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20 Biggest Narcissistic Traits to Recognize the Narc in Your Life

Narcissists are extremely manipulative and clever. Understanding the key narcissistic traits will help you to identify a narcissist in your life. 

Narcissistic Traits

If you’ve ever been around someone who had to be the best in the room, who seemed to love themselves beyond measure, and had a confidence that was far more into the arrogant side of the spectrum, you’ll probably be familiar with narcissistic traits.

However, we’re very quick to label someone a narcissist these days without realizing that in order to be a true narcissist, you have to have a diagnosis of NPD.

The problem is that many people are walking around with NPD and they don’t even know it. They assume there is nothing wrong with them, they’re the best of the best, and they definitely don’t need help because they’re just “perfect” and everyone else is jealous of them! 

As you can see, narcissism is a big issue. 

[Read: How to deal with a narcissist in the best way you possibly can]

Why do you need to look out for narcissistic traits?

You might be wondering why it matters if someone has narcissistic traits. Surely it only causes people to think badly of them and nothing else.

But that’s not really true. The issue is that narcissists are master manipulators. They’re able to twist a situation around to make someone believe that they’re the most wonderful person on the planet. When that happens, they’re able to control others and inflict a world of pain to the helpless victim that trusts them or even becomes their friend or partner. 

[Read: How to spot a narcissist instantly and save yourself a world of pain]

It’s no surprise that many people who have escaped the grips of a narcissistic relationship actually need therapy in order to heal from the abuse. They need assistance in unpicking a period of manipulation, mental torture, and emotional abuse that causes them to question their own sanity and thoughts. 

Narcissistic traits might not appear too damaging on the surface, but you’ll soon see that not only are they dangerous, they can ruin your future as well! 

What is a narcissist?

A narcissist is someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. However, as I’ve already mentioned, many people have NPD but don’t know it. This is someone who has the most self-inflated sense of self you can imagine. They lack empathy and sensitivity.

As a result, they belittle and bully other people easily. They don’t even realize that what they are doing is wrong, but if they do, they often take pleasure in it. 

[Read: 23 secret signs of narcissism people overlook until it’s too late]

The biggest issue is that narcissists are masters of disguise and able to turn the charm on and off when it suits them. However, none of it is real. It’s all an illusion designed to help to boost their own self-esteem which is surprisingly low under the whole facade. 

Are narcissists born? Or do they learn these traits over time? Nobody is really sure. However, researchers believe that children who have narcissistic parents are more likely to become narcissistic themselves. 

[Read: What causes narcissism? The facts and theories to read a narcissist]

How do narcissists hook people so easily?

Manipulation. It’s so hard to explain why it’s easy to fall into the clutches of a narcissist unless you’ve actually been there and experienced it yourself, or you’ve seen it happening to someone close to you. 

Gaslighting is one of the most common forms of manipulation used by narcissists. But they’re also very good at identifying who is a good target. They will often go for people who are sensitive emotionally, then will work to isolate them from those around them, such as friends and family members. [Read: How to know if you’re an empath who feels deeper and connects more than others]

Then comes the gaslighting. 

What is gaslighting and how do narcissists use it?

Gaslighting is a method of manipulation that causes you to question your own thoughts and, in the end, your own sanity.

For instance, the narcissist will tell you that they’re going to do something for you and then they don’t. When you question it, they tell you that they never said such a thing. Laughing, they’ll suggest that you’re going crazy or becoming forgetful. [Read: How to spot gaslighting in a relationship instantly and shut it down]

It’s subtle, but over time it can add up to someone not trusting their own mind anymore. Gaslighting is extremely dangerous and a form of emotional manipulation and abuse. Unfortunately, someone who is subjected to gaslighting often doesn’t realize until later down the line when they look back and something clicks.  

[Read: 14 signs someone’s gaslighting and playing mind games with you]

What are the traits of a narcissist?

Narcissistic traits are hard to spot in some cases, and easier in others. However, it’s true that we all display such traits occasionally and it doesn’t make you a narcissist.

For instance, we’re all a little selfish from time to time, but it doesn’t mean that you’re on the narcissistic spectrum. In order to identify a true narcissist, you should tick off a few of these narcissistic traits over time. 

1. A hugely inflated sense of self-importance

The most common of all the narcissistic traits is someone who believes themselves to be amazing. They believe they’re more important than everyone else, fantastic at everything, and the best of the best. 

2. They’re extremely selfish

Narcissists don’t have a radar that tells them what you need, and they’re not able to identify when you might be feeling a certain way. Everything is about them, literally everything. They’re not only selfish, but they’re completely self-absorbed too. [Read: Why do narcissists ignore texts and do the selfish things they do?]

3. They must have the best of everything

Whether it’s a material item, such as a car or a phone, or the most attractive partner, narcissists want the best of everything.

This is because they believe it further pushes forth the idea that they’re important and fantastic at everything. When something is no longer in fashion or attractive, they’ll drop it and move on. [Read: How to know if a narcissist is finished with you and ready to discard you]

4. They need constant validation from those around them

Despite appearing extremely confident on the outside, narcissists are surprisingly lacking in confidence. They need people to validate them and tell them how amazing they are in order to feel good. When they don’t get it, they become moody and difficult.

