Understanding Common Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

Published 06/24/2022

The word “narcissist” gets used quite a bit in society, but it’s often not used correctly. As people, we can be quick to judge others and label them. However, “narcissist” is not just another way to describe a person. It’s actually a mental health condition. Learning to understand the common Narcissistic Personality Disorder symptoms can help you better understand the disorder itself.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

What Is  A Narcissist? Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

You may have heard someone called a narcissist before. When people use this term, they are usually referring to a person that has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Many people feel that this is the right word to describe somebody that has a big ego or is arrogant. But there's a lot more to Narcissistic Personality Disorder than just an inflated ego.

Someone who actually suffers from narcissism has symptoms that impact their daily life. It impacts how they feel about themselves, how they view others and their relationships in their lives. And while they appear outwardly confident to the point of being arrogant, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder tend to have extremely low self-esteem. However, they will do their best not to let anyone know this.

Why It's Important To Understand The Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

If you haven't been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder on your own, you may wonder why it would be important to understand the common traits. However, if you find yourself needing to interact with a narcissist, it can be helpful to understand how their mind works.

For example, if you discover that your significant other has narcissistic tendencies, it can help you decide what direction you want to take the relationship. People that struggle with narcissism tend to struggle to see their own faults. That means it's not likely that they will acknowledge that they have a problem. Knowing this can help you decide if you want to stay in the relationship as it is or if it would be healthier for you to leave it.

Understanding the common traits can also help you in business. You may find that the person in a position of leadership over you has narcissistic tendencies. Understanding their common behaviors can help you separate our reality from the way they act. For example, if you're continually doing good work yet you aren't ever given praise by your narcissistic manager, it may be that they can't handle giving that praise to you because it makes them feel worse about themselves. When you understand this, it can help you stop looking for something that may never be there.

What Are The 9 Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

Many different traits can be associated with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). However, some people have narrowed it down to eleven or nine common traits. Not everyone with NPD is going to behave in exactly the same way. But there are some traits that they tend to have in common. These include:

Excessive Need For Attention

Narcissists are infamous for demanding to be the center of attention. They often interrupt when engaged in conversation. You may also find that if the conversation shifts away from them or what they want to talk about, that they continue to try and steer it back to themselves.

Not only do they want the attention to be on them, but they also want to be constantly praised. For example, they feel that they are doing wonderful things and that they should be acknowledged by everyone else.


A narcissistic person is likely to feel like they are the most important person. They tend to act like they should be treated better than other people. A narcissistic person may also be consumed with the idea of things like a huge success, unlimited power, beauty, and money.

This inflated sense of importance can be damaging enough, but it can also give the narcissist a tendency to treat others as inferior. They tend to act like they are greater than everyone else and that others aren't on the same level. This can cause many problems within relationships, from personal and romantic relationships to work in professional relationships.

Lack Of Empathy

People who struggle with narcissism tend to struggle with being empathetic for other people. Because they believe that they are greater than others, it can make it difficult for them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Because everything in their life tends to revolve around them, it's difficult for them to see when someone else is hurting or experiencing difficult situations.

This can make it difficult to be in a relationship with a narcissist. If you expect them to treat you the same way they would want to be treated, it isn't likely to happen.

Belittling Others

A narcissist is always looking to keep themselves at the top of the ladder. If they feel that their position of authority is threatened or something that makes them feel insecure, they tend to belittle and bully others. If someone else is experiencing success, it can cause the narcissist to feel threatened. Even if there is no reason for them to feel that way.

You may notice a narcissist name-calling, constantly criticizing, and nitpicking the behavior of others.

Even if there is no reason for them to be feeling insecure at the moment, if that's the way that they feel, they may try to address it by knocking other people down. This helps them put themselves in a position above the other person and feel better about themselves.

Low Self-Esteem

As mentioned above, narcissists have a tendency to suffer from low self-esteem. While they put on an outward appearance of arrogance, it's not often how they feel inside. A narcissist who struggles with low self-esteem is constantly working to hide that from others. This can cause them to be very sensitive to criticism. If someone points out something that they could have done better or a way to be more effective, they have a tendency to take it as a direct criticism of who they are.

This can be why they put on a big act, but they are a very successful person. And it's also why they knock down other people, even people who are doing well. It can be difficult for them to handle that someone else may be doing something better than them. Instead of acknowledging another person's success, they feel that it is saying something negative about them as well.


This is a trait of narcissism that you may be surprised to hear. However, many narcissists know how to turn on the charm and impress other people when they first meet them. At first glance, they may appear to have natural confidence, be a natural leader, and know just the right things to say to win other people over. However, the longer you know a narcissist, the more the negative traits start to show through their appearance.

Many narcissists know how to turn the charm on when needed. For example, if a relationship starts to suffer, and they believe that the other person will terminate their relationship, the narcissist knows how to behave in a way to re-engage the other person. It's usually not likely that the more positive behavior will continue, though, and it's typically not long before they are back to their narcissistic ways.

What If I Recognize Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms In Myself?

As you read through the list of common narcissistic traits above, if you feel that they describe you, you may be wondering what to do next. You can take this online quiz to see if you may be at risk of having Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If you believe that this is a problem in your life, an important step can be to work with a mental health professional. A licensed therapist can help you identify these negative behaviors and traits in your life. They can also help you learn strategies that you can implement to overcome them. This can help positively transform your life.

Next Steps for Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

If you are reading through the traits above and feel like it describes a family member, close friends, or significant other in your life, you may be wondering what to do next as well. It can also benefit you to speak with a therapist. They can help you identify steps and strategies that you can implement in your own life to help protect yourself from the other person's negative behavior. While it's not always the case, narcissists tend to psychologically or emotionally abuse people in their lives. If you're a victim of this abuse, it can be difficult to recognize it and take steps to get out of it. A therapist can help you do this.

So, whether you tend to struggle with narcissistic traits on your own or are in a relationship with someone that does, it can be helpful to know what the common symptoms are so you can identify it and take the next steps.