Have you ever wondered if someone is a narcissist? Could be your boss, significant other, friend, parent, or ex that has triggered some thoughts regarding the topic. There are many signs to look out for, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. Here are some of the most common signs you may be dealing with a narcissist.
Me, Me, Me!
They are all about themselves. Selfish! They only worry about how they feel, can be very concerned about their appearance, want to do things their way only, and will talk about themselves all the time. They must be the center of attention at all times regardless of the situation. If the attention gets taken off of them, they will make sure to reroute it back to them quickly. They think they are the experts at everything. “Oh that happened to you? Well it also happened to me but so much worse!”
They lack empathy. They are unable to put themselves into anyone else’s shoes. They don’t feel your pain and aren’t concerned for your well being. They’ll never try to understand where you’re coming from, or even care to know.
Keeping Up With the Jones’
Appearances are everything. They must appear to have the perfect life, perfect family, and the best of everything. They don’t keep up with the Jones’, they are the Jones’ (or at least pretend to be.) They rarely visit reality. They want people to think they have everything – the coolest house, best behaved children, successful career, newest electronics, etc. But there’s a flipside if you are co-parenting with a narcissist. They’ll suddenly have nothing if child support is being calculated. They try to make it seem they don’t make enough money to support themselves, regardless of what the W-2 forms say. But on social media, they are taking lavish trips and buying new vehicles.
They are entitled and believe they are superior to everyone. They have a grandiose self importance thought going on in their head. An example is if you are co-parenting with a narcissist, and it’s their Christmas with the kids. They feel they deserve to have the kids earlier on Christmas because it’s their day, but when it’s yours, they will “forget” that you let them have the kids earlier the year prior and make it seem that you are being crazy asking for the same.
They need to be patted on the back for everything. They bought you coffee – you better praise them for being so amazing. They helped someone pick something up off the floor in the grocery store – they need to be told that they saved the day. Narcissists will often go above and beyond for a perfect stranger or someone that they are currently “love bombing.” But the people inside the walls will see a very different person. If their new significant other’s child needs something or is having a concert at school, the narcissist will drop everything for them. If the narcissist’s own child has a football game, this isn’t a priority and an excuse will pop up that the they have to work and can’t afford to take off to go support their child.
Insecurities All Around
They are super insecure and cannot handle criticism. If you tell them they did something wrong, you will just further bruise their fragile ego. They cannot handle ever being wrong and will never admit it. This is where the next trait comes in.
Gaslighting! This is when the narcissist rewrites history, so to speak. You guys got into an argument and it’s not going the narcissist’s way? They will start to gaslight you – changing the details to fit their narrative. Even if there are witnesses or other proof, they will change the timeline to fit their argument.
The Fake Persona
Fake! They are fake to the outside world. Charming is a word that comes to mind immediately. Someone who only knows the narcissist in passing or on the surface would think they are the nicest person around. Social media helps to create this fake persona for the narcissist. They post pictures of the meals they made in the hopes that someone will praise them or ask them for the recipe (making them feel superior). They post perfectly staged family photos in matching pajamas so the whole social media world can think they are the picture-perfect family unit. If you are co-parenting with a narcissist, there will almost definitely be multiple statuses about how you sneezed at the wrong time making you “parent of the year.” Or maybe you let your child stay up later than the usual bedtime, now you are selfish and disregard your child’s needs for your own benefit. But meanwhile, the narcissist doesn’t post about the junk food they let the child have, or the fact that they made two kids share a seatbelt in the car because that wouldn’t make the narcissist look good.
They hold grudges. If you divorced a narcissist, even if they move on, they will still hold that grudge and try to ruin your life every chance they get. Even years after the divorce, they will still be spinning it to everyone that you are crazy and everything is all your fault.
While not every narcissist will have all these traits, narcissism is a spectrum. There are also different types of narcissists, so it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all type of diagnosis. Narcissism Personality Disorder is a mental illness and can only be diagnosed by a professional. But knowing what traits to look out for can save yourself a lot of stress, anxiety and heartache.
Melanie VanDerveer is an internationally certified life coach with the Certified Coaches Alliance, and specializes in relationship and parenting coaching, with a focus on narcissism and toxic relationship recovery.