Dealing With Difficult People – How to Spot a Narcissistic Personality

Difficult people come in all shapes and sizes, but one of the most difficult ones to deal with is the narcissistic personality. In order to effectively manage the situation when dealing with this most difficult of personalities, it’s important to understand what narcissistic behaviour looks like and how it manifests itself.

Let’s break down why spotting a narcissistic personality isn’t as easy as it seems.

There are some very specific traits that indicate someone may have a narcissistic personality disorder. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what you need to look out for, so you can better prepare yourself for interactions with them.

What is Narcissism?

Narcissism is a personality disorder where an individual displays an unhealthy sense of self-importance, preoccupation with status and power, lack of empathy, and feelings of grandiosity.

People with narcissistic personality disorder typically think very highly of themselves and hide their insecurity behind a wall of arrogance and disregard for the feelings or opinions of others.

They usually have difficulty forming meaningful relationships because they tend to manipulate or take advantage of people who get close to them.

Signs of a Narcissistic Personality

One challenge when dealing with a narcissist is that they can be very charming in social situations, at least on the surface, making them difficult to spot.

The best way to identify someone with narcissistic tendencies is by paying attention to red flags such as these:

Excessive bragging

Narcissists often have an inflated sense of their own accomplishments, talents and skills. They may talk up their own talents and achievements, while belittling the accomplishments of others.

An attitude of entitlement

A narcissistic person typically believes that they are somehow ‘special’ or superior to others and should be treated as such. This can manifest in a number of ways, from expecting preferential treatment to simply disregarding social norms.


Narcissists often use manipulation to get what they want from people. They may use charm, flattery or other tactics to make people do things for them without any regard for how it affects the other person’s life or feelings.

Need for admiration

Narcissists need constant admiration and validation from others to feel good about themselves. They tend to seek out people who will feed into this need and become easily offended if they don’t receive it.

Difficulty empathizing with others

Due to their self-centered view of the world, narcissists often struggle to understand—let alone sympathize with—other people’s emotions and struggles.

Constant comparing

Narcissists like to compare themselves favorably against others in terms of intelligence, looks or achievements as a way of boosting their own self-esteem and asserting control over situations.

An inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions or mistakes

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) have difficulty owning up to mistakes or taking responsibility for their actions.

They try to shift blame to those around them and view any negative consequences as the result of external factors, rather than anything they did wrong.

Narcissists are also often unable to accept criticism or constructive feedback without becoming defensive and hostile, as it challenges their sense of superiority.

Identifying a narcissist can be difficult because they often exhibit charming behaviour in public while displaying manipulative or coercive tactics behind closed doors.

The key is looking out for red flags such as an excessive need for admiration, lack of empathy, manipulation, blame-shifting, and other signs listed above.

If you believe that you are dealing with someone who exhibits these behaviours consistently over time, it’s best to take action as soon as possible so you don’t become ensnared in their web of deceit and manipulation.

Behavioural Signs of a Narcissistic Personality

Narcissism is indicated by an inability to empathize or connect with other people, especially those who disagree with them or point out their flaws.

Narcissists often see themselves as superior and will usually project their own feelings onto others in order to keep up the illusion that they are always right.

They also tend to be highly manipulative and will often use guilt-tripping tactics in order to get what they want from others.

Additionally, narcissists may be prone to jealousy, possessiveness, and controlling behavior when it comes to relationships.

Cognitive Signs of a Narcissistic Personality

On top of behavioural signs of narcissism, there are also certain cognitive signs that indicate someone may have a narcissistic personality disorder.

For example, narcissists tend to think only in absolutes, things are either perfect or horrible, with no middle ground between them.

They also struggle with self-reflection and personal responsibility. Instead of taking responsibility for their failings or mistakes, they will blame others or make excuses in order to avoid accountability.

Finally, narcissists tend to idealize people who show admiration and attention towards them while devaluing anyone who challenges them in any way, even if those challenges are meant constructively as criticism or feedback.


In conclusion, understanding how to recognize the signs of a narcissistic personality can help you prepare yourself for interactions with these types of people.

By knowing what traits indicate someone has narcissistic personality disorder and how those traits manifest behaviourally and cognitively, you can better protect yourself from falling victim to manipulation or control tactics used by narcissists. With this knowledge under your belt, you’ll be more equipped than ever before when dealing with difficult personalities!

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