Q: My N., he only seems to display the 9 traits in the DSM when he is really angry. Angry at ME. He has less than the 5 necessary for NPD when he is in a good mood, or when he is interacting with people other than myself. So, when I look at the DSM and try to figure out if he has NPD, do I consider his behavior all day and every day, or when he is mad?
A: If he is demonstrating all 9 of the traits- mad or not- he is most likely a person with NPD. The fact that he has “less than 5” is still pretty unusual…3 or 4 of the traits when he is not mad still indicates a healthy dose of narcissism but one who is good at putting on a mask, a facade for the public. Having a lack of empathy- that’s always a dead give-away. If he demonstrates that trait when he is not mad- there is a high probability that he is a narcissist. Ask yourself if someone genuinely loved you…would they treat you this way? By interacting positively with everyone other than you indicates he knows HOW to treat people, but he is choosing not to do it with you. Think long and hard before committing yourself to this relationship on a long term basis. If you do, you will be in for a long, tumultuous life of pain and heartache.