6 Major Signs of a Narcissist

We all know someone who is just a little too ‘into’ themselves. One too many Instagram flexes, someone who loves to talk about themselves on a first date, these are the people we regularly label as a narcissist. But while these aren’t exactly desirable traits, that doesn’t necessarily make the purveyor a self-centered individual. Instead, it’s more likely this person just has an over-inflated ego and heightened self-worth, which might make you unlikable but ultimately harmless.

True egocentrics are people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD); a mental health condition characterized by some common factors. It’s true, the word gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but it pays to really know what is a narcissist and how you can avoid dating one.

Aside from being tricky to live with, those who suffer from NPD will follow familiar narcissist behaviour. Most notably, they’re identifiable by their:

  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Inflated sense of importance
  • The deep need for excessive attention and admiration
  • Perpetually troubled relationships
  • Moreover, here are 9 traits of a Narcissist and their behaviour to watch out for:
  1. Superiority and Entitlement

Superiority is the No. 1 sign of a narcissist. This is different from self-confidence alone. The world of the narcissist is all about good/bad, superior/inferior, and right/wrong. There is a definite hierarchy, with the narcissist at the top—which is the only place they feel safe. Narcissists have to be the best, the most right, and the most competent; do everything their way; own everything; and control everyone.

Interestingly enough, narcissists can also get that superior feeling by being the worst, the most wrong, or the most ill, upset, or injured. Then they feel entitled to receive soothing concern and recompense and even the right to hurt you or demand apologies to “make things even.” This is called vulnerable or covert narcissism.

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance

Grandiosity is another defining characteristic of narcissism. More than just arrogance or vanity, grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of superiority. Narcissists believe they are unique or “special” and can only be understood by other special people. What’s more, they are too good for anything average or ordinary. They only want to associate and be associated with other high-status people, places, and things.

Narcissists also believe that they’re better than everyone else and expect recognition as such—even when they’ve done nothing to earn it. They will often exaggerate or outright lie about their achievements and talents. And when they talk about work or relationships, all you’ll hear is how much they contribute, how great they are, and how lucky the people in their lives are to have them. They are the undisputed star and everyone else is at best a bit player.

  • Lack of Empathy

Narcissists clearly lack empathy. Everything is about them and belongs to them. They smoothly overstep the personal boundaries of others, mistreating, devaluing, and humiliating to bend others to their desires.

From a basic perspective, a narcissist does not care or understand how other people feel and rarely considers other people’s feelings in their actions or words. This can manifest itself in physical or verbal ways. For example, a narcissist will often say cruel things in an offhanded manner, remaining oblivious to the pain they cause with their words.

  • Manipulative

Another weapon in the arsenal, manipulation is a major sign that someone is a narcissist. The ability to twist the situation to better suit their narrative is a poignant personality trait that all egotistical people possess. It can be exhausting for those in the relationship. When a person is so skillfully manipulative, you may find yourself falling into their trap and remaining relatively unaware it is happening. Years later you will connect the dots, the manipulation is clear as day, but we often miss it.

Narcissists are masters at getting what they want, and because they have no empathy, they may not care what it costs to someone else. They deviously use manipulation as a tool to get their most essential needs met, which are typically attention, validation, and status.

  • Constant need for Praise and Attention

A narcissist’s sense of superiority is like a balloon that gradually loses air without a steady stream of applause and recognition to keep it inflated. The occasional compliment is not enough. Narcissists need constant food for their ego, so they surround themselves with people who are willing to cater to their obsessive craving for affirmation.

These relationships are very one-sided. It’s all about what the admirer can do for the narcissist, never the other way around. And if there is ever an interruption or diminishment in the admirer’s attention and praise, the narcissist treats it as a betrayal.

  • Controlling

The term ‘control freak’ gets thrown around a lot, but it’s a key trait. What makes the situation even more frustrating is that often the narcissist is controlling you while remaining completely disinterested in the other aspects of your life. Like many other traits, the other person in a relationship can mistake control for affection. It’s natural to want to be involved in your partner’s life, but it’s not healthy to dictate it.

Control is often a part of abuse dynamics in relationships, the control culminates to the point where a person feels like they cannot move without asking for permission, and the narcissist uses control to isolate the person. The most common manifestations of this relationship control are a partner monitoring your whereabouts at all times, checking your emails and text messages, criticizing your appearance, and making nearly all important decisions, with little regard for your opinion.

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