Do Narcissists Treat Everyone the Same
Do Narcissists Treat Everyone the Same

Welcome to the fascinating, yet perplexing world of narcissistic behavior. Have you ever wondered whether a narcissist in your life treats everyone the same way they treat you?

This blog post dives deep into understanding the motives and patterns of those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), as well as examining how their treatment varies based on their target’s role in their lives. Our goal is to answer the question – do narcissists treat everyone the same?

So buckle up for an eye-opening journey through the four distinct phases that characterize these relationships, indicators that a narcissist may be treating you differently than others, and ultimately uncovering if indeed they treat everybody equally or not.

Key Takeaways

  • Narcissists do not treat everyone the same and carefully choose their targets based on traits that fulfill their need for control and admiration.
  • Their behavior towards their targets goes through a cycle of phases, including love bombing during idealization, gaslighting during devaluation, and sudden discard.
  • Signs that a narcissist may be treating you differently include constantly feeling inadequate or walking on eggshells around them.
  • Seeking help is important if you believe you may be a target of narcissistic manipulation, as it can have lasting emotional effects without proper support.

Understanding Narcissistic Behavior

Characteristics Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Understanding the complex traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is essential in recognizing the patterns of behavior narcissists display. Some key characteristics include:

  • Grandiose sense of self – importance
  • Exaggeration of achievements and talents
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, beauty, or ideal love
  • Belief that they are unique and can only be understood by or associate with other special people
  • Need for constant admiration and validation
  • Sense of entitlement to favorable treatment or automatic compliance with their expectations
  • Exploiting others for personal gain or benefit
  • Lack of empathy towards others’ feelings or needs
  • Enviousness of others or belief that others are envious of them
  • Arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes

Narcissists’ Need For Control And Validation

Narcissists crave control and validation to maintain their inflated sense of self-worth. This need stems from deep-seated insecurities, often originating in childhood, that leave them feeling powerless or inadequate without a constant stream of praise and admiration.

In an effort to secure control over others, narcissists use a variety of manipulative tactics such as love bombing, gaslighting, and guilt-tripping. For example, during the initial stages of a relationship, a narcissist may shower their target with compliments and affection – known as “love bombing” – to create emotional dependency quickly.

Meanwhile, gaslighting involves undermining someone’s perception of reality by denying facts or experiences which ultimately causes self-doubt in the victim.

How Narcissists View Themselves And Others

Narcissists have a distorted self-image and an inflated sense of their own importance. They often believe that they’re superior to others, deserving of special treatment, admiration, and success.

This is driven by the constant need to protect their fragile egos from feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness buried deep within their core.

When it comes to viewing other people, narcissists see them as pawns in their game for obtaining validation or attention—a source of “narcissistic supply.” People are divided into two categories: those who can serve the narcissist’s needs (the enablers) or those perceived as threats to be vanquished (competitors).

For example, a co-worker might be seen as useful if they provide compliments but will become an instant rival when promoted. In personal relationships, partners may initially be idealized (“love bombing”) before being devalued once flaws are revealed or loyalty wavers.

The Different Ways Narcissists Treat People In Their Lives

The Charm Offensive

Narcissists are known to use their charm to manipulate others into doing what they want. During the Charm Offensive phase, a narcissist will use their charisma and confidence to win people over.

They may shower someone with compliments, offer gifts or attention, and be overly agreeable in order to gain control.

But beware: this charming behavior is not genuine. It’s simply a tool for the narcissist to gain power and admiration from those around them. Once they have achieved their goal, the Charm Offensive will come to an abrupt end, replaced by criticism or even cruelty during the later stages of abuse.

The Idealization Phase

The idealization phase is the first stage in a narcissist’s cycle of behavior towards their targets. In this phase, they present themselves as charming, caring, and attentive individuals who seem to be perfect partners or friends.

They mirror their target’s interests and values and create an illusion of shared traits and experiences.

However, it’s important to note that the idealization phase is not genuine but rather a ploy to gain control over the target. Narcissists use this phase as an opportunity to secure long-term adoration from the targeted person or group while also securing their own need for validation.

The Devaluation Phase

During the devaluation phase, a narcissist will gradually shift their behavior towards their target from positive to negative. This can include verbal and emotional abuse, gaslighting, and criticism directed solely at the target.

One of the most damaging aspects of the devaluation phase is that the narcissist often convinces their target that they brought this treatment on themselves by not meeting impossible standards or being unworthy of love and respect.

The Discard Phase

The discard phase is the final stage in a narcissist’s cycle of abuse. During this phase, the narcissist will suddenly and without warning cut off all contact with their victim.

In some cases, narcissists may use the discard phase as a means of punishing their victims for not meeting their unrealistic demands or expectations. They may also use it as a way to regain control over someone who has become too independent or no longer provides them with sufficient attention or validation.

How Targets Are Chosen

Narcissists are known for their ability to carefully pick and choose their targets. Typically, they seek out individuals who possess certain traits or characteristics that will fulfill their need for admiration and control.

Additionally, narcissists may target those who are easily manipulated or have low self-esteem, as these individuals are more likely to fall into the trap of the charm offensive and become reliant on the narcissist’s validation.

Once a target has been selected, the narcissist enters into what is known as the idealization phase – showering them with affection, attention, and gifts in order to win them over.

