Narcissism – Characteristics of a Narcissist, Narcissistic Behavior & Narcissistic Traits

According to the American Psychological Association, there are nine characteristics of Narcissism. The Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) of mental disorders states narcissistic personality disorder exists when five or more of the nine criteria listed below are met:

1      Feels grandiose and self-important for reasons that are not supported by reality.

2      Obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, power, or omnipotence via his unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist) or bodily beauty and sexual performance (the somatic narcissist).

3      Believes that he is unique and special and can only be understood by and associate with other unique or high-status people.

4      Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention, and affirmation.

5      Feels a sense of entitlement.

6      Exploits others without guilt or remorse.

7      Devoid of empathy.

8      Tends to be envious of others or believes that others are envious of him.

9      Displays arrogant and haughty behavior.

Please allow me to say once again that I am not a mental health professional. You should refer to the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders for a professional description of each of the nine criteria.  The knowledge I offer is based on my personal experience. Let’s take a look at each one of the characteristics.

1. Feels grandiose and self-important for reasons that are not supported by reality

Narcissists think they are superior to others. They truly believe their opinions and beliefs are more valuable than others’. They think people admire them for their intellect or physical prowess. They support this grandiose image of themselves via their false self. However, their self-inflated view is often not supported by reality, which is why many narcissists are so angry all the time. They refuse to accept the fact that they are not as renowned as they would like to imagine.

2. Obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, power, or omnipotence via his unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist) or bodily beauty and sexual performance (the somatic narcissist).

Narcissists are addicted to attention. Securing it is their predominant drive. Fame provides a Narcissist with a constant supply of NS. Fame creates a mechanism for which a Narcissist can obtain the constant attention he needs. If one is famous, the image he projects of himself is reflected back at him in the eyes of those who revere him. His image is validated as he sees his name in lights or his face on the cover of a magazine. This is the ultimate fantasy for a Narcissist.

There is almost nothing a narcissist won’t do if he thinks it will bring him fame. To him, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Any publicity is good publicity.

3. Believes that he is unique and special and can only be understood by and associate with other unique or high-status people

A Narcissist considers himself a rare breed that cannot be understood by just anyone. He feels he is unique and special, while the majority of others are common and ordinary. A narcissist only associates with others of high status or intellect, for he feels only these people can possibly understand him.

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation and attention

A Narcissist always wants to be the center of attention and will do whatever it takes to attract attention. In conversations, he will often find a way to relate the discussion back to himself. A narcissist needs to be the center of attention at all times. He will wear clothes that are designed to make others notice him. He will spend a fortune on a car as long as it attracts attention. A Narcissist will do anything to draw attention to himself.

5. Feels a sense of entitlement

Narcissists do not think that rules and regulations apply to them. They believe they are special and need not conform to society’s expectations or laws. They believe typical household chores are beneath them and are insulted at the mere suggestion of performing such mundane tasks. This is what a significant other is for … to perform such chores for them.

6. Exploits others without guilt or remorse

A Narcissist evaluates whether he wants to develop a relationship with someone on the basis of their utility. In other words, how useful a person can be to him is the measure of their worth. He chooses friends based on how well they can help him be noticed or help him become known. This is how a Narcissist assesses whether he wants to develop a relationship with someone or not.

A Narcissist does not choose his companions based on how much fun he has with them or because he enjoys their company. No, he chooses to develop relationships with only those who are perceived by others to be superior, attractive, or unique in some way. By associating with others who attract attention, he ensures that he will never be deficient in NS. He basically asks himself, “Can this person help make me known?”

7. Devoid of empathy

A Narcissist is not able to put himself in the shoes of another. He is only concerned with his own needs and wants. How to meet these needs consumes him. All of his time and energy is dedicated to the goal of meeting his needs. He is not able to think of another person’s needs or feelings, because he only knows how to think about himself. This lack of empathy has often been said to be one of the most visible signs or indicators of pathological Narcissism

8. Tends to be envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

Narcissists refuse to accept that others could be smarter or better than them. Instead of acknowledging this, they convert it into contempt and anger. They are not capable of admiring another person’s accomplishments. They believe that others are and should be envious of them.

9. Displays arrogant and haughty behavior

Narcissists know how to exhibit false modesty when needed. However, the majority of the time, narcissists are condescending to others. They believe they are far superior to others and are constantly judging them. Their comments are often elitist and haughty.

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