8 Scary 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.

Am I a narcissist?

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 Scary 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 demand for perfection leads the narcissist to complain and be constantly dissatisfied.

2. Feeling the rules don’t apply to you

The world of the narcissist is black and white — good/bad, superior/inferior, and right/wrong — and within that world, the narcissist is better than everyone else.

Narcissists have to be the best, the most right, and the most competent; do everything their way, own everything and control everyone.

3. Lacking responsibility, blaming and deflecting on others instead

Although narcissists want to be in control, they never want to be responsible 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 places all the blame externally.

Sometimes that blame is generalized (e.g. all law enforcement), whereas other times a person is the negative object (e.g. their parents) 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 little ability to empathize with others and lack an understanding of the nature of feelings. They tend to be selfish and self-involved and are 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

Ever tried to be friends with or date someone who is all about themselves and only listens to themselves? Changing the topic, getting defensive, or becoming mad at you when you try to talk about difficulties you've been experiencing are behaviors that suggest narcissism.

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 you say and may be quick to anger if your view is 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 an expectation that you must support their desires and choices, and they will react with irritation and resentment if you don’t.

6. Feeling a neverending need for attention

Narcissists need constant 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 in an effort to make shore up a fragile ego.

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7. Lacking the ability to be truly vulnerable

Because of their inability to understand feelings, their lack of empathy, and their constant need for self-protection, narcissists can’t truly love or connect emotionally with other people. They cannot look at the world from anyone else’s perspective.

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

8. Taking any and all criticism personally

Don’t try to make the mistake of trying to reason or use logic with a narcissist in hopes they will understand how their behaviors have an impact on you. You may think that if they understand how their behavior has hurt you that there will be a change in the future, but while narcissists may say they understand your feelings, they honestly don’t.

Narcissistic listening dismisses, negates, ignores, and minimizes others' concerns and comments.

Narcissists 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.

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.

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