“Illeism and Narcissism” Comments, Page 1

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4 Comments on “Illeism and Narcissism”

  1. I appreciate your article on this topic. I am especially interested in hearing more about the ways narcissists reference other people in conversation. I’ve started noticing lately that my husband (who I strongly suspect to be a narcissist) frequently uses “I” statements when referring to things that involve both of us. I have overheard him conversing with friends, family members, etc and he omits any reference to me entirely. “I saw such and such movie Saturday night…” (we were both there), “I’ve thought about selling my house” (we both talked about selling our house )… etc. I sometimes feel like I’m being petty even caring about this, but it just seems so bizarre to me that he doesn’t reference me in stories about our life. Especially when he is talking to people that know me. To hear him talk sometimes you wouldn’t even think he was married or lived with another person. I’m curious about whether this is just a matter of different people having different styles of speaking or if there is something more going on there.
    I’ve also noticed that, with his parents, he never actually says my name if he does reference me. He just says “she”…. Is that weird?

  2. Illeism can also be pathological in nature, caused by brain injury or autism. My sister was autistic; she was non-verbal until age 5. When she started talking, at first she only repeated what she heard others say (echolalia). Gradually she began speaking her own words, however, she always referred to herself in the third person. For example, she would say “Sally wants a drink of water” rather than “I’d like a drink of water”. Also, she would verbalize her thoughts (talk to herself) but even then, she always referred to herself in the third person.

  3. I looked up “referring to yourself in the third person” just now because of Donald Trump’s Tweet about himself today as “Trump”, which he has done often before, just saying “The President”. The connection between that behavior and narcissism definitely fits here. P.S. Thanks for the new word, “illeism”.

  4. My husband and I have an acquaintance we know through a musical group. He does things that are very annoying, but most people in the group are either too nice to call him on things, or just don’t want to bother with it. When he writes e-mails to the group, he refers to himself by his name, e.g., “[Name] can’t make practice tonight.” The other thing he has done is HE invited someone to the musical group, without discussing it with us, who has mobility problems and needs transport and aid for every practice. He provided the transport for two or three practices, and then basically dropped off the face of the earth. Of course, the kindhearted people in the group started taking turns driving him, which was way, way out of their way to pick him up, get him in the car, take him to practice, assist him getting to his chair, assist going back to the car, taking him back home, assisting him into his home. When the mobility challenged individual emails the group asking for a ride, he emails, “Brad would gladly give you a ride, but I can’t make it tonight.” I see his whole motivation in introducing this guy to the group as wanting to be seen in some heroic role, but it was too hard to maintain, so he stealthily dumped it on the rest of us. Ugh. So I say he has both illeism and is a narcissist.

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