Ninja Narcissists: How They Torment You With Their Sneak Attacks

Ninja Narcissists

Laughing, I said I didn’t have makeup on, my hair was knotted in a bun, and I had my glasses on. He said he wanted to see me anyway, so I snapped a funny pic and sent it to him. After a few minutes, he sent a screen shot of a photo of mine from Instagram where I was fully made-up for a professional event – light years away from my current status of an exhausted, overextended single mom in pandemic lockdown, cooking dinner in a kitchen with unflattering overhead lighting.

He then said that I without makeup was too different from me with makeup and he had trouble dealing with it and ended our brief connection. Before deleting his number, I told him that I hoped he eventually came to realize that there is more to a good woman than what she looks like.

My self-esteem, my confidence, my pride in myself plummeted. I will admit I broke down in tears and cried. I was shocked that a seemingly mature man would discard everything good about me – my hunger for knowledge, the passion I have for my job, my dedication to my children and family, my kindness and open heart, the childlike enjoyment I get from mucking around in the creek looking for snails and tadpoles, the joy I get from baking cakes or snuggling with my rescue kittens, the peace I find in sitting in the baseball stands on a hot summer day, all the things that make me who I am – because he realized mascara isn’t permanent and eyeliner can be washed away.

He took my vulnerability and used it to create a sneak attack to hurt me. I never saw it coming.

Related: 3 Sneaky And Scary Breakup Tactics Of A Narcissist

That’s the problem with ninja narcissists; we never see them coming. We – non-narcissists and good, genuine people – see a person who wants to get to know us as much as we want to get to know them. We may learn their weaknesses and soft spots, but we will not violate that trust.

Narcissists take that vulnerable information and store it away to use for later for no other reason than to take us down to their level. Their need to feel paramount and most important negates any need for equal partnership or – dare I say it – love.

As single mothers – nay, as women – we have much more to worry about than the state of our eyebrows. We have children, pets, family members, friends, students, colleagues, and neighbors who deserve our time and don’t care that we have our glasses on.

Love and the vulnerability that comes with it is what sets us apart from narcissists. We may not always be able to protect ourselves from the ninja narcs or keep our pride from being wounded, but we can walk away with our hair in a messy topknot and a smile on our face.


Grall, T. (2020). Custodial mothers and fathers and their child support: 2015. [PDF]. Retrieved from
Leins, C. (2020). Here are the states where your marriage won't last. U.S News. Retrieved from

Written By Kristy Lee Hochenberger   
Originally Published In Psychology Today

Ninja narcissists know when to say and what to say to you to make you feel horrible about yourself. Because their specialty is sneak attacks, they know exactly what your weak spots are and how to hurt them. Ninja narcissists are probably one of the most dangerous kinds of narcissists out there, and the more you know how they work, the better you will be able to protect yourself from them.

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Ninja Narcissists: How They Torment You With Their Sneak Attacks
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Kristy Lee Hochenberger

Kristy Lee Hochenberger is a doctoral student of psychology at Capella University and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. A graduate of prestigious Wells College, Kristy Lee is also a licensed funeral director and co-founder of Salt City Legacy Scholars, Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that awards scholarships and financial assistance to young women across New York State. In addition to her Bachelor's degree, Kristy Lee has an Associate's Degree in Occupational Services as well as a Master of Business Administration. A native of Queens, NY, she currently resides in upstate New York where she is an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) and University of the People.View Author posts