How to Spot a Narcissist

How to Spot a Narcissist

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

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How to Spot a Narcissist

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

How to Spot a Narcissist


Making new friends or testing the waters in a romantic relationship usually involves a “feeling-out” period. You want to get to know each other and understand whether you’re compatible before getting too attached, especially if you’ve gotten caught in toxic relationships in the past. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of deception or emotional abuse. 

If you know someone who seems charming and exciting, but never seems to pay attention to your needs and wants, you could be dealing with a narcissist. Here’s how to tell.

Narcissism Defined

Narcissism is a personality disorder defined in the DSM-5 with characteristics like these:

  • A lack of empathy or understanding for others
  • Arrogance 
  • A sense of entitlement and inherent privilege
  • A willingness to exploit or manipulate other people
  • A need to be loved and admired
  • Recurring fantasies of having power, money and fame
  • Envy toward more successful people  

It’s possible for someone to have a few of these traits without having a full-fledged personality disorder. To receive an official diagnosis of NPD, a person must have significant impairments in their identity and self-direction, plus a lack of empathy and intimacy.

There is also a quieter, less grandiose form of narcissism called covert narcissism, which is somewhat trickier to spot. Whatever form it takes, the common thread uniting narcissists is their willingness to behave unethically to accomplish their goals, even if that means damaging relationships and hurting others.

What Causes Narcissism?

The seeds of narcissism often take root in childhood. If you suspect someone you know is a narcissist, it’s likely because of how their parents treated them when they were little. While growing up, a narcissist may have had to develop coping strategies to protect themselves from emotional abuse. One way to do this is to build a wall of confidence and high self-esteem to hide any vulnerabilities. In other words, this personality disorder is an elaborate self-defense mechanism. 

People with NPD view all their relationships through a lens of how to use others to fulfill their needs. They may feel compelled to maintain control at all costs, even at the expense of people who care about them. For someone with NPD, behaviors like gaslighting, lying, manipulation and love bombing are how they treat everyone they know. Because they are sensitive to the slightest criticisms and are unlikely to engage in self-reflection, they tend to blame others when things don’t go their way. 

Have You Been a Victim of Emotional Abuse?

If someone you love has betrayed your trust by abusing or neglecting you, the resulting trauma can have a ripple effect on your life, causing you to develop issues like anxiety and depression. You may also have a dual diagnosis with a co-occurring substance use disorder. 

At Pine Grove, we know that these issues can happen to anyone, and that customized treatment plans can help you get your life back on track. To learn more about what you can expect from our behavioral health, psychiatric or addiction treatment programs, please reach out to us today