In this article we will talk about the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
You hear a lot of people using the term narcissist. Maybe too often.
In fact, many tend to throw this word around nowadays. This term is normally used to describe someone who is overly self-centered, who continuously seeks attention and validation, and who tends to make all conversations about them.
However, as Dr. Ramani mentioned in an interview, “Not all people who are narcissistic may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).”
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an illness — not just a behavioral tendency — and it’s characterized by social and occupational impairment.
When a person has NPD, they are uncomfortable with their illness, as it negatively affects their relationships and most aspects of their life.
People who simply have narcissistic tendencies, are not uncomfortable with it, their narcissistic behavior doesn’t affect too much their life or their mental health.
Some of the main NPD symptoms and patterns are the following.
[While going through this article remember this: if someone shows all these patterns, they may have NPD, however, one or two signs alone don’t necessarily mean someone has NPD.]
6 Science-Backed Signs Someone May Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder
1. Lack of Empathy
Lack of empathy is one of the main criteria that have to be met to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
As explained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, DSM-5, lack of empathy means someone is “not able to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others and is excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self.”
2. Superficial Relationships
People with NPD have significant impairments in interpersonal functioning.
In particular, as explained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, DSM-5, their relationships are largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation.
People with NPD see others as an extension of their identity and form relationships based on how that can benefit their reputation and self-confidence.
For example, they may choose a partner based on their status, reputation, or appearance.
3. An Inflated Sense of Self-Importance + Grandiosity
An inflated sense of self-importance is one of the main signs someone may have NPD, and it basically means someone has an exaggerated opinion of themselves.
It goes hand in hand with the concept of grandiosity.
As explained on Wikipedia, in the field of psychology, the term grandiosity refers to “an unrealistic sense of superiority, characterized by a sustained view of one’s self as better than others.”
Also, the personality trait of grandiosity is mainly associated with NPD, but is also common in people with Antisocial Personality Disorder, and during manic and hypomanic episodes in people with Bipolar Disorder.
4. A Consistent Sense of Entitlement
Picture this: After a long flight, you’re waiting your turn to get off the plane. The hostess clearly says, “Passengers from row 1 to 5 may now get off the aircraft.”
Then someone from row 31 jumps the queue.
Everyone gets mad at them and all they can reply is “I’m in a hurry.”
Everyone is in a hurry — obviously — plenty of people have to catch a connection flight, yet that passenger from row 31 for some reason thinks they are entitled to skip the line and get off the plane before everyone else.
This is a very simple example of someone who feels entitled and has no concern for other people’s needs.
People with NPD have a consistent sense of entitlement and expect special treatment in every situation, at work, at school, in a restaurant, at the post office, you name it.
5. A Consistent Need For Admiration
We all like to receive attention and compliments, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all narcissists.
People with NPD, have a deep, consistent need for attention and admiration from people around them. They rely on others as a source of self-confidence, because deep down they feel empty and insecure. Attention is their fuel.
This is why they have this tendency to monopolize conversations and display little genuine interest in the experiences of others.
Recommended read: Narcissistic Abuse: Why I’m Glad I’ve Been There
6. Difficulty Receiving Negative Feedback
As explained in Medical News Today, “People with NPD tend to struggle to accept anything they perceive as criticism, as this can damage their self-esteem and sense of identity.”
As Leon F. Seltzer Ph.D. mentioned in an article published in Psychology Today, although people with NPD may not show it, all perceived criticism feels extremely threatening to them.
When they feel criticized, they may get defensive, and they may even get angry with the person who upset them. As Selzer explained, “In response to criticism, a narcissist may also take great pains to devalue or invalidate the person criticizing them.”
“Narcissus weeps to find that his Image does not return his love.”— Mason Cooley
People with NPD may appear extremely confident, however, they tend to have low self-esteem — which normally stems from their childhood and their relationship with their parents or caregivers.
They wear a mask, which represents the fake identity they created to hide their true self. And they actually want to believe that fake identity is their true self — because they hate what’s behind their mask.
This is why they may react badly when someone or something challenges their sense of importance and superiority.
Here are some of the main patterns of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
- Lack of empathy,
- Superficial and difficult relationships,
- An inflated sense of self-importance,
- A consistent sense of entitlement,
- A consistent need for attention and admiration,
- Difficulty receiving negative feedback.
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