How to Define a Narcissist – The 5 Traits You Need to Look Out For

Narcissists are all around us. It can be hard to spot them sometimes, but there are certain traits that will always give them away. In this blog post, I will define what makes a narcissist tick and discuss the 5 key traits of narcissists that you need to be aware of.

It’s essential to know how to identify a narcissist, as they can have a seriously detrimental effect on your psychological health and well-being.

If you believe someone might fit the criteria of being a narcissist, it’s best to steer clear of them as much as possible.

man wearing a crown

Narcissists are master manipulators who believe they are entitled to special treatment.

They will use any means necessary to exploit others and get what they want.

Narcissists also often employ gaslighting tactics in order to convince you that your version of events is wrong and make you start doubting your own sanity.

It is important to be aware of the red flags associated with narcissism in order to avoid being taken advantage of.

Knowing these signs can equip you with the knowledge and power to keep yourself safe and away from potential harm.

The most common narcissistic traits

Define a Narcissist – Inflated sense of self-importance

Narcissists are characterized by an excessive sense of self-importance. They firmly believe they are superior to others and expect special treatment.

Narcissists feel entitled to admiration and seek attention by boasting about their accomplishments, without acknowledging the success or strengths of those around them.

They also display aggressive behaviour when their egos are challenged or when they don’t get the respect they believe they deserve.

This can manifest as belittling people, using intimidation tactics, or gaslighting to assert their dominance.

Narcissists also tend to lack empathy and rarely show remorse for the negative impact their actions have on others.

The irony, of course, is that narcissistic behaviour is often rooted in insecurity, low self-esteem, fear of failure, and fear of being vulnerable or unlovable.

irritated man

Sensitive to Criticism

Narcissists are highly sensitive to criticism and are unable to take any form of constructive feedback, regardless of its intent.

If they believe that anyone has put them down in any manner, they become defensive and aggressive, because their egos are too fragile to deal with any kind of criticism.

Thus, they usually fail to recognise the usefulness of constructive criticism, instead viewing it as an insult or a personal affront.

They Crave Attention

Narcissists have an intense need for attention and validation from others.

They are constantly seeking to be the center of attention, as this helps them boost their fragile egos and feel validated.

They rely heavily on positive feedback from those around them in order to maintain a sense of self-worth.

As such, narcissists may resort to extreme measures in order to gain approval or recognition, often disregarding the feelings of others in the process.

They often employ attention-seeking tactics such as bragging, making grandiose statements or arguing loudly at parties – anything that will help them garner the focus they desire.

Despite any adverse effects these behavior may have, narcissists remain convinced that external admiration is their only form of sustenance.

man wearing a crown

A Massive Sense of Entitlement

Narcissists have a tendency to feel entitled to special treatment, as though their wants and needs should be prioritized above all else.

This can lead them to behave manipulatively or exploitatively, expecting those around them to always meet their demands and do things according to their plan – regardless of how appropriate it may be.

They think themselves deserving of the best life can offer, no matter what implications this may have on others.

A Lack of Empathy

Narcissists have a limited capacity for empathy; they are unable to fully understand the impact of their actions on other people.

They are quick to treat others harshly, with little regard for their feelings, and only take into consideration what will bring them satisfaction or benefit.

There is an overriding mentality of “me first” in everything they do; narcissists always prioritize their own needs and desires above the needs and desires of those around them.

man with lots of cash

Be on the lookout

Do not worry too much about how to define whether someone is a narcissist or not.

The truth is that you do not need to be sure if the person you are dealing with is a narcissist.

If you know someone who exhibits the abovementioned traits, you do not need a diagnosis in order to conclude that you should try to avoid them.

It could be narcissism, or sociopathy, or simply a case of a person with a particularly nasty character – they are not the kind of person you want to waste your time on.

That said, it is important to be aware of the abovementioned red flags so you can protect yourself from anyone with above average narcissistic traits and the narcissistic abuse they invariably unleash on anyone who has the misfortune of having to deal with them.

There are many resources available, and this blog is a good place to start.

