Last week we looked at the symptoms those with narcissism posses, this week we examine the signs to look out for in order to quickly spot narcissists. Here are the tell tale signs that the charismatic and engaging romantic interest / friend / co-worker you just met is actually a narcissist:
- They are charming and likeable
- They don’t always have to be extroverted
- They are often found in positions of authority
- They like to talk about themselves – A LOT
- Appearance is very important to them
- How they present themselves as people to others is VERY important to them
- They consider their needs more important than yours and will meet them regardless of whether it hurts others
- They almost never admit to their mistakes and/or apologize and if they do it is half-hearted false apology or incomplete because it is clarified by a justification for their behavior
- They either lash out at criticism or distance themselves from you as a consequence
- They usually have a history of broken relationships
- They are more likely to cheat when in an established romantic relationship
- Men are more likely to be narcissists than women
- Can enjoy inciting negative emotions in others to receive attention and feed into their belief that they are powerful
- They very rarely recognize they have any of these traits or are a narcissist at all
Again, not all of these signs will necessarily be evident; it all depends upon the severity of the narcissism.
Let me give you a little example. In the UK the word for center is spelt centre, as in leisure centre. When someone who I used to be close to, who, you guessed it, was a narcissist, first came across this he insisted that it was a different word entirely, despite it meaning exactly the same thing. I must have explained that it was the same word and just a different spelling a thousand times, but he was adamant I was wrong, even though all the evidence suggested otherwise.
Now imagine going through your entire life with someone imposing their thinking on you, no matter how absurd it is, and you will begin to get a hint of how frustrating being in a relationship with a narcissist can be. However, not all narcissists are so obvious, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are much more sinister traits that a narcissist can possess, such as manipulation and exploitation, in order to get their needs met – regardless of the impact it has on others.
Stay tuned – next week we will cover what to do when your boss, colleague or friend is a narcissist.
Did you recognize any of the signs of narcissism in people you know? Did it surprise you to discover someone you know may be a narcissist or did it make you feel validated as it made perfect sense? Or are you relieved that you have found you don’t know any narcissists? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community, we’d love to hear from you.
Narcissism by Alexander Lowen (a self-help book for the recovering narcissist)