Narcissistic personality disorder involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding.
In addition to being self-important, people who display narcissistic traits may have a sense of entitlement. They might expect to be treated better than others, or believe that they have a right to get whatever they want. Failure to have this entitlement fulfilled might be met with outrage and aggression.
The cause is likely complex. Narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to: Environment — parent-child relationships with either too much adoration or too much criticism that don't match the child's actual experiences and achievements. Genetics — inherited characteristics, such as certain personality traits.
Narcissists all follow the same patterns — here are some of the most common phrases they use to manipulate you. Narcissists often follow the same pattern in relationships: idealize, devalue, discard.
Grandiose sense of self-importance
Grandiosity is the defining characteristic of narcissism. More than just arrogance or vanity, grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of superiority. Narcissists believe they are unique or “special” and can only be understood by other special people.
“To what extent do you agree with this statement: 'I am a narcissist.'”
According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, people with NPD have traits that make it harder to love another person. Your narcissistic spouse may not be able to support you or show genuine emotion. Any love or affection they show is often given only for their own benefit.
Although narcissists act superior, entitled and boastful, underneath their larger-than-life facade lies their greatest fear: That they are ordinary. For narcissists, attention is like oxygen. Narcissists believe only special people get attention.
Final Thoughts on the Red Flags of a Narcissist
Narcissistic individuals often exhibit traits such as a lack of empathy, manipulative behavior, and an inflated sense of self-importance. It's essential to understand that dealing with a narcissist can be draining and challenging.
According to Thomaes & Brummelman, the development of narcissism begins at around the ages of 7 or 8.
Although for the most part psychoanalyst experts agree that the narcissistic personality disorder appears in most sufferers at around the age of 18, they do also believe that the groundwork for these traits is laid in early childhood.
They can show great interest in romantic prospects and seduce with generosity, expressions of love, flattery, sex, romance, and promises of commitment. Amorous narcissists (Don Juan and Mata Hari types) are adept and persuasive lovers and may have many conquests, yet remain single.
Narcissists tend to be incapable of something called "object constancy," which means they struggle to have positive feelings at the same time as negative ones. Once they are fired up for a fight, they can be incredibly cruel, because all they can comprehend in the moment are feelings of resentment and anger.
The narcissist views their spouse as an extension of themselves. If the narcissist wants to present themselves to the world in a certain way, they will pick a spouse who can help them with that image.
But this was not the case for narcissists—they were significantly more satisfied with partners who met their ideals for attractiveness, status, and vitality. This shows that not only do narcissists value “trophy” traits in a partner, but they are happier with their relationships when they obtain those traits.
It comes hand-in-hand with this that narcissists hate being criticised or called out. Which is exactly why there's one word in particular narcissistic people cannot stand: "no".
Rejection causes major narcissistic injury and is one of the top 10 things narcissists fear the most. They can't handle it, even if it's a tiny slight. Remember, they have a sense of entitlement and pride themselves on being the ones who reject and discard their victims.