10 Ways to Spot a Narcissist
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is one of 10 known personality disorders. These conditions last throughout a person’s lifetime. Generally speaking, they don’t respond well to traditional treatment for psychiatric conditions.
Traditional counseling and psychiatric medication aren’t usually effective because the characteristics of personality disorders are enduring and inflexible.
A person who suffers from a personality disorder doesn’t experience their problematic behaviors and thoughts as abnormal, even when these same behaviors and attitudes cause serious relationship, employment, and other life problems.
While personality disorders are generally resistant to treatment, non-traditional therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) have shown some success in improving symptoms that mental health professionals once viewed as untreatable.
For example, there is significant evidence that DBT is effective in treating behaviors and distorted thoughts that are common with a condition known as Borderline Personality Disorder.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of ten personality disorders outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The DSM-V is considered the authoritative source for the diagnosis of behavioral health conditions and disorders. In spite of its widespread acceptance, it should be mentioned the DSM-V is not without its critics.
Those with NPD desire admiration and adulation. They have an exaggerated sense of importance and superiority. If others fail to provide what they feel they are due, they can respond with hostility or with other displays of severe distress.
Being personally involved with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder can cause extreme distress. Because of their own sense of self-importance and failure to empathize with others, they can create a lot of chaos and destruction in others’ lives.
Common Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Below is a list of common symptoms or traits of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Someone with this condition may or may not have all of these, but the list can serve as a reference to identify the possibility you are dealing with someone who has NPD.
Arrogance: Narcissists have an elevated view of their importance that is out of line with reality. Generally, they believe their needs and wants are more important than others’. They will likely see others as inferior, while seeing themselves as unique.
Sense of Entitlement: A narcissist expects special treatment, in line with the belief of their own superiority. It may show up in acting as though they are owed something which they haven’t earned. They may feel as though they deserve to be associated with those in high places or in positions of power.
Charming: Most narcissists have the “gift of gab”. They possess the natural skill of quickly attracting others to them. They tend to make a good first impression, but this initial impression is typically just that. In time, you will discover their destructive tendencies.
Grandiose: A narcissist is preoccupied with fantasies about attractiveness, power, unlimited success, and brilliance. They may exaggerate or outright lie about accomplishments. They may have unrealistic and grand plans for the future. These may seem believable at first, but time wears away the shiny exterior.
Need for Admiration: A narcissist will need reinforcement of their beliefs about themselves, expecting other to admire them for their uniqueness. If they don’t receive praise or accolades they feel are deserved, they may become hostile.
Exploitation of Others: Those with NPD place their own importance above others’, so they will take advantage and exploit people in order to get what they feel is their due. In such set-ups the person being exploited receives little to no benefit from the relationship.
Two examples would be using a friend for a place to live and failing to contribute in any meaningful way to living expenses or engaging in a romantic relationship at work with the intention of getting promoted.
Manipulation: People with NPD don’t play fair. They can cleverly influence others to achieve their own goals. Of course, this may be at another’s expense but that isn’t of concern to the narcissist.
Jealousy: Due to their preoccupation with prestige and power, a person with NPD may respond with intense jealousy to those who they perceive as more influential or successful than they. They may work to keep others down whom they see as competitors for attention. They can do this skillfully with their abilities to manipulate and exploit.
Unable to Empathize: A common characteristic of NPD is the inability to empathize with others. Empathy is the basic human ability to imagine how another person feels or would feel in a certain situation. Because narcissists cannot empathize with the feelings of others, it is easy for them to take advantage and exploit people.
Lack of Insight: Just as with personality disorders in general, those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, have virtually no insight into their condition. They don’t possess self-awareness related to how their own behaviors create problems in their lives. In fact, trying to point them out will likely bring out an angry, defensive response.
Because these traits are relatively fixed in a person’s character, they are extremely difficult to change, even with professional intervention.
If the characteristics above seem familiar, recognizable in someone you know, seeking support for yourself will be more beneficial than trying to help the other person.
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