The Diagnosis Game

It’s Narcissist Friday!  


Okay, so I really feel the need for a lighter post today. This topic gets heavy and I so appreciate those who come to share their stories and ask questions. But dealing with narcissistic relationships is hard work. Sometimes you just need to step back and laugh at the situation. It really isn’t funny, I know, but you need to do something other than cry or scream.

When I think about the clinical names for these disorders and how we sometimes lump them together and call them narcissism, I realize that, in spite of the similarities, we each face something a little different. The relationships of parent-child, husband-wife, friend-friend, are not the same. The dynamics of these disorders vary within those relationships as well. One narcissist might not act just like another. Some might seem more like a borderline personality or a histrionic. These distinctions are hard to explain.

Besides that, these distinctions are coveted by the professionals. They really don’t like for us to use these words. Just because I think someone exhibits narcissism doesn’t mean that a “professional” would agree. So what do we do?

Today I suggest we all try to come up with our own acronyms, ones that will help to communicate what we have struggled with. If we can’t call so-and-so a narcissist, maybe we can call him a J.E.R.K., for example. A “jumbled egocentric rude know-it-all.” Or maybe she is a P.A.I.N. (Persistent, agitating, invasive, nasty) person. Basically, if we can’t use these normal words to describe the abusers, let’s define some disorders and syndromes that make sense to us.

So now it’s your turn. Please don’t feel like we are ridiculing the victims or making light of their suffering. Nor am I suggesting that it will be helpful to call someone a jerk or something like that. But sometimes… well, it just helps to let off a little steam.

Just to get things rolling, I have gathered a list of words that might help. You don’t have to use these words, but they might start you thinking. The only rule is that you can’t use the word “narcissist” or any of its variants. You don’t even have to make a word out of the acronym. Feel free just to stick some letters together that describe your situation. (And remember that this is a Christian blog 😉 )

If you were to create an acronym to describe what you are seeing and experiencing, what might it be?




Filed under Narcissism, Uncategorized

114 responses to “The Diagnosis Game

  1. Carolyn

    Wolf in sheep’s clothing
    Spin Doctor

  2. Allison

    You forgot distrustful and manipulative on your list – these were the top two for me…along with abusive.

  3. Kathy

    Your post made me smile (but I do wonder why professionals often say that the alcoholic is the last person to realize it, but yet the same pro’s wouldn’t say the same thing about that letter after M and before O).
    The word I would use? Well, I looked at your list and came up with AOTB.
    I don’t know how to pronounce it.
    It’s an acronym for All Of The Above. 🙂

  4. K

    S.N.A.P. sarcastic,not listening,abusive, predator. This is a great way to let off steam:) thank you.

    • Megan

      Ha! This is what my N husband would always say to be cool and describe things he liked. Lol it actually describes him perfectly.

  5. I already made one up for my ex and use it on my blog. I hope it is ok, if not feel free to delete it. I refer to my ex and the wospos. waste of skin piece of shit.

  6. E

    When she is feeling left out or insulted, you get the:


    When she is thinking about what’s most important to her you get:


    When she wants to make a point about something and has an audience, you get the:


  7. Karol Harper-mcIlveen

    Peas in a POD. P etulant, P ompous, P retentious, P rideful………in a
    P ugnacious, O verbearing, D ominating container

  8. Michelle

    LIAR Love Is All Removed

  9. E xasperating
    D omineering
    I nsensitive
    C ritical
    T empermental
    S elf-Centered

  10. Great list!

    These adjectives aren’t on the list but I think deceptive, slanderous, fearful, distrustful, and cruel also apply.

  11. Kathy

    This would make a great crossword puzzle!! The only problem would be that each word has exactly the same clue — and it’s a word we can’t use!!

