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Glossary of Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) Terms

Narcissists seek a constant supply of attention and admiration. They often use a “false self” that is likeable to attract people to them. But, narcissists are all about protecting themselves and are unable to make healthy connections. Instead, they seek out vulnerable people to give them attention, thus feeding their supply.

For all our resources on narcissism and abuse, visit Fuck the Abuser and follow us on Instagram.

Here are helpful terms for those who are learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

  • N-Narcissist
  • Nex-Narcissistic Ex (can also be NH or NexH for Narcissistic husband or Narcissistic Ex-Husband)
  • STBX – Soon to Be Ex
  • Boundaries-Guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around them and how they will respond when someone steps outside those limits.
  • CN – Covert Narcissist – The worst type of narcissist you can possibly meet. They seem nice when public-facing, but can be emotionally or physically abusive behind closed doors. They are hard to identify initially and are absolute emotional vampires.

Related: How to Identify a Covert Narcissist (my recount).

  • Codependency – A relationship in which an otherwise mentally healthy person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected by an addiction or mental illness. People who are experiencing a trauma bond are also codependent.
  • Cluster B Personality Disorders-psychological conditions that appear in adolescence or early adulthood, continue over many years and cause a great deal of distress. Personality disorders often disrupt a person’s ability to enjoy life or find fulfillment in relationships, work, or school. They are characterized by dramatic, over-emotional, or unpredictable (erratic) thinking or behavior. Cluster B personality disorders are also the most common of the personality disorders described in DSM-5.
      • NPD-Narcissistic Personality Disorder (a Cluster B PD)
      • BPD-Borderline Personality Disorder (a Cluster B PD)
      • ASPD-Antisocial Personality Disorder (a Cluster B PD)
      • HPD-Histrionic Personality Disorder (a Cluster B PD)
  • Cognitive Dissonance -This is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time. For example, “Person A loves, respects and values me. Person A punched me in the face.” In this example, Person As behavior suggests the other statement is not accurate. It can be very disorienting and causes a great deal of conflict when two accepted things contradict each other
  • Cycle of Abuse-This is the ongoing rotation between destructive and constructive behavior which is typical of many dysfunctional relationships and families.
  • DARVO – Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. A behavior of perpetrators of wrongdoing (especially sexual offenders), when accused of attacking their victim, reversing the roles of victim and offender.
  • Emotional Vampires – Narcissists are essentially emotional drainers. Narcissists are exhausting because they will drain the energy out of everyone they meet. They will cause unnecessary drama with friends, family, or lovers in order to get what they need – attention! They often suffer from low self-esteem and will seem the victim or needy so that others will give them what they need.
  • Enabler – A person who habitually attempts to placate another by sacrificing their own or other family members’ needs in a misguided attempt to keep the peace.
  • Enabling – A pattern of behavior, often adopted by abuse victims, seeks to avoid confrontation and conflict by absorbing the abuse without challenging it or setting boundaries. The perpetrator of the abuse is thus “enabled” to continue their pattern of behavior.
  • Fear of Abandonment – An irrational belief that one is in imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.
  • FLEAs-Frightening Lasting Effects of Abuse, and narcissistic-like behavior traits displayed by a non-narcissist, generally learned behaviors from having been raised by a narcissist and not knowing what is normal for the situation
  • FM-Flying Monkey-As in “The Wizard of Oz” the Wicked Witch sends the monkeys to fly and do her bidding, the Narcs tend to manipulate others into doing their bidding and harassing you or wearing you down and isolating you
  • FOG– Fear, Obligation and Guilt-tools of manipulative people designed to get you to do what they want with the threat of isolation or that you are a bad person if you don’t give them what they want
  • Future Faking– The narcissist talks about or hints at a future together to get what they want from us right now. Their innate ability to future-fake is probably the narcissist’s most effective tactic for managing down our expectations and the biggest reason why we stay in a toxic relationship with them. Future faking speaks to our hearts desires and forces us to become tethered to the narcissist. The narcissist, of course, knows this and thus will use his knowledge of our heartfelt desires to string us along until the discard phase. It’s the part of the narcissistic pathological relationship agenda that lends itself to the fact that there is no boundary that a narcissist will not cross to get what they want in the moment that they want it.
  • Gaslighting– a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to a 1938 play Gas Light and its 1944 film adaptation. It has been used in clinical and research literature, as well as in political commentary.
  • Grey Rock – If you need to stay in communication with the N, go grey rock. Grey rock is when you only give short and informative answers to the N. No emotion is offered to the N as they thrive on your emotions. This is for transactional purposes. People who go grey rock may have children or are dealing with a divorce from the N.
  • Grooming – The predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.
  • High Functioning-A High-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is able to conceal their dysfunctional behavior in certain public settings and maintain a positive public or professional profile while exposing their negative traits to family members behind closed doors.
  • Hoovering– the N’s attempt to bring an “escaped” or discarded victim back into the fold in order to resume the Nsupply. Previously ignoring Ns might suddenly become inexplicably attentive, previously engulfing Ns may offer unexpected apologies for vague previous transgressions, whatever it takes to get the victim back into the fold and resume Nsupply much like a vacuum cleaner.
  • Idealize, Devalue & Discard – The three stages in a narcissistic relationship.
      • Idealization is the first phase, the “pedestal phase” as many refer to it. This is when the N is totally and utterly pulling out all the stops to get you hooked. They will move mountains for your very happiness. They love everything about you and let you know it. They are in constant contact with you, making plans, wanting to see you. Once the N knows that their supply is on the hook, they slowly reel you in.
      • Devalue is the second phase. Now that you are hooked from all that attention and love being thrown your way, get ready to finally meet the person you are truly dealing with. The narcissist mask starts to fall off. Throughout the devaluing phase, the victim has tirelessly tried to figure out what they did to make the N turn on them. The N has made it very clear throughout the devaluing phase that everything was the victim’s fault. The victim is tired and repressed. By this point, they probably have become so withdrawn they have little to no social life left. The N has succeeded in isolating and degrading the victim’s self-esteem. 
      • Discard is the third and final phase. Once they have sucked every bit of your energy and life out of you they will throw you away in cold blood. Since the victim can no longer provide any source of supply, the N will then leave them without a second glance for new supply. And the cycle repeats itself, often including the old supply or victim through a method known as hoovering.
  • JADE-Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain-Things you don’t need to do with an abuser about your own feelings or boundaries.
  • Learned Helplessness-When a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.
  • Love-Bombing– Love Bombing is a seductive tactic that is used when someone who is manipulative tries to control the relationship with bombs brimming with “love” right from day one. It often takes place within whirlwind romances and is usually directed by sociopaths or narcissists
  • LC-Low contact- limited contact based upon what you decide is good for you. Reducing the speed in how you respond to attempts to contact you, keeping it only to say Birthday Cards once a year. Maybe visits at the holidays. It’s putting you into control but still staying in some form of contact that you feel comfortable with. Can also be VLC, Very Low Contact, maybe once a year or every other year for contact with them if they are family
  • Low Functioning-Where a disordered Individual is one who is unable to conceal their dysfunctional behavior from public view or maintain a positive public or professional profile.
  • NC-No contact – Actively blocking them from contacting you by phone, text, email, social media or other apps. Removing their ability to communicate with you, thus protecting yourself from further abuse.
  • Narcissistic Sabotage – Any action designed to hurt, or damage the interests of another person or group for the purpose of making a direct, personal gain.
  • Narcissistic Supply Attention-seeking behavior, whether positive or negative, is narcissistic supply. Narcissistic supply is a form of psychological addiction where the narcissist requires, and even demands, special treatment, admiration, importance, or validation to feed their sense of entitlement and self-centeredness. In essence, narcissistic supply is how the narcissist copes with the world in making it a safe place for them to thrive. The supply can be attention, sex, financial or more. They are typically from a particular person or people in their lives. That is why they need to manipulate and conquest their need for supply.
  • Normalizing – A tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviors. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behavior.
  • Reactive Abuse – Occurs when the victim reacts to the abuse they are experiencing from the abuser. The victim may scream, insult, or even lash out physically toward the abuser. The abuser then retaliates and uses this to their advantage by telling the victim that they are, in fact, the abuser. It gives the abuser an opportunity to victimize themselves and use it against their victims in a smear campaign.
  • Sabotage – The spontaneous disruption of calm or status quo in order to serve a personal interest, provoke a conflict, or draw attention.
  • Silent Treatment – A passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval and contempt are exhibited through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence. Can be very similar to stonewalling.
  • Sleep Deprivation – The practice of routinely interrupting, impeding, or restricting another person’s sleep cycle to abuse or harass and stress them.
  • Smear Campaign – A series of false accusations meant to turn others against you, to ruin your professional or social reputation. This can also benefit the person doing the smearing by making the victim’s true statements or accusations look like an attempt to attack the smearer. 

