Healthy narcissism describes how we pay more attention to ourselves than to others. We might to say that we want some “me time”. However, it’s possible to have too much narcissism, and extreme narcissism is described as a narcissistic personality disorder.  In general, those we describe as narcissists have enough narcissism to make them difficult to get on with. This is how you will know that you’re dealing with a narcissist.

  1. Narcissists are convinced that they are special. They believe that they are more important than anyone else. They are grandiose, and need and expect the admiration of others. They believe that they are entitled to special treatment. This is not always easy to spot at first, because a narcissist knows how to flatter and encourage an audience!
  2. Narcissists don’t care about other people very much. Psychologists call this “low empathy”. They are poor listeners, and don’t really pay any real attention to other people, although they can be very clever at acting as if they care.
  3. Narcissists are self-seeking and very competitive. They will find ways to put other people down, especially if it makes them look good. They are very good at manipulating people and situations for their own benefit
  4. Narcissists hate criticism. It’s a real giveaway if you’re trying to give a narcissist some feedback. They struggle to hear anything that they interpret as negative, and will be defensive, angry and may even start an argument.
  5. If you’re around a narcissist for very long, you will notice that they are not consistent. They tend to change their opinions to suit a particular situation, and then they will deny that they have changed their mind since last week.

If you recognise anyone in these descriptions, you might be interested in my book Raised by a Narcissist, which is about narcissistic parents and their children, available from Amazon (August 2020). If you think your parent was a narcissist, you might also join my Facebook group Adult Children of Narcissists.

Alan Chatting is an author, coach and psychotherapist.  If you have any questions or would like further help, contact him at alan@alanchatting.com.

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