In the beginning, narcissists usually seem amazing!
They are fun and conversational, even seeming generous and compassionate.
But sooner than later, their narcissistic personality always shows itself.
The mask gets ripped off! What first appeared to be good character qualities turns to total self-obsession.
Narcissism is a personality disorder that is characterized by an excessive need for attention and admiration from others.
By nature, a narcissist doesn’t care about anyone but themselves.
Below are 15 signs that someone is definitely a narcissist.
1.) All They Do Is Talk About Themselves
In the beginning, you may think that they are just trying to impress you. Many people “talk big” just to act more relational.
However, you will notice that their “self-obsession” never ends.
Their conversation is full of the words “I”, “my”, and “me”!
When someone changes the conversation, the narcissist is quick to interrupt (even mid-sentence), so they can turn the attention back onto themselves.
If someone talks about a great achievement, the narcissist has always done something even better.
When someone is grieving the loss of something that is meaningful to them, the narcissist knows exactly how they feel because they have been through the exact same thing – except worse!
If the conversation is focused on another person (who is telling an interesting story), they will interrupt and try to tell a similar story with bigger and better details.
Perhaps they will briefly feign interest, but ultimately they will have to guide the conversation back to themselves.
In some ways, their actions seem childish. They are actually annoyed by people’s desire to have an equal, two-way conversation.
Unfortunately, this character quality drives people away from them very quickly.
2.) They Cannot Take Any Criticism
If you point out a character flaw, you are absolutely wrong!
The narcissist hides behind a mask of self-confidence and superiority.
However, their excessive need for praise and admiration is caused by their huge lack of confidence.
This is the reason they handle criticism so badly. Admitting they are wrong will make them look weak and inferior.
Their response to criticism comes in several different forms: anger, sulking, blame-shifting, the silent treatment, guilt-tripping, spreading rumors, etc.
Nothing can change this! No amount of loving words, kindness, or sincere concern will help the narcissist see their own inadequacy.
If you confront them, it will always go against you – no matter how validated your concerns are.
3.) They Subtly Remind You of Their Superiority
The narcissist is always on the hunt for ways to make themselves look better than everyone else.
One way they do this is by making themselves look superior to those around them.
They will cut you off mid-sentence, because they can.
They will make rude remarks to you and follow them up with “Just kidding!”
They’ll belittle you in front of other people. But they’ll do it in a subtle manner, so others will not identify what they are doing to you.
They will ask you invasive questions and expect you to answer them without question.
The end goal: to make sure that you know your place.
The narcissist wants you to know that they are the top-dog in your relationship and they make the rules.
Your purpose to them is to make them feel better about themselves.
This is called narcissistic supply: the people who provide constant attention, adoration, approval, and admiration for the narcissist.
Related Article: 11 Things Narcissists Say to Manipulate You
4.) They Feed On The Insecurity of Others
Narcissists LOVE feeding on the insecurities of others.
This is actually one of the first things they look for in a person. Where do their insecurities lie?
Once they know your insecurities, they will use it to their advantage.
A prime example of this is how they will bring it up in conversation with other people. Once again, making themselves look superior than you.
They do this in such a casual and sly manner that no-one really notices that they are overstepping a major boundary!
“Oh yes! She has horrible anxiety attacks. I feel so bad for her.”
“I heard that her marriage is on the rocks. So sad, they seemed like such a nice couple.”
“He told me that he may have mental health issues. Poor guy! He needs help.”
This may seem incredibly devious and planned-out to you.
However, this is what the narcissist loves to do the most – and they are good at it!
Related Article: 9 Easy Ways Women Can Project Confidence
5.) In the Beginning, They Want to Know Every Detail About You
There is one reason for this – so they can find out some information that they can control you with.
This is the main reason that they seem so kind and welcoming in the beginning!
They want to show you how wonderful they are, so you will let down your guard and give them the nitty-gritty details of your life.
As stated in #4, they love finding your insecurities!
If you watch the narcissist in conversation, they become more and more energized as they hear about the insecurities and misfortunes of others.
