What Is Narcissism?

Find out what narcissism is and what narcissistic traits look like…

What Is It?

Narcissistic personality disorder – or NPD – is a mental health condition. It’s a type of personality disorder that causes a person to have an over-inflated opinion of themselves and their own importance, as well as a strong need for attention and admiration. A narcissist will often exaggerate or even lie about their own achievements and talents.

People with NPD have a lack of empathy for others – this means they find it difficult to put themselves in others’ shoes  or consider how someone else may be feeling. This comes across as insensitive and uncaring. Narcissists will appear very confident, but they usually have low self-esteem and insecurities, and find rejection and criticism very difficult to take. Because of all these traits, those with narcissistic personality disorder will often have troubled relationships.

What Are The Signs?

While someone may show some narcissistic traits from time to time, a person has to have five or more of these symptoms to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder:

  • A belief that they are better than everyone else.
  • A need for constant attention.
  • A belief that they should be given priority and special treatment.
  • Lack of empathy and disregards others’ feelings.
  • Obsessed with their own intelligence, success, power and the perfect romance.
  • Arrogant attitude and behaviours.
  • Takes advantage of others.
  • Often envious of others.
  • Believes everyone to be envious of them.

Many of these symptoms could simply appear to be strong self-confidence but there is a distinct difference between someone who has strong self-esteem and someone who puts their needs and self-worth above all others. 

How Is It Treated?

NPD can be treated with talking therapy. Sometimes medication is also used if a person is also suffering from depression or anxiety.

Am I Dating A Narcissist?

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be damaging to your own mental health. They can be incredibly manipulative and their negative, controlling behaviours can affect your self-esteem and confidence. If you suspect your partner might be a narcissist, look at these 10 signs:

  1. They only seem to care about their own wants and needs, not yours.
  2. They talk about themselves all the time but are uninterested in you or your views.
  3. Your partner was overly charming to begin with but has pulled back and can be cold if you say or do something that disappoints them.
  4. They’re always seeking compliments and praise but rarely give it in return.
  5. They don’t seem to care if you’re upset, ill or struggling.
  6. They make mean, underhand comments to gnaw away at your self-esteem.
  7. You often feel as if they’re gaslighting you – manipulating situations to make you feel as if you’re in the wrong.
  8. They always think they’re right and don’t ever apologise, even when they’ve clearly done something wrong.
  9. They may flirt with people in front of you or give off the impression that they’re looking for someone ‘better’ than you.
  10. They panic if they think you’re going to leave them. A narcissist’s relationship is a game to them – and they panic when they think you’ve taken control.

I Think I Might Be Narcissistic…

If you think you might have NPD, and want help make an appointment to talk to your GP. Be honest about your symptoms and take along notes if you need to. Your doctor will then be able to refer you for a professional assessment, if needed.


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