Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a complex mental health condition, and individuals with this disorder may exhibit a variety of traits. Doctors at MedicineNet describe NPD as a condition that typically involves an inflated sense of self-importance, extreme need for attention and admiration, superficial relationships, and lack of empathy for others. What does this translate to? Many people who suffer from NPD don’t even realize they are suffering from it in the first place.

This can make it very difficult for others around them to deal with.

So, what is one to do if one suspects a person in their life is a narcissist? The first thing that must be done is to go through the common traits of narcissism. If a person has these traits, there’s a good bet you are dealing with someone who may have a disorder and needs help. But keep in mind, as you look at these traits it is important to remember that only a health professional can make a clinical diagnosis of NPD.

How To Know When a Person Is a Narcissist

A person with narcissistic personality disorder is unlikely to believe he or she actually has it. Why? They simply cannot see themselves in that light. For this reason, it may be up to friends and close relatives to recognize the common traits of narcissism and see if they apply to a particular individual’s life expression.

There are 12 traits that go into the classical definition of a narcissist. While not everyone will express every single narcissistic trait, they will express a good number of them. Take a look and see if any of these look familiar.

Grandiosity: A grandiose sense of self-importance, where the individual may exaggerate achievements, qualities, and talents.

Need for admiration: Constantly seeking excessive praise and admiration from others to validate their self-worth. This need is also accompanied by strong negative emotions when it is not met. 

Lack of empathy: Difficulty understanding the feelings and needs of others, or a lack of concern for how their behavior affects others. 

Sense of entitlement: Believing they are inherently deserving of special treatment and expecting favorable treatment without considering the needs or feelings of others.

Exploitative behavior: Taking advantage of others to achieve their own goals without regard for the consequences on others. This is done even when they are told how their actions affect others.

Arrogance: Displaying haughty or arrogant behaviors and attitudes, looking down on others they perceive as inferior. This is often a mechanism of coping with their superficial confidence. 

Fantasies of success, power, and brilliance: Believing they are special and unique and can only associate with others they see as equally special or high-status. The relationships with those they choose to associate with are usually purely transactional.  

Fragile self-esteem: A person with narcissistic traits might have a fragile sense of self-worth, and criticism or even slight setbacks can deeply affect them. 

Difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships: Due to their self-centered nature and lack of empathy, relationships can become strained or difficult to sustain.

Manipulative tendencies: Using others for personal gain and manipulating situations to serve their interests.

Feelings of emptiness and boredom: Feels empty, bored, depressed, or restless when attention and praise are not available 

Envy or belief that others are envious of them: Assuming others are envious of their success or qualities, they might also harbor envy toward others.

Traits Do Not Equal Narcissism

It’s essential to note that having some of these traits does not automatically mean someone has narcissistic personality disorder. Also, these traits can vary in intensity and may present differently in different individuals. Professional diagnosis and assessment by mental health experts are crucial for identifying and treating narcissistic personality disorder.

However, these traits that characterize NPD make it obvious that obtaining this diagnosis may be difficult. In this instance, remember these 12 traits of a narcissist. If someone you know overwhelmingly or obviously meets the criteria, consider that they could be a narcissist and where you should take the relationship from there.