Traits of the Narcissist

What are the deeply ingrained personality traits of the narcissist? What makes them tick?According to the DSM IV-TR, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, exploitation of others, and lack of empathy, beginning in early adulthood and manifest in a variety of contexts. Having one or two traits of narcissism is not unusual, but when narcissistic traits are so predominant that they impair a person’s social functioning, it may qualify them for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). 

TRAITS:

  • Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion
  • Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply)
  • Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others
  • Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her
  • Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted

**The criteria above is based on: American Psychiatric Association. (2000); Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth edition, Text Revision (DSM IV-TR). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. The text in italics is based on: Sam Vaknin. (2003). Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited, fourth, revised, printing. Prague and Skopje: Narcissus Publication.

Dr. Irene Matiatos, psychologist and author of the website,”Dr. Irene’s Verbal Abuse Site”, suggests there are 20 traits common to people with NPD. Not everyone has all the traits but most will have a significant number of them. Below is an abridged version from her website:

1.  PATHOLOGICAL LYING; is skillfully deceptive and very convincing. Avoids accountability by diverting topics, dodging questions, and making up new lies, bluffs or threats when questioned. His memory is self serving as he denies past statements.

2. CONTRACT BREAKER; agrees to anything then turns around and does the opposite. This con artist will accuse YOU of being the contract breaker.

3. HIGH ROLLER; Successfully backstabs his way to the top. His family is a disposable prop in his success facade. Is charismatic, eloquent and intelligent in his field, but often falsifies abilities and credentials. Needs to have iron-fisted control and relyies on his manipulation skills. Ruthlessly exploits or targets others in pursuit of his ever-changing agenda. Mercilessly abuses the power of his position. A vindictive bully in the office with no social or personal conscience. Often suspicious and paranoid.

4. USES SEXUALITY; is often hypersexual (male or female). P*********y, m**********n, and incest are reported by his victims. Easily bored, he demands increasingly deviant stimulation. May also withhold sex or emotional support as means of control.

5.  BLAME-GAME;never accepts responsibility. Blames others for his failures and circumstances. A master at projection.

6.  VIOLENT; may be a wife-beater, murderer, serial killer, stalker, terrorist. Has a ‘chip-on-his-shoulder’ attitude. He lashes out and destroys or uses others (particularly women and children) as scapegoats for his aggression or revenge. Poor impulse control. He will try to make YOU look out of control. Can become dangerous and unpredictable. Has no remorse or regard for the rights of others.

7. CONTROLLING/MANIPULATING; pits people against each other. Is verbally skilled at twisting words and actions. Is charismatic and usually gets his way. Undermines your support network and discourages you from seeing family and friends. Other people’s money is often his objective. He is ruthless, demanding and cruel. May appear pitiful and in need of help-you rush in to help him with your finances, assets, and talents. You may be used as his proxy to interact with others on his behalf- as he sets you up to take the fall.

8. SUBSTANCE ABUSE Alcohol, drugs, you name it-he does it. We see his over-indulgence in food, exercise or sex and his need for instant gratification.

9. “SOUL MATE”; is cunning and will come on strong, sweep you off your feet. He seems to have the same values, interests, goals, tastes, habits. He admires your intellect, ambition, honesty and sincerity. He wants to marry you quickly. He fakes integrity, appears helpful, comforting, generous in the initial phase. Eventually Jekyll turns into Hyde and his discarded victims suffer emotional and financial devastation. You may be discarded quickly as he attaches to a “new perfect soul mate”.

10. QUIET AND ISOLATED; appears socially withdrawn, dirty, and unkempt. Odd thinking is observed. Used as a disguise to appear pitiful to obtain whatever he can,

11. SADISTIC; he watches with obvious enjoyment as he inflicts emotional, financial, physical and verbal cruelty. He takes pleasure in taking other people’s assets. His target: women, children, the elderly, anyone vulnerable.

