Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

assessing a narcissist

Assessing a Narcissist: A Second Simple Test

Dr. David B. Hawkins discusses how to determine if the Narcissist can bracket their own reactions and attend, attune and attach to your feelings. He discusses ways to determine if your mate can set aside their own issues so as to empathize, validate and effectively respond to your bid for their attention and response.

Assessing a Narcissist: A Second Simple Test

When dealing with a narcissist, it’s crucial to evaluate their capacity for change, their responsiveness to your needs, and the overall safety of the relationship. While this is not a clinical or professional assessment, there are simple tests you can perform at home to gain insights. In this article, we will discuss the second test, which focuses on the narcissist’s ability to listen effectively, set aside their own concerns, and fully attend to you. By assessing their empathy and validation skills, you can gauge their willingness to prioritize your emotions and create a secure relationship environment.

Creating an Environment for Empathy

It’s important to note that you cannot force a narcissist to empathize, but you can strive to establish an atmosphere where they have an opportunity to genuinely understand your feelings. Your responsibility lies in staying centered and providing them with a chance to accurately empathize. Start by addressing the narcissist, using a fictitious name like Joe, and explain the purpose of the test. Emphasize that you want them to listen, empathize, and reflect your emotions back to you without judgment, accusations, or personal reactions.

Setting up the Test

To conduct the test, express your desire to discuss a specific concern with Joe. Let him know that you may share feelings that could potentially threaten him but request his utmost effort in simply listening, empathizing, and validating your emotions. Stress that you will not be asking for his agreement but only want him to hear your feelings clearly. Encourage him to reflect those emotions back to you and even try to imagine experiencing them himself. During this process, it’s crucial for Joe to set aside his own reactions and focus entirely on you.

Communicating Your Feelings and Needs

When engaging in the test, begin by stating your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might say, “Joe, lately I have been feeling lonely and uncared for. Can you listen to that?” After expressing your emotions, outline what you want to feel instead and make a specific request. In this case, you might say, “I want to feel connected to you, and I would appreciate it if we could set aside time to spend together, just the two of us, enjoying each other’s company.”

Assessing the Results

This second simple test evaluates the narcissist’s ability to attend to you, empathize with your emotions, and respond to your needs. If Joe successfully brackets his own reactions, listens empathetically, validates your feelings, and responds positively to your request, it indicates a positive sign of potential change and a willingness to prioritize your well-being. However, if Joe struggles or refuses to set aside his own emotions, this could be cause for concern, as it suggests a lack of empathy and an inability to prioritize your needs.


Assessing a narcissist’s capacity for change and their ability to respond to your needs is crucial for determining the safety and viability of a relationship. The second simple test discussed in this article focuses on the narcissist’s aptitude for listening effectively, empathizing, and attaching themselves to your emotions. By observing their responses, you can gain valuable insights into their willingness to prioritize your feelings and create a healthier relationship dynamic. Remember, these tests are not definitive assessments, but they provide a useful starting point for evaluating the potential for growth and change within the relationship.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: How to Heal from a Trauma Bond Relationship

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


Sign up our newsletter to get updated information, promo or insight for free.

Latest Post


Need Help?
Get The Support You Need From One Of Our Therapists