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15 Off-Putting and Obnoxious Symptoms of Narcissism in a Person

We all know the off-putting and obnoxious symptoms of narcissism. They stand out and are easily recognizable in any person or situation.

symptoms of narcissism

Interacting with a narcissist is stressful. There is a morbid fascination on why a narcissist acts the way they do. Despite what we already know about the symptoms of narcissism in a person, the dynamics of their behavior is more complex and nuanced than what is typically observed.

Knowing the full spectrum of symptoms that makes a narcissist the way they are will help you spot a potential narcissist from all the people you come in contact with in everyday life.

[Read: A relationship with a narcissist and what it means to love one]

The classic symptoms of narcissism

Psychology has clustered narcissistic traits into the following key identifiers:

#1 Unrealistic sense of superiority and self-importance. Their belief that they are above everyone else whether it has a grain of truth or just a figment of their imagination. Their tendency towards grandeur leads them to believe that they are unique, destined for greatness, and a cut above the rest of the world’s population.

This false belief is the primary motivation for them to behave in other ways listed below. [Read: Do you ever wonder what causes narcissism?]

#2 Self-entitlement. Of course, if you think that you’re unique and destined for great things, you will believe that people should treat you in a special way. It befits your position of greatness. Narcissists are self-entitled in such a way that they automatically expect people should just give them what they want. They don’t care much for established rules and traditions.

#3 Craving public attention, praise, or admiration. Another distinguishing characteristic of narcissistic people is their intense craving for attention, praise, and admiration. They just can’t live without it. Most of their behavior is set to acquire them.

They equate their greatness with the amount of praise they get from others. Without this, they will be visibly distressed and go to great lengths to feed their ego. [Read: 16 subtle hints narcissist give away as soon as you meet them]

#4 Arrogance and conceited self-praise. If you think that they’d be content with getting praise from the people around them, you’re wrong. Narcissists will even take the initiative to sing their own praises and constantly remind all people around them on how great they are. Their need for affirmation knows no bounds. It serves as one reason why people around them consider them toxic.

#5 Intense envy and wariness of others who are better than them. Some narcissistic people are really talented and bright individuals. Others are not but feel that they are. Regardless which type of narcissistic category they fall into, their common enemy is another person who takes the attention and admiration away from them. People who are more talented or achieved greater things than they have will fall victim to their envy. [Read: 13 signs you’re stuck with a narcissistic friend]

#6 They are skilled in reverting a conversation’s topic back to themselves. Narcissistic people want to be the center of attention which is why they seek to dominate a conversation and keep the topic about themselves. Normal conversations jump from one related topic to another. But once a narcissist is part of the conversation, you’ll notice that they will find a way to revert the topic back to their affairs.

On top of this, narcissists hoard speaking time in a conversation. Once the narcissist starts talking, others will find themselves interrupted or dismissed.

#7 Knack for demeaning or belittling others. As a result of their false belief in themselves, it inadvertently screws up the way they interact with people around them. People who achieve something significant will be envied. People who have not done so much will be belittled and bullied.

Other symptoms of narcissism to understand

Aside from the classic symptoms, there are also other things about narcissists that may not be obvious.

 #8 They like titles, honors, and distinguished positions. For narcissists, accolades, awards, titles, citations, and distinguished positions are a solid form of praise and admiration. They also crave positions of power to exercise their sense of entitlement. Having these doesn’t necessarily mean they deserve to be in such high places, but their personality leads them to crave positions of power. [Read: What types of narcissism should you be on the lookout for?]

#9 They can be quiet and reserved too. The classic narcissist stereotype is the loud and brash character who steals into the scene with flashy clothes, demeanor, and attention-seeking behavior. While it fits many, not all narcissists fall into this type. Some narcissists can be quiet and reserved. They think other people are not worthy enough to have a conversation with them.

Quiet narcissists typically get their attention in some other form to compensate for less verbal interaction with people. [Read: What is vulnerable narcissism and what makes it so dangerous]

#10 They may play the victim. Most think narcissists would see themselves as a hero of their own story. They do… but if the situation calls for them to take accountability for their actions, they will always paint themselves as the victim of the actions of others. Narcissists will never portray their image in a negative light. If things go wrong with their involvement, it will always be the other person’s fault.

#11 They pay a lot of attention and effort to their appearance. In this aspect, this is one of those symptoms of narcissism that hold true to the stereotype. Narcissists consider their personal appearance the first step to getting the attention and admiration that they crave. A lot of effort is spent to make sure that they are physically attractive to others. Narcissists take care of their physique, have a distinct taste for fashion and style, and would painstakingly consider every small detail in their appearance before they blend in with people.

#12 They obsess over their social media image. Narcissists are obsessed with their social media image as much as their personal image in real social interactions. Look at their social media accounts to see a well curated profile that’s created according to the image they want to project.

#13 They struggle with objectivity. Their tendency to always associate actions towards themselves makes it difficult for narcissists to have an objective perspective of the outside world. If something good happens, it’s because of their influence and efforts. But when it comes to taking responsibility, they never apologize let alone admit that it’s their fault. Blame will be cast on the people around them and never on themselves.

#14 Narcissists think that what they’re doing is normal. Narcissistic traits are ego-syntonic. To them, everything is as it should be. It is totally normal. This makes narcissistic people difficult to convince to seek help since they think what they feel is totally valid.

On the other hand, people with other mental conditions feel distress which motivates them to seek help in alleviating the symptoms of their condition. [Read: 23 signs of narcissism people overlook until it’s too late]

#15 They are totally oblivious to the damage they cause to their social life. It can be difficult to maintain a relationship with a narcissistic person. They are oblivious to the fact that they self-sabotage their relationships because of their inability to see a perspective aside from their own.

With their sense of self-importance, they will never see anything wrong with what they’re doing, even if others will point it out to them.

[Read: How to stop feeding into the narcissistic supply]

Realistically, a narcissist may take the form of a friend, a significant other, a co-worker, or even a family member. And that’s why it’s important that you should know the symptoms of narcissism before you get sucked into their game.

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Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul aka Morty is a keyboard-pounding cubicle-dweller based in Manila where he occasionally moonlights as a writer for anyone in need of his mediocre word-strin...
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