Narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a need for constant admiration and attention. These characteristics make narcissists difficult to deal with, since their behaviour can have a damaging effect on those around them, including friends, family, and work colleagues.
The following are the 10 most common characteristics associated with narcissistic personality disorder and narcissists.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Grandiosity
Among the many characteristics associated with narcissists, grandiosity is one of the most prominent. Narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance that often extends beyond reality. They believe that they are unique individuals who are deserving of only the best in life and that they are superior to everyone around them.
They often exaggerate their achievements and talents to reinforce their grandiose self-image, and they expect others to acknowledge and praise their accomplishments regularly.
In addition, narcissists may focus excessively on their appearance, reputation or social status, and may use these achievements as a way to validate their sense of superiority.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Lack of Empathy
Another key characteristic of narcissists is their lack of empathy for others. They have difficulty understanding and connecting with the emotions and experiences of those around them, and they have little regard for their feelings and wellbeing. As a result, narcissists will manipulate, exploit or use others to achieve their own interests, without any concern for the consequences for the other person.
For instance, a narcissist may act selfishly, ignoring the feelings of others, to meet their own needs for admiration and attention. They may prioritize their own success over the success of their colleagues or subordinates, and show little regard for the welfare of those who depend on them. Such behaviour can cause widespread damage in the workplace or personal relationships, destroying morale, confidence and trust.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Sense of Entitlement
Narcissists are convinced that they are entitled to special privileges and preferential treatment because of their perceived superiority. Whether it is a promotion, a high salary or other advantages, narcissists believe that they are their by right, without them needing to put in any special effort or significant contribution.
When these needs are not met, they behave in a hostile or resentful manner, lashing out against those who are seen as obstructing their progress or success.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Preoccupation With Power and Control
Narcissists are master manipulators, using subtle tactics such as flattery or charm to influence the opinions and behaviours of those around them. This can also include passive-aggressive behaviour or subtle forms of intimidation to manipulate people into giving them what they want.
They will also not hesitate to lie to get what they want or twist facts in order to paint themselves in a more positive light. This could also include devaluing those around them, accusing them of incompetence or insubordination in order to assert their dominance and superiority.
In addition, narcissists have been known to rely on blackmail or threats as tools for maintaining control over others. This could even escalate to more extreme tactics, such as abuse or physical violence, when other methods fail.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Obsession with Appearance
Appearance is a crucial consideration for many individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. They value beauty, luxury, and status over substance, often to the detriment of other areas of their life. This preoccupation with appearance can manifest in many ways, including physical appearance, lifestyle, work, or social status.
Physical appearance is an essential factor for many narcissistic individuals. They can go to great lengths to maintain their appearances, including investing in cosmetic procedures, obsessively monitoring their weight, diet and exercise, and other personal grooming. They can also spend a significant amount of time on their clothing choices, hair, and makeup, often striving to ensure that the details of their appearance are a perfect reflection of their idealized image.
Narcissists are also obsessed with their lifestyle, often seeking to present an image of success, luxury, and extravagance. They may pursue high-end or exclusive products or services, often at the expense of practicality or value. They also strive to be associated with exclusive events and organizations, emphasizing their social standing and privilege.
In their professional lives, narcissistic individuals often crave status and recognition, sometimes more than financial compensation or career achievements. They may focus heavily on their job title or position within a company, often overemphasizing the importance of their role in the organization. They may also be preoccupied with their image in their industry, constantly networking to build their image and reputation.
Finally, social status is another area that can be critical to individuals with narcissistic tendencies. They will work hard to cultivate and curate their social circle to include individuals who can help them further their goals or help them maintain their desired image. They may also create an online persona, curating their social media presence to project the image of an idealized lifestyle.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Inability to Handle Criticism
Narcissists have a fragile ego, which makes it difficult for them to handle criticism. They view any criticism, even constructive criticism, as a threat to their idealized self-image, and they will inevitably respond negatively to it.
One of the most common narcissistic reactions to criticism is anger. They will view the feedback as an affront to their sense of self-importance and lash out verbally or physically.
Alternatively, they may adopt a defensive stance. They may deny responsibility, shift blame, or outright reject the validity of the criticism. They may refuse to take any responsibility for their mistakes or downplay any issue, as they genuinely believe that they are beyond reproach.
Narcissists may also respond passive-aggressively to criticism. Instead of confronting the issue, they will use subtle tactics to undermine the person pointing out their mistakes or deficiencies. These tactics can include refusing to respond to the criticism or spreading false rumours about the criticizer to deflect the focus from the initial behaviour in question.
These responses serve to protect the narcissist’s fragile ego and reinforce their belief in their superior status. The problem, of course, is that these defence mechanisms cause great harm to those around them, both personally and professionally.
Characteristics of Narcissism – Arrogance
Narcissists tend to act overly confident, boastful, and condescending towards others. They project an overconfident façade out of fear of being perceived as incompetent or vulnerable.
This mask of arrogance and self-confidence is often put on out of fear that they may be perceived as weak or vulnerable if their true, fragile selves were to be revealed. Moreover, it serves to protect the narcissist from criticism and any form of conflict that could challenge their false image of superiority.
Characteristics of Narcissism – Lack of Accountability
Narcissists often have difficulty accepting responsibility for their actions or admitting any wrong-doing. They are likely to shift the blame onto others, deflect criticism, and make excuses in order to avoid being held accountable for their mistakes.
Narcissists may attempt to deny they ever did anything wrong by blaming others for their own shortcomings. This could involve accusing a partner of making them behave in a certain way or claiming that a colleague was responsible for a project going over budget.
Alternatively, narcissists will resort to deflection when criticized by those around them. This involves redirecting conversations or turning attention away from themselves when confronted with uncomfortable topics or potentially damaging accusations.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Jealousy and Envy
Narcissists often experience jealousy and envy towards those around them, particularly if their peers or rivals become successful or receive attention. This envy can be extremely painful to the narcissist because it serves as a reminder of their own insecurities and flaws, which they try to suppress under their façade of confidence.
Due to this, they may feel the need to undermine or sabotage those who have achieved success in order to maintain the illusion of superiority, maintain control over those around them, or gain an advantage over others. This could involve anything from spreading rumours about someone’s accomplishments being undeserved or falsely accusing another person just to make themselves look good by comparison.
Characteristics of Narcissists – Lack of Boundaries
Narcissists tend to have difficulty respecting the boundaries of others. They may try to control or manipulate those around them in order to get what they want, invade their personal space or time, or violate their privacy.
Ultimately, narcissists have a highly misguided sense of reality which leads them to believe that they are better and more important than others. This false superiority complex causes them to feel overly entitled to whatever they want and use manipulative tactics such as gaslighting to control those around them. As a result, many narcissists struggle with understanding and respecting other people’s boundaries due to their overwhelming need for dominance and lack of consideration for the needs of others.
If you encounter a person with these characteristics, it is essential to take proper precautions to protect yourself from any potential harm. Make sure that you have proper boundaries in place, and if the narcissist does not respect them, refuse to engage further. Your mental and emotional health will thank you for it.
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