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How to Tell if Someone Is a Narcissist and Recognize Them Instantly

Possibly have a narcissist in your life? You need to learn how to tell if someone is a narcissist. Then, arm yourself with the necessary coping advice!

How to Tell if Someone Is a Narcissist

You want to learn how to tell if someone is a narcissist, start with a real look at their behavior, how they turn it on and off, and how they interact with others.

Some narcissists are extremely dangerous and damaging people to be around, especially in the case of the worst type: the malignant or toxic narcissist. However, most narcissists are regular types. Despite the word ‘regular,’ they can  leave you emotionally scarred after leaving a relationship with one.

Overused term?

We hear the word narcissist a lot these days. It’s not that this is a relatively new development in humankind, it’s simply that we’re more aware of the term than before. Narcissists have always roamed the earth, we simply thought they were difficult people.

[Read: What types of narcissism should you be on the look out for?]

It’s only over the last few years or so that we’ve started to understand that perhaps some of these so-called difficult people are actually more than just difficult. Instead they have a specific personality issue, namely Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Of course, not everyone who displays traits of narcissism is actually suffering from NPD. It could simply be that you have met someone who doesn’t quite fit the diagnostic spectrum, but they’re somewhere on it.

How to tell if someone is a narcissist for real

Because we bat the word ‘narcissist’ around so easily, it’s important to make sure that you know how to tell if someone is a narcissist in real life, without actually naming someone with the term unnecessarily.

Here are 10 simplest ways you can identify whether or not you’re dealing with a narcissist or not.

#1 Everything is about them. Literally everything in their world comes back to them. The weather comes back to them. Their diet comes back to them. Politics comes back to them. Something which happened on the TV comes back to them. They are self-involved people.

And, you will find it difficult to get a word in edgeways or be taken seriously when you’re surrounded by a narcissist. [Read: 36 most common traits of a really superficial person]

#2 They rarely let you talk about yourself. If you’re having a discussion with a narcissist, the chances are that if you talk about something related to yourself, they will twist the conversation and bring it back to themselves once more. They’re not really interested in learning about you per se, they’re only interested in learning about what they can use against you.

#3 They discredit your opinions. A narcissist’s opinions are the only ones that matter in their world. Your opinion is nothing. They make that clear. Trying to have an intelligent debate about a particular subject with a narcissist is not going to end well. You’ll only end up frustrated and annoyed. Don’t even try.

#4 They occasionally make you question your own sanity. When learning how to tell if someone is a narcissist, look back over times when they might have made you question your own sanity. Do they tell you something didn’t happen when you know it did? Do they tell you that you’re always making things up when you know you’re not? This is a classic narcissist technique called gaslighting. [Read: Been gaslighted? The signs a narcissist is playing mind games with you]

#5 They try to isolate you from your friends and family. Wondering how to tell if someone is a narcissist? They become threatened by the people in your life. As a result they try and isolate you from them. If you find that you’re spending less and less time with family and friends because of your narcissistic partner, that’s a real red flag.

#6 They twist and turn between clingy behavior and being passive aggressive. If they’re completely hot and then cold, you might be dealing with a narcissist. They’re actually lacking in self confidence underneath it is all, which explains the clinginess occasionally. When annoyed, they shut off and use classic passive aggressive tactics. [Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]

#7 Turning on the charm is very easy. Are they able to turn on the charm as easily as flicking a light switch? Classic narcissistic behavior! If they were their usual self all the time, nobody would stay in their lives. They use the charm as a way of tricking you into thinking they’re not all bad.

#8 They don’t always seem like the same person you originally met. As part of the charm flicking offensive, you might wonder whether they’re actually the same person you originally met and fell for. How to tell if someone is a narcissist comes down to how they act, interact, and how consistent they are. If they’re all over the place in terms of consistency, that’s a red flag.

#9 They have an extremely inflated sense of self. Narcissists must be the best at everything and they’re their own biggest fan. This results in an inflated sense of self importance. They believe they’re the best at everything, even if they’re clearly not. [Read: How to hurt a narcissist – 11 subtle counterblows to hurt them hard]

#10 They have to have the best of everything. You wouldn’t catch a narcissist wearing regular clothes or shoes, and you wouldn’t catch them with a Samsung instead of the latest iPhone. Narcissists must have the very best of everything, usually in terms of material goods even if they can’t afford it. But they also go for the best looking partners and the most successful friends. This helps them to keep up the inflated sense of self pretense, i.e. they’re the best at everything and attract the best of everything too.

From these ways to learn how to tell if someone is a narcissist, you might be wondering why anyone would stick with this type of person in their lives. It’s easy to think that way, but when you actually manage to get sucked into their web of deceit and lies, it’s hard to see the woods for the trees. [Read: Why are empaths and nice people always drawn to narcissists?]

Narcissists use clever emotional manipulation techniques which leave us unsure which way is left or right. As a result, you blame yourself and wonder whether you’re going crazy. This actually makes you move closer to the narcissist. They offer you the solace and comfort you need, before whipping it away and turning on the nastiness once more.

A narcissist can be the most charming person on the planet, but they can be the most despicable too. You will rarely know what your opinion is, because they will use regular tactics to confuse the life out of you and leave you wondering what your own name is.

When someone finally summons up the strength to leave a narcissist, they’re often left emotionally scarred and require time to overcome lasting issues which stem from the abuse they received. It’s not unusual for victims of narcissistic abuse to require therapy after the end of a relationship. If that’s your situation, seek the help you need.

Only once you unpackage the lies and manipulation, can you look forward to a brighter future.

[Read: What it really means to be in a relationship with a narcissist]

Learning how to tell if someone is a narcissist isn’t as easy as you might think. The manipulation that takes place can cause you to see things differently. It’s often those around you who can see the truth before you do.

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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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