Related: How to Deal with a Smear Campaign by a Narcissist

  • Stonewalling – When one or both members of a couple refuse to communicate, this can mark the final step in the breakdown of their relationship. In his studies, “stonewalling” was overwhelmingly done by men, with women overwhelmingly using “criticism.” In studies, men’s physiology reached a state of arousal prior to them doing “stonewalling”, while the female partner showed a physiological reaction of increased heart rate after her partner had “stonewalled” her. As stonewalling persists in a relationship and becomes a continuous cycle, the negative effects of stonewalling outweigh the positive effects. Stonewalling can be detrimental to relationships because there is often no chance for resolution of conflict. When stonewalling occurs, it has both a physiological and psychological effect on the person who is stonewalling. Physiologically, the person who is stonewalling can completely shut down, particularly when people stonewall as a self-soothing mechanism. The person doing stonewalling may be aware or unaware that this is taking place, because of an increase in adrenaline due to an increase in stress, where the person can either engage or flee the situation. Psychologically, stonewalling is a defense mechanism used to preserve one’s self and emotions.
  • Stockholm Syndrome – When a hostage, kidnap victim, or abuse victim develops a sense of loyalty or co-operation towards their captor or abuser, disregarding the abuse or the danger and protecting or sustaining the perpetrator. This is a particular type of trauma bond.
  • Trauma Bond – Trauma bonding is a psychological response to abuse. It occurs when the abused person forms an unhealthy bond with the person who abuses them. Trauma bonds often make it difficult for the abused to leave the abuser because of the addicting effects of a narcissist’s hot and cold behavior.
  • Triangulation – Gaining an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other. This often happens in a love triangle. The narcissists will triangulate their supply so that they do not discover the narcissist’s master plan to manipulate multiple supplies at once.

For all our resources on narcissism and abuse, visit Fuck the Abuser and follow us on Instagram.

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Alex Tran AKA Schimiggy is a fitness fashion, travel, justice, and food-obsessed raconteuse. She currently resides in Seattle and teaches yoga while writing her heart out. Schimiggy Reviews is a lifestyle blog where Alex shares her passions and interests with the world!

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