Writing a Narcissistic Character

Details You Should Know

By Annette Rey

I hope it’s only a character you want to profile and that you have not been exposed to a narcissist in real life because they are highly destructive people for those around them.

Let’s look at a few points you can incorporate in your self-indulgent character.

For the sake of clarity, in this post I refer to the narcissist as male and his victim as female.

Choosing to put a narcissist in your body of work can be a very good choice as he can be an unfaithful lover, a workaholic, a dependent family member, a professional person – and guess what. All of them are not murderers, but some are. So this is a very flexible type of profile to add to any story.

  • They do a lot of lying. The motive is to always make themselves look good, to avoid exposure of who they really are, and to cover up truth.
  • They have an inflated view of themselves and think they are smarter, more beautiful, more talented, and more of everything than any other character.
  • They don’t have empathy for any other person because they themselves are unable to feel deep emotion for anyone but themselves.
  • They manipulate everyone in their lives. The term puppet master comes to mind.
  • By direct communication or by innuendo, they remind others that they are wrong, are lacking in every category, and will never be on his level no matter how hard they may try.

The result on your other characters from being associated with a narcissist:

  • In the beginning, the other character (the victim) is tricked by the narcissist and will defend him to other supporting characters, and will speak highly of him, detailing the good characteristics she has been deceived that he possesses.
  • Over the course of the relationship, the victim second-guesses herself, feels insecure and off-balance, and is filled with anxiety and confusion.
  • The victim’s insecurities affects all areas of her life. Her relationship with family and friends deteriorates. Her work may suffer.
  • The victim’s appearance may change. She may look more haggard, more worried, more paranoid. She may be sleeping less, eating less, maybe eating more due to her self-esteem having been assaulted over a period of time.
  • The victim may sense something is wrong, but can’t imagine the things she is beginning to think could be true. And so she often pushes those doubts beneath the surface to her own detriment.
  • The victim discovers her doubts are, in fact, the truth. These discoveries usually occur too late. She is already swindled, or broken-hearted, or murdered.

This is not an exhaustive list of possibilities. You can elaborate upon these and add more complications on others. All characters are affected by the insertion of a narcissist.

It’s a good idea to include one in your story.

And be grateful he is only an imagined person. The living ones are poison.


One thought on “Writing a Narcissistic Character

  1. You’ve nailed it with respect to the toxic character traits of narcissists. They also minimize any bad behavior of their own while magnifying inconsequential mistakes of others. They can also turn on the tears at the drop of a hat (male and female narcissists are equally adept) if they think they can get their way by doing so. This should never be confused with genuine regret over their actions. But for a writer they certainly provide a wealth of information to use!


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