Q & A: Claiming and Theatrical Behavior: Is She a Narcissist?

My best friend for years met a female about a year ago. She appeared seemingly out of nowhere at first. She is very intelligent, works in a science lab. Left high school 2 years early, got her GED and left for college. She seemed really nice and cool at first. Offering to buy and pay for things. Being engaging in conversation albeit limited in nature (will get to that)

She seemed like a good person. My friend at the time was getting out of a relationship and this other woman moved in fast. Staying at his place all the time, never a missed moment once they got together. Overtime though they moved back to her parents place together. Since then, things have changed. She is very suspicious of everything my friend does. Every phone call, text, email, she has to know everything about them the moment they happen. If there is any objection to this, even if it is “just a moment” as my friend reads the text or email, she becomes very upset. Scoffing or becoming very silent and ignoring everyone when her demand is not met. She demands to know everything of his finances, comings and goings (where he is going, when will he be back, resulting in a “forget it, i’ll just come” attitude) She has to be involved in everything. Even if it is an activity she admittedly dislikes.

On the other hand, any inquires into her life (where she is going, her finances etc) it is all secrets and inappropriate to inquire. As I said before, when she doesn’t get what she wants she just checks out, ignores conversation, walks out, and this is normally precipitated with what I call “the death stare” or i guess a look of extreme disgust. In conversation she went from somewhat listening to others to, 5 words into the conversation, she just begins talking about herself, and will continue talking over you. Ignoring what your are saying until she is done, or you say something like “hey I was talking” and then she gives the stare and leaves or gets silent and ignores you from there on out.

She is very boastful about herself and her accomplishments. Sometimes talking for (and I clocked it) 45 minutes without letting anyone respond or contribute. It is odd though, she never finishes a story. She just moves from one to the next as if she has so much she wants to say that she can’t find her way back to the original conversation. Nobody I have been around with her has ever finished a story with her around. She as I said just cuts you off and starts talking over you. Sometimes she will be sitting silently while you are talking with someone else and just cuts in and starts talking, totally ignoring that she just butted in. She has no respect for others accomplishments. Anytime someone discusses one of there accomplishments, she has to try to one up it every time and demean what you have done as being average. I know she tries to pretend she has high self esteem but it is clear that she is not. She demands a lot of compliments from him. If when she tells a work or accomplishment story, she becomes very silents and to herself if you don’t fawn over it and overly congratulate her.

I’m not sure if it has something to do with it but i guess I should also mention she is a heavy drinker too. Often drinking one to two bottles of wine a night till she can barely walk; says she is going to bed and that means the night is over, that my friend, her boyfriend must also go to bed now. When he says he wants to still hang out she becomes infuriated, in a silent but obvious manner, gives the stare and just goes to bed. Sometimes she will return ten minutes later with the puppy dog face, demands a kiss from him and then leaves again. She has been caught many times being somewhere else when she should be at work or other. Like she is living a secret life that can only be tracked through receipts and the occasional cash receipt from a casino she has secretly went to alone.

Most recently my friend found out she was pregnant. She had stopped taking her birth control 6 months prior and not told him. He didn’t find out until she was 22 weeks pregnant. She only told him when he found the tests in the trash. To this day she has not answered why she did this. I mean she has a million and one half hearted excuses but it changes every time. I feel as if it was some way to “trap” him. She is very worried about ever losing him. Like I said she demands to always know his whereabouts, wants timetables, and if he is gone for more then 2 hours she freaks out calling every 20 minutes for updates. We had gone on a cross country trip together. Before the trip (she wasn’t going) she laid out a driving path for us, times to call her, and updates on what we were doing. She literally called every 25 minutes the entire trip. Needing at least 40 or so minutes of talk time from him to reassure her. Within 2 days of being gone she was drinking herself into sickness, calling at 3 or 4 or 5 in the morning wanting to know when he was coming back. By the 3rd day she was saying things like “I can understand if you don’t come back to me after this” “I know you don’t want to be with me anymore”.

It was to the point where we ended up cutting the trip short because she was worrying him so badly. She more or less ruined the trip. I definitely was upset with her for shortening what we had spent a lot of money on. When he got home, for a couple days it was back like it was when they first met, she was very giving and happy. Though after a couple days she went back to a very introverted attitude. Demands returned, the silence of her not getting her way, and that staring. Since then his and my friendship has deteriorated, along with most of his other friends. She has become hostile toward us and demands we don’t come around. She deletes our texts and phone calls whenever she can and he has to hide any communication he has with us. I don’t know what you call that but it seems like narcissism or something else. I don’t know. Just thought I would ask others what they thought and to get advice on how to handle it.

A: Although she has some of the traits a narcissist would have, the traits you mentioned could also reflect several other disorders or mental illnesses, including (but certainly not limited to) alcoholism. You may want to read,” What are the Differences Between Narcissism and Alcoholic Selfishness? on this website. Alcoholics often display narcissistic behavior but do not necessarily have a narcissistic personality disorder. You didn’t mention if she is able to have empathy for others. That is an essential component of NPD. At any rate, based on your descriptions she is a highly controlling, overly dramatic and secretive individual. Those are not good qualities to bring to a partnership. Try to remain in contact with your friend, however and whenever you can. At some point he will realize what his life has become and he will need your support to break free. Let him know you still care for him and that you will be there for him in the future if he needs a friend to lean on  (don’t say “when you want to leave her”- that will only distance him from you. Right now she is carrying his child and that is where his loyalty will be, no matter how ‘crazy’ she may be acting). As long as he is going along with her demands of not seeing you, there really isn’t much more you can do at this point in time.

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