12. RAGES; flies off the handle with little or no provocation. Has disproportionate overreactions and childish tantrums. His rage can be intimidating. He wants control, attention and compliance. Any reaction is his payoff- good or bad attention. Your fear, crying, yelling, name calling, or hatred are his objectives

13. BRAINWASHING; is very charismatic and able to manipulate others to obtain status, control, compliance, money, attention. Often found in religion and politics. He masterfully targets the naive, vulnerable, uneducated or mentally weak.

14. RISK-TAKING/ THRILL-SEEKING; never learns from his past follies and shows repeatedly bad judgment. Poor impulse control is a hallmark.

15. PARANOIA; is suspicious of everything usually for no reason. Terrified of exposure (as fraud) and may be dangerous if threatened.

16.  IMAGE MAKING; will flaunt his ‘toys’, his children, his wife, his credentials and accomplishments. Admiration, attention, even glances from others; our envy or our fear is his objective. Appears to be the perfect father, husband, friend – to outsiders.

17. EMOTIONAL VACUUM; he deceives us by his remarkable ability to mimic human emotions. We are left numb when we realize that he is completely lacking empathy and genuine emotions.

18. “SAINTLY”; proclaims high moral standing. Accuses others of immorality. This hypocrite lies, cheats, abuses, deceives, controls, and manipulates while portraying himself as having high morals.

19. CALLING-CARD; forewarns his victims. Early in the relationship he may reveal his nature by saying “You need to protect yourself around me” or “Watch out, you never know what I’m up to.” You laugh not realizing what the future holds.

20.  PENITENT; he begs “I’ll change, I love you, I’ll go for therapy.” Appears to ‘come clean’ admitting past abuse and asking forgiveness. Then claims we are at fault and need to change too.

References:

  1. http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/narcissism-traits.html
  2. http://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/malignant-self-love/narcissistic-personality-disorder-npd-definition/
  3. http://www.drirene.com/catbox/index.php?showtopic=40676

About Alexander Burgemeester

22 Responses to “Traits of the Narcissist”

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  1. kathlene says:

    Nailed it! Both my mother and ex husband…exhibited every single one of these traits. Its hard to undo some of the damage they’ve done. I appreciate your post! I just found on this site the stages of grieving and healing after narcissistic abuse. Wow. We have an epidemic of npd pple who will never see how they truly are! This is a certain kind of sickness that will always be a challenge to catch to diagnose. God help us all

    • Chau says:

      I’m in the same boat with you. Fortunately, I found out about EFT Tapping for healing n depression. You may look it up on YouTube. I’ve been healed ever since. I hope it helps you.

  2. Donna says:

    my name is Donna, I am a grown woman with three grown kis, two grankids and my point is. My mother is still accusing me of things that I have never did or said Growing up she never wanted to see me or my sibblings close to eachother, she has her favorites and tells everyone thhat girls are no god and the boys i the family are wonderful. Mean whie i have done everything for her, took her everywhere, my brother comes to Nyc from FL, never took her out for dinner never sent her a mothers day card, but, tells people my son my son is wonderful. she ignores me, if a situation arises and i have nothing to do with it, she blames me, she loves herself, she has breast cancer now and she told me i gave it to her or wished it on her. she treats me like i were her step child. If my sister yells at her and tells her off, she accepts it from her, buut if Im around when this happenes, she blames me. she blames me because my sister des her hair red. lol. I told my mother to meet me outside at 11:30AM, whe i went outside she was gone, clled my sister and told my sister i didint show up. geez. now with her breast cncer and this traveled to her brain, she is still mean to me, angry, parania, judges everyone , lablesme and everyone. Oh bye the way, im decent person that lives a decent life.

    • Chau says:

      I thought oriental sick women were meaner but I changed my mind when i read your post. There’s only one way to behave in your case: no contact. But with her advanced stage of cancer, you may not have to do that. Peace n love to you!

  3. Joe says:

    Interesting post as a narcissist myself, some traits apply and others nowhere close to me. I was diagnosed with the worst of both, Somatic and Cerebral. Typically people are on and not both.

    Our traits vary and have a lot to do with the coping mechanisms we created as child.

    All I would like to add is that do NOT take it personally. Typically it is not done in the right frame of mind and we lash out, in various ways, with no regard to the other person. All that matters is our fulfillment.

