How can you tell if someone is a narcissist? It seems that some of the kindest and most powerful students of mine, as well as people in my life, refer to their Ex as a narcissist, or as having a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD.) Is narcissism this prolific? Or are we unleashing our inner therapist a little too much?
How did you end up here?
I get it. We want to understand “why” we are being hurt so much, and to know we are not responsible. A far more interesting question you can ask yourself though, is how specifically did you get here? And how specifically are you going to get out of it? And what specifically are you going to do to heal or transform yourself? How will you become a person who never chooses this type of partner again? How specifically can you harness your resilience at this moment in time?
Out of the therapist’s office and into a personal development training
Ending a relationship with a narcissist?
I have noticed that new and former students attend our personal development and NLP seminars to put themselves back together again after their relationship ends. I think this is really smart. A good personal development training isn’t just going to talk about where you went wrong, and why you went wrong. It is about creating a better future version of yourself. Rather than re-gaining the person you were before you went into the relationship, it is about becoming the person who would never end up with a narcissist in the first place and would dump this type of person in a hot minute.
Your ex may need to be the one who needs to be in the therapist’s office. You are among the majority of us who would benefit more from getting out of the therapist’s office and into a personal development class.
What is narcissism?
Narcissism is defined as an excessive preoccupation with one’s own interests and vanity at the expense of others. While it’s normal for people to have some degree of self-absorption, those suffering from narcissism take it to the extreme by using manipulative tactics such as gaslighting in order to manipulate and control their environment. So how can you tell if someone is a narcissist? Let’s explore some signs that could help indicate whether or not someone has narcissistic tendencies.
First, we need to understand what different kinds of narcissistic tendencies are out there.
Different kinds of narcissists
There are different types of narcissists, which can be broadly classified into two groups: grandiose, or overt narcissists, and vulnerable, or covert narcissists.
Grandiose narcissists often seek attention and admiration as a way to feel superior to others and boost their self-esteem. This type of narcissist is typically more arrogant, and boastful, and often appears charming on the surface.
Vulnerable narcissists, on the other hand, are much more sensitive to criticism and rejection than grandiose narcissists. This type of person is often hypersensitive and tends to take everything personally. Although they may appear shy or humble on the outside, this type of narcissist often feels entitled because deep down they think that they deserve special treatment from others.
In addition to these two types of narcissism, there are also people who have a combination of both traits. These individuals tend to display both grandiose and vulnerable qualities at different times in their life.
How can you tell if someone is a narcissist?
Common traits of narcissists include:
A lack of empathy.
A lack of empathy is one of the most defining features of a narcissist and is arguably the primary trait that separates them from healthy individuals. This lack of empathy often manifests itself in the form of a complete disregard for other people’s feelings, meaning they cannot understand or identify with how you might be feeling.
Failure to take into account how their words or actions may affect others.
They are focused only on themselves. This can result in them being callous and insensitive towards you, as they are unable to recognize any emotional hurt they may cause.
Uninterested in feedback about themselves.
There is a tendency for them to be dismissive or uninterested when it comes to feedback that you give them about themselves – whether it’s constructive criticism or compliments. They may seem arrogant and vain at times because they don’t take your opinions into account; they rely solely on their own evaluation of themselves and discount anything that differs from this view.
Lack of compassion
They show a lack of compassion and show complete disregard for your feelings. In personal relationships, a narcissist can try to fake it. But it only lasts so long.
A deep need for admiration and approval.
Needing admiration and approval is a hallmark trait of narcissists. They crave attention and want to be seen as perfect or special in some way in order to gain validation from others. This drives them to seek out compliments, recognition, and status, often at the expense of relationships with others. Narcissists may be unable to accept criticism.
Obsession with their own perceived success and accomplishments.
They are completely obsessed with their own success and accomplishments. Alternatively, they can also be obsessed with how superior they are at being a victim. A competition to be the bigger victim is as real as being the best at anything else. They may exaggerate achievements or talents.
A sense of entitlement to special treatment
Entitlement to special treatment is a trait of narcissists that can manifest itself in various ways. They may demand special privileges or expect preferential treatment from other people, and they often use manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping or gaslighting to get what they want.
Manipulation and exploitation of other people.
Narcissists are often characterized by their use of manipulation and exploitation of other people. This is due to the fact that they have an excessive need for admiration, attention, and approval from others, and will go to any lengths to get it.
Resources: How can you tell if someone is a narcissist?
Unmasking Narcissism: A Guide to Understanding the Narcissist in Your Life, Mark Ettensohn PsyD
Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism, Sandy Hotchkiss
Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, Wendy T. Behary LCSW
How to navigate, coach or NLP a narcissist
We are looking for a former student who works inside the “relationship” niche as a coach or therapist willing to write an article about how to survive or how you can tell someone is a narcissist.