneously believe wealth or status equals happiness. But narcissists’ insatiable craving stems from an impoverished internal landscape no amount of achievement can assuage.” – Shahida Arabi

“The covert narcissist blends into the background, feeding shame unto themselves while projecting benevolence. Yet great harm gestates under a meek veneer over time.” – I.J. Scharfberg

The Nature of Narcissists

“Discarding sources of supply involves devaluing and demonizing the person to rebuild tattered self-worth upon their imagined flaws. Healthy mourning comes with confronting one’s role.” – Durvasula

“Narcissistic projection, gaslighting, failure to empathize or accept responsibility – all speak to a profound disregard and disrespect towards other people seen merely as toys for amusement.” – Crompton

“Like spoiled children throwing tantrums, narcissists externalize their internal emptiness to avoid self-examination. Anger becomes their clumsy attempt to regulate precarious self-regard.” – Shahida Arabi

“Beneath the grandiose pretense lies the corroded core: crippling insecurity and shame that no amount of feeding the ego can ever satiate.” – Luna Nera

“Narcissists are profoundly and irreparably inadequate – so they compulsively act out to control external factors through criticism, demand and aggression to avoid facing the void.” – Shahida Arabi

“The mask of likability worn by covert narcissists slowly disintegrates over time, revealing their self-absorption and exploitation of caring relationships as conduits for constant ego-stroking.” – A.J. Mahari

Quote on Narcissism

“They project an ideal self while devaluing actual humans. No person can ever live up to unrealistic caricatures concocted in the narcissist’s imagination.” – Dr. Carmen Harra

“Narcissistic rage erupts when the illusion of perfection sustaining the ego’s house of cards threatens to crumble from emerging flaws or losing the admiration fueling perfection fantasies.” – Durvasula

“Any disagreement challenges their fragile sense of omnipotence. So narcissists distort interactions, conjure slights and attacks where none occurred to preserve delusions of grandeur.” – Vlasin

“High-conflict people (narcissists included) see the version of reality where they are perpetually wronged victims as fact. Nuanced perspectives threatening grandiosity are denied.” – Bill Eddy (lawyer)

“Their superficial charm fuels a seduction phase to lure supply in before the devaluation transforms the same person into an evil caricature when no longer serving the ego.” – Crompton

“The covert narcissist’s veneer of strength inspires helpers to underestimate toxicity. Beneath lies a catastrophic core terrorizing them to cannibalize everything in the service of ego-preservation.” – Shahida Arabi

“Narcissists are pathologically intolerant to any minor imperfection surfacing in their own image. Devaluation rampages annihilate the human they admired moments prior.” – Vlasin

“Often the grandiose mask slips during therapy revealing panic, shame and fragility. But confronting weakness signifies a loss of superiority so treatment fails or tactics shift to preserve distortion.” – Durvasula

“Unwilling to acknowledge personal faults, they scapegoat others through chronic nitpicking of minuscule transgressions real or imagined.” – Crompton


Can Narcissists Change?

While some narcissist traits are ingrained from childhood, true change requires a narcissist to fully acknowledge the harm caused, take responsibility for their actions, and undertake long-term therapy.

Rarely do they have the self-awareness and willingness to do so.

How Do You Get Over a Narcissist?

The road to recovery involves grief work to let go of false hopes, healing from gaslighting by trusting your perceptions again, regaining independence by addressing codependency patterns, and finding empowerment through setting boundaries.

Time, self-care and potential counseling help alleviate lingering trauma bonds.

What Should You Never Say to a Narcissist?

Avoid engaging with blame, accusations, or criticism which triggers their defenses. Do not disclose vulnerabilities they can exploit or apologize for setting limits, as this rewards dysfunctionality.

The less information is given, the better for disengaging from their drama and discontinuing the cycle of abuse.

Why Are Narcissists Attracted to Empaths?

Empaths provide an endless vein to mine for narcissistic supply due to their gift of empathy, caring nature, and tendency to ignore boundaries to help others.

Empaths want to believe the best in people and fix them, so they easily overlook red flags or make excuses for mistreatment. Narcissists see them as ideal sources of fuel for their egos.

Can You Be Friends With a Narcissist?

It’s possible to maintain minimal contact with healthy boundaries, but true friendship requires intimacy, empathy, and mutual respect – all of which narcissists are incapable of sustaining.

Even casual acquaintance carries risks like Hoovering, triangulation, or manipulation during periods of narcissistic supply depletion. Low to no contact optimizes well-being.

How Do You Spot a Covert Narcissist?

Look for constant victim narratives, a subtle sense of superiority, entitlement, a need for admiration, and an inability to take responsibility for mistakes.

Relationships revolve around their dramatic needs yet they lack empathy. Information about others is collected solely for future use rather than genuine caring.

Subtle insults, passive aggressiveness, and gaslighting are commonly used abuse tactics that leave victims confused and doubting themselves over time.

Read Also: 10 Steps to Let Go of Someone You Love, Unchain Yourself & Find Peace

Final Thought

Understanding narcissism on a deeper level through these insightful quotes is an important part of the healing journey after narcissistic abuse.

By gaining knowledge about the dynamics, red flags, and manipulation tactics, survivors can begin to recalibrate their compass of what healthy relationships look like versus what constitutes toxic dysfunctionality.

Over time, targets of narcissistic abuse may find themselves recovering from emotional flashbacks, trust issues, or codependency patterns developed as coping mechanisms in unhealthy situations. Kindness and patience with oneself is key here.

With dedicated self-care, establishing strong boundaries, and choosing to only surround oneself with empathetic people who reciprocate care, healing happens gradually through regaining independence, dignity, and joy in life once more.

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