Are You a Narcissist?

Here’s how to find out.

Narcissism gets a bum rap the days.  But there is such a thing as HEALTHY NARCISSISM.  Not everyone is a healthy narcissist.  But , if you are – you have an enormous life advantage.  Here’s what to identifies you:

1.  A REALISTIC SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT – the belief that, simply by being born, one is entitled to be treated with respect and kindness n the world;

2.  A REALISTIC SENSE OF SELF ESTEEM – a sense that we are generally acceptable – even if we are not perfect; a positive sense of self-regard

3.  A RESILIENCE – an ability to bounce back from adversity, to accept our own mistakes, to tolerate insults, without internalizing the setbacks that occur;

4.  A sense that we can RELATE to the feelings and concerns of those around us – because we are not so different from them

Sounds like a good way to be, doesn’t it?

But it isn’t so easy to get there.

There are those of us in whom the characteristics of narcissism become exaggerated and more rigid.  In general, for these people, narcissism is not just one among many traits they possess.  It is a dominant way of existing in the world.  You may have met people with a NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY.  Here are some of the traits you might be able to identify:


2.  a LACK OF EMPATHY –  an inability to understand how others might feel if their feelings differ from one’s own;

3.  an  inability to UNDERSTAND the effect of one’s behavior on OTHERS;

4.  a CONTEMPT for people who may remind us of our own UNCONSCIOUS flaws and fears;

5.  a constant need for PROOF OF ONE’S LOVABILITY;

6.  A constant need for ADMIRATION;


8.  a CONSTANT NEED TO SEEM SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE and to surround ones’ self with symbols of success that is a false front, and disguises unconscious feelings of inadequacy;

9.  a  feeling being ABOVE THE LAW;

10.  an INTOLERANCE OF IMPERFECTION in one’s self and other; a hypocriticalness;

11.  a need to PERFORM, to be the CENTER OF ATTENTION, to charm;

12.  a need to MANIPULATE interactions so that the narcissist can get his needs met; and, once these goals are achieved – a complete lack of continued interest in the relationship;

13.  a  need to be in CONTROL of every situation, let one’s flaws be discovered;

14.  a need to accept inappropriate credit and DEFLECT BLAME.

In general, there is a brittleness and a fragility to the narcissist’s sense of self and his relationship with others.  The narcissist’s sense of him or herself isn’t secure and stable.  Since he can’t tolerate  imperfections, the narcissists’  feelings about himself and others frequently degenerate into self-contempt, and relationships with others are frequently short-lived and end in disappointment.  In general, a person with a NARCISSISTIC DISORDER is fragile.  His narcissism is his defense against his own feelings of self-hatred and inadequacy.

Does such a person seem familiar to you?  Do these traits sometimes remind you of yourself?  Don’t worry.  We all have a bit of the more rigid narcissistic personality in us.   Indeed, if you read the therapist’s Diagnostic Manual, you would probably recognize elements of every personality disorder in yourself! But it is the ENTIRE GROUPING and rigidity of these symptoms that is called a Narcissistic Personality. And when the symptoms interfere with one’s ability to cope  in life. it is called a NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.

Some psychologists believe that a NARCISSISTIC DISORDER is caused by an injury to the ‘self’ that has occurred in early childhood – even before the child can express itself in words.  Others think that a disruption in the delivery of Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is responsible. Or one might cause the other. At present, a precise cause of this disorder has not been pinpointed.

But  there is a description that is worse than the commonly identified NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.  It is called  MALIGNANT NARCISSISM. This is not a professional diagnosis as such.  It is a description reserved for  an EXTREME MIX of narcissistic symptoms, including antisocial behavior, criminal behavior, aggression toward and humiliation of others, sadism, and suspiciousness.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is thought to be one of the most difficult symptoms to cure, in part because the narcissist tends to find the self-examination required in therapy implicitly threatening and assaultive.  So, if you have the misfortune of involving yourself with a person with a NARCISSISTIC DISORDER, or with a MALIGNANT NARCISSIST, don’t try and change him or her.


And, for heaven’s sake, DON’T RE-ELECT HIM!

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