Check out the section about narcissistic abuse and recovery, or browse through the narcissism glossary. And if you are in the mood for a good laugh, check out my narcissist meme gallery.

That way you will get a better idea of what you are up against.

protect yourself from narcissists

How to Safeguard Yourself from a Narcissist

Establish Boundaries

It is important to set and maintain boundaries when dealing with a narcissist.

Make sure you are clear about what those boundaries are and hold yourself accountable to them.

Do not allow the narcissist to cross any lines or disregard your needs, as this could lead to exploitation and manipulation from their end.

It is essential that you stand up for yourself and protect your own wellbeing in these scenarios.


Know Your Worth

It is vital to recognize and remind yourself of your own worth when dealing with a narcissist.

Acknowledge that your feelings, needs and wishes are valid and do not let their opinion of you shape the way you think about yourself.

Remember that their judgement of your character or actions does not define who you are as an individual.

Once you realize this, it becomes easier to stand up for yourself and protect your own interests in such situations.

Set Limits On Communication

It is important to set limits on communication with a narcissist.

Whenever possible, try to limit contact with them and don’t allow them to manipulate or guilt-trip you into staying in contact.

It is essential that you keep a sense of distance between yourself and the narcissist, as it will help to protect your mental health and wellbeing.

narcissistic woman

Know Their Tactics

Knowing the tactics a narcissist might use against you can be an important part of protecting yourself from manipulation and emotional abuse.

Narcissists often rely on techniques such as gaslighting, guilt-tripping and other forms of emotional manipulation to control the people around them.

Being aware of these tactics can help you recognize when someone is trying to manipulate or take advantage of you and take action to protect yourself.


Be Assertive

It is important to be assertive when confronted by a narcissist.

Remain firm and direct when communicating your wishes, while also avoiding falling prey to their manipulation tactics.

It is essential to stand your ground and not back down, as it prevents the narcissist from taking advantage of you.

At the same time, don’t allow yourself to become hostile or aggressive, as that can make matters worse. Instead, use clear communication and set boundaries to protect yourself.

Rely On Support Networks

Relying on support networks can be an important part of managing difficult times with a narcissist.

Having trusted friends and family to help you keep things in perspective is invaluable when dealing with emotionally draining situations caused by the person in question.

They can be a source of strength, allowing you to draw on their care and understanding instead of being pulled into the emotional manipulation.


Choose Wisely Who You Spend Time With

Spend as little time as possible around people who exhibit narcissistic traits to avoid getting caught up in their draining energy.

While it may not always be possible to completely remove yourself from their presence, it is beneficial to make an effort to limit the amount of contact you have with them.

This will help protect your mental health and prevent you from having to put up with their manipulative behaviours.

Monitor Your Thoughts & Feelings

Pay attention to how spending time with certain people makes you feel and take note if it drains or makes you unhappy.

Being aware of these energy-draining interactions will help you avoid them in the future, protecting your mental health and wellbeing from further manipulation.

have your say

Speak Up When Necessary

If someone is mistreating or manipulating you, don’t let their behaviour slide but call them out on it.

This will help you maintain your sense of dignity and self-respect while also ensuring the other person is aware that their actions are not acceptable.

Doing so can stop any further manipulation and help protect yourself from future harm.

Take Care Of Yourself

Taking time out to do things that make you feel happy, relaxed and fulfilled will ensure that any kind of unhealthy dynamics become easier to handle over time.

Making sure to look after yourself in this way will help build up your resilience and make it easier to maintain your mental health and wellbeing in difficult situations.

narcissistic woman

Conclusion – Identifying the red flags that define a narcissist

When it comes to identifying the traits of a narcissist, it is important to take into consideration the context of the situation.

Everyone can display narcissistic traits in varying degrees depending on their current environment, but if someone repeatedly shows a lack of concern for others and an excessive need for admiration, it is likely that they may have narcissistic tendencies.

By keeping track of these behaviors and being mindful of any red flags, individuals can protect themselves from potential harm by avoiding any kind of manipulative or abusive dynamics.

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