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Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A man with glasses in a blue shirt with his hand on his chin thinking about something

It seems like the term “narcissistic personality disorder” gets thrown around a lot today. You hear that this politician, that celebrity, or your best friend’s ex-boyfriend is a narcissist. But often, the labeling person doesn’t have a fundamental understanding of what the term means. Narcissism is a severe mental health condition that affects individuals and those who love them.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

The critical feature of narcissistic personality disorder is a lack of empathy for others. The American Psychological Association characterizes the narcissistic personality as a “pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.”

The term “narcissist” doesn’t apply to just anybody who seems full of themselves. Narcissism is a mental health disorder with a medical diagnosis. 

It’s helpful that conversations regarding mental health are becoming more common. But there are distinct features to narcissistic personality disorder that you can’t recognize from someone’s posts on Instagram or Facebook. Only mental health professionals can diagnose narcissistic personality disorder. 

9 Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

While only mental health practitioners can diagnose someone with narcissistic personality disorder, there are some signs to look for if you’re concerned for someone in your life. 

It’s important to remember that personality disorders, narcissistic included, can vary among individuals. Sometimes, all of these signs are present, and other times, they’re not. Each person experiences mental illness differently. These signs are a general guide to what is common in narcissistic personality disorder.

1. Desires the Admiration of Others

Those dealing with the disorder might experience an urgent need for admiration. They want loved ones, their community, and even strangers to admire them.

2. Feels Entitled or Superior

The feeling of superiority is vital to those with narcissistic personalities. If someone negates or questions their superiority, a narcissist can feel extreme distress. As a result, they are likely to react negatively.

3. Difficulty Recognizing Others’ Feelings

It is challenging for narcissists to recognize or understand other people’s feelings and sentiments. As a result, they might not respond to cues to express sympathy. They also might turn the focus of the conversation back to themselves.

4. Exaggerates Accomplishments

A narcissist might exaggerate their accomplishments. They may inflate their performance or add inaccurate details. They might overstate their talents to attempt to win others’ approval.

5.Takes Advantage of Others for Personal Gain

People with the disorder want the image of being important and accomplished. To do this, they might misuse their relationships with others for their gain.

6. Expects Special Favors

A narcissist expects special favors because of an inflated sense of self. Someone with the disorder wants to be more powerful and successful than others. Therefore, they might expect people to treat them to special circumstances.

7. Envious

Narcissists might envy those around them who are better in their work, schooling, or other areas of life. It might be difficult to accept that someone else is more talented than them.

8. Demanding

Because the person with the disorder has exaggerated ideas about their importance, they may expect things from others. They may make unwarranted demands, then expect others to fulfill them. After all, they’re important. Why wouldn’t someone want to meet their every wish?

9. Feeling Unfulfilled

Underneath the inflated sense of self, people dealing with this disorder might feel deeply inadequate. The grandiose gestures might make it seem like they feel self-assured and confident. But there could be a more profound sense of hurt and fear of criticism.


A woman in a white shirt acting as if she is more important than everyone else

What’s Going On Inside?

While people with narcissistic personality disorder might seem confident in the external world, their internal world is rife with turmoil. Insecurity sits behind their inflated facade. A deep need for admiration dictates their actions. Any hint of perceived criticism could send them to an angry, hurtful space. They may attempt to cover this hurt with more attempts at grandiosity. As a result, they might experience feelings of emptiness or hopelessness.

Quality of Daily Life

Those with narcissistic personality disorder might experience extreme difficulties in their day-to-day lives. A need for admiration and a desire for others to see you as superior characterizes this disorder. But the lack of ability or refusal to experience empathy can seriously hinder relationships. Coworkers, partners, and family members might find responding to their loved ones with the disorder confusing.

Reaching Out

To ask for help might be a momentous task for those experiencing narcissistic personality disorder. Asking for help might make someone feel as though they are less than, which is already a concern for those with this disorder.

But when someone experiences distress in their life, they deserve the tools to help them heal. There are numerous ways mental health professionals can ease distress for those with the disorder.

How Integrative Life Center Can Help

The specialists at ILC provide a wide range of options to treat narcissistic personality disorder. With an integrative, holistic approach, those dealing with mental health issues benefit from the highly individualized treatment available at ILC. 

Mental health professionals can recognize negative patterns of thought, leading to changes in behavior. This awareness is helpful for those with the disorder, as negative thoughts can prolong negative behaviors and allow suffering to continue.


Reach out to ILC if you or someone you love might be struggling with signs of narcissistic personality disorder. ILC helps make the path to healing clear and attainable.


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