As goes with all labels (depressed, narcissist, psychopath as a few examples), they are being used and misused, because people don’t really know the characteristics and the ‘content’ of that label. When it comes to narcissism, every single one of us will show from time to time one of the over 30 traits, which could be referred to as narcissistic. But showing a trait doesn’t qualify you automatically as a narcissistic. However, the most prominent ones that are a strong indicator are mentioned below.
The 5 main characteristics of a narcissist are:
- Has a grandiose view of themselves
- Lacks empathy
- Demands constant admiration and conformation
- Is extremely manipulative
- Is always right and can’t handle criticism
If someone shows all these, then they are most likely suffering from NPD: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
My mother is a narcissist who ticks all the boxes of every checklist and she is mean, toxic, negative and very good at making other people feel miserable and unhappy.
Why not discuss it and ask her to change her narcissistic behaviour?
Unfortunately, a narcissist is not open to discuss what others perceive as their shortcomings. It is impossible to connect and have a healthy relationship with a narcissist because they are never wrong. That is one of the reasons that there is limited research into this topic because the narcissist will never look at themselves and question their choices or behaviour. Self-reflection is an action that is alien for them as there is nothing to reflect on. They are just right and perfect.
Why not step away from her demand for constant admiration?
If you don’t comply with the demands, you will get punished. Subtle. So you can never accuse the narcissist of having done something wrong. Very effective are emotional withdrawal, neglect and badmouthing. My mother would throw a dismissive look and follow that up with constant put-downs.
Why not explain how you feel?
A narcissist is not in touch with their emotions. It seems they are cut off from their emotional world and therefore they have a complete lack of empathy: they don’t understand you and your feelings. When you try to point out the emotional impact of their actions, they might think you are hysterical or overreacting.
Never believe a narcissist
They will manipulate situations to support their case and themselves. They will twist words and might throw back at you what you said 5 years ago, calling you a liar. Everything they say should be checked out, because ‘divide and rule’ is one of the main rules they live their lives by.
If you live with a narcissist, a parent, family member or partner, it is important to understand how they operate in order to keep yourself safe. Know their thinking and what they are after will help to interpret their words and actions from their perspectives and it will prevent you from being too disappointed or hurt.
If you want to talk about your situation with a narcissist, please book a free phone consultation with me. I would love to help you. I have struggled for over 40 years to get a grip on the relationship with my mother and it was a painful and hard experience. I understand your situation and will be able to give you some tips.
Want to read about other personality traits of NPD? Click here.
There is not a lot of research available on the NPD, as narcissists are not open to discuss their ‘shortcomings’. But this article offers some insights.