You are very generous. You are very sociable. When you meet new people, you make a really good first impression if you say so yourself. But beneath all this outward charisma, you may yearn to be adored and actually feel a sense of entitlement, or superiority over everyone you meet. If this sounds familiar, you may be a narcissist.
Named after the Greek hero Narcissus who fell in love with his own face in a reflecting pool so much that he drowned in it, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or NPD for short) is defined by more than just is self-love. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), NPD is defined as “arrogance,” the need for excessive admiration, preoccupation with fantasies of infinite success, power, and beauty, and a response to criticism Feeling cold, humiliated, or angry. Narcissists also tend to be arrogant, lack empathy, and be jealous of others.
But under this seemingly strong display of self-esteem, narcissistic people actually have vulnerability, shame, insecurities, and low self-worth. While no one has pinpointed the exact cause of narcissism, it is closely related to childhood abuse or neglect or excessive parental admiration or criticism. It’s rooted in how people grow up feeling that their worth depends on performance or appearance, says Dr. Sudhir Gadh, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist with a private practice in New York City.
He said that individuals may feel that they cannot choose how they behave as it is a way of dealing with trauma or vulnerability. “I think they think I don’t go down this path, and everyone will find me really useless. So, they think they have no choice.”
NPD also tends to be in small time to show. “If a person is overly pampered or overly critical, narcissism may stem from childhood. They may be struggling with insecurities, low self-esteem or jealousy. So, to combat these feelings, they may try to put themselves on a pedestal trying to make yourself feel better,” explains Kimberly Hershenson, an LMSW therapist in New York City.
It is important to note that there is a difference between people with narcissistic tendencies and people with NPD. Narcissism falls on a spectrum, and nearly everyone displays some narcissistic trait at some point, says Michael Roeske, Ph.
“This is going to be most of the people we’ve met that we describe as narcissistic,” he said. “You have a colleague who thinks that person is narcissistic. Usually, it will be subclinical. Working with them can be frustrating, though.”
with someone who may just be inflated with self-esteem Differently, people with NPD often struggle with a less stable sense of identity. “Behind this tough, boastful exterior is often a very vulnerable person who cannot cope with criticism or judgment,” says Miami psychotherapist Whitney Goodman (LMFT).
Still, “these people have no awareness or insight into what they’re doing, which means they don’t feel guilty or remorseful about their actions,” Goodman said. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 6% of the population suffers from NPD, and it is more common in men.
Diagnosing and treating people with NPD can be difficult. “The problem with self-diagnosing a personality/personality disorder like narcissistic personality disorder is that by definition you have a problem with little awareness that you may have a huge impact on accepting things that negatively affect you resistance,” says psychologist Gregory Kushnick, PsyD.
It is important to note that NPD is a clinical diagnosis, so if you recognize many of the following characteristics yourself, it is worth talking to a therapist and seeking treatment. But if you suspect you might be a narcissist (or you might be dating), here are 15 common early warning signs.
Conversations are always about you
People with narcissistic personality disorder like to be in All time lead conversations. For example, if someone talks to you about their health scare, you might let the conversation go back to your own work stressor, Hershenson said.
If you find yourself changing the subject to get back to what you said, or if you’re less focused on listening to other people’s problems and more focused on sharing your own, it may mean that you have Narcissistic tendencies. (Either way, this is very objectionable.)
You feel uncomfortable focusing on others
In addition to bringing the topic back to yourself, do you also experience mental distress when you focus on others? If you’re a narcissist, you’re going to “have a hard time keeping other people in the spotlight. It’s mental discomfort when other people are in the spotlight and you’re on the sidelines,” Kushnick said. It might even feel like a personal attack when people aren’t paying attention to you.
If you think your first impression is strong and people will flock to you, then you probably Possesses latent narcissistic traits. Sure, you might just be a likable person, but people with narcissistic personality disorder go to great lengths to impress the people they meet with overly charming ones.
“They are very likable…at first. If people seem to be attracted to them and they are popular on first impressions, but over time their interactions with others It became a negative experience. They could be a narcissist,” Hutson said.
You expect others to put your needs before their own
When it comes to friends and family, you always put your needs above theirs. Then, even if you’re in a relationship, as a narcissist, you still have the habit of putting your own needs first. You most likely want your partner to meet your expectations and do what you want, Kushnick said.
