Who is the Narcissist?

Narcissistic traits

Thomas suggests that narcissists typically display most, sometimes all, of the following traits:

  • An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
  • Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
  • A lack of psychological awareness
  • Difficulty with empathy
  • Problems distinguishing the self from others
  • Hypersensitivity to any sleights or imagined insult
  • Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
  • Haughty body language
  • Flattery towards people who admire and affirm him or her
  • Detesting those who do not admire him or her
  • Using other people without considering the cost to them of his or her doing so
  • Pretending to be more important than he or she is
  • Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggeratinghis or her achievements
  • Claiming to be an “expert” at most things
  • Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
  • Denial of remorse and gratitude

Characteristic Healthy Narcissism Destructive Narcissism
Self-confidence High outward self confidence in line with reality An unrealistic sense of superiority – “Grandiose”
Desire for power, wealth and admiration May enjoy power Pursues power at all costs, lacks normal inhibitions in its pursuit
Relationships Real concern for others and their ideas; does not exploit or devalue others Concerns limited to expressing socially appropriate response when convenient; devalues and exploits others without remorse
Ability to follow a consistent path Has values; follows through on plans Lacks values; easily bored; often changes course
Foundation Healthy childhood with support for self esteem and appropriate limits on behaviour towards others Traumatic childhood undercutting true sense of self-esteem and/or learning that he/she doesn’t need to be considerate of others
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