6 common narcissistic traits to look out for

“A man who loves others based solely on how they make him feel, or what they do for him, is really not loving others at all — but loving only himself.”
— Criss Jami

When it comes to determining whether a person you know is a narcissist, many people make it more complicated than it actually is.

The thing that makes it simple is the fact that we can easily tell what a narcissist looks like. Below, we have listed the common symptoms and behaviors you should look out for. However, you need to keep in mind that not all of these need to be present in a person to determine if he or she is a narcissist. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which is used as a guide by therapists, a person needs to show only 55% of the identifying characteristics to fall into this category.

1. Domineering and Arrogance

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) tend to have arrogant qualities, and will ofter assert their own ideas while ignoring others in an air of pride and superiority. A definite hierarchy can be spotted with the narcissist at the top, which is also the only place they feel safe. Narcissists have an urge to be the best, the most right, and the most competent; do everything the way they envision it, own everything, and control everyone else.

2. A lack of empathy

The lack of empathy, or the inability to put him or herself in another person’s shoes, is one of the defining characteristics of a narcissist.

They lack the skill to make you feel understood or accepted because they simply cannot grasp the concept of feelings.

Does your partner show emotion when you’ve had a bad day, fight with your closest friend or your parents? Or do they seem bored when you tell them about the things that make you feel angry or sad?

The inability to empathize is often the reason why most narcissists’ relationships eventually fall apart, whether they are romantic or not.

3. They rarely admit their mistakes and become aggressive when criticized

Narcissists are thin-skinned and usually react poorly when called to account for their negative behavior. When confronted, the narcissist is likely to either throw a temper tantrum, make excuses, deny, and blame, or storm out the door, give you the silent treatment and resent you. The narcissist almost always resorts to doubling or tripling down on their fake accusations in order to intimidate their opponent. Narcissists see relationships a ground for competition rather than collaboration. “Offense is the best defense” is a mantra for plenty of narcissists, and this also represents their aggressive method of relating to others.

4. Disregard for boundaries

A narcissist cannot accurately calculate where they end and you begin. They are highly similar to toddlers, believing that everything belongs to them, all people should think and feel the same as they do, and everyone wants the same things as them. They are stunned and strongly insulted when getting “No” as an answer. If a narcissist needs something from you, he or she will travel great distances to find out exactly how to get through your persistence and rejection.

5. They crave for excessive admiration

Many people with NPD have an urgent need to be looked up to and admired by others. They may also feel that they fully deserve this admiration, and this links very closely into the notion that they deserve certain special privileges.

6. They shame you

The narcissist rarely feels guilty because in their mind they’re in the right, and they don’t think their actions truly affect anyone else. However, they harbor a lot of shame.

Buried deep inside them is a repressed part of the narcissist where all their insecurities and fears are kept; traits that they constantly guard and hide from everyone else, including themselves. The narcissist feels deeply ashamed of all the rejected feelings and thoughts.

Keeping their vulnerabilities a secret is crucial to the narcissist’s false safe-esteem or fake self. And ultimately this makes it impossible for them to be themselves.

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