8 Signs That You, Yourself, Are A Narcissist

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While only a qualified mental health professional can diagnose someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), when it comes to determining whether you or someone you know is a narcissist, many people make it more complicated than it needs to be.

There are no blood tests, X-rays, or exact scientific approaches that can identify whether you, or someone you know, has NPD, it is possible to tell if someone is narcissistic by looking for signs in their behaviors, attitudes, and reactions to others.

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8 Signs That You, Yourself, Are A Narcissist

1. Possessing a deep need for perfection and control

Narcissists have an extremely high need for everything to be perfect. They believe they should be perfect, you should be perfect, and events should happen exactly as expected.

The narcissist sets themselves up for dissatisfaction because of their demands for perfection.

2. Feeling superior

The world of the narcissist is good/bad, superior/inferior, and right/wrong — and within that world, the narcissist feels superior.

Narcissists have to be the best, the most right, and the most competent. This added to the demand for perfection can create a situation where everything needs to be done their way.

3. Lacking responsibility, blaming and deflecting on others instead

Although narcissists want to be in control, they avoid responsibility for results — unless everything goes exactly their way. If things don’t go according to their plan or they feel criticized or less than perfect, the narcissist will project the blame externally.

Sometimes that blame is generalized (e.g. all law enforcement), whereas other times blames is projected on a specific person who they believe limits their ability to do what they want to do when and how they want to do it.

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4. Lacking empathy

Narcissists have difficulties with empathizing with other. They might also ack an understanding of the nature of feelings. The narcissist tends to be selfish and self-involved and usually unable to understand what other people are feeling.

Narcissists expect others to think and feel the same way they do and seldom think about others' feelings. They are also rarely apologetic, remorseful, or accepting of guilt.

5. Insisting everything has to be about themselves

Have you ever tried to be friends with, or date someone, who is all about themselves and only listens to themselves? They change the topic, get defensive, or become mad when other people talk about difficulties they've been experiencing.

Narcissistic functioning, at its core, is a function of a lack of listening. Think of it as one-sided listening where the other person is dismissive of what is said and may be quick to anger if other views are different than theirs.

Narcissists also make most of their decisions based on how they feel about something. They simply must have a new sports car entirely because they want it, without giving consideration to the impact the choice may have on the family budget.

If they’re bored or depressed, they seek external things to change, such as ending or starting a new relationship, moving cross-country, changing their career, or starting a new business. They always look to something or someone outside themselves to solve their feelings and needs. And this comes with the expectation you must support their desires and choices, and they will react with irritation and resentment if you don’t.

6. Feeling a never-ending need for attention

Narcissists crave attention. No matter how much you tell narcissists you love them, admire them, or approve of them it's never enough — because deep down they don’t believe anyone can love them.

They are actually insecure and fearful of not measuring up. Their constant need for praise and approval from others is an effort to make shore up a fragile ego.

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7. Lacking the ability to be truly vulnerable

Because of a deficiency in understanding feelings, their lack of empathy, and their constant need for self-protection, narcissists have difficulty with love or connecting emotionally with other people. They cannot look at the world from anyone else’s perspective, so they find it nearly impossible to open up an be vulnerable with others.

When one relationship is no longer satisfying, they often overlap relationships or start a new one as soon as possible.

8. Taking criticism personally

Trying to reason or use logic with a narcissist in the hope they will understand how their behaviors have an impact on others is a challenge few can endure. The narcissistic personality might say they understand how their behavior has hurt someone, and there will be a change in the future, but while narcissists may say they understand feelings, they honestly are struggling with it.

As previously noted, narcissistic listening dismisses, negates, ignores, and minimizes others' concerns and comments. This is especially true when the narcissist is being criticized.

Then they will have a tendency to blame others when anything goes wrong. Blaming and fault-finding in others feel safer than looking to discover, learn, and grow from their own part in difficulties. Personal growth would mean they are not perfect, and this is something the narcissistic personalty has trouble accepting.

The Bottom Line

How a person listens is a key indicator of narcissism. Someone who looks to understand others is probably reasonably emotionally healthy. Disparaging or ignoring others' input suggests narcissistic patterns.

Though some people are more prone to narcissism than others, narcissism generally is not a fixed phenomenon like height or eye color. Instead, most of the time narcissism is akin to a deficit in listening skills.

If you find yourself in these descriptions, work on upgrading your listening and decision-making skills and you may be surprised to notice less conflict in your life, as your relationships grow stronger and more gratifying.

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Dr. Lisa Webb is the author of the “Executive Marriage Solution: Translating Boardroom Success into Bedroom Bliss”. She is also an entrepreneur, President and CEO of Body & Mind Consulting, and Chief Relationship Officer at Executive Relationship Advisor.