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Why Some Narcissists Smell and Don

Why Some Narcissists Don’t Bath or Clean Up

One surprising fact about narcissists is that some of them don’t take care of themselves, rarely bathing or cleaning up after themselves. How is it that a self centered narcissist can also have so little regard for their hygiene?

When narcissists don’t bath it’s either because they are a cerebral narcissists who thinks petty chores are beneath them, or because they are using their stench as a way to push your boundaries.

What makes these dirty narcissists tick? And how do you get them to take a shower? More on each type below.

Unhygienic Narcissist are Often Cerebral Narcissists

While many narcissists are preoccupied with physical appearance, some of them are so caught up in their head that they don’t care at all about their physical appearance. Generally these are cerebral narcissists who pride themselves with their intelligence or creative ability.

A common theme among cerebral narcissists is that any distraction from their “great work” or “art” can’t be tolerated. In reality, they are lazy and to self-centered to care about the consequences of their actions.


“In the case of my narcissist, he genuinely believed that he was Too Great to do such mundane tasks like take showers, put on clean clothes, take a walk every now and then, wash his hair, or shave. His time and his mental capacity were wasted if he did these things.”

“He would only clean himself if he was badgered into it or wheedled like he was a toddler. He wouldn’t put his clean clothes away, or his dirty clothes in the basket to be washed. He wouldn’t clean up after himself, but would live in literal squalor all week until my son and I came to get him for groceries. He wouldn’t tend to his finances.”

— Lorri Robinson, Victim of Cerebral Narcissist

How to Deal with a Cerebral Narcissist that Doesn’t Bath

The key to motivating a cerebral narcissist is to link hygiene to their self image. But, the difficulty is figuring out what they care about.

Putting them down or calling them a slob doesn’t stick with a cerebral narcissist because they don’t care about those labels. The trick is convincing them that their smarts are art is hampered by their lack of cleanliness.

One trick is to compare them to famous people they admire. For instance, Nikola Tesla was famously clean and a germ-phobe. But, like many geniuses, he took his sanitary habits to the level of an obsession. So, you may want to be careful which habits you expose your narcissists to, as they might replace a lack of hygiene with excessive hygiene.

The Narcissist Wants to Push Your Buttons

The other type of narcissist that rarely baths is a malignant narcissist. In this case, the narcissist is using there habits as a way to attack you and make your life miserable.

I discuss how malignant narcissists work in depth in my article “How to Recognize a Malignant Narcissist | In Plain English”. But, the big takeaway is that malignant narcissists want to hurt you more than they care about bathing or not.


“He forced me to kiss him when his breath was foul and I wanted to vomit. I didn’t want to be near him never mind having sex with him. No matter what hints I gave him, always walking on eggshells, he totally ignored me and I began to realize that he was enjoying revolting me.”

— Patricia Hart, Victim of Malignant Narcissist

How to Deal with a Malignant Narcissist that Doesn’t Bath

Because malignant narcissists get pleasure from hurting you, I have to recommend that you take steps to remove yourself from that situation. There is noting that you — as a victim or target of their abuse — can do to change the narcissist’s behavior.

When I coach clients dealing with malignant narcissist, I take them through a five step process —

  1. Take immediate steps to limit abuse
  2. Use introspection and journaling techniques to identify abuse and lies
  3. Build up a foundation of truth and emotional support in order to get out of the situation
  4. Devise and execute a plan to escape the narcissist safely
  5. Continue personal recovery work to heal from emotional abuse

See the following resources for additional help and support.