How You Can Protect Yourself From Self-Proclaimed And Fake Narcissism Experts

Fake Narcissism


It became increasingly apparent that these self-described “experts” build profitable businesses by providing inaccurate, and at times, fabricated descriptions of themselves and the services they provide. Additionally, they convince people to squander their valuable resources on their program or treatment services by providing exaggerated, unrealistic, and often, patently untrue promises for positive outcomes.  

Potential clients who lack sufficient financial, insurance, and/or transportation resources are even more susceptible to unrealistic promises for long-term or permanent relief. For individuals impacted by personal, family, cultural, and even societal mental health stigmas, over-promising services from anyone other than a psychotherapist maybe even more attractive.  

What Does It Take To Be An Expert?

Reaching true and verifiable expert status is not as subjectively determined as one would believe. Independent of a person’s profession, achieving legitimate expert status requires the fulfillment or achievement of unambiguous and universal standards. 

The following list summarizes the criteria that reliably account for a legitimate claim to be an expert.   

1. A graduate degree, certification, and licensing in the field of one’s expertise.

2. At least a decade or more professional experience in the area they proclaimed to be an expert.

3. Possess reliable and effective skills/abilities that are recognized by their professional community as superior to the larger community.  

4. Ongoing supervision, education, and training in the field of their expertise.  

5. Experiences and accomplishments that have been openly validated by peers in their professional community to be at an “expert” level. 

6. Testimonials from legitimate and not manipulated recipients of their expert services.

7. Authored books, articles, and/or research on the topic of their expertise. 

Related: 24 Terms Of Narcissistic Abuse That You Should Know About

Manipulation And Misrepresentation

Because sufferers of SLDD and narcissistic abuse are characteristically afraid to inquire about a person’s background or promises for positive outcomes, the over-promising “expert” avoids accountability. It should be noted that many of the fabricated experts are not purposely deceptive and manipulative, they, and the more pathological variety, significantly harm trusting and potentially naïve suffers of narcissistic abuse and “Self-Love Deficit Disorder/SLDD™.”  

The below list illustrates the pattern of planful manipulation, inaccurate representation of qualifications and abilities, and unrealistic promises for relief.

1. A client desperately seeks help for their SLDD or abuse.

2. Found an inspirational and compelling online information source that makes them feel understood, “seen,” and optimistic about ending their chronic suffering from narcissistic abuse.     

3. The enlightening and passionately optimistic person believably describes themselves as an expert in the problems with which they most need help. 

4. Lured to contact them because of their harrowing backstory/engrossing survival story.

5. Seduced by highly engaging and professional appearing websites and portals to their “program.”  

6. Believed compelling and glowing testimonials.

7. Unknowingly fell victim to an invisible marketing funnel that, without knowing, reinforced their confidence to seek help from this individual.   

8. Was enticed by the seemingly lower cost or extended payment plans. 

9. Eagerly participated in the promise-rich “program,” which could not help them solve the problem for which they sought help. 

10. Stopped participating when positive outcomes were not achieved or when they felt inadequate because of not being able to reach them. 

11. Did not think to attribute their “failure” to the program or the person delivering its services. 

12. Experienced shame and hopelessness about their “untreatable” problems.    

Iatrogenic Trauma

Whether a deceptive life coach or a psychotherapist, the misrepresentation of one’s skills and services may cause iatrogenic trauma. Such trauma is simply defined as long-term suffering and distress that is directly caused by treatment providers who either falsely claims their abilities, and as a consequence cannot deliver on what the client/patient most needs; or are responsible for highly consequential treatment failures. 

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Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is the owner of Self-Love Recovery Institute. He is a psychotherapist, educator, expert witness, and author. Ross is known globally for his expertise in codependency (Self-Love Deficit Disorder™), Pathological Narcissism, Narcissistic Abuse, and Trauma Treatment. He is a keynote speaker and educator who has presented in 30 States/70 cities and abroad. Ross has been regularly featured on national TV and radio. His “The Human Magnet Syndrome” books sold over 120K copies and are translated into 10 languages. His YouTube Channel has amassed 19 million video views and over 200K subscribers.View Author posts