Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by excessive self-love and a distorted sense of self-importance. While a little bit of self-confidence can be a good thing, when it spirals out of control, it can cause harm to both the individual with narcissistic tendencies and those around them.
It’s important to be able to identify the warning signs of narcissism in order to protect yourself and those you care about. Don’t be afraid to follow your own gut feelings and intuition even if this person seems well loved by others.
In this blog post, we’ll be taking a closer look at 27 red flags that may indicate someone is a narcissist.
From a need for constant admiration to a lack of empathy and a tendency to manipulate, we’ll cover all the tell-tale signs that can help you identify a narcissistic individual.
So, settle down and read on to learn how to unmask the narcissist.
Table of Contents
- 27 Typical Narcissistic Personality Traits
- Example Narcissist Behaviour
- Green Flags That Someone Is Not A Narcissist
- Handling a Narcissist
27 Typical Narcissistic Personality Traits
- Excessive self-esteem and confidence: Narcissists often exhibit an inflated sense of self-esteem and confidence, believing themselves to be superior to others.
- Sense of entitlement: They feel that they are entitled to special treatment and privileges and believe that others should cater to their needs and desires.
- Need for admiration and validation from others: They have an insatiable need for admiration and validation from others and become very upset if they don’t receive it.
- Lack of empathy: They have difficulty understanding and experiencing the emotions of others, and often use people to get what they want.
- Exaggerated sense of their own importance: They believe that they are more special or unique than others.
- Preoccupation with fantasies of power, success, and attractiveness: They are preoccupied with these fantasies and often have an unrealistic view of their own abilities and accomplishments.
- Tendency to exploit or manipulate others: They often exploit or manipulate others to get what they want, with zero guilt, and may use flattery or charm to achieve their goals.
- Lack of gratitude and a tendency to downplay the contributions of others: It comes naturally for narcissists to downplay the contributions of others and lack gratitude for the help and support they receive, which they overlook and minimise.
- Tendency to view others as inferior: They view others as inferior and may treat them as such, often putting down and belittling those around them.
- Tendency to hold grudges and seek revenge: They hold grudges and may seek revenge against those who they perceive as having wronged them.
- Tendency to constantly seek attention and validation: They constantly seek attention and validation from others, and may become very upset if they don’t receive it.
- Need to always be in control: They have a need to always be in control, including controlling others, and may become very upset if they feel that their control is being threatened.
- Tendency to dominate conversations and hog the spotlight: They tend to dominate conversations often talking at length about themselves and their accomplishments.
- Lack of interest in the feelings or needs of others: They lack interest in the feelings or needs of others and may use people for their own purposes.
- Tendency to blame others for their own failures: They have a tendency to blame others for their own failures, rather than taking responsibility for their own mistakes.
- Tendency to be critical and judgmental of others: They are critical and judgmental of others, often putting down and belittling those around them.
- Tendency to dismiss the opinions and feelings of others: They dismiss the opinions and feelings of others and may act as though they are the only ones who matter.
- Inability to accept criticism: Narcissists have a lot of difficulty accepting criticism and may react very strongly to any negative feedback they receive.
- Tendency to act impulsively and without regard for others: They often act impulsively without any thought for the feelings or needs of others.
- Tendency to be manipulative: A narcissist may use their charm and wit to control or manipulate those around them to get what they want.
- Tendency to be exploitative: A narcissistic person may take advantage of others, using their resources or talents for their own gain without regard for their well-being.
- An exaggerated sense of their own abilities: The narcissist may consistently overestimate their abilities, taking on tasks they are not equipped to handle and causing harm in the process.
- Tendency to lie and be deceitful: He or she may not hesitate to lie or deceive others in order to maintain control or keep up their image.
- Tendency to constantly seek praise and admiration from others: They tend to constantly seek validation from others, demanding admiration and becoming visibly upset when it is not received.
- Tendency to play the victim: A narcissist loves to constantly play the victim, blaming others for their problems and never taking responsibility for their actions.
- Tendency to engage in gaslighting: The narcissist may engage in gaslighting, manipulating or changing the truth to fit their narrative, causing confusion and self-doubt in their victims.
- Always thinks they know best: A narcissist may dismiss the feelings, thoughts, and opinions of those around them, viewing them as inferior and unimportant. Saying things like “Your opinion doesn’t matter to me, I know what’s best.”
