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Red Flag Narcissistic Behaviors

(Excerpted from When Your Perfect Partner Goes Perfectly Wrong … A Survivor’s Guide to Loving or Leaving the Narcissist in Your Life by Mary Jo Fay, RN, MSN.)

So what are narcissistic behaviors? What should you be on the lookout for? Instead of using the nine criteria put out by the American Psychiatric Association, which is meant to help full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I developed my own list of specific behaviors that I have found are common in a wide variety of people with unhealthy narcissism – from those with only tendencies, to those with full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The bottom line is that no matter what level of behavior they exhibit, these people can still be detrimental to your health and well being, both physically and emotionally.

The following is a list of Red Flag narcissistic behaviors.
These may help you to gain a clearer understanding of how a narcissist acts. Somatic narcissists may have more behaviors related to their bodies, while the cerebral ones will be more intellectually oriented. Not all of these behaviors will necessarily show up in each person, and, in fact, many of us will likely have some of them ourselves. But if you have checked off a vast majority of the boxes on this list, the odds are in your favor that you are on treacherous ground.

  • Extreme infatuation with oneself, self-centered, expects to be recognized as superior

  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

  • Sees himself as “special” and should only have to affiliate with others of a similar stature

  • Takes advantage of others to achieve his needs

  • Demonstrates a constant need for admiration or approval

  • Exaggerates personal achievements while minimizing those of others

  • Is convinced that he/she is unique

  • Feels entitled to special treatment and that rules frequently don’t apply to him

  • May propose love and marriage within only a few weeks of starting a relationship

  • Very charismatic or charming at first, but can quickly switch from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde without apparent cause

  • May insist that he know your whereabouts at all times

  • Demands compliance with his/her expectations

  • Is unable to demonstrate or understand empathy or compassion

  • Does not seem to feel real happiness or positive emotions

  • Often criticizes and/or puts others down

  • Assumes himself to be more knowledgeable than those around him

  • Panics, cries, begs, and becomes emotional if he anticipates an end to a relationship

  • May harass or stalk you if you do break up

  • Quick to anger or feel insulted or slighted

  • Rages with anger or inflicts the “silent treatment” when upset

  • Denies he/she has issues to work on – sees himself/herself as nearly perfect

  • May often take unnecessary risks

  • Frequently humiliates or abuses others, although he/she doesn’t see it as abuse

  • Sulks when he/she doesn’t get his/her way

  • Nothing is ever his/her fault

  • Drives recklessly and/or way too fast

  • Exaggerates the truth or blatantly lies

  • Rarely treats anyone with respect or kindness

  • Doesn’t acknowledge or respect other’s boundaries

  • Always wants to be in control

  • May drink and drive regularly

  • His/her need for attention, time, and space matter – yours do not

  • Has difficulty putting himself/herself in another’s shoes

  • Uses sex as a weapon – through withholding, controlling, or being overly demanding

  • Rarely recognizes the accomplishments or abilities of others

  • Doesn’t appear to have a conscience

  • Does not take criticism well and becomes defensive easily

  • Rarely expresses appreciation of others

  • Is easily hurt and insulted

  • Considers most others in the world “idiots”

  • Shows no feelings of remorse or guilt for his/her mistakes or the hurts he/she dishes out

  • Wins most arguments through the use of rationalizing his/her behavior

  • Blames others for all his/her problems

  • Frequently complains that whatever you do, it isn’t “good enough”

  • Is often paranoid – thinks people are talking about him/her behind his/her back

  • Has a hard time accepting the opinions or ideas of others

  • May attempt to limit loved ones from spending time with others

  • May want to have complete control of the family money

  • Always has to win any argument

  • Is often envious of others, or thinks others envy him/her

  • May feel entitled to go through your purse, closet, or other personal belongings without your permission

  • His/her attitude is generally haughty or arrogant

  • Rarely can understand another’s point of view

  • Expects you to read his/her mind when he/she wants something

  • Hates to stand in line – he/she shouldn’t have to, as his/her time is more valuable than others

  • Frequently “forgets” to give birthday and holiday cards and gifts to loved ones

  • May ignore you or be indifferent to you for no reason

  • Leaves others feeling as though they need to “walk on eggshells” around him

  • Hates to be thought of as ordinary or average

  • Is desperate to have the biggest house, car, bank account, or title

  • Often leaves you feeling guilty, drained, fearful, exhausted, just plain stupid, and most of all, wondering how you got there

Feelings and Behaviors of Victims

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