How to Detect a Narcissist in Your Life - Step To Health

How to Detect a Narcissist in Your Life

Do you know how to detect a narcissist? Do you want to know what they're like, what they think, how they act, and how to handle them? Continue reading to find out what this personality disorder is all about.
How to Detect a Narcissist in Your Life

Last update: 17 October, 2021

It’s important to know how to detect a narcissist. This is a person with a huge sense of grandiosity, a need for recognition and special treatment, a lack of empathy, egocentricity, and exacerbated selfishness. As in all personality patterns, this phenomenon can occur in varying degrees.

For example, there are subclinical narcissistic personalities: those with some narcissistic trait(s) who don’t meet all the diagnostic criteria. Similarly, some individuals fit the criteria more closely due to their characteristics.

In any case, it’s easy to detect a narcissist as these people have many problems in their professional and personal relationships. However, as paradoxical as it may seem, they don’t usually voluntarily consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist. This is because they’re convinced that others are the source of their problems.

Furthermore, those that happen to consult a professional most likely do so to seek help for their secondary symptoms (such as stress, economic issues, and professional problems).

How to detect a narcissist

We must say that personality disorders are correlated with anosognosia. This is the inability of a person to recognize their symptoms. This is why they don’t consult for the underlying problem but for secondary reasons that a mental health professional must evaluate.

As for the narcissist as such, they tend to be overbearing and require excessive and constant admiration. They expect others to recognize them as superior.

For instance, they tend to constantly talk about their accomplishments but exaggerate them along with their supposed talents. These are often fantastic as these people imagine themselves as highly successful and think they greatly influence others. It’s a personal journey in which they seek to attach themselves to those who can contribute to their goal of superiority.

These people actually treat others with contempt and even take advantage of them, especially if they consider them inferior. Narcissists often get angry and offended with those who don’t treat them as they think they deserve.

Strong feelings of envy invade them when evaluating the achievements of others. Clearly, they’re rather superficial and seldom reach the depths of their feelings. It’s difficult for them to regulate their emotions and behavior and don’t easily adapt to changes. They’re aware of their feelings of inferiority and shame, but usually hide them.

Signs that you're dating a narcissist.
A narcissistic personality is selfish, self aggrandizing, and considers others inferior.

Read more about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Why do narcissistic people behave like this?

Science hasn’t yet been able to demonstrate a unitary cause that explains narcissistic personality disorder, as it’s a complex and intricate disorder. Thus, it needs more research to determine the origin.

Nevertheless, scientists suggest it’s a mix of three factors:

  • Genetic or inherited traits
  • Neurobiological differences in the connection between brain, behavior, and thinking
  • Sociocultural causes (the upbringing, the environment in which the child developed, as well as their culture)

Furthermore, there are more narcissistic men than women. The classic age of onset is usually at the end of adolescence, entailing a series of complications that affect a person’s education, such as strong school absenteeism.

In adulthood, the narcissist suffers from professional problems, high interpersonal conflict, depression, and anxiety. The combination of these factors often leads to alcohol use and abuse, sometimes even with suicidal thoughts.

These people aren’t in conditions to sustain a social commitment, and their love relationships don’t last. Long-term friendships are also difficult for them.

A narcissistic woman looking in the mirror.
The narcissistic personality sustains neither long-term friendships nor love relationships.

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Help and treatment for a narcissist

It’s important to know that these people won’t let themselves get help easily unless they’re treated indirectly for their problems — alcohol or drug dependence, school failure, or work problems, for example. Only after having gained the trust of the person in question will it be possible to treat deeper aspects of their personality, thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

Treatment will be long and difficult for a personality disorder. However, treatment can help them reduce negative thoughts, conflict, substance use and abuse, and erratic behavior. Thus, the sooner they start therapy, the better the prognosis.

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