However, this phase is often short-lived before transitioning into the devaluation phase where they start to criticize and belittle their chosen victim.

Signs That A Narcissist Is Treating You Differently

If you find yourself constantly walking on eggshells, feeling inadequate around a certain person, or receiving criticism only directed towards you, these could be signs that a narcissist is treating you differently than others in their lives.

You Feel Like You Are Walking On Eggshells

One of the most common signs that a narcissist is treating you differently is when you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them. This means that you constantly have to monitor your behavior and words to avoid setting off their explosive reactions or criticisms.

For example, a narcissistic boss may make it clear that they expect perfection from all their employees and any deviation from this standard would result in harsh criticism or even punishment.

As a result, the employees are always anxious and afraid of doing anything wrong, causing significant stress and anxiety in the workplace.

You Feel Inadequate

One of the signs that a narcissist may be treating you differently is feeling inadequate. Narcissists often set impossibly high standards and expect their targets to meet them, constantly criticizing and degrading them if they fall short.

For example, a narcissistic boss may give an employee a task with unrealistic expectations, then berate them for not completing it perfectly. Or, in a romantic relationship, a narcissistic partner may consistently compare their significant other to others who seemingly have more impressive accomplishments or physical features, leaving their partner feeling like they can never measure up.

You Feel That Criticism Is Directed Only Toward You

If you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around a narcissist, and that nothing you do is ever good enough, it’s likely because they’re only directing criticism and blame towards you.

In fact, this type of behavior is a classic red flag in narcissistic relationships. You might notice that your partner or family member never seems to criticize anyone else—only you.

This kind of targeted criticism serves several purposes for the narcissist: it makes them feel superior by pointing out your flaws and mistakes, it keeps control over the relationship by making sure that they are always right and blaming everything on their partner or scapegoat, and it erodes the other person’s self-esteem until they become fully dependent on the abuser for validation.

Other Targeted Behaviors

Narcissists often display a range of targeted behaviors towards their victims, including emotional manipulation, gaslighting, and invalidation. Emotional manipulation involves using tactics such as guilt-tripping or threatening to control the victim’s emotions and actions.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where the narcissist distorts reality or denies their behavior to make the victim doubt themselves. Invalidation occurs when the narcissist dismisses or undermines the victim’s feelings or experiences.

These targeted behaviors are key in maintaining control over their victims and can result in long-lasting emotional trauma. Victims may feel confused, anxious, or even question their sanity due to chronic questioning of their own reality by the abuser.

Do Narcissists Treat Everyone The Same?

Contrary to popular belief, narcissists do not treat everyone the same. In fact, their behavior varies greatly depending on who they are interacting with and what they hope to gain from that interaction.

The Myth Of Being Treated Equally

One of the common misconceptions about narcissists is that they treat everyone equally. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Targets may be chosen based on factors such as vulnerability, willingness to comply with the narcissist’s demands or access to resources that could benefit them. Additionally, while some people may receive charm offensives or compliments initially, others may only ever experience criticism and belittling behavior.

How Narcissists Pick Their Targets

Narcissists are selective about their targets and often choose people who they believe will provide them with the most validation, control, and admiration. These individuals may possess traits or qualities that the narcissist lacks, such as confidence, empathy, or success.

The selection process begins with observing potential targets and determining whether they meet specific criteria. Narcissists use a variety of tactics to assess potential targets’ vulnerabilities and weaknesses before deciding whom to pursue actively.

Targets chosen by narcissists often share common characteristics, such as low self-esteem, kindness or vulnerability.

While it may seem that narcissists treat everyone similarly at first glance, in reality, they selectively pick only suitable targets whom they see as sources for satisfying their egotistical desires rather than treating all equally – this is why it’s so important not to confuse toxic behavior with genuine interest or affection from these types of individuals.

The Role Of Empathy In Narcissistic Behavior

Narcissists are notorious for lacking empathy, but they do possess the ability to understand emotions. In fact, when it comes to manipulation and control, a narcissist’s ability to read other people’s emotions can be their greatest asset.

They may use their understanding of others’ vulnerabilities and desires to manipulate them into feeling certain ways or doing certain things.

In some cases, narcissists may also use empathy as a tool for keeping their targets under their control. For example, during the love-bombing phase where they shower someone with affection and attention early on in a relationship, they may appear highly empathetic by mirroring the target’s likes, dislikes, values or beliefs to create an illusion of similarity between them.

However, once the manipulative process has begun (i.e., devaluation stage), the true lack of empathy becomes apparent as they begin playing games that intentionally cause emotional harm without remorse- all while justifying each behavior as reasonable from “their own point of view.” This highlights how much of a temporary asset – rather than real quality -empathy actually is for any given Narcissistic Personality Disorder sufferer’s scheme since it quickly shows its limits when agendas get shifted towards exploitation instead of authentic human connection.


In conclusion, it’s important to understand that narcissists do not treat everyone the same. They carefully choose their targets and go through different phases of behavior towards them, such as love bombing during idealization and gaslighting during devaluation.

If you feel like you may be a target of a narcissist’s manipulation, look out for signs such as feeling inadequate or constantly walking on eggshells. Remember that it’s not your fault and seeking help is always an option.