When it comes to determining whether someone you know is a narcissist, most people make it more complicated than it needs to be. I use the duck test—that is, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. There are no physical blood tests, MRIs, or exact determinations that can identify narcissism. Even therapists have to go on their observations of the behavior, attitudes, and reactions that a person presents to determine narcissism.
What makes it simple is the fact that we know exactly what a narcissist looks like. Below, I’ve listed all the symptoms and behaviors you should look for. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be present to make a determination of narcissism. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which therapists use as a guide, a person needs to exhibit only 55 percent of the identified characteristics to be considered narcissistic. The list I’ve made here is descriptive, so you can get a more in-depth picture of a narcissist’s common behaviors.
1. Superiority and entitlement
The world of the narcissist is all about good/bad, superior/inferior, and right/wrong. There is a definite hierarchy, with the narcissist at the top—which is the only place he feels safe. Narcissists have to be the best, the most right, and the most competent; do everything their way; own everything; and control everyone. Interestingly enough, narcissists can also get that superior feeling by being the worst; the most wrong; or the most ill, upset, or injured for a period of time. Then they feel entitled to receive soothing concern and recompense and even the right to hurt you or demand apologies to “make things even.”