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Narcissists — they look human enough, but they are deficient in precisely those qualities that we use to define humans: the ability to feel empathy and the normal range of emotions.
People suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder might seem confident and radiantly happy on the outside, but on the inside they are deeply insecure and utterly dependent on the fragile projection of an ideal image of themselves for the tiniest speck of a sense of worth. You may feel for them, but rest assured they lack the capacity to feel for you.
Narcissists are just not like the rest of us.
While only a mental health professional (whom they’ll never visit, as they’re already perfect in every respect) can offer an official diagnosis of a personality disorder, any layperson can recognize the behavioral patterns that tell you that a person has dangerous narcissistic tendencies. Spotting the signs will enable you to know that pursuing any sort of human relationship with such a person is futile, impossible, and in some cases dangerous. Proceed with extreme caution or, better yet, run! So, what are the red flags that will tell you that you are dealing with a narcissist? Let's take a look.
Horrible Gift Givers
It might seem trite, but it really is a very easy way to tell whether you are dealing with a narcissist. Narcissists are notorious for their inability to choose an appropriate gift for a person they supposedly love – which is not to say they will always be stingy about gifts. If you’re in his good books, you might get a pricey present from a narcissist – but it will still show just how little he knows you and just how badly what little he knows about you compares to what he thinks about himself.
You’ll get the same aftershave he uses, as it’s the best – even though you have a beard. She’ll bring you the same set of frying pans that she has and admonish you to use them every day – although she’s heard you say a thousand times that you work 12-hour days, never have time to cook, and don’t like fried foods, anyway. Your kids will get things that are too big or too small (but isn’t he too small for his age? And isn’t she getting a bit chubby?). Or they may get gifts that are age-inappropriate (but isn’t it time you potty-trained your baby so she could wear the lacey thong her narcissistic Granny got her?). Alternatively, the gifts your kids get will have nothing to do with what actually interests them (but surely something must be wrong with your son, who’s into guns, trucks, and Spiderman, if he doesn’t like the exact same creepy porcelain doll she loved when she was little).
And that is only if you’re currently dear to the narcissist. If she’s trying to put you in your place, you’ll know it, as the narcissist will gladly use gifts to make a point. You will get oversized clothes and be asked whether they’re too small for you, along with a bottle of diet pills – because, of course, you’re fat. You’ll be given her old mismatched plate set after she buys herself a new one – after all, they’re good enough for you, as beggars can’t be choosers. You’ll get the message that you’re somehow inferior loud and clear.
Can’t Seem To Get Any Of Their Relationships Right
She swears she’d do anything for her brother, but will then give him the silent treatment for his birthday over a petty squabble. She instantly becomes best buds with a guy she meets on a night out and shares the most intimate details of her life — and yours, and anyone else’s — to impress him. All of her relationships will look eerily similar, and all of them will feel at least a bit off.
If your narcissist is an extrovert, she can manage a great deal of superficial friendships and casual acquaintances but not a single real, close, long-term friendship. Exaggerating relationships, particularly potentially flattering ones, is a clear warning sign – if she claims that she’s best friends with a famous singer (whom you find out she’s asked for an autograph in the street) or that she’s “practically engaged” to a gorgeous doctor (with whom she’s been on one bad date), you’re probably dealing with a narcissist.