How to Tell if you’re a Narcissist
Before you read on, answer the question yourself, “Are you a Narcissist?”
Now keep your answer for later . . .
One of my most popular blog posts is “When you’re Married to a Narcissist.” I was remarking on this the other day to one of my friends and she said, “They’re probably all scared that they’re a narcissist.” We both laughed and voila – a new blog topic!
We live in a culture where a lot of people look narcissistic; they’re constantly posting pictures of themselves, bragging about their weight loss (generally in order to sell you something that helped them lose weight), bragging about how wonderful their children are (which I’m sure they are), or countless other self-absorbed posts.
Most people don’t talk about their awful days or feelings of self-hatred on Facebook. If they did, we probably would all look a little less Narcissistic. Why? Because the diagnosis is about lack of balance. It’s about extremes of behavior. Talking about everything we face, both triumphs and struggles gives our friends a sense of us as a whole person, not “the best-est, happiest person in the world according to our Facebook page.”
There is one diagnosis of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” but there are several types of Narcissists that is talked about in various articles and books. In her book, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers,” Dr. Karyl McBride identifies six types of Narcissistic Mothers. The book is excellent, by the way. It’s well worth the purchase if you’re a daughter of a Narcissistic Mother.
6 Type of Narcissistic Mothers
- The Flamboyant-Extrovert: This is the public entertainer, loved by the masses, but secretly mean to her kids and partner.
- The Accomplishment-Oriented: What you achieve in your life is the most important thing to her. Success depends on what you do, not who you are. Grades and accomplishments are important.
- The Psychosomatic: This one uses illness and aches and pains to manipulate others, to get her way, and to focus attention on herself.
- The Addicted: The bottle or drug of choice will always come before the child.
- The Secretly Mean: This mom has a public self and a private self, which are quite different. These mothers can be kind and loving in public but are abusive and cruel at home.
- The Emotionally Needy: While all narcissistic mothers are emotionally needy, this is the mother you have to emotionally take care of beyond your own needs or capabilities.
Another good book is “Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving with the Self-Absorbed” by Wendy Behary.
She identifies types of Narcissists as well.
Four Types of Narcissists and then the 5th
- The Show-Off: Again, a public person who loves to loved by the masses. This one can sometimes be the person who chairs volunteer committees yet doesn’t have time for her own loved ones.
- The Bully: This one goes into aggression and intimidation to get his or her way.
- The Entitled One: Who thinks that he or she deserves every single little thing, often makes you wait and wait for them, and throws fits if they don’t get what they want when they want it.
- The Addictive Self-Soother: This is the disengaged, detached avoider who will do anything but interact with you or the kids.
And the 5th type of Narcissist – Perilous Narcissism
Perilous Narcissism: The one that is a threat to your or your children’s well-being. This is the Narcissist who
- Spends Excessively
- Gambles Excessively
- Won’t work or get a job
- Feels entitled to drink and drive
- Buys, uses, or sells drugs
- Views child porn, visit prostitutes, or has affairs or other risky sexual behavior
- Exposes children to inappropriate material, language or behaviors
- Lies pathologically
- Is physically or verbally abusive
- Threatens to harm you, your kids or others,; threatens to take the kids awy
- Destroys property
Let me say here that if you’re a perilous Narcissist, it will take a “hitting rock bottom wake-up call” usually to get through to you. Get some help, immediately either professionally by seeing a therapist who will see personality disorders (a lot of them won’t so you may have to search around) or through a 12-step program like Sex Addicts Anonymous or AA or Narcotics Anonymous or any type of 12-step. All of the programs address pathological lying.
If you’re in a relationship with a Perilous Narcissist, then get some help pretty immediately, insist that your partner get some help, and, yes, you may need to leave for the health of yourself or your kids until your partner’s behavior is under control if not permanently.
Back to the run-of-the-mill Narcissist
All of them have in common self-absorption and the lack of the ability to empathize frequently with others. Narcissists have a hard time taking someone else’s perspective. Or if they can, they don’t really care to act on that perspective. Let’s talk about an example so you seen what I mean a little better.
Let’s say we have a Narcissist called Peter. He can think about his wife and know that she will be mad if he doesn’t pick her up some dinner when he stops to get his own. But this doesn’t go down into his heart at all. He doesn’t generally feel bad; he just knows that he should. And without the feeling, he doesn’t really care if she’s mad or not unless it truly affects him in terms of him not getting something he wants, like sex.
Peter can think about his wife with his head, his thoughts. But he doesn’t feel any emotional connection to her with his heart in the moment. He can get there sometimes, but generally it takes a lot to get him there.
Do you do this?
The question is whether you do this or not. Do you really not care that much about your partner or your friends? Do you keep them waiting all the time, because you don’t care? Or are you just on Latin time and you truly feel bad sometimes?
Do you feel bad about occasionally manipulating people? Or do you really not care at all?
Do you love being the center of attention and demand it, sometimes even causing scenes to be the center or attention?
Do you really think you’re special and extraordinary, not in terms of your mother telling you everyone is unique (of course we all are!) . . . but you really believe there’s something special about you beyond everyone else but haven’t done anything that would point to that. Like you’re not a top performer or a gifted musician or athlete.
I could go on with these questions, but there are plenty of quizzes you can take to assess it yourself.
Remember your answer to the very first question on the page?
Psychology Today printed an article in which a psychologist did a study and that one question is accurate in assessing whether someone is a Narcissist. Yep, just ask them. Or just ask yourself. Your answer is accurate. If you need a little more than that though, here’s Psych Central’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder Quiz.
Are you a Narcissist?
Let’s say you answered Yes to the question, then took about 5 more quizzes that confirmed it, plus skimmed three more articles. And, yes, indeedy you’re on the scale for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There is still hope for you. With treatment and a therapist who is willing to confront you, you can begin to relate better to other people in a way that’s less narcissistic. You can learn skills to better your relationships. You can learn to think outside of yourself, gain another’s perspective, and act on that. You can help your loved ones feel loved instead of frustrated, neglected, and pushed away.
I specialize in anxiety, borderline personality disorder and helping adult children of toxic parents feel more stable. If you’re a narcissist and don’t want your kids to grow up feeling like you’re the toxic parent, if you want a good, connected relationship with them schedule your free consultation by calling me at 954-309-9071.
Yours in health,