"A know-it all who doesn't know what he's talking about is a jerk;
whereas a know-it-all who does know what he is talking about
is merely an a**hole"
- Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee Books)
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, narcissism is in the fear -- and loathing -- of the offended.
Here are a Baker's Dozen** of ways in which they offend:
1. They interrupt you in the middle of what you're saying and expect you to listen to them.
2. They take offense when you interrupt them.
3. They interrupt you in the middle of when you're thinking about something without asking if it is a good time to talk and expect you to immediately stop whatever you're thinking about and give them your undivided attention.
4. They expect you to change whatever you're thinking, doing and feeling to what they believe you should be thinking, doing and feeling...and for you to do it with a smile and gratitude.
5. They scowl and act hostile, when you accidentally bump into them.
6. If they're walking along the side of a road or on a path and you approach them, they make you walk around them.
7. They are easier to upset than they are to please.
8. They rarely say, "I'm sorry" and if they do, they do so insincerely or begrudgingly.
9. They rarely say, "Thank you" because they feel so entitled.
10. They rarely congratulate you because they are unable to root for anyone else.
11. When they demand something you're afraid to say: "No."
12. When they complain about something you are afraid to tell them to "Just deal with it" because you're afraid they'll go ballistic or become coldly sullen and shut down.
13. You're chuckling and agreeing with most of this list, but would be scared stiff to show it to them (a.k.a. you walk on eggshells around them most of the time).
If you live with or work for a narcissist, take care of yourself and if you can, get away from them, because they almost never change. If you can't or are not ready to cut your losses and must deal with them, check out "Jiu-Jitsu for the High Maintenance Crowd."
If you are a narcissist and have read this far, there is hope for you.
Check out the Neurotic Narcissist Continuum (where are you?)
* adapted from: "Chapter 11: Steer Clear of Toxic People," in "Just Listen" Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, (c) 2009)
** in the comments section, please add your own additions to how narcissists offend and do much worse to others