    Would write more but have a late dinner date with my wife.

    • Chauntelle Russell says:

      Thank u for posting. Its very rare to see a post from someone diagnosed with NPD.

    • Chau says:

      Even when I don’t keep grudges or resenment against the abusers, I believe no contact is the best way for self protection. It’s also good for the other party not having a chance to keep hurting others to satisfy their sadistic fulfillment.

    • the more u know says:

      There is a difference between having narcissistic traits, bad habits, coping mechanisms and Narcissist personality disorder where your entire lifestyle revolves about manipulating and exploiting people.

      Many people have the first type, either from coping with abusers,a bad upbringing/bad examples or a temporary traumatic event.

      The second type almost never admit there is anything wrong with them. These are the ones people online are almost always talking about, the ones who go out of their way to do damage, the malignant NPD.

      You are very unlikely to be this type, though an immature person might think it sounds “cool and edgy”.
      It’s not.

  4. Angie larner says:

    I’m in a relationship with someone who definitely has 10 strong traits out of the 20 mentioned. Number 8 I gave 5 check marks to, and 3 traits listed are weak but present. I am successful in my line of work, have a great independent life, yet I have allowed myself to be yoked by this a*****e. I blame me for allowing this; I blame him for being the a*****e. I googled what a narcissist’s reaction would be to being ignored. I relished reading what I did. It will be THE MOST difficult thing I will have to do. He’s away on a “business trip” and doesn’t even have the decency to say when he’s coming back home. I need to gather strength to be able to cut this cancer out of my life. Intellectually I know this, but I doubt my own resolve to be able to follow through. I don’t know why I let him have this power over me. On the outside I have a great life. On the inside I’m falling apart. Thanks for reading. Felt good to vent this as I’ve never acknowledged it before. Peace.

    • Brandy says:

      Since it has been months since your post, I was wondering if you were able to follow through? And how it went?

  5. Jan says:

    Angie,
    I am in the middle of divorcing a narcissist husband. Do not get discouraged as
    you will find increased resolve as time goes on. Unfortunately, the not letting you know his schedule etc. is a way to keep you guessing and unsure of yourself.
    I can tell you it is difficult to try the ignoring advice, but I do think it ultimately helps as at least it keeps you away from the toxic influence and you have more
    opportunities to be around “normal” people. It has taken me way too many years to realize nothing I do will change his lack of empathy. Good luck and don’t let him devalue you…..that is all about him, not you.

    • A hope says:

      I agree! Don’t let him get in your head. Nothing but toxic waste. Use this time to reveal to yourself how beautiful you are and how your world can now be free of the cancerous and heavy burdens he thru at you!! Time to celebrate! I know it’s hard but trust me when I say after you make the shift all the way around you suddenly see it so different. You will get there!! Keep working at it!

  6. Ysa says:

    Every single trait from 1-20 fits my soon to be ex-husband. After 16 years of marriage, I could no longer take this monster of a person, I came to truly think I was this crazy, very stupid woman, that deserved all the cheating, humiliation, verbal abuse, that I was so messed up I ruined the marriage, that everything he did was because “I made him do it”. No matter how much I tried to please him, there was always something else I should be or should do, never ever satisfied. I ended up suicidal and a pathetic mess after his last affair, he tortured me and enjoyed seeing me suffer, I was leaving then, when he suddenly ended the affair,and that person became the evil one. He had a heart valve replaced soon after, and used this to make me feel guilty, unforgiving, but I could not get past 16 years of countless abuse. I had been in counseling and could not go back, served him the divorce a week ago, but he is already busy with another woman (one he had before me) and acts in control and shows he doesn’t care about me, in complete control. According to him, I’m the loser, who will end up alone, with no one to love me, and broke.
    I can’t wait for that!

    • A hope says:

      Don’t listen to him and try to block him out because he only wants to get inside your head. Feel sorry for him and his new lover. Allow yourself to grieve your temporary lost dream but realize that you can still achieve it and what you had with him was opposite of your dream. He was a fake cheap counterfeit. You have so much to look forward too. Don’t look back. His loss really!

