Narcissist (A Complete Explanation)

In this guide, the narcissist personality will be explained along with the signs of narcissist personality and the diagnostic criteria of narcissist given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder 5.

What is Narcissist?

Narcissist is not similar to a self-absorbed person. 

In layman language, the narcissist term usually used when the person is complementing themselves excessively in the conversations, as well as sharing their qualities and traits with a boost of self-esteem are seen as narcissist. 

In the formal terms, the narcissist has a personality disorder named as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

This is a mental condition and it requires few particular symptoms to be diagnosed in narcissist personality disorder.

Those important symptoms of Narcissistic personality will be discussed in the following guide, before going to narcissistic personality disorder we need to know what personality disorders are, and how we categorize any pattern into a personality disorder. 

Also, to know what a narcissist really feels and thinks when acting this way, reading the Narcissist prayer is the best way of finding about it.

Characteristics of Narcissist

There are a few characteristics of narcissist which are:

  1. They may seem charming at first because of the overly exaggerated self-image they cast on others. They may complement the other only to seek attention towards their own capabilities and abilities.
  2. They keep on going with their endless stories of achievements and grandiosity keeps on flourishing. They feel batter and smarter than anyone else around and seems self-assured. 
  3. They strive hard to win the compliments of others and show empathy which is not actually present to supply their sense of self-worth in you. They use others to increase their own self-esteem and sense of self.
  4. They severely lack empathy and can dramatize the empathy to validate their emotional sensitivity. This is the reason for the lack of established relations in narcissist.
  5. They lack real friends and always complaining about others not to giving them enough time. 
  6. They may pass criticising and teasing comments and maybe in problem with your likes and dislikes. They will joke about you, and try to shatter your self-esteem, as this gives their self-esteem a boost.
  7. They consider their action to be right always, and consider others are at wrong, because of their this behaviour they never apologize or accept the mistakes they make. Fighting with a narcissist and winning the fight is almost impossible, as they never hear you, they never understand you, they never take the responsibility of their actions, they never try to compromise.
  8. They get stressed whenever anyone close to them, or in relation with them tries to break-up as they are unable to handle a lack of appreciation from their environment. They can easily get disturbed on the slightest criticism.
  9. Once you are done with them, they will make every effort to hurt you, and make sure that you are not satisfied in your own life as well. In this way, their rage and hatred gets settled.

Siblings are the first ones who are the subject of the others narcissistic behavior. For example, a narcissist sister.

What are Personality Disorders?

Person with a personality disorder thinks, feels, and behaves differently.

There are several different types of personality disorders clustered into different categories on the basis of their characteristics.

Personality disorder is a persistent pattern of behaving and feeling, which is altered.

Initially in DSM IV, personality disorder used to be diagnosed on Axis-II, but in DSM 5 (2013), the axial system has been changed and now single diagnosis with co-occurring symptoms use to be given.

Symptoms of Personality Disorder

There are a number of different personality disorders, such as the cluster A is categorized as suspicious, delusional, not interested in social interactions or not having social skills to maintain the social relationships, as well as inability to consider the consequences of their actions and lead towards illegal, and risky behaviour.

Similarly, Cluster B is categorized on the basis of dramatic symptoms.

The person experiencing cluster B personality condition will report feelings of emptiness, self-harm incidents or multiple failed suicide attempts, overly impressionistic, having fragile self-esteem, and excessively praising oneself in situations.

Whereas, Cluster C, is categorized on the basis of anxious symptoms.

They are sometimes overly clingy to other person, are overly concerned with order, or tries to avoid social situations because of fear of criticism.

Types of Personality Disorder

The personality disorders are clustered into three:

Cluster A: Odd, Eccentric

In this cluster there are three disorders named:

1. Paranoid Personality Disorder

2. Schizoid Personality Disorder

3. Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Cluster B: Dramatic, or Unpredictable

1. Antisocial Personality Disorder

2. Borderline Personality Disorder

3. Histrionic Personality Disorder

4. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Cluster C: Anxious, or Fearful

1. Avoidant Personality Disorder

2. Dependent Personality Disorder

3. Obsessive Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

They consider themselves to be superior than others. They consider as they are special and more deserving than the others.

They have fragile self-esteem, as well as depend on others to acknowledge their importance and value.

They are selfish and think about themselves, tries to take benefit from others, and feels sad about the achievements of others. 

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Diagnostic Criteria of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

There is an enduring pattern of grandiosity, self-appraisal, and lack of empathy, along with onset in early adulthood.

