Narcissistic traits: how to spot them

Narcissists are easy to identify if you know what characterizes them. They are often rigid and harsh with other people. Calling names and belittling others around them, the only way for them to feel important is to make others look small. The following are other common narcissistic traits.

#1 Lacking empathy.

People who are narcissistic are missing the essential social skill of empathy. Empathy is when you can view the world from another’s perspective. That old saying “walk a day in someone else’s shoes” is completely lost on a narcissist. No amount of explanation or outpouring of feelings is going to change the fact that they are incapable of seeing the world through the eyes of someone else.

#2 They bully.

Narcissists frequently exhibit bully-type behavior. Anyone who doesn’t treat them as special angers them quickly, making them react in a self-preserving way. Cruelty is common for the narcissist. They aren’t able to think in the same way that other people do. Since they lack the understanding of empathy, they often can’t “feel” things rationally.

Therefore, when you say something, they misunderstand the meaning and only hear individual words. They react to those words instead of comprehending the entirety of what you say. Not being able to feel for others, they also don’t refrain from saying things that are hurtful and abusive.

#3 They contradict themselves.

People who have narcissistic traits will often contradict themselves. Because they always have to be right and admired, they will say whatever it takes to win. Often denying what they say mere minutes after they have spoken, they have no problem switching sides to make themselves look right, moral, or smarter than other people.

#4 They lack a sense of right and wrong.

Lacking a sense of right and wrong, the narcissist isn’t guided by conscience or acceptance. The only thing that a narcissist responds to is the fear of physical punishment or physical consequences. They aren’t concerned about whether you like them or what you think of them, as long as they feel power over you. Because they do not fear not being accepted, they have no conscience for hurting others or mistreating people in their life.

#5 Envious and competitive.

The narcissist is often envious and competitive. They want to have what everyone else has. Once they have it, they aren’t interested in it anymore. Not only are they envious of others, but they are also only happy when other people are jealous of what they have. The competitive nature of the narcissistic person drives them to compete for just about everything. Needing to have it all, they are overly ambitious in their personal and professional relationships.

#6 Not engaging.

They don’t sting unless stung. The narcissist will not start a fight or engage in an exchange with someone else. They aren’t concerned with anyone but themselves, so they won’t reach out to other people, but are quick to sting back when you say something that shatters their belief that they are perfect.

#7 They have a sense of entitlement.

The narcissist has a sense of entitlement, as if they deserve things even when they have done nothing to earn them. They also live with grandiose ideas of what life should be. Believing that they deserve everything that life has to offer, they are often involved in “get rich quick” schemes and things that don’t require initiative.


#8 They are gloomy and sullen.

A narcissist is often sullen and gloomy, because nothing is ever good enough. They also rarely possess a sense of humor—though they can be charming and charismatic when they want something from you. They have a tendency to be harsh and authoritative, because they believe that they are the only ones who know what is to spot narcissistic traits

The perils of loving a narcissist

I have read countless features about narcissistic personalities, and many who describe them make it sound as if a narcissist is out to hurt people or that they actively choose to damage those around them. The science shows that most of them are a product of their childhood and the way their parents cared for them. Sometimes an innocent bystander themselves, they aren’t out to hurt people. They lack the essential social skill of empathy, and without it, it is very hard to play on an emotionally-level playing field.

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