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Narcissism In a Nutshell
The Mind-Boggling Behaviors Behind the
Narcissist’s Relationship Agenda

Other Books by Zari Ballard:

When Love Is a Lie

(Narcissistic Partners & the Pathological Relationship Agenda)

Stop Spinning, Start Breathing

(A Codependency Workbook for Narcissist Abuse Recovery)

When Evil Is a Pretty Face:
(Narcissistic Females & the Pathological Relationship Agenda)

Copyright@2017 Zari Ballard

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Connecting the Dots

Chapter I: The Love Bomber

Chapter II: The Pathological Liar

Chapter III: The Future-Faker

Chapter IV: The Gas-Lighter

Chapter V: The Cell Phone Ninja

Chapter VI: The Silent Abuser

Chapter VII: The “Love” Juggler

Chapter VIII: The Expectation Manager

Chapter IX: The Distracter

Chapter X: The Triangulator

Chapter XI: The Holiday Houdini

Chapter XII: The Chaos Creator

Chapter XIII: The Great Pretender


Speak to Zari

About the Author

Introduction: Connecting the Dots

When we’re involved with the type of partner that I describe in this book, we can read a zillion articles on the topic and still not feel confident that we know the truth. We may even devour books on how we can change ourselves to fix the problem and never get to the nitty gritty of what is really going on. Something about the relationship is “off” yet we don’t know what it is. At times we feel as if this person is our soul mate and at other times we feel completely disconnected. Even after years, this person can become a stranger in the blink of an eye. How is that even possible? Moreover, it’s not as if this is our first rodeo. Indeed, some of us have been married and divorced or had our hearts broken five times over. What is it about this relationship that makes it so different from the others? Why is the pain so unbearable and the misery so isolating? Are we making a big deal about nothing or is something really going on behind our backs? Who or what is this person and why do we even care? Is this person a narcissist, a sociopath, or just a fucking asshole and how can I even tell? For the first eight years of my relationship with a narcissistic partner, I felt incapable of connecting the dots and drawing my own conclusion as to what was really happening.

Although I’ve written several detailed books about narcissism in relationships, I’ve come to understand that sometimes all a suspecting partner wants is a quick answer. I understand this because I’ve been there. I spent 13-years with a narcissistic partner and didn’t even begin to look for answers until the 8th year. At that time, I felt very desperate and hadn’t a clue what the true meaning of narcissism even was. All my life I’d thought that being narcissistic meant that one was over-the-top conceited about his/her physical appearance. I was completely floored when I discovered the true scope of the definition. In my case, after some intensive googling, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind what I was up against. This person I had known for many years prior to becoming a couple wasn’t anything close to the person that I thought he was. As his girlfriend, I found myself repeatedly being subjected to behaviors that blew my mind…such as the silent treatment. How could this person I love disappear for weeks on end for no apparent reason and then reappear again as if nothing had happened? And why did I allow it to happen? There were so many questions and I felt bombarded with answers that made no sense. What the hell was going on? Little did I know that my journey was just beginning. Even after I grasped the true definition of this supposed “disorder” called narcissism, I hung in there another four years thinking I could fix it. Having so much information often makes a conclusion impossible to process!

The truth is that unless a person has already experienced this relationship madness for themselves, they can never understand the scope of the betrayal. As this person’s partner, this applies to us as well. Much of the abuse is covert and extremely passive aggressive. The bad behaviors come disguised as something else, causing confusion and self-blame. The narcissist’s relationship agenda is pathological and the behaviors are mind-boggling. For all these reasons, I have written this book. If you are involved with one of these monsters, I will help you differentiate between what is real and what isn’t and I’m going to make it as concise as possible. I am going to help you to connect the dots and show you exactly how to do it. You are going to realize, as I did, that the dots have always connected…only now you will suddenly have the eyes to see it.

To start, we have to understand that while the line is fine between a person who is a narcissist and a person who’s just an asshole, the line is still a line. A person we meet, or start dating, or are already involved with can be overwhelmingly selfish and arrogant, have a tendency to ghost after a great weekend, and even be a cheater and still not be narcissist. It’s the covert underlying operation of the narcissist…that little bit of extra evil in the mix…that makes the difference. In other words, when it comes to narcissism, it is the level of the betrayal that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. The bottom line is that an asshole can potentially be fixed and a narcissist cannot. Understanding the distinction between these two human entities will ultimately determine whether we choose to stay or go. The fact that you are here, however, tells me that you know the truth and simply need a bit of validation. I can give you that.

