How Can I Tell If I'm a Narcissist?

how can I tell if I'm a narcissist
How can you tell if you are a narcissist? Here are 21 signs of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)

We live in an increasingly self-obsessed culture, and we hear the word narcissist thrown around quite often in social media. But what is narcissism, and how can you tell if you are a narcissist?

Here are 21 signs of a narcissist:

  1. Inflated sense of superiority and entitlement
  2. Excessive need for constant praise and admiration
  3. Perfectionism
  4. Lack of empathy
  5. Need for control
  6. Easily provoked
  7. Extremely selfish
  8. Unable to deal with criticism, perceived slights, or disagreements
  9. Hypersensitive, defensive, and anxious
  10. Not settling for anything less than what you think you deserve
  11. Surrounding yourself with people who constantly admire you
  12. Expecting everyone to comply with your wishes and whims
  13. Thinking others always need a favor from you
  14. Exploiting others without guilt or shame
  15. Taking unfair advantage of others
  16. Frequently demeaning others
  17. Getting intimidated by others you perceive as stronger than you
  18. Fantasizing often about power, brilliance, beauty, and ideal love
  19. Ignoring facts and opinions that contradict your own
  20. Refusing to change your behavior no matter how much chaos it creates in your life
  21. Blaming others for your behavior

What causes narcissistic personality disorder?

While many use the word narcissist to describe someone who is arrogant or self-absorbed, it’s important to understand that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is an actual serious condition.

However, the exact cause of the disorder is unknown. It may stem from a combination of factors such as:

  • Genetics (if one of your parents had a narcissistic personality disorder, you have an increased chance of developing it)
  • Personality and temperament
  • Childhood trauma
  • Childhood relationships with parents and siblings

Narcissists have troubled relationships due to their defining traits. Nevertheless, behind the mask of a confident person, they often have fragile self-esteem.

Can you avoid becoming a narcissist?

If you are concerned about your own behavior or that of a loved one, consult a mental health professional. If you are a parent, you can avoid promoting habits that can contribute to narcissism in your kids:

  • Showering them with unnecessary praise and attention
  • Treating your kids as exceptional or more deserving than anyone else
  • Not setting limits and boundaries
  • Not teaching respect for others
  • Allowing them to get exposed to things that influence them in a negative way

Can people with narcissistic personality disorder get better?

Counseling and talk therapy (psychotherapy) seem to be the most effective treatment for narcissistic personality disorder.

Accepting that you have the problem and wanting to start counseling means you are already halfway there. People with NPD are often incredibly fearful of criticism, which can stop you from accepting help. 

However, with counseling, your thought pattern can start to change for the better. Over time, you may notice positive changes in your behavior, and as a result, see improvements in your relationships with others and increased quality of life.


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Cleveland Clinic. Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Mayo Clinic. Narcissistic Personality Disorder.