Well, if you think your opinion is always right, why don’t you expect others to adapt What about your needs? As a narcissist, you state your opinions more as facts than opinions. As Kushnick puts it, “Pathological certainty is when someone seems to be in the business of making others bad or wrong. As if they had made the right choice instead of the happy one. Many narcissists always It has to be right.” If you find yourself in this situation, assess why you feel this way and whether it comes from a place of narcissism.
People with narcissistic personality disorder do not know how to take responsibility for their actions. So if someone gets mad at you, you might blame someone on the defensive end, or you might lie and make up excuses to avoid being blamed or judged. “They tend to victimize themselves. If nothing is their fault, they tend to feel misunderstood or underappreciated, which can be a sign of narcissism,” says Hessonson.
You like luxury things
To a certain extent , the above is obvious – I mean, who doesn’t like nice things, right? However, if you regularly spend more than you can afford, it can mean trouble, especially if you’re doing it to show off your status to others. For example, if you’re with a group and you order a bottle of wine at dinner, you might feel compelled to buy the most expensive item on the list — even if it’s not a special occasion.
“They’re materialists who like to show high status and stress their prestige. If they keep flashing new items or bragging, they’re probably a narcissist,” Hershenson said.
You cannot accept criticism
If you can’t tolerate even the mildest constructive criticism, there’s a problem. Of course, most people don’t like criticism, but narcissists are “too sensitive” to criticism, Hutson said. So if you are “throwing your temper or crying when you are criticized,” or retaliating in a way that “intimidates and bullies others,” that’s a red flag.
You think you are really special
It’s not just a healthy self-confidence. “People with NPD display arrogance and a high degree of self-importance. They believe they are unique and superior,” Goodman said. “They may live in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur by ignoring key facts or realities that deny them ‘uniqueness’.” These fantasies may be related to “success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance” ,” Goodman said. If you truly believe you deserve special treatment, that shows you have a narcissistic character.
You must more successful than those around you Do you feel successful? You might even have a sense of entitlement that you should be more successful than everyone else? According to Kushnick, if you feel like you and your partner can’t be successful at the same time, and constantly make sure you do better , that may indicate that you are a narcissist.
You take advantage of others
Often, people with narcissism or NPD may have a deep-seated jealousy of others and believe others are jealous of them. As a result, they may exploit those around them and ignore their feelings.
If you think you have these tendencies, it’s worth seeking the help of a therapist. While getting into therapy can be challenging and you may never be able to get rid of your narcissistic tendencies completely, you can work on improving how it affects you The self-awareness of others.
If you think you know what Hershenson said, it is important for a narcissist to set boundaries. Talk to them calmly, don’t argue or attack, because when The narcissist isn’t really listening or hearing you when you say something negative about them. Be firm and remember to quit and end the conversation.
You think the rules don’t apply to you
Narcissists feel so strongly entitled So much so that they may ignore the rules or think the rules simply don’t apply to them, Rothke said. This often leads to bad decisions. If narcissists don’t get the special treatment they think they deserve, they May also be angry or impatient. “People need to recognize their particularity ,”He says.
You will not sympathize with others
There is nothing wrong with being confident or valuing yourself, but people should also be concerned about the well-being of others, Dr. Gadh said. A lack of empathy for anyone and everyone is a sign of narcissism. Narcissists cannot or will not recognize the feelings and needs of others, and may even be jealous of those around them or think others are jealous of them.
Emotional support is vital in relationships. Narcissists expect it, but often don’t reciprocate, Roeske said. “Even in intimate relationships, they do not demonstrate the ability to be in the same emotional space.”
You want everything to be perfect
Because narcissism often stems from childhood values linked to performance and appearance, So narcissists usually expect everything to be perfect—their lives, their friends, and everything else. “They hide themselves from the perfect side,” Dr. Gard said. However, because perfectionism is unattainable, narcissists often feel unhappy, dissatisfied, and empty.
You are obsessed with your appearance
There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and wanting to look your best. But narcissists’ self-awareness and need for perfection are so exaggerated that they sometimes become overly concerned with their own appearance — and set high standards of appearance for others. “That’s the need for mirrors, mirrors that hang on the wall every day,” Dr Gadh said.
Sarah Fey Fielding
Sarah Fielding is a New York A freelance writer, she has covered a range of topics for outlets including Men’s Health, Hustle, and Insider, with a particular love for mental health, sexuality, and relationships.
Erica · Sweeney
Erica Sweeney is a A writer covering primarily health, wellness, and careers.