Watch for weasel words and fuzzy logic. “I sold a book, and we bought a house.” You’re supposed to hear, “I sold a book, and we bought a house with the royalties.” The fact that the narcissist didn’t say that in the first place is telling. If she really did sell a book that brought in enough money to buy a house, she’d have told you how much she made or she’d go into detail about how rare it is for a book to earn that much and how special she is for writing it. If she says anything less–especially if she lets you infer the best part–it’s a red flag.
“Why wouldn’t she just lie about it?” you ask. Good question. Some narcissists will. Others are dimly aware that telling too many lies will get them caught and pilloried (again), so they stick to maximum deniability. (“I didn’t say we bought a house with the money from the book, I just said we bought a house after I sold the book. It’s not my fault you misheard me.”) And some of them like putting one over on you.