Five or more the following needs to present for the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

  1. Increased sense of self-importance, and exaggeration of self accomplishments.
  2. Having unending fantasies about their own success, power and idealism.
  3. Consider themselves unique, special and of high-status
  4. Need bundle of admiration
  5. Needs a sense of entitlement
  6. Exploitative in relationships
  7. Unable to take into account the feelings of others
  8. Jealous of others and consider others are jealous of them
  9. Extremely arrogant and rude

Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

There are a number of causes of personality disorder, but there is no one clear cause of personality disorder.

The factors contribute to personality disorders are biological, psychological, physical and socio-cultural.

The biological causes include the genes, heredity, family history, functioning of neurotransmitters and chemical substances.

The psychological causes of personality disorders are childhood trauma, stress, adverse family environment, low self-esteem, child neglect and parental rejection.

Physical causes include brain dysfunction and psychiatric pathology.

The sociocultural causes include divorce, being deserted, deprivation of relationships, assault, abuse death and separation.

Risk Factors in Narcissist Personality Disorder

The with narcissist personality traits is more prevalent in male than females, as well as narcissist has its onset in teenage or early adulthood. 

Children show narcissist traits is related to their age, not the narcissist personality trait. 

The real cause of narcissist personality disorder is not known, the overprotective and neglectful parental styles often leads towards the narcissist personality traits and disorders. 

Complications for Narcissist

The complications and other conditions which can cooccur with the narcissist personality disorder are:

Relationship disturbances prevail in narcissist, which can escalate easily by the constant acknowledgement of one’s own capabilities and capacities, while criticizing, ignoring and inability to compliment others around.

Problems at work or school, the problems escalate in the outside activities, especially when they come across the job or position they consider themselves as special and superior to others around which cause a lot of negativity at their workplace. 

Depression and anxiety also take a boost when the person is unable to get themselves adjusted in the environment.

This feeling of misfit causes anxiety about the future and depression about the past events. 

Physical Health problems are related to the mental health and wellbeing when the person is unable to cope well with his environment then they are unable to settle in the life and starts experiencing stress which causes health issues like blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases etc. 

Drug or Alcohol misuse also escalates when the person is striving to be unique, special and superior.

In their constant efforts either they take up this habit for the distinction they need or to cope with the environmental pressures.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviour is present in narcissist as their high standards are not being met in their environment and causes them to feel remorse and failure. 

Treatment of Narcissist Personality Disorder

There are different forms of treatment for narcissist personality disorders.

1.      Psychotherapy

2.      Medication


It is one form of treatment, in this a mental health professional especially a psychologist deal with the client experiencing the personality disorder symptoms.

This is also called ‘talk-therapy’, this usually takes up to three months and sometimes more.

There are different therapies which can be used for personality disorder.

Dialectic Behaviour Therapy

This is the evidence-based therapy for personality disorders, especially for the treatment of borderline disorder.

In this treatment approach, the skills to manage one’s emotions, as well as mindfulness is discussed in detail.

Arts Therapy

This type of therapy is useful to uncover the unconscious pattern and understand the person’s emotions, and feelings in a non-threatening environment.

It includes the use of dance, art, drama and music.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

In CBT, the clinician looks for the discrepancy in the thoughts, emotions and behaviour of the person along with the automatic thought patterns.

Schema Therapy

It is a long term talking therapy, which is based on the model of CBT, and goes further deep into the core beliefs and schemas of the person, which influence their thoughts, behaviours and actions.

To treat narcissism, another type of treatment method is also used, called the Narcissist silent treatment.


There are no specific drugs made for personality disorders, but the combination of drugs for the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and psychosis are used for particular symptoms. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Narcissist

What are the traits of a narcissist?

The main common traits of a narcissist can be explained in terms of narcissistic personality disorder, such as grandiosity, fantasy living, constant praise and acknowledgement, sense of entitlement, have feelings of guilt and shame, and bulling others. 

What are the 9 traits of a narcissist?

The 9 traits of a narcissist are, exaggerated sense of self-importance, sense of entitlement, excessive admiration, consider themselves superior, exaggerate achievements and talents, preoccupied with the fantasies of success, power and brilliance. 

What does it mean to be a narcissist?

It means to be overly self-obsessed and self-involved.

The person having narcissist traits is in constant need for admiration, care, and attention.

Do narcissists love their children?

Narcissists are unable to empathize and develop feelings of empathy and love, so it is unfortunate for them to love someone else other than themselves.

Narcissist only see their children as possession which can be used in future to their advantage. 



Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself 

How to Handle a Narcissist: Understanding and Dealing with a Range of Narcissistic Personalities (Narcissism Books)

 The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age 

HOW TO TAKE REVENGE ON A NARCISSIST: Take your power back by using the secret techniques of emotional manipulators – against them
Narcissist: The Ultimate Guide: This Book Includes: Narcissistic Abuse & Dealing with a Narcissist. Healing after emotional/psychological abuse.

Disarming the narcissist and understanding Narcissism