Traits of a Narcissist
The term narcissist has become synonymous with the word vain. We imagine narcissists always looking at themselves in the mirror and believing themselves to be beautiful people. It comes from the Greek mythology story of Narcissus who falls in love with himself and rejects the love and advances of Echo.
However, narcissistic personality disorder is much different than pure vanity. Some narcissists or people with NPD are attractive and like the way they look. The disorder actually runs much deeper than physical beauty, though.
It’s estimated that one in ten people has a personality disorder and that 35 percent of those people have NPD. That means there’s a very good chance that sometime in your life you’ll know, and maybe love, someone with narcissistic personality disorder.
What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Narcissistic personality disorder or NPD is a disorder where someone has an inflated sense of self-importance. They believe, for a variety of reasons, that they’re far superior and more important anyone else.
People with NPD share many similar behavior traits and characteristics with those who are bipolar, those who have borderline personality disorder, and sociopaths. In fact, NPD is often misdiagnosed it is much different than those conditions.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder, not a disease. There are no lab tests or chemical imbalances that can help someone diagnose this condition. It’s a psychiatric or personality disorder which means that it’s only diagnosed through talking with a therapist.
Narcissistic personality disorder often begins in childhood. As the child grows and develops, their behavior patterns are ingrained. They become part of who they are and how they relate to the world. If this child grows up to believe that they’re more important than anyone else, then by adulthood this can cause some serious problems.
We’re talking about issues with relationships, in their career, and ultimately with finding happiness. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of consequences for the other person who shares a Narcissists life.
As you might imagine, NPD can be a serious disorder to manage. And, it can lead to a number of other conditions or disorders. Understanding and accurately diagnosing this disorder is essential to living a productive and satisfying life.
7 Signs Of A Narcissist
As I’ve already mentioned NPD is not a disease. You may identify with some of the signs and symptoms below but that doesn’t mean you are a Narcissist. However… Let’s be honest in saying that everyone will exhibit some symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.
They range from craving attention to having fantasies about unlimited success, wealth, and power. Who doesn’t occasionally fantasize about having unlimited wealth? Who doesn’t want to look good?
So don’t stress out if you find that you share some of the same qualities or behaviors that are on the list for someone with NPD. If you share all of the behaviors, though, it may be time to go to the therapist for a discussion.
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Wants to Be the Center of Attention
Someone with NPD will take this to the extremes. They’ll interrupt conversations to talk about themselves. They’ll brag about what they’ve accomplished and often embellish, exaggerate, and lie to make themselves look good to others. (Some people with NPD actually believe their own exaggerations and lies).
My favourite saying about a Narcissist that pretty much sums it up is they love to tell stories for attention. In those stories they are either the victim of the hero.
Whatever is going to get the biggest reaction of the audience. Although they love to be the hero they also love to get sympathy.
A Narcissist Has an Extremely High Sense of Self-Importance
Someone with NPD expects others to recognize them as superior. They believe that they are better than everyone else. Unfortunately, this means they treat others as if they are lesser people. They manipulate people to get what they want and often use people to help them portray the image in their mind.
For example, someone with NPD may choose a highly successful or extremely attractive partner – not because they love them but because they believe they are worthy of that type of mate and they make them look good.
Think about it like this, everyone in their life must serve a purpose. Even the purpose of making them look good and helping them look successful by piggybacking on your success.
Focused on Their Image
Many people who have NPD are obsessed with fantasies of having unlimited money, success, or power. They usually believe that they are not only worthy of it but that they deserve it and are completely capable of achieving it. They may also believe that they are worthy of perfect beauty.
It’s like a born life skill – they are usually ridiculously good looking. They believe they are a 10/10 (and are usually at least a 9/10). They put a lot of effort into their looks and appearance but more than that they have a certain charm they can turn on and off that can make them appear more attractive than they are.
This is where manipulation takes place. The truth is you can get away with a lot more shit when you’re good looking. Hey – I didn’t make the rules.
Is Unique and Special
NPD people believe that they are special. They believe they are unique, different to everyone else. No one understands them except the rare person who has equal status.
They often don’t associate with people they believe to be beneath them. They won’t even acknowledge them whether they be family or friends.
You earn your place in the Narcissists life by either having money, power, good looks or something you can offer of benefit to them. If you have nothing obvious to offer they can cut you off and never look back. Unless they need something from you.
They can flick the switch turn on the charm and get what they want. They know they have this power over the people in their lives. Remember they chose you. You didn’t chose them.
Manipulative and Exploitative
This is a trademark sign of someone with NPD. They are incredibly persuasive and manipulative. They believe that they deserve to control others and treat people like staff.
However, when the person they’re trying to manipulate or control doesn’t cooperate, they can become vengeful, hateful, and even aggressive.
It’s ok for a Narcissist to cut you out of their life when you no longer serve a purpose but you don’t get to cut them out of yours. It is extremely difficult to get a Narcissist out of your life.
Lacks Genuine Empathy
Someone with NPD is unwilling, and often unable, to realize that people have their own thoughts, needs, and feelings. A narcissist believes and behaves as if everyone is there to serve them.
They don’t have the patience for your emotions because it’s not about them. If you’re going through a bad time don’t look for support from a Narcissist. They will get bitter and jealous if they are not the centre of your attention.
Their mantra is “what about me? What’s in it for me?” So literally, go tell someone who cares, because it’s not them.
Has Problems with Jealousy
Finally, if someone has NPD they often struggle with jealousy. They believe people around them are jealous of them. They’re often competitive and jealous of other people. In a relationship this can manifest when they isolate their partner from their friends and family and exhibit a lack of trust.
Learn more about 4 types of jealousy here.
By separating you from the people in your world they become front and centre. Just the way they like it. You really wouldn’t have the time or energy for other people in your life anyway. A Narcissist is exhausting. They are a bottomless pit for your energy and attention.
If you’re in a relationship with a Narcissist it’s going to be a bumpy ride. The more you learn about Narcissism the better equipped you will be at dealing with that goes on in the relationship. You can stop blaming yourself. You can stop being manipulated.
Wondering if there is any kind of treatment that will help?
Click here to learn more about it Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
If you need some help dealing with what you’re going through click here to make an appointment. It’s hard to work through this one on your own.