7 signs you’re dealing with a high-level narcissist, according to psychology

If you’ve crossed paths with a high-level narcissist, you’re probably aware of how challenging it can be.

Narcissism, according to psychology, is a formal personality disorder, not a personal flaw or conscious decision.

Being involved with someone who displays signs of high-level narcissism can be tough. They can have an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

Understanding the signs of a high-level narcissist can help you navigate these tricky interactions.

So let’s have a look at what they are.

1) Excessive need for admiration and attention

If you’ve ever interacted with a high-level narcissist, one of the key signs you’ve likely noticed is their excessive need for admiration and attention. This isn’t just about enjoying a compliment now and then.

High-level narcissists tend to seek validation constantly, often going to great lengths to ensure they’re the center of attention. They might monopolize conversations, exaggerate their achievements, or become visibly upset if they feel neglected or overlooked.

This excessive need for approval and recognition isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a persistent pattern. If you’re dealing with a high-level narcissist, you might find yourself being drained by their never-ending thirst for affirmation.

Remember, this behavior is a symptom of their personality disorder, not a reflection of your actions or worth. Understanding this can help you navigate interactions with them without taking on undue guilt or blame.

Your feelings and needs are equally important, and you shouldn’t have to downplay them to cater to someone else’s inflated self-importance.

2) Surprising vulnerability to criticism

While high-level narcissists project an air of immense self-confidence, beneath the surface lies a surprising vulnerability. This might seem odd given their inflated self-image, but it’s a hallmark sign of this personality disorder.

When faced with criticism or feedback, a high-level narcissist might react with extreme defensiveness or even hostility. You might observe them dismissing or invalidating your perspective, or turning the tables to blame you instead. This isn’t just about saving face; it’s their way of protecting their fragile self-esteem.

Despite the grandiose exterior, they’re often hypersensitive to perceived slights and can react intensely to even the slightest criticism. This vulnerability isn’t always apparent, as they’re experts at maintaining their confident facade.

3) Lack of empathy

One telltale sign of a high-level narcissist is their seeming inability to empathize with others. Empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings of another person, a trait that high-level narcissists often lack.

When interacting with a high-level narcissist, you might notice that they seldom show genuine concern for your feelings or experiences. They may dismiss your emotions, or even become irritated when you express feelings that don’t align with their own.

This isn’t because they’re intentionally being hurtful. Rather, their personality disorder often prevents them from truly understanding the emotional experiences of others. This lack of empathy can make interactions with them challenging and emotionally draining.

But being aware of this can help you set realistic expectations for your interactions with high-level narcissists and take steps to protect your own emotional well-being.

4) Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships

High-level narcissists often struggle to maintain healthy, lasting relationships. This doesn’t mean they don’t want meaningful connections, but their personality disorder can make it challenging.

Their need for constant admiration, sensitivity to criticism, and lack of empathy can strain their relationships. Friends, family, and romantic partners might find it difficult to meet their high expectations or navigate their emotional reactions.

If you’re in a relationship with a high-level narcissist, it’s normal to feel frustrated or overwhelmed at times. It’s important to remember that their behavior is not a reflection of your worth or your efforts.

Navigating a relationship with a high-level narcissist can be tough, but with understanding and patience, it’s possible to establish boundaries and find a way forward that respects both your needs and theirs.

5) Grandiose sense of self-importance

We all like to feel important and valued in our lives. However, a high-level narcissist takes this a step further. They often have a grandiose sense of self-importance, believing that they are superior to others and deserve special treatment.

This might manifest in their conversations where they frequently talk about their own achievements, often exaggerating or lying about their talents and successes. Or, it might show in their expectations from others to always cater to their needs, often at the expense of others’ needs and feelings.

If you’re dealing with a high-level narcissist, you might find these behaviors frustrating and exhausting. It’s important to remember that these behaviors stem from their personality disorder, and not because you’re not doing enough.

6) Exploitation of others

A high-level narcissist often exhibits a tendency to exploit others for their own gain. This is not necessarily about malicious intent, but more about their compulsion to put their own needs first, even if it means taking advantage of others.

For instance, let’s consider a scenario where a friend always insists on choosing the restaurant whenever you plan a night out. Despite your voiced preferences or dietary restrictions, they seem to disregard your choices and make decisions that primarily serve their interests. Over time, this disregard for your input might leave you feeling unheard or unimportant.

This exploitative behavior, while hurtful, is an identifiable trait of a high-level narcissist. Recognizing it can equip you to address the issue directly or seek advice on how to navigate the relationship while protecting your own interests and well-being.

7) Unwillingness to accept responsibility

Here’s a hard truth: high-level narcissists often struggle to own up to their mistakes. They might sidestep responsibility, blame others, or even twist the narrative to paint themselves in a more favorable light.

When confronted with their errors or wrongdoings, they might deflect the blame onto others. For example, if they arrive late for a meeting, they might blame you for not reminding them, even when it was their responsibility to be on time.

This behavior can be frustrating and can perpetuate a cycle of unaccountability. While it’s understandable to want to help them see their own role in the issue, remember that you can’t force someone to take responsibility.

Still, it’s important to stand your ground and affirm your reality – you’re not responsible for their actions or choices.

Remember, it’s not about you

Understanding and navigating relationships with high-level narcissists can be a challenging journey. But remember, this isn’t about changing who you are to accommodate them, but about understanding their personality disorder and how it influences their behavior.

This article aimed to shed light on the signs of a high-level narcissist, not to label or blame, but to empower you with knowledge and understanding. Ultimately, the choice is yours on how to handle these relationships in your life.

Time spent on self-care and maintaining your emotional health is time well invested.

Being truly mindful means having the courage to set boundaries, prioritize your needs, and not let someone else’s personality disorder dictate your self-worth or happiness.

Here’s to living a life that respects your needs, values your well-being, and fosters healthier relationships!

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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