  12. Super Uber Perfect Easily Regarding Issues Or Reasoning–SUPERIOR

    Honestly You Poor Old Crummy Reject I Trump Everything–HYPOCRITE

    Constantly On Notice: Concerning Everything I Truly Excel Delightfully–CONCEITED

    Here I Go Haughtily And Necessarily Demand Much Ingratiating Glory However Tired Youmaybe–HIGH AND MIGHTY

    Thanks for the chuckles today. 🙂

  13. Remedy

    And ‘Dishonest’ as well as ‘Merciless’ would be on my list. Not a shred of empathy in his being, making any relationship beyond superficial ones, impossible for such a one. They should be advised to avoid entering into any deeper type relationships, and save all, including the Narc the misery that inevitably follows as they each try to relate from life/love grids that are in complete opposition to each other. A recipe for endless heartbreak!

  14. jordangordey

    I love your post and am surviving a divorce from a 30 plus year marriage ! When i read this today I could only respond with SAD ! That has been the one feeling that hasn’t changed! S- self centered A-arrogant and D destructive! My adult children cannot use the N word when they speak of their daddy sooooo i often refer to him as SAD DAD ! Thank you for the wisdom you share! Marion Gordey

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Recovering

      You’ll make it jordan….I was married 22 years and divorced. I know what it is to have peace and love in my life now. He made my life a living hell daily. Praying for you.

    • joy

      Thinking of you…my marriage was 29 and a half years. SAD fits so well.

      Here is mine:
      Contemptuous Ruthless Egocentric Exasperating Pretentious Yammering Charming Arrogant Deceitful

    • Megan

      Luv this simple accurate definition:)

  15. Reblogged this on quixoticfaith and commented:
    I think this is just great! “Narcissistic” never seems quite descriptive enough.

    The word I would use is WOUNDED.

    Whiny — complaining, fretful, cranky
    Obtuse — not quick in perceiving the needs of others
    Uninterested — not personally concerned with the needs of others
    Needy — especially in regards to admiration
    Deriding — expressing contempt or ridicule
    Enigmatic — puzzling and mysterious
    Distrustful — suspicious, unwilling to trust

  16. Lauren

    A busive
    N egative
    T rying
    I nsensitive
    C ovetous
    H ateful
    R idiculer
    I nflated
    S elf-important
    T ormentor

  17. JPK100

    I call the current narcissist in my life, my sister, my narcissister. Not to her face, of course. 🙂

  18. Linda Chapman

    This was an interesting exercise. I had to make up a word to fit the most accurate description……..pronouncing it might take practice.
    A – Abusive
    P – Pretentious
    P – Prideful
    L – Liar
    I – Insensitive
    C – Contemptuous
    I – Inappropriate
    A – Arrogant
    M – Malicious
    O – Offensive
    Whew! That ought’a leave one scratching their head. It just might be fun.

  19. ME ME:
    My Everyone, My Everything.

  20. I’m picking a word (ricochet) that can ultimately be viewed in a positive light, with justice for those who were abused. I have faith that whatever the narcissist does, it will bounce off of the abused and return to them in a negative way on some level, because we ultimately reap what we sow.


    • anon

      childish, egotistical terrorist is right! Not sure if anyone used the word “inconceivable” but that is one that a friend of mine uses when he hears stories of the ex and how he bullied my 9 year old son. Oh wait! We need to do one for BULLY!

      Here’s an attempt:

      B elligerent
      U gly
      L ying
      L acking (Empathy)
      Y eller

  21. Penny

    Since my narc is also addicted to “prescription” drugs:

  22. Tammy

    Good post! Ya’ll have done such a great job with your additions, I think I’ll just sing… You sing along if you know the tune, and substitute “his” when appropriate… “There’s a finger and a thumb in the shape of an L on her forehead” {Smiles to self and walks off whistling} 😀

  23. These descriptive words are sooooo good, you know you are getting on the other side of the pain when you can laugh at the things that once tormented your soul and left you feeling so broken. I am very encouraged knowing there are so many survivors out there, and that God is so faithful to heal our brokenness. my acronym cannot compare to most of these dead-on descriptions, but its
    D E C E I T F U L:

  24. Recovering

    To my ex husband: who is a narcissistic SOCIOPATH….Sick Obnoxious Conceited Idiot Ought Perfect Acting Totally Hypocritical!!!!!!!!