As you may already know or will soon come to learn, when we’re involved with narcissists, all of our lives become interchangeable. My story is your story is her story is his story. It’s my belief that the thirteen “signs” or behaviors of narcissism that I describe in this book are absolutely undeniable. If your partner subscribes to one, he or she subscribes to all of them in some way. All narcissistic behaviors connect together to bring us the inevitable shocking “a-ha” moment. Trying to rationalize that that your guy or girl is somehow excluded from the label because he or she displays only one behavior or some more than others only creates false hope. A narcissist is a narcissist and if the person that you love subscribes to one behavior that I describe here, you will, if you choose to stay in the relationship, inevitably be subjected to ALL of the behaviors in some way, shape, or form. I guarantee it.

This handbook not only describes the thirteen most blatant characteristics of narcissism in a relationship, it also shows, very clearly, how all of the described behaviors seamlessly connect. This is very important because - together – all of these behaviors define what I call the narcissist’s pathological relationship agenda – an agenda by which the narcissist lives his life and by which you, if you choose to stay, will live your life as well. In other words, these behaviors do not stand alone and don’t make the mistake of thinking that they do. You have to think logically about the abuse without trying to bargain with it. This will be the key to making your discovery…to answering, once and for all, if the person in question is a narcissist or not.

So, here’s a nutshell version of how this book with explain the connection between one narcissistic mind-boggling behavior to the next: The love-bombing described in Chapter I evolves into the future-faking in Chapter III in the same way that the silent treatment described in Chapter VI is a direct result of the managing down of expectations explained in Chapter VIII in the same way that the pathological lying in Chapter II along with the Cell Phone Game of Chapter V, the triangulation revealed in Chapter X, and the projection of Chapter XIII is all part of the chaos creation described in Chapter XII! Together and combined, they enable the overall mindset that allows the narcissist to perpetuate – and get away with - the “love” juggling exposed in Chapter VII. Okay, now take a breath! Those are just a FEW of the many ways that we can connect the dots within this book.

Finally, let me just say that narcissism is everywhere. It’s part of the overall spiritual warfare that I personally feel is encompassing this planet as we speak. Particularly in today's social networking lifestyles, it is at epidemic proportions. These sexual and emotional predators enjoy the challenge of any environment – such as online dating - where they can retain the disguise longer or create plausible deniability with impunity. Learning to recognize the signs/behaviors of a narcissist’s relationship agenda can prevent this type of abuse from ever happening OR it can give us the confidence to finally (and permanently) go "no contact" and exit the game. In the end, once we have this information, the choice is ours to make alone and once we do, we have to own it.

Do you suspect that your partner is a narcissist? If so, this handbook of pathological relationship behaviors is going to let you know one way or another! It’s time to connect the dots.

Chapter I: The Love Bomber

Even though a narcissist’s love bombing involves all those initial actions/behaviors that, normally, we might consider to be “too much too soon” or “too good to be true”, somehow the spell is such that we suddenly throw logic out the window. The trick of the narcissist is that he creates a “soul mate effect”, appearing to be everything we want by mirroring our best qualities back to us. Moreover, the narcissist will do it in such a way that we don’t even know it’s happening. This tactic ensures an intense connection quickly with a desired target and creates the illusion that we’ve found our soul mate!

When we’re involved romantically with a narcissist, the relationship cycles repeatedly through three distinct and, inevitably, recognizable stages. These stages, in perfect order, are known as the Idolize, Devalue, and Discard phases of the relationship and, if the guy is a narcissist, they will occur in succession without fail over and over.

The initial stage – the Idolize phase - happens at the very beginning and it is during this phase that we are subjected to love-bombing, a tactic used by a narcissist to ensure a quick and intense connection with a desired target. Ironically, many of us would be quick to say that a guy who comes on strong initially is less than attractive but with the narcissist, this is not the case. Because he’s an N, he knows exactly what he’s doing and he is very good at it. The narcissist knows how to come on strong in a very passive-aggressive manner – a clever combination of skills that serves him well on those specific targets that he views as having future potential.

