What Are the Signs of Narcissism?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2018
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The term "narcissism" can refer to a variety of different behaviors and traits, most of which exhibit signs of egotism, excessive self-love, aggression, and conceit. The signs of narcissism can therefore be quite varied and sometimes difficult to recognize. This condition is usually present in a person who is engaged in some sort of relationship, whether it's a romantic one or a platonic one. Narcissism is often ultimately detrimental to the health of the relationship and the people taking part in it.

A lack of empathy for others and a lack of consideration of the feelings of others are two signs of narcissism that are fairly easy to take note of. A person who is self-absorbed will tend to disregard the feelings of others or be unaware of those feelings entirely. The narcissist will expect others to go along with his or her plans or ideas without question, and other ideas or plans will be disregarded entirely. The narcissist may be extremely critical of others to enhance his or her own standing and to mask what may ultimately be a severe insecurity. Many narcissists compensate for their own shortcomings or insecurities by projecting them onto others.


Other signs of narcissism may include a feeling that others are out to "get" or destroy the person, and that no one can be trusted. The narcissist may actively go about destroying relationships in fear that others are trying to hold him back or drag him down. In many cases, the narcissist will be exceptionally critical of others and will express extreme disdain or dislike for people who are different or otherwise perceived as inferior. These may conceal the narcissist's own sense of self-worth, which may be lacking altogether.

One of the more common signs of narcissism, especially in interpersonal relationships, is the tendency to set unrealistic goals for others. When another person cannot reach these unattainable goals, the narcissist may place blame on that person for essentially ruining the relationship. The narcissist may also feel as though others in the relationship are jealous of him or her. Conversely, the narcissist may also exaggerate his or her own accomplishments and hyperbolize his or her own contributions to the success of a relationship. He or she will generally try to seize power in the relationship and cling to it no matter what the cost.


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Post 5

The best thing to do if you feel you are in a relationship with a narcissist is get out. The emotional havoc they try to place on you is detrimental to your health. The continual "you never do anything right" will never stop for you unless you do not let it happen.

Every couple of years our grown up child has placed continual blame on dad for anything and everything you can imagine to the point of being upset that he bought something for him and his wife to enjoy and did not tell this person. They will nit-pick you apart, turn the good into bad and will not forget anything.

We are done with dealing with these type of

people and unfortunately, their children and spouses in their immediate family will be hurt and eventually their own children will want no part of them.

There are great books out there for reading. Once you get it, you are on the road to better health and understanding who these people are. I hope this helps someone at least a little bit.

Post 4

@simrin-- No, it's not that hard to know if someone is a narcissist. There are very obvious signs. For example, if he or she is constantly talking highly about themselves and demanding that you do the same, that's one sign.

Narcissists also are very good at using people to get what they want. They are good at manipulating other's emotions and usually don't genuinely care about that person. So they are good actors.

I also think that narcissists are very jealous. At least the ones I have known have been very jealous of other people and their accomplishments.

Post 3

@burcinc-- Does this mean that we can't tell if someone we met recently is narcissistic or not?

Post 2

@anon333751-- I think we should clarify that narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder are two different things. Narcissism is a personality trait that many of us have. Narcissistic personality disorder, which I think this article is mostly concentrating on, is a psychological condition where narcissistic traits are abnormally dominant in an individual.

Of course, there are always levels to psychological conditions and sometimes it can be difficult to identify whether someone really has a disorder or if they are just a narcissistic type of person.

It's very hard for people like me to do this because I have no training in psychology. This is where psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and counselors come in. They can say for sure whether someone is setting unrealistic goals to manipulate someone or not.

Post 1

"One of the more common signs of narcissism, especially in interpersonal relationships, is the tendency to set unrealistic goals for others..."

I've seen parents do this to their own children.

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