Narcissism: How do we recognise it?


I’m not a professional, I don’t know much about narcism, but I do know one thing: Narcissists are wrecking balls.

But, how do we recognise narcissists in order to understand our own place in their self-indulged “fake make-believe world”?

I believe the first step in the process of recognising a narcissist is knowing what the term means. The DSM-5 defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “…a pattern of grandiosity,  need for admiration, and lack of empathy” (2013: 645). Secondly, knowing and understanding the symptoms is vital in order to identify (though not diagnose!) a narcissist: (DSM-5, 2013: 669-670.)

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
  4. Requires excessive admiration.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement.
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
  7. Lacks empathy.
  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.

Side note: If you just read that and thought it sounds like you (and were disturbed by that), you probably don’t have narcissism. Narcissisms are proud to be narcissistic unless they think others will view it as a character flaw. But, if you’re still unsure, here is a quiz you can take (totally inaccurate but it will give you an idea of whether you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder or not):

But, what is our place in the narcissists’ world?

  • Narcissists are people who only care about themselves. They will use you in order to achieve what they want.
  • They will bring you down in whatever way possible but they do this is on the ‘down low’ (like snide comments, bullying, etc.). They bring you down in such a way because they don’t want other people to suspect their evilness but they want you to feel subservient to them since they think that it’s “all about me.” Newsflash: it’s not.
  • They will do whatever they can to ‘hang you on a line’. They are charismatic and they like being liked. They think the world revolves around them.
  • They are IN LOVE with themselves. You know those people on instagram or other such sites who not only ONLY post photos of themselves but also caption them with every synonym under the sun to describe their beauty: “cute”, “kawaii” (*vomits*), “hot chick”, etc. This is because these people are image-orientated and everything is about how they are perceived by others (whilst also being a reflection of how they view themselves).
  • Yet, they are also incredibly insecure: they are terrified people will not admire them the way they admire themselves. The biggest insult to a narcissist is not liking them.


Fun fact: The term ‘narcissism’ comes from an ancient Greek dude, Narkissos, the beautiful son of the river god Cephisesus and nymph Liriope, who loved his reflection so much that he couldn’t tear himself away from it in a pool of water and ultimately died in this way.

Anyway, the best thing you could do in reality is recognise the narcissistic traits and act around those but if you’re concerned you should talk to a psychologist for advice or to vent, and read up on the topic.



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