Normal people become sympathetic and more reserved as they find out about the difficulties others are going through.
The narcissist actually gets excited. This is showing them how much better they are than that person and they love it!
Related Article: 7 Steps to Successfully Remove Toxic People from Your Life
6.) They Twist Stories All the Time
…in their favor, of course.
Be careful! Their stories can sometimes be very believable.
If they are being confronted, they will twist the truth to make themselves look like a victim.
If they don’t like someone, they will craft a nasty story to make them look like an awful person.
They will exaggerate the facts of a story, just to gain attention in the moment.
In this situation, the thing that a narcissist hates the most is follow-up questions.
If you ask leading questions or ask them to show proof of their wild statements – beware!
Question a narcissist and you’ll experience manipulation like you’ve never seen before.
Related Article: 7 Types of Toxic People to Eliminate from Your Life
7.) They are Unbearably Negative
Remember, narcissism is a personality disorder.
They survive on attention and admiration of others.
If they don’t feel like they are receiving the attention that they DESERVE, their negativity goes crazy!
When the narcissist is negative, they do not want you to be positive! They want to take you down with them.
No amount of praise, adoration, or compliments will pull them out of their bad mood.
Something triggered them and they are going to take it out on those around them.
As time passes, it will be YOUR JOB to raise their spirits – once they are ready.
This personality trait is often noticed by the children of narcissists.
They often speak of feeling guilty for their parents bad mood and negativity – because they make them feel like it is their fault.
Related Article: 9 Surprising Signs of a Negative Person
8.) They Are Entitled and Don’t Mind Taking Advantage of Others
If the narcissist wants something, they will get what they want – even if they have to take advantage of someone!
They justify this entitled behavior because they feel that they “deserve” it and have earned it.
They are known for always complaining about never receiving enough money, support, promotions, love, and attention.
If the narcissist is extremely cheap/overly frugal, they may be known for their excessive bargaining skills – to the point where they will cheat, harass, or manipulate their way to the lowest price possible.
Their selfishness is displayed by their ability to take advantage of those closest to them – their parents, partner, children, etc.
9.) No Matter What, They Are Always The Victim
Narcissists are downright draining!
Any time life doesn’t go exactly how they wanted, they are the victim.
“I should have got that promotion. There is obvious favoritism in the company.”
“I never get the recognition that I should. I do so much and ask for so little.”
As stated in #2, they do not take criticism well.
If they feel that they are getting confronted for their toxic behavior, they will immediately project their problem on to someone else.
“How dare you say that to me! Look at everything you have done in the past!”
If pressed for further information, the narcissist will make themselves out to be the worst of victims.
They will point to all the difficulties and struggles that have prevented them from being accountable or seeing the problem before.
It’s almost worthless to confront a narcissist. They will always find a way to turn themselves into the victim.
Related Article: 11 Signs You Are in a Relationship with a Narcissist
10.) They Don’t Have Many Long-Term Friendships
…even their family distances themselves from them.
They quickly become known for their selfish and manipulative ways.
Since it is very difficult for a normal person to tolerate their self-obsessed behavior, new acquaintances and possible friends distance themselves from the narcissist as soon as they sense the toxicity. (Usually, this happens relatively quickly.)
If you look into the narcissists past, you will probably see a long list of short-lived relationships and shallow friendships.
The narcissist may insist that they have plenty of friends!
But this is because they refuse to see reality for what it really is. Their friendships are shallow, non-existent, or one-sided.
Usually, the only people who are in their lives are those too weak to leave. They have become narcissistic supply and the narcissist has been able to manipulate them into staying reliant on them in some way.
11.) They are Jealous of Others
In their own heads, they are always comparing themselves to others.
If someone upstages them, they become incredibly jealous.
It is difficult for them to celebrate someone else’s successes and accomplishments because they are already looking for a way to one-up them!
If someone close to them (perhaps a child or a family member) accomplishes something great, they will often take responsibility for the achievement.
“I taught them everything they know!”
“They got their skills from me! If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have accomplished this.”
When they aren’t the center of attention, they believe that they are not receiving the recognition that they DESERVE.