Example Narcissist Behaviour
It’s important to note that these traits can vary in intensity and may not always be present in every situation. However, if someone consistently displays several of these behaviors, they may be a narcissistic individual.
Sometimes it’s easier to recognise these behaviours with examples, so we have put together a couple of anecdotal situations to share.
Example 1: The Dinner Party
Imagine you’re at a dinner party with a group of friends and one person, let’s call them John, is dominating the conversation. John constantly interrupts others, boasts about their accomplishments, and belittles anyone who disagrees with him.
He talks about himself the whole time and shows little interest in what anyone else has to say.
This is classic narcissistic behavior. John is using the dinner party as a platform to promote their his image and to feed the need for attention and admiration.
Example 2: The Workplace
Now, let’s take a look at a situation at work. Imagine you have a coworker, Sarah, who is constantly trying to one-up her colleagues. Whenever someone presents a new idea, Sarah finds a way to make it about herself and her own accomplishments.
She takes credit for others’ work and belittles anyone she views as a threat. Sarah also has a tendency to throw her coworkers under the bus if it means making herself look better.
This is an example of narcissistic behavior in the workplace and can create a toxic and hostile work environment for everyone involved.
Example 3: The Toxic Relationship
Imagine you’re in a romantic relationship with someone, let’s call him David, who is always talking about their own accomplishments and belittling your achievements.
David is constantly controlling, making all the decisions without taking your opinions into account.
Narcissists in a romantic relationship often start with love bombing but after that phase is over they have a tendency to manipulate and gaslight you, making you doubt your own memories and perceptions.
This type of behavior can be incredibly damaging to a relationship, and to the other person even once the relationship is over. These are all common traits of a narcissistic individual.
Example 4: The Narcissistic Parent
Now let’s think about a parent-child relationship. Imagine you have a parent figure, let’s call her Susan, who is always belittling you and putting you down.
The mother, Susan, constantly compares you to others, especially her favorite child (or “the golden child”) and makes you feel like you’ll never measure up.
She also has a tendency to control your decisions and criticize your choices. This type of behavior is a hallmark of a narcissistic parent, and can have a lasting impact on the self-esteem and confidence of the adult child.
Analysing the Examples
In these examples, the narcissistic individuals, John, Sarah, David and Susan all exhibit a lack of empathy, a need for constant admiration, and a tendency to manipulate those around them.
These behaviors can have a damaging effect on relationships, and can be especially harmful in close personal relationships such as those with a romantic partner or parent.
These are all red flags that can help identify a narcissistic individual.
Green Flags That Someone Is Not A Narcissist
It’s possible for someone to have narcissistic tendencies without having a full-blown personality disorder. And, it’s also common for individuals with narcissistic traits to deflect accusations of narcissism onto others.
If you’re wondering if you might be the one exhibiting narcissistic behavior, it’s important to take an honest look at your own actions and patterns in relationships.
Here are a few green flags for behaviour that make it unlikely that you are the narcissistic one
- Empathy: They show genuine concern for others and are able to put themselves in other people’s shoes.
- Humility: They are able to admit when they are wrong and do not feel the need to constantly prove their superiority.
- Active Listening: They listen attentively and show a genuine interest in others’ opinions and experiences.
- Healthy Boundaries: They respect others’ boundaries and are able to maintain their own without being controlling.
- Responsibility: They take responsibility for their actions and do not try to blame others for their mistakes.
- Flexibility: They are open to new ideas and are able to change their perspective when presented with new information.
- Collaboration: They are able to work well with others and enjoy collaborating with a team.
- Self-reflection: They are able to reflect on their own behavior and are open to feedback and self-improvement.
- Kindness: They consistently exhibit kindness and compassion towards others.
- Genuine Interest: They show a genuine interest in others and are able to engage in meaningful conversations.
These are just a few of the “green flags” that could indicate that a person is not a narcissist. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique personality and individual traits, and that it’s possible for someone to exhibit some narcissistic behaviors without having a full-blown personality disorder.
Handling a Narcissist
It’s important to remember that only a mental health professional can officially diagnose someone with narcissistic personality disorder, but if you think someone you know may be a narcissist, you can still take control of how you deal with them.
It’s better to distance yourself and be careful how much access you give them to yourself and your life, regardless of diagnosis or not, if the behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you’re concerned that you might be exhibiting narcissistic behavior, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a mental health professional. They can help you understand your behavior and develop strategies for making positive changes in your relationships.
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