5 Signs in Identifying a Narcissist

Are you dealing with a narcissist?

Whether the person is a romantic partner or a co-worker, coping with narcissistic behaviour is tough.

Knowing the 5 signs of a narcissist is the first step to understanding how to deal with the situation.

When it comes to answering the question “what is a narcissist?” you’ll have to rely on your observations of their behaviour and attitudes. Their responses can also be an indication of narcissistic traits. While it may be helpful to know how to identify narcissistic traits, it’s important to note that only qualified psychologists are able to use the DSM-V to make a diagnosis of this personality disorder.

Even if someone is not diagnosed with a personality disorder they can still display narcissistic traits that make them challenging to deal with. Knowing how to identify narcissistic behaviour can help you to protect yourself from abuse. You may choose to withdraw or disengage from the person for your own safety. If the person is still in your life, you’ll need to put careful thought into how to manage your relationship with them. While a person isn’t a narcissist by choice so you may have compassion for them, keeping yourself safe from emotional or physical harm is a priority.

5 Signs in Identifying a Narcissist

1. Sense of entitlement and self-importance

Narcissists think that they’re better than everyone else and they go out of their way to prove it. While you’ve probably come across plenty of arrogant and selfish people in your life, narcissists take these personality traits a step further. They have an inflated sense of self importance that’s not grounded in reality. One of the signs of a narcissist is that the person believes that they are special and they inflate or fabricate their achievements. You’ll also notice that they have a need to be around people who are admired by society. This sense of self-importance contributes to feelings of entitlement. They believe that they should always get what they want, no matter what. Your value is determined by your ability to comply with their wants and needs. If you don’t meet their needs you can expect to be discarded or to be the target of their anger.

2. Excessive need for approval and attention

Narcissistic traits include attention seeking behaviour. You may find that the person follows you around asking you to do things or saying things to get your attention. Narcissists constantly seek approval from others and as much validation as you give them, it’s never enough. Your constant praise is required to maintain their sense of superiority. However, underneath this inflated self image is a feeling that they are unlovable. Beneath the surface narcissists feel insecure and afraid. Their insatiable need for your approval is a defence mechanism which is used to mask their delicate ego.

3. Narcissistic abuse

A narcissist’s sense of self feels threatened when another person seems to have something that they don’t. Confident people, who are loved by others, put their fragile egos at risk. Likewise, being challenged is a hazard to a narcissist’s sense of self. Their response to this perceived threat is often narcissistic abuse. You may find yourself at the other end of their contempt, dismissal, insults and bullying. Name-calling and patronising comments are also common tactics that narcissists use to belittle others so that they can maintain their feelings of superiority.

4. Absence of guilt, shame or empathy

Does it seem like the person doesn’t care? Another one of the core narcissistic traits is the inability to recognise other people’s emotions. They struggle to recognise facial expressions or body language so unless you’re displaying your emotions in an extreme manner, it’s unlikely that they’ll know how you’re feeling. They see people as objects that they can use to fulfill their needs. In some cases they’re deliberately spiteful but in other instances a narcissist simply can’t conceive of how their actions are affecting others. When you try and explain it to them, they can’t understand it as they can only comprehend their own needs. Narcissistic behavior comes across as selfish. They seldom experience shame or guilt so they’re unlikely to apologise for anything. They’re quick to blame others because they believe that their feelings are caused by something outside themselves.

5. Lack of vulnerability

One of the signs of a narcissist is that they lack vulnerability. Their inability to be vulnerable as well as the absence of empathy makes it difficult for them to have authentic connections with other people. They feel that people are there to cater to their needs so if a relationship is no longer satisfying them, they’re likely to move swiftly on to someone else. This makes it difficult for them to collaborate with others or to complete projects as part of a team.

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