Common Characteristics of Narcissistic Personalities

  • Monopoly on Conversation
  • Flaunting Rules or Social Conventions
  • Fixation with Appearance
  • Unreasonable Expectations
  • Disregard for Other People

Despite its origin from a figure in ancient Greek mythology, the modern term “narcissist” typically refers to people who exhibit certain traits that are associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is generally recognized as a psychological issue by the scientific community, although there are many different views regarding contributing factors and treatments. There are many classic signs associated with narcissism, including some that have profound negative effects on friends, family members, and coworkers.

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1. Monopoly on Conversation

Many narcissists talk over or interrupt other people during conversations in order to express their views or talk about themselves. This behavior can border on a compulsion, cowing others into total silence for minutes at a time. They also tend to ignore what others say or only give superficial responses before steering the conversation back to their narrative.

2. Flaunting Rules or Social Conventions

One of the more disruptive signs of narcissism is a desire to flout rules or traditions, sometimes with dramatic consequences. A person with a narcissistic personality is more likely to seek out special treatment in various scenarios and feels wronged when they are unable to circumvent the system. Violating traffic laws, stealing supplies at work and getting in front of people in lines are a just a few ways this mentality can manifest, according to Psychology Today.

3. Fixation on Appearance

Much like the mythological Narcissus, people with NPD often develop a strong fixation on outward appearances. Some spend hours in front of a mirror every day and feel compelled to fix or adjust their appearance constantly. Narcissists are also more apt to discuss the appearances of others or directly belittle them regarding their clothes, body type or facial features. In addition to their physical appearance, people with narcissism also focus on creating grand impressions on other people. This can lead them to inflate or even fabricate stories that increase their perceived value.

4. Emphasis on Envy

A jealous mind is another classic symptom of narcissism. While many people feel envious of others at certain points in their life, narcissists can become completely consumed by these feelings. They may constantly discuss other people’s property or good fortune in a negative light, or maintain a strong belief that other people are envious of them. Some narcissists use this drive to get closer to wealthy or famous people and actively try to associate with them.

5. Disregard for Other People

Narcissists often display manipulative tendencies, using their interactions with others to further their own goals. People with the disorder often cultivate intense emotional relationships with friends or family members and use the connection to benefit themselves. This type of manipulation varies extensively but can include pronounced mood swings, fierce arguments and a need to assign blame to other people.

Despite its status as a recognized psychological disorder, there are still many uncertainties and unknowns about the condition. Unfortunately, those with NPD are defensive about their character and often resist attempts at intervention or treatment. Even so, recognizing the signs of narcissism is the first step towards finding a resolution to an unhealthy and potentially life-changing disorder.