5. They’re manipulative

Narcissists snare victims into their trap by using manipulation, and this is one of the key narcissistic traits there is. They’re experts at it, to the point where they don’t even have to think about it in order to do it. [Read: Psychological manipulation – 16 powerful tactics manipulators use to hook you]

6. They’re experts at gaslighting

Alongside manipulation, gaslighting falls into the same category. Narcissists are fantastic at gaslighting and they do it in such a subtle and under the radar way that you would never notice it. Of course, the cumulative effects add up and that’s when the danger becomes extreme. 

7. They bully and belittle others

Although they appear charming on the outside, narcissists are bullies who love to belittle and put others down. They often do this in front of other people for maximum impact, but they don’t mind if it happens in private too. Whatever it takes to keep someone “below” them in their own mind.  

8. Their opinion is the official word

Narcissists believe that their opinion is fact and your opinion is nothing more than a pile of garbage that they will take great pleasure in laughing at and belittling. They do not understand the concept of opinion being a subjective thing that everyone is entitled to. [Read: How do people become self-centered and stop caring about others]

9. They like to isolate people from their loved ones in order to control them

Another common narcissistic trait that narcissists like to use is to isolate them from friends and family members. They might tell someone that their friend has been talking behind their back or plant a seed of doubt about someone’s loyalty. This can be enough to pull them away from their support network and further into the grips of the narcissist. 

10. They exaggerate literally everything

Narcissists love to exaggerate everything. They don’t just cook a nice meal, they cook the best meal in the world. They don’t just have a nice car, they have a top of the range sports car. Nor do they just tell an amusing joke, they’re a stand up comedian all of a sudden. This is one of the most annoying narcissistic traits, for sure. [Read: Do narcissists know they are narcissists or do they just lie to themselves?]

11. They don’t understand what you need

A narcissist will never recognize your needs and trying to get them to do so is nothing short of a waste of time. They lack empathy and aren’t able to love in the regular way. This means that everything will always be about pleasing them and never about making you smile. 

12. They often use passive aggressive or cold shoulder tactics

When a narcissist doesn’t get what they want, be it a thing or a response they wanted, they’ll use passive aggressive behavior to bully and punish their victim.

They’re also experts at using the cold shoulder, to get you to do whatever it takes to make them speak to you again. Of course, this further enhances their power over you. [Read: How to deal with passive aggressive behavior calmly and with class]

13. They work their way into important social circles

In addition to wanting the best of the best, they want to be associated with people who have high social standing or are known to be extremely successful. They believe this reflects well on them.

It’s no surprise that narcissists don’t have regular friendships as a result of all of these narcissistic traits we’ve mentioned so far. 

14. They boast about their achievements to anyone who will listen 

Not only do they exaggerate, but they love to boast to anyone who will give them a second to listen. This often makes the narcissist appear extremely arrogant and entitled. 

15. They’re extremely arrogant, but surprisingly lacking in confidence too

On the outside, they look super-arrogant and overly confident. Underneath it all, a narcissist is extremely easy to hurt. That is why they resort to manipulation and cold shoulder tactics, because their pride is hurt, but also their confidence. [Read: Narcissistic supply – How to stop giving them the attention they crave so badly from you]

16. They have a huge sense of self-entitlement

Narcissists are hugely self-entitled. They believe that they deserve everything and the best of it all. Why shouldn’t they have everything gold-embossed? They’re the best in the world, after all. At least, that’s what they think. 

17. They don’t believe they should have to work for anything

They also believe that everything should just fall into their lap and that they don’t need to work hard for anything. Others should simply hand them what they need because they’re far too important to get their own hands dirty. 

18. They expect you to be there for them 24/7

This sense of entitlement also extends to expecting you to be there for them, whenever they demand you to be. If you have other plans, they don’t matter – you must drop everything! When you turn it around and ask if they would do the same for you, the answer has to be ‘no’. [Read: Why do people fall for narcissists when they know they shouldn’t]

19. They can fly into fits of rage quite easily

When a narcissist doesn’t get what they want or they don’t get the response they want, they’re not only great at passive aggression and cold shoulder tactics, but they can often fly into fits of rage.

A narcissist is often lacking in skill when it comes to controlling emotions. As a result, the effects can be worrying. [Read: Narcissistic rage and how to handle their angry backlash]

20. They’re not able to love you how you want to be loved

Perhaps the most important of all the narcissistic traits to be aware of is this one. If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they are not going to change.

They will never love you in the way you want to be loved and the way you deserve to be loved. I know this because I’ve been there. They don’t have the empathy required to love someone in the right way and your needs will always be so far down the pecking order that they’ll never see the light of day. You deserve so much more. 

[Read: Can a narcissist change? The real truth if you’re looking for hope]

Understanding common narcissistic traits helps you to understand the issue far better. And it will also help you identify whether you have a narcissist hiding in plain sight in your life.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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