    • anon

      Recovering, I have an ex husband who was diagnosed as a Narc/Sociopath, too. I feel for you! As if being Narc isn’t bad enough! 😦

  25. Recovering

    Bad Mom………Backstabbing Angry Deceptive Manipulator Operating Merrily

  26. Rapacious

    Can you guess his name? Haha!

  27. D.D.

    “My” Narcs are EVIL: Egocentric Vain Insensitive Liars

  28. Rita

    CMAP: Crazy-Making Aggressive Plague. Because that’s what it feels like to live trapped with him. And like the Plague, you just threw the bodies out into the street every day to try to stop the Plague, and there were always too many bodies to bury. Bodies = hurting soul.

    Thanks so much for the refreshingly different perspective; it’s cathartic.

  29. Kitkat

    Okay, I got mine, here goes.

    M – Miserable
    A – Antagonistic
    N – Nasty
    I – Irrational
    A – Assuming
    C – Creepy

    Thanks, I needed this. My holidays were more difficult because of this N ex-friend.

  30. Rina

    I call mine Hyacinth (he’s male and 6 foot and likes to act all threatening, so it helps me see him as the idiot he is). It’s the name of the main character from the British comedy “Keeping up appearances” and this is exactly what he tries to do. No acronym there, but if I had time I’d find one ;-).

    • Rachel K

      Rina, I am a Brit and I really loved your comparison! My N Mother in Law IS Hyacinth Bucket! We even refer to her as such! Meanwhile, I am like Elizabeth, the neighbour, who always spills her tea! Honestly, at my MIL’s house we always had to sit with cups and saucers, all dainty, even with four children boinging around the room, there was always a spillage! I recommend you all have a look for the BBC footage on YouTube, it is very funny in an excruciatingly embarrassing way. And the title “Keeping Up Appearances” -that is the worlds of Narcissism, isn’t it?
      But my real problem is my N husband, her son…
      A word to describe his behaviour?
      Ua relenting

      Need I say more?!

      • Rachel K

        Sorry, Unrelenting!

      • Rachel K

        Rina, the really weird thing is that my N Mother in law was at school with the actress who plays Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge) and loves to stake her claim to fame by association with her!

  31. George

    how about a “quality”. quarrelsome, unrepentant, arrogant, leach, ignorant, tormenting, yeller. Seeing how they redefine words and they think so highly of themselves, they may think of themselves as “quality”

  32. anon

    Gee, can we use ALL the words…or would the acronym be too long? hehehe. Ok, I love the thought of using their name! That way when we say it to their face they are none the wiser of what we truly mean!!
    So, mine would be:

  33. Melody

    I got Delusional Intellectually Conceited Know-it-all…
    Sorry, not spelling it out!

  34. F-unky

    they are…..and the sooner they FADE out of your life, the better!

  35. J

    I’ve got it!

    Hound of Attention




  36. WOW!!! You guys are amazing! These are some great acronyms (and some great lines!) Yes, I think we all needed this. Keep going!

  37. Carolyn

    I can’t even begin to describe the comfort that I feel just reading everyone’s posts….it feels so good to know that others have experienced the same thing with their N’s. I look at the words you have shared…and just keep saying “yup”!!!!

  38. Michelle


  39. Penny

    This post & it’s responses was brilliant!
    Cathartic, humorous, enlightening, empowering, realistic & satisfying~
    CHEERS, everyone! 😊

  40. Savedbygrace

    Thanks all- lots of laughs and comic relief!!

    OK so mine will need a bit of explaining:
    vampire (sucks the life out of you..)

    I have to be careful that as I acknowledge the truth of who he is in our relationship, I’m not God and I have to step back from damming him, he is someone who Jesus loves and has died for, and I need to leave ultimate judgement/redemption up to God
    …..there but for the grace of God go I….

