Some narcissists are obviously obnoxious, offensive and obdurate. Others, however, present as attractive, appealing, even amazing individuals. It’s not until you get to spend a lot of time with them that you suddenly realize your moment of truth: “It’s always about them.”
Summon up the courage to tell him (or her) that he’s being self-centered and here’s what to expect. He’ll either continue doing whatever he has been doing (as if you hadn’t said anything at all) or he’ll become irate: “Me? Self-centered? You must be nuts!”
Though all narcissists are not cut from the same cloth, they do have many traits in common. Here are the most prevalent ones.
- Narcissists are excessively self-absorbed. They monopolize the conversation, hog the remote, run the show. They pay scant attention to what interests you.
- Narcissists view others as extensions of themselves. The narcissist sets the standards of behavior and does not tolerate differences – especially if your viewpoint would require her to alter her behavior.
- Narcissists don’t appreciate different perspectives. If you don’t think or feel the same way he does, something’s wrong with you.
- Narcissists crave constant validation from the world. Admire and respect them and all is well. Find fault with them and watch out! Open narcissists will go on the offensive; closet narcissists will cut short the conversation.
- Narcissists pursue admiration, attention, status, prestige and money excessively. All of this is mere window dressing, covering up a real self that’s insecure and vulnerable.
- Narcissists believe that they’re entitled to special treatment. If it inconveniences them, it’s a “stupid” law, a “retarded” restriction. So why fall into line? “That’s for peons; not for me!”
- Narcissists believe that they deserve the best, regardless of cost. Hence, they may recklessly purchase status items and indulge in expensive experiences to make them feel like VIPs.
- Narcissists may donate generously to a cause or to helping others out in order to reflect well on themselves. When a gift is a narcissistic display rather than a gift from the heart, it’s all about the narcissist receiving recognition or control, not about the cause.
Many people don’t realize that their partner (or family member or friend) may be a narcissist, discovering it only after much time has elapsed. Why isn’t it obvious at the very beginning?
- It’s difficult to accept that someone you care for has a narcissistic personality, especially when he or she is talented, charming, smart, and yes, even caring at times. Yet, if you are often bewildered by their endless entitlement and repeatedly feel taken advantage of, don’t let your wishful thinking stand in the way of recognizing ‘what is.’
- Narcissists are great masters of disguise, describing their behavior in the best of terms (i.e. I’m only doing this for your own good!). Hence, it may take awhile for you to ‘get’ what’s really going on.
- Narcissism, reinforced by our culture, is on the rise. Advertisements that proclaim that you “deserve the best” or “you’re worth it” make no connection between deserving it and affording it. Nor do they describe what makes you so worthy. Hence, many narcissists feel that they’re acting the way they should be acting and see nothing wrong with their behavior.