Common Gossipers

Gossip is something that some people do in order to make themselves feel innocent, by devaluing someone else. It is narcissistic when anyone does it, but the level of maliciousness escalates with the level of narcissism in an individual. The target is often someone who they feel challenged or intimidated by, someone who they desire control over, or someone who they have treated poorly and are seeking justification from someone else, as if a person can "deserve" poor treatment.

Gossip is often used to destroy a person's credibility, and as an attempt to make sure that others will not see them in a positive light, thereby guarding against friendships and connections made without the gossiper's control.

They are not talking about the person or the situation to find a way to resolve conflict or improve the relationship, they are seeking someone to agree with them in painting this person as "bad", so they can be the "good" one, and above reproach. 

(If the person they are gossiping to suggests a solution, or that it might not be the other person's "fault", they will argue, change the subject, or end the discussion. They aren't seeking solutions, they are seeking a gossip partner.)

The difference between a run-of-the-mill gossip who does it out of a lack of maturity and awareness, and a "Narcissist" gossip, is that the Narcissist is purposely using gossip as a tool to isolate the target from any support and friendship from others, and to destroy the person's reputation. While gossip is always wrong, and always about the person's ego who is doing the gossiping, it is from a lack of maturity. But when a Narcissist is doing it, it is a weapon that can actually cause major damage. The target is often someone close to them, like a "best friend", "partner", son or daughter, or other family member. It can also be a person who makes the Narcissist feel "outshined". There is a strategy to the gossip, they will not stop until they have convinced others that the target is an unworthy, unstable, or bad person, and they are reasonably sure that the target will not be welcomed or accepted. The goal is to get others to REJECT the person, and also garner sympathy and high opinions for themselves.

Most Gossipers seem to share certain personality traits, such as:
  1. a high level of interest in what others are doing 
  2. a propensity to interpret the actions of others in the most negative light 
  3. a belief that every single thing their target does is planned and "on purpose" 
  4. a belief that their target has more than their fair share of something (success, looks, popularity, money)
  5. a desire to prove that they are "good", "innocent", or "important", possibly due to being bullied in their past
  6. a lack of awareness about their effect on others, for good or for ill 
  7. they may feel like they are not noticed or accepted by others unless they are calling attention to themselves or to someone else. 
  8. a belief that everyone has an agenda against others, and that everyone gossips, and that all discussion about other people is gossip. (They don't understand the vast difference between gossiping, venting, and seeking support or understanding. They don't believe that there are people who can listen without judging, because they don't.)
  9. a lack of awareness of a "bigger picture", and how human beings affect one another's well-being.

Gossipers, whether they have NPD or not, may have been a target of gossiping in the past. They may have grown up around adults who gossiped, and may have not been taught what is wrong with it, or why it is harmful. They may think that's the way people "stay ahead of the game", and don't know that the whole world is not playing "the game". They seem also not to realize that anyone can become a target, even themselves. The average Gossiper talks about whoever is not in the room, including the person they were just gossiping with.

(Comment: It is amazing to observers how easily others buy right into this process, and how so few seem to recognize it or have the courage to stop it from hurting someone.)