Archive | 2:05 PM

Everything is Winning or Losing to a Narcissist

13 Oct

My mentor would always call people “losers” and would write off nearly everybody that way. At the time, I never really thought about that.

They will do anything to “win” even if it hurts themself or the team.

At work we get an “audit” if the quality team finds that we processed a claim incorrectly. If you get an audit, and you check that claim, and can show you did, in fact, do it correctly, they sometimes overturn the audit. Jogre did not want to submit my work to be overturned by the auditors. She seemed pleased when I got audits, and took it personally when I would try to show the audit was in error. And when I went above her head, and my audits were finally submitted back to the quality team to double check–the audits were reversed. This happened 3-4 times. My work was shown to have actually been done correctly, and an audit was reversed–but Jogre was mad about it. But audits hurt our entire team and count against us, and against leadership. So when my audits were overturned it actually benefitted her. But she was mad because she saw it as me “winning” and her “losing” (believe me, everyone was losing in that situation).

What to Do in a Win-Lose Relationship with a Narcissist

Narcissists seek relationships in which they dominate and you defer.

Posted March 28, 2022 |  Reviewed by Gary Drevitch


  • Narcissists tend to look for relationships in which they can dominate and been seen as superior.
  • This means that someone else (partner, employee, co-worker) must be in the one-down role.
  • They tend to use domineering, vindictive, and intrusive behaviors to establish and maintain such relationships.

Source: Bankrx/Shutterstock

People who are high in the trait of narcissism, or who have narcissistic personality disorder, often escalate conflicts in all kinds of relationships until they “win.” For many of them, it is important that you also must “lose.” This generally is not a one-time event, but rather the way they want their ongoing relationships to be, with them constantly winning and you constantly losing or deferring to them. This can be in any type of relationship, but especially a “close” one, such as with a parent, child, sibling, romantic partner, spouse, close co-worker, or close neighbor.

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of four Cluster B personality disorders in the diagnostic manual of mental disorders (the DSM-5-TR) for which this win-lose dynamic is a common factor. Research indicates strong associations with certain interpersonal behavior patterns for these disorders: “Antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders, historically classified as Cluster B (dramatic-emotional-erratic) personality disorders, all showed moderate-to-large and significant associations with domineeringness, vindictiveness, and intrusiveness.”1

Domineering, Vindictive, and Intrusive

These three relationship behaviors tend to keep the other person in a one-down position. In being domineering, a narcissist may be bossy, controlling, restricting of contact with others, and possibly even violent. Vindictiveness is often a punishment when someone else shows too much independence in a relationship—not accepting a one-down position, or expressing a thought that the other disagrees with. Intrusiveness may include demanding to know your thoughts, who you have been talking to or spending time with, and even insisting on scrolling through your texts and emails.

When such behavior—a mean comment, slap or shove, or public humiliation—appears early in a relationship, people often assume it was a mistake or one-time event, and that the other person will correct their behavior and, hopefully, apologize soon. But if that person has narcissistic personality disorder, they are unlikely to change and this pattern of behavior will repeat itself. Don’t expect an apology.