If you are around a narcissist long enough, you will eventually experience the narcissistic stare. This is an extremely unsettling gaze that I didn’t quite understand the first time I saw it. Let me fill you in what I’ve come to learn about this stare of death.
What the Narcissist Stare Looks Like
The narcissistic stare has been described by different people as —
- “Eyes drilling in to you”
- “Penetrating but without emotion”
- “Looking through you”
When you are a victim of the narcissist stare, it can feel feel extremely unsettling or even scary, depending on the situation.
One of thing things that makes their stare so strange is the timing of it. Narcissists are known to refuse to respond to direct questions or even stop speaking mid sentence, instead piercing you with a direct relentless gaze. They may not say anything or give you any other sign of emotion.
Another key quality of the narcissistic stare is the lack of emotion in their eyes. Their gaze can seem dead and remorseless. Some people call this the look of a predator, like what a cat gives a mouse. Except, there isn’t even a hint of excitement or earnestness that you might find in a cat transfixed by prey.
Why Narcissists Give You the Stare
Narcissists give you the stare as a means of control. They may want to accomplish one of a variety of outcomes.
The narcissist may be staring at you to make you interested in them. One very common tactic used my narcissists to snare you and bring people they like in to their world is by showing over the top interest and admiration for their prey. This could be part of a narcissistic love bombing, and other techniques you can read about in my previous article below —
Usually, in this case the stare will be less aggressive, or may even seem a natural part of their attraction for you with just a hint of weirdness. You will probably be tipped of most by the lack of proper true emotion in the eyes, which will not match how they are acting or what their face is portraying at the time.
The narcissist may want to make someone jealous. In this case, a narcissist is using you to get at other people. Often, the narcissistic stare will come out in this case if the narcissist doesn’t particularly care about how you see them. They just want to be seen looking at you, as part of the game they are playing with someone else.
This tactic of playing people off of each other is called, triangulation, which I discuss in the linked article —
The narcissist may want to intimidate you. Lastly, the narcissist may be trying to send you a message, not to mess with them.
If a narcissist feels threatened, and they have no way of talking themselves out of the situation, they may resort to giving you the evil eye in order to try to regain control of the situation.
In particular, if you catch a narcissist in a lie, or have gained the upper hand in a conversation, they may stop participating and just stare. This gives them an “out” from needing to speak, and prevents the possibility that they might dig themselves deeper in the hole they find themselves in.
Why Narcissist’s Eyes Seem So “Empty”
On trait of a narcissist is lack of empathy and a disregard for the feelings of other people. Narcissists truly believe they deserve the best of everything, any whatever they desire is worth the hurt and discomfort it causes other people.
This lack of empathy causes narcissists to have dead eyes that betray their cold hearts. Empathy is a natural and partially subconscious process that automatically controls subtle expressions and facial muscle movement in normal people. The human eye is very adept at picking up subtle clues in people’s faces, and we can see the coldness in their eyes.
The reason why narcissists don’t always have cold eyes is the fact that they are extremely adept at faking human emotions when they want to. They can mimic the expressions that normal people make in similar situations, and are able to use this ability to father control or manipulate people’s emotions.
A narcissist lets their stare show when they: 1) don’t care about how you perceive them, 2) want to send you a message, 3) make a mistake and let their guard slip.
Get Help with a Narcissist
If you have a problem with a narcissist, this site offers 100s of free articles which help you with every aspect of dealing with toxic or narcissistic people.
I also recommend other resources like books, courses, and seminars here —
I also offer one on one coaching sessions to help you overcome your specific narcissist situation. Check the following link for details —
What is the narcissistic stare?
The narcissistic stare is a cold, lifeless gaze that a narcissist gives to their victim. These stares might come at awkward times, like in the middle of a conversation, and are a signal meant to intimidate other people who they perceive as a threat.
Can you tell a narcissist by their eyes?
Narcissists tend to occasionally slip in to cold, emotionless gaze that betrays their lack of empathy or concern for other people’s well being. One key trait of the eyes that differentiates narcissists, is that they don’t always have this look, and will slip in and out of it depending on the situation.