    • Heidi says:

      Wow. What a story. I’m sorry for the years you spent sad and tortured. I was there not once but four times now. I guess I just don’t learn lessons very well, or am to trusting. I even read Sam Vaknins ‘Malignant Self Love’ two times. I’ve spent far to much time in my life trying to recover from the heart break they so enjoy inflicting. This last one ( I hope) is truly the last. I was in mourning but am feeling more myself after only a week. I must be getting better. I’m definitely ok being single. And never going to give up looking for Mr. Right. He’s out there somewhere. I hope you find him. Wishing you love and happiness!

    • Chau says:

      I applaud your courage to acknowledge the situation and determine to change. That’s the first amazing step. Everything else will be so much better after that. And you will be free n happy as never before. Peace n joy to you!

  7. Opal says:

    What made me finally get help was watching my NH become more and more depressed as he aged. They don’t do that well, image and all. He still has the same haircut since 1970. We’ve been “married” 42 years. The light bulb went on for me when I put down my own bleeding heart and looked at his. He can’t stand himself any longer. His NM is even sicker than him. She is 92 I swear the only thing that keeps her alive is her anger, bitterness and need to control. All of her adult children live very far from her, she is so toxic. My husband now “sees” her and he is so angry. I am trying very hard to remain in a loving heart towards him. He needs help I hope he gets it, she will suck every one around her dry. I have ended my relationship with her. She is mad as hell she can’t get her supply from me any longer. She is trying to bait me by returning Christmas money?!? We had bought her 2 outfits. At first she returned them and bought something else( they never like what we give them, not good enough) then after I’ve had no contact with her for over a month she sends me (in my name) a check for what she thinks I’ve spent. So crazy, the gift was from both my husband and me. My poor husband is so hurt and angry at her. I explained that she’s grasping for a reaction, she won’t get one. He wants to send the amount of money she sent us to HILARY for president. She hates Hilary. She actually spits her name. Scary crazy old women. She has always been this way. It’s not her age, she’s sharp as a tac. When we were young we needed to borrow $$so we could move to a better area for our children to go to school, she charged us 15%intrest! She hates everyone and everything, she’s a victim just ask how she’s doing. She won’t let anyone help with her medical decisions even though there are many medical experts in the family. She lies, throws up roadblocks as to why she can’t be helped. Then cries that no one helps her. She’s a bigot towards anything that isn’t in her era. Including people. Says inappropriate things in public. Trust me on that one. The only advice I can give is, if your young RUN!,,,,_[if you’ve put the years in that I have and are older just love yourself. Never look to these people to show any true love, they never had it so they can’t give it out. I’ve never heard my husband tell his sons he loves them. I know he does, they all suffer. All I can do is be a loving presence in my own life. Hoping they will understand.

    • Chau says:

      Well-said. It takes wisdom to realize what we are dealing with and not being trapped in their deception. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Waiting for a break! says:

    Omg, this is just hitting home and bringing up so many hurtful emotions. My mother has always been off her rocker, as a child I witnessed her outrageous violent, physical, and verbal abuse towards my father and then to my siblings, not too much to me then because I was her favored one (sick, she ruined my relationship with two of my siblings). I always stood by her side because I was under the impression her awful childhood was the reason for her behaviors and I was mad to feel sorry for her at a young age. She preyed on my innocense and manipulated me (aw that awful N trait). Well in my forties I began to see things differenly, and tried to deal with her from a raw and real perspective. Then unfortunate circumstances left me no choice but to move in with my parents two years ago. God knew what he was doing because I ended up becoming my fathers 24/7 caregiver unitl his passing in Dec. 2015 (no regrets there). My mom was flippin brutal to me, just brutal, lots of verbal abuse and violence where I had to call the police more then once, and some things I cant even discuss here. I hated her even more for treating me this way when I was taking care of my father because she couldn’t or wouldn’t. She was selfish when it came to my father, (part of that N trait again) insisting he spend time with her when all he wanted to do was sleep after a dialysis treatment, and she would stir the pot up with him too in his weaken state of health insisting he visti with her or eat. Errr!!!! We both couldn’t wait to leave the house, poor pop, even if it was to another treatment or doctors appointments. We were free for a few hours. I’m glad I was able to provide him some freedom and a chance to see life the way he deserved to be treated as a decent human being. Awfully sick lady, I’m still angry and frustrated with her because I still live with her (I am trying to get a job and move out, turn my life around) and she is even more of an abuser to me now that Dad is gone with the added facts she has depression and now Alzheimer’s. I’m exhausted and can’t take it anymore yet I’m trapped until I find a job. In case your wondering, 2 siblings are estranged from her, and the other one only comes around when she has business dealings but will call her now once a week.
    I now walk away while she’s still going off on me and close me door but she doesn’t have any limits or frame of time. I am trying not to fuel her by keeping quite but it doesn’t matter what I say, what I do, or how I do it, she is on me like a fly on poop and will not stop! Sorry this is so long, I guess I need to go back to journaling, I’ll stop right here. Thank you for this website and for fellow commenters as this is additional support, especially needed today! Blessings

