Expert Insights: 4 Red Flags of Narcissistic ‘Crazymaking’ in Relationships

Maintaining healthy relationships is a crucial aspect of leading a fulfilling life. However, some individuals with narcissistic tendencies can make this task challenging. Narcissists often engage in a manipulative behavior known as “crazymaking.” In this blog post, we will explore four red flags that can help identify narcissistic crazymaking in relationships, as shared by experts in the field.

Red Flag 1: Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic commonly used by narcissists. It involves distorting the truth to make the victim question their own reality. Dr. Robin Stern, author of “The Gaslight Effect,” explains that gaslighting can lead to self-doubt, confusion, and a diminished sense of self. If your partner frequently denies or twists events, causing you to question your memory or sanity, it could be a sign of narcissistic crazymaking.

Red Flag 2: Constant Criticism

Narcissists often engage in constant criticism as a means of control. They belittle and demean their partners, attacking their self-esteem and confidence. Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist and author of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?,” warns that this constant negative feedback can leave the victim feeling worthless and trapped in the relationship. If your partner habitually criticizes you, disregards your accomplishments, and undermines your abilities, it may be a red flag of narcissistic crazymaking.

Red Flag 3: Manipulative Behavior

Manipulative behavior is a cornerstone of narcissistic crazymaking. Narcissists have a knack for twisting situations to their advantage and making their partners feel guilty for their own actions. Dr. Craig Malkin, author of “Rethinking Narcissism,” explains that this manipulation often involves playing the victim or using charm to get what they want. If your partner frequently manipulates you into feeling responsible for their actions or makes you question your own intentions, it could be a sign of narcissistic crazymaking.

Red Flag 4: Lack of Empathy

A lack of empathy is a key characteristic of narcissistic individuals. They struggle to understand or relate to the feelings and experiences of others. Dr. Stephanie Sarkis, author of “Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People,” emphasizes that narcissists are primarily focused on their own needs and desires, often disregarding the emotions and well-being of their partners. If your partner consistently shows a lack of empathy, dismisses your feelings, or fails to take responsibility for their actions, it may be indicative of narcissistic crazymaking.


Identifying and understanding the red flags of narcissistic crazymaking is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships. Gaslighting, constant criticism, manipulative behavior, and a lack of empathy are all warning signs that should not be ignored. If you recognize these behaviors in your partner, it is essential to seek support from friends, family, or professionals to navigate these challenging dynamics. Remember, everyone deserves to be in a relationship built on trust, respect, and genuine care.