If someone is doing better than them, they will ask nosy and demeaning question.
“Congrats on the new job. How much more money are you making?”
“Why do you want to do that? I thought you were a better person than that.”
“At your age, I was dong more than that.”
Their jealousy oozes out into every conversation where someone looks better than them.
They will either sulk in a corner, take responsibility for the accomplishment, or leave in a cloud of envy.
Related Article: 11 Bad Habits That Ruin Relationships
12.) They Lie With Ease
Telling a bold-face lie is completely normal to them.
They will deny having ever said or done something, when they know that they will have to face consequences.
“I never said that!”
“You must have mis-heard me.”
“You are so sensitive! I didn’t mean it that way.”
“That’s not true! You told me that…”
Not only will they lie, they will also insist that they are correct – and back up their story with “what really happened.”
They act like your opinion doesn’t even matter and that it is ridiculous for you to believe your sense of reality.
This tactic is called “gas-lighting” – something narcissists are known for.
Gas-lighting is “a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of victim, making hem question their own memory, perception, and sanity.”
This is a tactic that comes very easily to the narcissist. They can come up with a manipulative lie in a split second and feel completely unremorseful.
You will see them use this tactic on their family, friends, and anyone else who is close to them.
Their goal is to do whatever it takes to hide their inadequacies and make themselves look like a victim or a hero – whichever roll suits their needs.
13.) They “Character Assassinate” People They Dislike
If you ever cross the narcissist, there are serious consequences.
Their favorite responses: they will give you the silent treatment, become incredibly insulting, or launch a smear campaign against you – also known as “character assassination”.
This is when the narcissist starts spreading false rumors about you, telling others things that you said about them and twisted facts about you.
This way, they will turn people against you, making you feel alienated and (hopefully) remorseful for your decision to cross them.
You are not your own person, with your own set of opinions. You are an extension of the narcissist.
If you have ever experienced unfair accusations and unbelievable injury from someone who will not stop telling lies about you, there may be a good chance that they are a narcissist.
14.) They Surround Themselves With Two Types of People
The enabler and the tongue biter.
The enabler unquestioningly gives them attention and admiration.
The tongue biter simply puts up with their toxic tendencies because they decide that the consequences for voicing their opinions are too high.
One quality that the narcissist loves in a person is the tendency to bring back stories and gossip.
They actually groom those closest to them to bring back the latest gossip about someone.
Often, they use their child to gain information (whether they want to or not).
If their child is around someone the narcissist wants information about, they will drill their child on every little detail that happened.
Anyone who questions the narcissist or enlightens them on who they really are is treated very poorly and lied about to others.
15.) They are Incredibly Insecure
At the core of the narcissist lies an enormous amount of self-doubt and insecurity.
Their fragile ego explains why their lack of character fluctuates between negativity and self-confidence.
If something good happens to the narcissist, they see it as another confirmation that they are amazing!
If something bad happens to the narcissist, they see it as defeat and a loss of face to those around them.
Sadly, the narcissist makes themselves feel better by manipulating and putting down those closest to them.
Unfortunately for them, most people quickly realize that the narcissist is completely self-absorbed.
Slowly but surely, everyone will distance themselves, leaving them alone on their pedestal, with no-one to admire them.
Many narcissists are obsessed with their image, especially on social media.
You will see them taking perfect selfies and always seeking online validation.
Sadly for them, this only adds to their self-doubt and insecurity. Their fragile ego is centered on a social media ‘like’ or comment.
- 11 Things Narcissists Say to Manipulate You
- 11 Signs You Have a Toxic Parent
- 7 Steps to Successfully Remove Toxic People from Your Life
If you allow a narcissist to have a place in your life, you will need to get use to a life of guilt-self-sacrifice, and manipulation.
They hide their rampant insecurity behind a facade of confidence. This is the reason they are drastically opposed to criticism.
Narcissists rarely change. You simply exist to meet their self-serving needs.
If you can identify with the 11 phrases above, you should probably get a therapist and start distancing yourself from this toxic individual.