Q: How can you tell the difference between an individual who is extremely selfish, spoiled and acts child-like if he/she does not get his/her way vs. an individual who is truly a narcissist? I am referring to adults, not children.
A: An extremely selfish, spoiled, immature person might very well BE a narcissist or certainly have narcissistic traits. There is sometimes a blurred distinction between the end of selfish, immature behavior and the beginning of NPD. One of the major differences is empathy. Can the selfish, spoiled, immature person sometimes show genuine concern, feelings for another human being? Can he or she EVER put another person’s needs first (their own children’s needs for example)? A narcissist is incapable of feeling empathy for another. They can only see things from their own vantage point- how it affects or doesn’t affect them- they are not able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. You might want to read “How to Identify a Narcissist” on this website.