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Five traits of a narcissist or ‘crazymaker’


Narcissists can drive you crazy

I found a perfect description of a narcissist, a.k.a. Dark Heart, in of all things, a book on developing your creativity. The authors call them crazymakers.

Isn’t that wonderfully apt? The authors add this gem about relationships with narcissists or crazymakers, “You veer between wanting to kill them and wanting to kill yourself.”

The book is “The Artist’s Way at Work – Riding the Dragon. Twelve Weeks to Creative Freedom” by Mark Bryan, with Julia Cameron and Catherine Allen.

To Think Like a Black Belt and learn self defense against a narcissist, it’s good to know their tricks and traits, and teach them to your children. Here are five ways Dark Hearts can be crazymakers (an in-depth list of 100 narcissistic traits is here.):

1)  Their time, schedules, energy, drama, and life issues always outweigh yours
From the book:

“Crazymakers thrive on drama, and melodrama requires a sense of impending doom. Everything is an emergency, a deadline, a matter of life and death, or something they will get to eventually. Read ‘never’ … Nearly any situation can be cast as melodrama to support a crazymaker’s plot lines …”

2)  They expect special treatment
As the book authors write,

“They suffer a colorful variety of ailments that require your care whenever you have an important deadline or anything that deflects your attention from their demands.”

They also demand special treatment in their daily lives:

  • Do you know that man or woman who loves to insist the doctor or chiropractor in the house stop what they are doing and treat them right now?
  • Ever met someone who grandiosely insists the dining party sit a certain place in a restaurant?
  • Have you watched someone work a situation so they always come across as the Alpha wolf, whether they deserve the leadership position or not?

3 )  They belittle and downplay your needs, emergencies, and requests
Despite howling over a broken nail, a crazymaker will say your requests for their time or help are just so much drama — a way for you to get attention. They might also add, that you are disrespectfully expecting too much of their good will or prevailing too much on their valuable time.

“Crazymakers discount your reality. Your pressing agendas – however real – are never as real, as important, as critical as a crazymaker’s drama of the moment.”

4) They triangulate to stay in power
One Dark Heart I know compartmentalizes all information so much one staff member doesn’t know what the other is doing, so no real coordination can occur. Of course coordination like that would mean some power slips into the hands of the staff, and a narcissist can’t handle that.

Crazymakers also elevate gossip to an art form of power and control. (But be wary of accusing them of it, or they will say they are only trying to help others and how could you be so cruel to think otherwise?)

“They are experts at gossip, at feeding paranoia, at driving wedges between working colleagues.”

One Dark Heart made sure I knew who the sole dissenting voter was in a secret meeting involving a decision about me. Despite saying that he wanted teamwork among his staff, he tried to subtlety create rivalry instead.

5) They sow the wind, while others reap the whirlwind
When I think of the term crazymaker, I see Taz, the cartoon Tasmanian Devil, stirring up the world with his manic spins. Dark Hearts adore making much ado about nothing. As the authors put it:

  • “A crazymaker is someone who makes you crazy by constantly stirring up storms.”
  • “‘Normal’ doesn’t serve their need for power.”
  • “Everything is always their problem, but nothing is their fault.”

Theirs is a world of trumped up conflict, confusion, and chaos.

Beware the crazymakers!

Want to know more? Take a look at
The Narcissist — A User’s Guide

Ever had a crazymaker in your life? Feel free to leave any helpful advice to readers about them in the comments below. Please keep it clean, though! This is a family site.

This is a small portion of what I will be writing about regarding this subject and on this site. I hope you subscribe or return often to discover more about unplugging from emotional predators.


Thank you for visiting and learning about self defense.
If you think others can benefit, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

Photo: Leeni!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kathy | Virtual Impax July 26, 2009, 2:49 pm

    I have had what feels like MORE than my fair share of “crazy makers” – to the point where one of my colleagues actually bought and sent me a desk set when she saw it. The mug, mouse pad and plaque all read, “Please – let me drop everything I’m doing so I can work on solving YOUR problem!”

    The thing is, I’d never “labeled” these people prior to discovering your blog. I thought perhaps there was something wrong with me because these select clients were driving me literally CRAZY!!!

    Great post!!! Great illustrations!!!

  • Betsy Wuebker July 26, 2009, 8:03 pm

    Hi Lori – I’ve been thinking and it seems as though they have been a constant presence. Same behavior, different perps. The best thing I’ve found is to eliminate them from your life – quit the job, divorce them, minimize contact, etc. It’s radical, but the older I get the more priceless I feel my peace is. You’re doing a great service here. This series is the best. Thank you.

  • Davina July 27, 2009, 12:10 am

    Hi Lori. I’ve worked with people like this, but thankfully not directly. I’ve heard of them through chatter in the hallways. My mother (bless her heart) falls into this category; but she never downplayed our needs. The real challenge in dealing with these personality types is to not take things personally and to not get caught up in all their drama.

  • Lori Hoeck July 27, 2009, 7:19 am

    Hi Kathy,
    I know in any relationship, it takes two to tango, and my goal is to make sure we recognize certain “dance partners” as less healthy than others.

    Hi Betsy,
    I hear ya! Since we can’t change other people, we have to make different choices to avoid unsafe or crazy-making relationships.

    Hi Davina,
    I agree, and yet Dark Hearts know how to smoothly sucker you into their web so by the time you notice it is all just so much self-important drama and hype, — not just personality — you are likely to think it’s your problem, not theirs.

  • Vered - MomGrind July 29, 2009, 8:04 pm

    Yup, I used to have one of those as a “friend.”

  • Cathy September 6, 2009, 4:44 pm

    Hi! I’ve been married to one for years, and now he is chronically ill and he has become Super Crazymaker! It takes huge efforts of will and self-protection not to step on the landmines they plant. Lately, after years of resenting my talking about people at work, he has just complained that, as his life is so dull, if I just talked about my day more and “stopped keeping things from him” he would be happier.
    I said, “You hate those stories!” He said “I never said that!” and “I have nothing to do all day, no one to talk to, the least you can do is share your life with me!”