While having a self-confidence and a sense of importance are important aspects of being a happy and successful person, true narcissists take these things to an extreme. While an exaggerated sense of one’s attractiveness is certainly one characteristic of Narcissistic personality disorder, there are many other symptoms that can indicate someone is suffering from this mental illness—including these five.
1. Are highly Reactive to Criticism: Or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance. This is why if they’re asked a question that might oblige them to admit some vulnerability, deficiency, or culpability, they’re apt to falsify the evidence (i.e., lie—yet without really acknowledging such prevarication to themselves), hastily change the subject, or respond as though they’d been asked something entirely different.
2. Always Talk About Themselves: Those with NPD tend to think and speak only of themselves, often about their physical appearance, talents or achievements. However, these comments tend to be exaggerated and are not necessarily accurate reflections of their lives. They also have little regard for those around them, rarely, if ever, asking others for their thoughts or feelings. This is because people who suffer from NPD lack empathy, and are therefore unable to recognize or understand the needs and feelings of others.
3. React to Contrary Viewpoints with Anger or Rage: In fact, this characteristic is so common in narcissists. The reason that feelings of anger and rage are so typically expressed by them is that in the moment they externalize the far more painful anxiety- or shame-related emotions hiding just beneath them. When they’re on the verge of feeling—or re-feeling—some hurt or humiliation from their past, their consequent rage conveniently “transfers” these unwanted feelings to another.
4. Require Constant Praise: Despite how outwardly confident narcissists may portray themselves, they are often incredibly insecure and have very fragile self-esteem. In order to continually prop themselves up, people with NPD require near-constant praise and admiration
5. Take Advantage of Others: People are naturally drawn to narcissists, finding them attractive, charismatic, and exciting. As a result of this, people with NPD may not have any issues getting people to do what they want. But in cases where the narcissist’s needs are not being met, they have no problem taking advantage of others—with little to no regard for the feelings or interests of these people. As a result of this behavior, narcissists often have very tumultuous friendships and romantic relationships that are quite short-lived.