  9. Pete says:

    It’s of some comfort to learn of others experiences, I am a male and have been with narcissist female for 24 years of that married 14 years with 10 year old daughter who I have mainly cared for and ran hand and foot after my wife, trusting her and feeding her supply all that time,she did have one or two attempts at gaining supply from other men of status at her work where she is a minor manager but they soon disassociated her when they realised she was a married mother until she started to be groomed by her companies union top boss who is a loner and they started to drink and collude about work and staff issues she had. I knew about this but according to her he was fat bald and ugly but s really nice man and useful for her success at work until my daughter started to remark about them and became more clingy to me so I gently approached her with our concerns and BANG, total silence not a word of reply or than she really really like him and a week later she told her lawyer to demand I left with zero asap! That was 6 months ago and we all still live in house but although my response was to put my daughter first and sort finances after her only way of dealing with every thing was to attempt to completely ruin me by following her bed buddies advice to play dirty to get me out and she will have everything! I have quietly and politely carried on with caring for my daughter in her usual routines and taken my lawyers advice to point that I am still ntitgled to half of everything and I am fighting for custody of my daughter. My ex simply lies to her lawyer, tries dirty tactics, buys new clothes or belongings, secretly visisys buddy, lies to everyone including her work as he does to say I am a phyco and on and on, I have been dealing with two very contrived, narcissistic evil seceretive people and still am as I gos on and on, I ignore her completely with some angry reactions now and then but basically they just go more to the new supply. If I manage through this I will be a far stronger and smarter person and I hope for karma for them and their deliberate behaviour with absolutely no consideration of my kids feelings at all. Best of luck people

  10. Michelle giambrone says:

    Michelle says…. I meet my now exhusband at the age of 17. First boyfriend. After 30 plus years of abuse i couldnt take it any longer. I filed for divorce at the age of 48. This was the 3 rd divorce filing..i told him im going thru with it this time. I got couseling for myself. I never knew such a personality disorder like this existed. Narassist personality disorder! I am told my ex is not only a narassist but a sociopath. He tried hurting a 12 week old puppy one time. I decided to go no contact with him. It is the best decision i have ever made. All your posts sound so familiar to me. He fought the divorce. Because they like to win. The judge granted me my divorce. It took nearly 15 months. And two pretrials. If his cost was the same cost i had to pay for my lawyer. The cost of the divorce was approx..34 thousand dollars. And let me tell you. It was worth every cent. I am still trying to recover from it. I wish every one the best. I should have divorced him years ago.

  11. Rather not say says:

    I’m a man, and narcissism and abuse aren’t an exclusive male trait. There are plenty of manipulative emotionally abusive women with the traits you describe. Then again, abuse is only a problem when a man does it to a woman. The list of traits you describe , portray exactly what my ex-gf was. I’m pretty sure if I pulled the amount of crap she did to me when I decided it was time to go, I’d be put in jail. Instead, whenever I try to open up about what happened to me, how little and pathetic this person left me, I am considered a wuss or plainly laughed in my face , by everyone.

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