“I thought narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it. It is actually drearier than self-love; it is unrequited self-love,” explained Emily Levine.
Do you know anyone who suffers from this sad affliction?
Here are eight ways to spot a narcissist:
1. They believe they are smarter than you – and everyone else.
This goes far beyond pride or even arrogance. A narcissist is confident in their superiority. To them, their perfection is simply a matter of truth. It is as much a fact of their identity as their height, number of fingers, or eye color. Any evidence to suggest otherwise is somehow flawed or incorrect.
2. They do not admit fault.
If something doesn’t go well, somebody else is always to blame. A true apology, or even admission of an honest mistake, is hard to come by. They will often say things like “I’m sorry it upset you when I said that,” or “I’m sorry you feel that way.” In a professional setting, they will blame their mistakes on technology, other peoples’ work, or systematic failures.
3. They experience exaggerated feelings of envy.
A narcissist is always on the hunt for signs of unfairness. When a friend accomplishes something great, it’s because they had an advantage. If a family member wins a board game, it was surely just luck – or foul play. In a narcissist’s eyes, the world is only fair when they come out ahead.
4. They do not hesitate to take advantage of others.
A narcissist’s capacity for empathy has been replaced with an exaggerated measure of self-interest. For this reason, their moral compass is skewed when it comes to taking advantage of vulnerable people. They see nothing gross about telling their aunt with dementia that they never received a birthday card in order to get a second twenty dollar bill.
5. They require constant admiration.
A narcissist knows they’re superior, but they don’t really feel it. As a result, they need their greatness to be validated frequently by friends, family, and co-workers. This can grow tiresome and begin to strain these relationships. It’s also futile. Even if someone is willing to indulge them, unfortunately, all the praise the world can give will never be enough.
6. They don’t believe in other peoples’ feelings.
A narcissist’s lack of empathy makes it difficult for them to accept the emotions and opinions of others. Their exaggerated sense of self-importance makes these feelings seem even less valid. In their mind, you are either overreacting, pretending offense to gain sympathy, or simply wrong.
6. They will lie to get ahead.
Narcissists are fantastic at rationalizing their wrongdoing. They will lie about a co-worker to secure their way to a promotion. They won’t feel bad, because they know they deserve the job. They will manufacture signs of infidelity to break up a marriage. The narcissist knows he’d be a better husband to her, so it’s really for the best. In the narcissist’s mind, they are only taking what they deserve.
7. They will lie to seem stronger, smarter, and more powerful.
No matter what they accomplish, a narcissist’s external achievements will never fully match their internal image of themselves. For this reason, they need to appear big and important to others. They will exaggerate stories by a mile in order to impress you. Sometimes they will simply make them up.
8. They will lie just to lie.
Really, a narcissist doesn’t need to benefit from a lie for it to be worth telling. Lying itself is an expression of their power and superiority. They get a rush from fooling others. It confirms that they are smarter, trickier, and more worldly than everyone else. For this reason, they will sometimes lie when there is absolutely nothing to be gained from doing so.
“There’s a reason narcissists don’t learn from mistakes and that’s because they never get past the first step which is admitting that they made one,” wrote Jeffrey Kluger.
The sad thing about watching a narcissist, as opposed to someone who is ignorant, impulsive, or destructive in other ways, is knowing the narcissist will never outgrow their condition.
If you saw a loved one reflected in this list, allow me to offer my condolences. You can love them and support them, but you will probably never be able to help them change.