Is he a narcissist?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

He has a lot of the traits of a Narcissist – He talks constantly about himself. No matter who or what the conversation starts out with, it always comes back to being about him. If I start talking about something in my life, good or bad, he will butt in with something about himself to “compare” to my experience. In any situation he will find something negative and dwell on it. He always expects the worst outcome. He takes everything personally and usually thinks people are trying to take advantage of him in some way. He is admittedly insecure. He thinks everything people do is a reaction to him personally.

The thing that makes him different from the definition of a narcissist is that he doesn’t act arrogant or act like he’s better than everyone else. Instead his constant attention on himself is usually a “poor me” kind of talk. He complains about EVERYTHING – work, people he works with, the drive to work, money, bills, taxes, his ex-wife, his health (I think he’s a hypochondriac too.), everything in his life! Even when something good happens, something he’s been wanting, he still finds a way to complain about it.

Is he a narcissist or is there a different term for someone like this?

A: I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, especially since I only have your point of view. But I have to wonder why having a label for this person matters to you. If he is a boyfriend and you are wondering whether to move forward in the relationship, it seems to me that there are more important things to be thinking about than a label.

My guess is that there are positive aspects about this man too or you wouldn’t be involved with him. The question for anyone in a relationship is whether the positives outweigh the negatives; whether what is dear and sweet about him makes putting up with the hypochondria and the “poor me’s” worth it.

He does sound insecure. He does sound like someone who perhaps protects himself from being let down by seeing the dark cloud around every silver lining. I’m sorry that he finds life so disappointing. It’s a hard way to live. At 50, you have plenty of life experience of your own. Perhaps one of the things that is attractive about you for him is that you offer a more optimistic approach to life. I don’t have enough information to go beyond these speculations. I hope they are helpful.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Feb 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Is he a narcissist?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/02/01/is-he-a-narcissist/

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