  41. HDG

    Describing my N boyfriend: Dangerous Unrepentant Mean Predatory Egotistical Destructive Haughty Immodest Malcontent —–best description of all “EX.” 🙂

    • anon

      HAHAHAHHA – D.U.M.P.E.D. H.I.M.!!! That’s great!
      Saved by grace…THANK YOU for the reminder…I think back to times in my life where I must have displayed Narc traits…so you are right…there but for the grace of God go I…

  42. Leslee

    There were too many words that fit from which to choose. I agree with ANON – sometimes I think I’ve exhibited these traits as well. There but for the grace of God go I…. A few years ago the horrible realization that God loves him as much as He loves me struck me – and I’m called to reflect that love. But it really hurts.

  43. Still Reforming

    Oh, now this is FUN! Great idea, Pastor Dave!

    Here are mine (the second being the name of the anti-husband):

    Aggravating Annoying Antagonist Always Anti-me Raging Ghastly Husband – or AAAAARGH!

    Bullying Raging Undermining Controlling Egomaniac

    • UnForsaken

      These are great! I have lists something like this in my journals, but acronyms make it fun.

      R reactionary
      I invasive, isolating, insecure
      C controlling, contentious, critical
      H hopelessly provoking
      T temperamental
      E egocentric
      R RIGHT!

      For R.I.C.H.T.E.R. Scale .

      This is so relaxing….I think I’ve found a new ‘busy work’ to do in times of stress!

  44. A-Always right
    H-Holier than thou
    L-likeable (its the charm that sucks people in)

    • Rita

      Ooooooh, Kris, your words eerily match the man I lived with for 3 1/2 decades. So sorry you have experienced the same living hell. Hope you are free and on your way to recovering of your own soul. Your arrangement of words is clever.

      • I lived with mine 2 1/2 decades 🙂 Am in recovery for the past 4 years. I find a little more of myself every day…hope you do too,

      • Rita

        Did you experience clinical depression during your marriage? I did, and was hoping it would resolve after the divorce, but so far, no…
        Do you have children, and if so, how are they doing? Thanks for the note, yes, recovery is a day by day thing. Even with therapy, I would not be able to heal without the love and grace of God, and hanging onto His word. Praying for your continued healing. So glad you are free too!!!

  45. Kimberly

    I don’t understand this. He’s not a jerk…he’s a narcissist. There’s a big difference. Why call him something less?

    • Rita

      Dearest hurting Kimberly, Of course. We’re not trying to name him something less, just define him more personally in the way he has hurt you. Everyone is personalizing their experience and giving words that apply personally to their own journey living with an N. Just an exercise to help us all see that N’s destroy individually, and make it less a “professional” dry, diagnosis. You’re so right. N’s are not jerks. If they were, we could deal with that. Praying you can turn your eyes to the Lord and find strength and comfort. xo

  46. Lisa

    could-of, should-of, would-of
    circular talking

  47. Mary Last

    hi. I’m new…according to Proverbs, I call my N a “fool” but often a “loser”. Recently, a “Nazi” because he control resources (like food) and act like some super being who want to be admire as “special”. I will try to have some fun creating my own acronyms tonight. 🙂
    Mary Last

  48. Anne

    Thank you all for this! I’m also a Brit, very new to the idea that my husband is a narcissist but very old to the task of trying to please/love a guy who fits almost every acronym you clever guys have devised. I can’t laugh yet (still married, still scared!) but it did make me smile and it’s SO reassuring that you all understand and have survived. God’s blessing on you all! hugs, Anne

  49. Rachel K

    Hello Anne, I just want to greet you as a compatriot! Nice to meet a fellow Brit online. I have been following Dave’s blog here for a few months and it is a lifeline. I really understand your fear; I am separated from my N husband but his periodic violence makes me think that there are no boundaries for him. Keep hanging on, remember how much value the Lord places on your life.
    Blessings x

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