We all know a narcissist. In fact, it’s estimated that between 1% and 6% of people suffer from narcissistic personality disorder.
The problem with knowing a narcissist is that it can lead to all sorts of problems on your end. Their attitude can negatively impact you, especially if you’re a child that’s growing up with a narcissist as a carer.
At the same time, it can often be difficult to spot the signs of narcissism, especially when it comes to people that you’ve known for a while. And that’s where today’s article comes in.
Here are 12 not-so-subtle signs that you might be dealing with a narcissist.
1) They act entitled
Narcissists see themselves as more important than other people, and so they tend to act entitled as a result of that.
They’ll do things like parking in a disabled space or assuming that the law doesn’t apply to them because they’re oh-so important. They’ll also act as though they’re entitled to breach societal norms, such as by continuing to talk during a minute of silence.
This entitlement is essentially the hallmark of the narcissist, and so I find that it’s the easiest thing to look out for. It really shows in their actions because every single thing they do in life is grounded in their belief that they’re better than everyone else.
For the rest of us, it’s easy enough to avoid acting entitled, but for the true narcissist, it’s a de facto part of their personality. In fact, they won’t even understand why they should try to hide it.
2) They think they’re better than other people
This is another one of the key hallmarks of the narcissist.
Every narcissist thinks that they’re the center of the universe and the most important person to have ever lived. That’s what makes them think that they’re better than other people, and that’s why you should look out for behavior that suggests that they think this.
Ironically, many of the people that our society holds up as being “the greatest” had remarkably small egos and would never have dreamed of thinking that they were better than other people. But that’s because they weren’t narcissists.
No one is better than anyone else, because the term “better” is subjective and because we live in a society where everyone should be treated equally. But narcissists forget that.
3) They manipulate people
Manipulation is another hallmark of the narcissist, because they see nothing wrong with manipulating other people to get what they want.
The specifics of this manipulation can vary from narcissist to narcissist. Some are overt with it and some aren’t, but the general idea is the same. They’ll use emotional blackmail, gaslighting and other manipulative behaviors to get people to do what they want them to do.
This is obviously unpleasant to be on the receiving end of, and so if you’re suffering from manipulation at the hands of a narcissist, don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself. The narcissist is relying on you to not do so, and so there’s a good chance they’ll back down.
Note that while most narcissists manipulate people, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who manipulates people is a narcissist.
4) They’re obsessed with their appearance
Given that the mark of a narcissist is that they’re self-obsessed, we shouldn’t be surprised that they tend to be particularly obsessed with their physical appearance.
Of course, we’re all a little self-obsessed in today’s day and age, thanks to social networking and the need to be able to take decent selfies.
But narcissists take things to the next level, spending hours in front of the mirror – not to make sure that they look their best but because they just like to look at themselves.
And so you may find that you’re able to spot a narcissist in your life based upon how much time they spend in front of the mirror. You should also bear in mind that it’s just as important to figure out why they’re looking in the mirror.
Some people have mental health issues that make them hyper-fixate on their appearance, so they spend a lot of time making sure that they look how they want to look. Narcissists just want to admire themselves.
5) They don’t care about other people’s feelings
The self-obsession that narcissists have means that they don’t care what other people think about them. After all, they don’t see any reason to.
Of course, this has a hugely negative effect on their friends and family members, and it’s one of the big reasons why people choose to stop spending time with narcissists.
Would you be willing to spend time with someone who showed through their actions that they didn’t give a damn about you?
You’ll want to look out for this lack of caring and empathy and use it as a warning sign that can work in conjunction with some of the other factors on this list. The more boxes that people tick, the more likely it is that they’re a narcissist.
Sometimes, all you can do is give them a taste of their own medicine. If they don’t care about your feelings, why should you care about theirs?
6) They brag about their achievements
We all like to brag about our achievements, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We should be proud of what we accomplish.
The different thing about narcissists is that they’ll brag about their own achievements and downplay everyone else’s. They’ll think that their accomplishments are the only accomplishments that matter, even if they’ve achieved the same thing as someone else.
