5 Characteristics of a Narcissist

Updated November 30, 2022 · 2 Min Read

Explore this resource by Best Counseling Degrees to learn all about characteristics of narcissists.

BestCounselingDegrees.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Common Narcissist Characteristics

  • Inflated Ego
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Need for Attention
  • Repressed Insecurities
  • Few Boundaries

Many people may suspect someone they care about of narcissism, but the general population is unsure of what this term specifically entails. Narcissistic personality disorder is an official and recognized mental health condition that affects primarily males. In today's society, it tends to be thrown about rather freely and can often be misunderstood. Because of its prevalent and damaging nature, it is important that there is an understanding of the traits involved in someone with this type of personality, though. Let's take a look at five of the most common characteristics of a narcissist in order to create awareness.

1. Inflated Ego

Those who suffer from narcissism usually seem themselves as superior to others. Their sense of self relies on setting themselves apart from the crowd. They will take purposeful steps in order to make sure they remain on top. These types of people tend to strive to be the best, most accomplished and beyond competent in their field. It's not unusual for them to be highly successful professionals. They also exhibit this tendency in their personal relationships. They need to be right, to have the last word and to always be in control. It's also possible for narcissists to shift this need for superiority to something negative. If they are experiencing difficulties or feel emotionally wounded, their situation suddenly becomes the worst. No one else's suffering compares.

2. Lack of Empathy

Empathy is the ability to see things from another's point of view. A key characteristic of narcissism is the lack of this ability. Narcissists only see things from their view. Their feelings and comfort are of most importance. These folks tend to think that others are only capable of feeling or seeing things in the exact same was as they do. It doesn't occur to them that other perspectives may exist. They often lack remorse or guilt due to this trait.

Ranking: The Top 50 Ph.D. Programs in Clinical Psychology

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

3. Need for Attention

Remember that big ego of the narcissist? Well, it must constantly be fed by others. They look outside themselves for validation. These individuals will soak up praise and affirmation whenever possible. If they aren't receiving the approval they seek, they will create scenarios in order to elicit it. It's not unusual for a narcissistic individual to ask those around them countless questions in order to keep the attention focused on them or to create unnecessary drama for that purpose.

4. Repressed Insecurities

The person with narcissism often feels deep insecurity of some sort at their core. It's these insecurities that are the cause for the attention seeking behavior and the inflated ego. Such insecurities can play out in a number of ways, most of which are rarely healthy. Their underlying fear, anxiety, and shame leads them to seek excessive control in all situations. They rarely display vulnerability and tend to see things in black or white terms. Something is either entirely good or it's a complete failure.

5. Few Boundaries

Narcissists have a hard time respecting boundaries. The line between themselves and others is blurred. They see themselves as being entitled to everything. These folks will frequently use manipulative tactics such as demanding, pouting, gaslighting or tricking to obtain the means to their end. Narcissists find it incredibly insulting to be told no.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition that wreaks havoc on relationships. Those dealing with narcissism, both the narcissist and the people around them, tend to have lives filled with much chaos.

Source: Psychology Today

Latest Posts

Are you ready to do impactful work in your community?