During this love-bombing stage, the narcissist will use a variety of emotional manipulation tactics to hook, re-hook, and then string-along his unwitting – and often love struck - partner. One of the most effective of these tactics is one that I call the soul mate effect. Along with its sister manipulation tactic future faking (See Chapter VII), the soul mate effect makes up the stickiest portion of the narcissist’s evil web. Both tactics are so important to love-bombing, in fact, that failing at one or the other could cause the narcissist’s relationship agenda to cease up like a bad engine. For this reason, failing is simply not an option to a seasoned narcissist. If he fails, it’s a good bet he’s not a narcissist.

And, yes, I have to admit (and not proudly) that the soul mate effect was my downfall. Clearly exploiting the fact that we’d known each other for ten years before spending another thirteen as boyfriend and girlfriend, my ex would use this tactic to pull me back in after periodically letting me go. In other words, after blowing me off and obviously changing his mind, it was love-bombing all over again just to suck me back down the rabbit hole. You see, an emotional manipulator will typically love-bomb a target during the Idolize Phase to sink the hook and then re-use the tactic in lesser degrees whenever they need to magically reappear after a silent treatment.

In the beginning, just like all of you, I felt as if my ex and I were meant to be together. For the first few months, it was as if we shared the same fucking brain. We’d finish each others sentences, we liked the same music, we laughed at the same things, I loved his sense of humor and he flattered me at every opportunity. It was amazing! And then, of course, he referred to us as soul mates and BANG, I was a done deal. Wow…could he be right? Are we soul mates? Of course we are!

Love-bombing via the soul mate effect is particularly effective because it is so very personal. Not only do we fall for the lie, we actually deeply believe it as well. In fact, we believe it so much that later down the road, perhaps as a way to get him back or to prevent him from leaving, we will actually try to convince him of its importance. Please don’t leave me! We’re soul mates! Because we frequently confirm that the love-bombing indeed works, a narcissist simply puts just a slight spin on the original event, thus re-creating the effect upon every return as an easy relationship reset. During those return moments, for example, my ex’s soul mate rhetoric might go something like, “You know, I think I’m addicted to you. What can I say? We’re soul mates!” And if he really wanted to tug at my heartstrings, he’d refer to “our history together” which, for me, was a key phrase that either caused me to turn a blind eye or triggered immediate forgiveness.

The difference between the soul mate effect and future faking is that the soul mate effect occurs only at the initial love-bombing stage and at certain reset points to hook and then re-hook a target. With the soul mate effect already in place, future-faking, which involves the narcissist making promises and/or future plans that will never happen, is typically used to keep or maintain the hook. In essence, future-faking is an extension of the soul mate effect and each serves a very important purpose in the relationship agenda. While both strategies are obviously evil in that they are pre-meditated manipulations intended to fuck with a victim’s head for completely deceptive and self-serving reasons, to understand the association is how we connect the dots.

The trigger-pull to all of this is how the narcissist behaves soon after creating the soul mate effect - and, mind you, it’s not a matter of if but when it will happen. Sadly, the narcissist will 1) create chaos and disappear the next day after saying all these wonderful things without an ounce of shame, or 2) forget the plans made altogether and then look at you incredulously when you remind him, or 3) accuse you of putting pressure on him even though it was he who made the plans, or 4) accuse you of ruining his life the morning after an entire night spent of him calling you the best thing that ever happened…and it goes on and on. It’s all a bunch of pathological word garbage that, in retrospect, means absolutely nothing but when it’s happening, of course, it’s a heart breaker.

The Idolize phase is for love-bombing the hell out of you, showering you with attention, friendship, camaraderie, romance, and all those things you’ve always wished for in a partner. The N will make you laugh until you cry and he’ll tell you how different you are from anyone else he’s ever been with. He’ll mirror every good quality that you have until you find it absolutely amazing how many things you both have in common. The relationship itself will feel effortless in just a short period of time and your heart will feel light as a feather. He’ll use the word “soul mate” to describe how he feels about you. You’ll start a sentence and he’ll miraculously finish it as if, as I said, you share the same brain. Finally, you’ll have found a lover who is also your best friend…the romantic element we always dream about, right?

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