For example, I went to university with someone who got the same grade as me and who spent weeks showing off about it to everyone who’d listen. When I pointed out that most of the class had received the same grade, they blocked me on social media.
To the true narcissist, everything that they achieve is unprecedented.
7) They struggle with criticism
Narcissists hate criticism, whether it’s constructive or not.
To be fair, a lot of people struggle with criticism, though that’s usually because we can be hard on ourselves and take criticism personally.
Remember that there’s a big difference between constructive criticism, which you can use to improve and do something better, and unconstructive criticism, which is generally more of a personal attack.
For most of us, constructive criticism can actually be a good thing, but narcissists lump it in with unconstructive criticism and ignore the lot.
That’s because they see themselves as the best around, and they don’t think they should have to take advice and input from anyone else.
Fortunately for the rest of us, this one is their loss. If they don’t want to become better people, that’s on them.
8) They never apologize
Because narcissists are so self-obsessed, they never apologize.
That’s because they don’t see any point in it. They don’t care what other people think, and so that means that there’s no point in them apologizing for their behavior.
It doesn’t help that they also rarely think that they’re in the wrong. Again, their narcissism leads them to think that the world revolves around them, and so if they go ahead and do something, it has to mean that they’re in the right by default.
They’re right because they’re the ones doing it. Right?
Wrong. But good luck trying to tell them that.
9) They show no remorse for their negative actions
This builds on the last point because there’s a reason why they never apologize. They show no remorse.
You’ve probably seen this in action with a criminal narcissist who doesn’t seem to care about the people’s lives that he’s ruined through his crimes. He’ll stand up in court and show zero remorse, not because he’s trying to act tough but because he genuinely doesn’t care.
We normal people show remorse because we feel guilty about the things that we’ve done and want to make up for them. At the very least, we show remorse so that we’re acknowledging that we’ve done something wrong, which should encourage people to look upon us more favorably.
But narcissists won’t do that. They don’t feel the need to, and they think that the rest of us are weird for caring about what people think.
10) They constantly interrupt other people
Narcissists are a nightmare to have conversations with because they’ll keep on interrupting you and turning the conversation around so that it’s all about themselves.
When most of us chat to our friends, we automatically take it in turns to speak. That’s not true for the narcissist, because they don’t want to hear about your life. They want you to hear about theirs, because they think that’s the only life that matters.
Some people interrupt other people just because they’re rude, and some people do it because they have poor social skills and just don’t know any better. And then there are those who interrupt people because they’re narcissists.
A sure fire way to find out which camp someone belongs to is to point out that they keep doing it and to see how they react.
11) They don’t have many long-term friendships
Narcissists don’t have many long-term friendships for fairly obvious reasons. After everything you’ve learned about them in this article, would you want to be friends with one?
On top of the obvious difficulties of being friends with a narcissist, we also have to remember that narcissists don’t really want long-term friends. They only want friends if they have a use for them, and as soon as they no longer consider their friends to be useful, they ditch them.
As if that wasn’t enough, narcissists are usually well aware of how other people perceive them, even if they don’t actually care.
Like a criminal, they know that the best course of action is to keep moving, because if they stay with one social circle for too long, word will spread and they’ll find it harder to manipulate people.
And so if you know someone who doesn’t have many long-term friendships, it’s worth asking yourself whether they’re a narcissist.
12) They ignore people’s boundaries
Boundaries are important because they’re a signal of what we’re willing to put up with and where we draw the line.
Everyone has boundaries, and narcissists are no different. The problem here is that while they set their own boundaries and expect other people to follow them, they don’t return the favor. Again, this is caused by them thinking that they’re more important than anyone else.
Unfortunately, this kind of behavior isn’t unique to narcissists. It’s a common trend amongst anyone who doesn’t respect other people and their feelings, and so I have a friend who ignores boundaries not because he’s a narcissist but because he has poor social skills.
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two.
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