When it comes to determining whether someone you know is a narcissist, most people make it more complicated than it needs to be. I use the duck test—that is, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. There are no physical blood tests, MRIs, or exact determinations that can identify narcissism. Even therapists have to go on their observations of the behavior, attitudes, and reactions that a person presents to determine narcissism.
What makes it simple is the fact that we know exactly what a narcissist looks like.
Below, I've listed all the symptoms and behaviors you should look for. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be present to make a determination of narcissism. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which therapists use as a guide, a person needs to exhibit only 55 percent of the identified characteristics to be considered narcissistic.
There is a definite hierarchy, with the narcissist at the top—which is the only place he feels safe. Narcissists have to be the best, the most right, and the most competent; do everything their way; own everything; and control everyone. Interestingly enough, narcissists can also get that superior feeling by being the worst; the most wrong; or the most ill, upset, or injured for a period of time.
Narcissists need constant attention—even following you around the house, asking you to find things, or constantly saying something to grab your attention. Validation for a narcissist counts only if it comes from others. You pour in positive, supportive words, and they just flow out the other end and are gone. Despite all their self-absorbed, grandiose bragging, narcissists are actually very insecure and fearful of not measuring up.
Narcissists have an extremely high need for everything to be perfect. They believe they should be perfect, you should be perfect, events should happen exactly as expected, and life should play out precisely as they envision it.
This is an excruciatingly impossible demand, which results in the narcissist feeling dissatisfied and miserable much of the time. The demand for perfection leads the narcissist to complain and be constantly dissatisfied. Since narcissists are continually disappointed with the imperfect way life unfolds, they want to do as much as possible to control it and mold it to their liking. They want and demand to be in control, and their sense of entitlement makes it seem logical to them that they should be in control—of everything.
They demand that you say and do exactly what they have in mind so they can reach their desired conclusion. You are a character in their internal play, not a real person with your own thoughts and feelings.
Although narcissists Signs you may be hookup a narcissist to be in control, they never want to be responsible for the results—unless, of course, everything goes exactly their way and their desired result occurs. Sometimes that blame is generalized—all police, all bosses, all teachers, all Democrats, and so on. At other times the narcissist picks a particular person or rule to blame—his mother, the judge, or laws that limit what he wants to do.
Most often, however, the narcissist blames the one person who is the most emotionally close, most attached, loyal, and loving in his life—you. You are the safest person to blame, because you are least likely to leave or reject him.
They are a lot like 2-year-olds. They believe that everything belongs to them, everyone thinks and feels the same as they do, and everyone wants the same things they do. They are Signs you may be hookup a narcissist and highly insulted to be told no.
Narcissists have very little ability to empathize with others. 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 as they do and seldom give any thought to how others feel. They are also rarely apologetic, remorseful, or guilty. But narcissists are highly attuned to perceived threats, anger, and rejection from others.
At the same time, they are nearly blind to the other feelings of the people around them.
They frequently misread subtle facial expressions and are typically biased toward interpreting facial expressions as negative. This is why narcissists often misinterpret sarcasm as actual agreement or joking from others as a personal attack. Their lack of ability to correctly read body language is one reason narcissists are deficiently empathetic to your feelings.
Narcissists also lack an understanding about the nature of feelings. They think their feelings are caused by someone or something outside of themselves. In a Signs you may be hookup a narcissist, narcissists always think you cause their feelings—especially the negative ones. This lack of empathy makes true relationships and emotional connection with narcissists difficult or impossible. Therefore, narcissists make most of their decisions based on how they feel about something.
They simply must have that red sports car, based entirely on how they feel driving it, not by whether it is a good choice to make for the family or for the budget.
They always look to something or someone outside themselves to solve their feelings and needs. Signs you may be hookup a narcissist negative thoughts or behaviors are blamed on you or others, whereas they take credit for everything that is positive and good. They deny their negative words and actions while continually accusing you of disapproving. They also remember things as completely good and wonderful or as bad and horrible.
They can deal with only one perspective at a time—theirs. They may have fears about germs, about losing all their money, about being emotionally or physically attacked, about being seen as bad or inadequate, or about being abandoned.
This makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for the narcissist to trust anyone else. In fact, the closer your relationship becomes, the less he will trust you. No amount of reassurance seems to make a difference, because narcissists deeply hate and reject their own shameful imperfections.
Narcissists never seem to develop trust in the love of others, and they continually test you with worse and worse behaviors to try to find your breaking point. Anxiety is an ongoing, vague feeling that something bad is happening or about to happen. Some narcissists show their anxiety by talking constantly about the doom that is about to happen, while some hide and repress their anxiety.
But most narcissists project their anxiety onto their closest loved ones, accusing them of being negative, unsupportive, mentally ill, not putting them first, not responding to their needs, or being selfish. All this is designed to transfer anxiety to the loved one in an attempt to not feel it themselves. As you feel worse and worse, the narcissist feels better and better.
In fact he feels stronger and more superior as you feel your anxiety and depression grow. Signs you may be hookup a narcissist they harbor a lot of shame.
Shame is the belief that there is something deeply and permanently wrong or bad about who you are. Buried in a deeply repressed part of the narcissist are all the insecurities, fears, and rejected traits that he is constantly on guard to hide from everyone, including himself. The narcissist is acutely ashamed of all these rejected thoughts and feelings. For example, I had one narcissistic client who was into skydiving and other intense risk-taking behaviors tell me that he never felt fear.
Ultimately, however, this makes it impossible for them to be completely real and transparent.
This makes them emotionally needy. When one relationship is no longer satisfying, they often overlap relationships or start a new one as soon as possible. They desperately want someone to feel their pain, to sympathize with them, and make everything just as they want it to be. But they have little ability to respond to your pain or fear or even your day-to-day need for care and sympathy. How will the other person feel?
Will this action make both of us happy? How will this affect our relationship? Want more insight into the relationships in your life? Find out the things you should always be selfish about in your partnerships and the questions that could keep your marriage from ending.
In order to be your best self in your relationships—whether it's with a friend, family member, or partner—you need to FEEL your best, inside and out.
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Group 7 Created with Sketch. Email Created with Sketch. Group 9 Created with Sketch. Group 10 Created with Sketch. Group 11 Created with Sketch. Group 4 Created with Sketch. Exaggerated need for attention and validation.
Great need for control. Lack of responsibility—blaming and deflecting.
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Ivo de Bruijn Pinterest. An inability to be truly vulnerable. An inability to communicate or work as part of a team. Related Posts Food Trends icon food trends. Liz Moody 8 hours ago. Alexa Tucker 8 hours ago. Integrative Health integrative health. Caroline Muggia 8 hours ago. Email Address Sign up Error message. You are now subscribed Be on the lookout for a welcome email in your inbox! For example, when they lose in a sports match, they might try to Burgo said, a narcissist might believe he has a closer connection to God.
Everyone has “moments” of narcissism Signs you may be hookup a narcissist a relationship.