22 Signs You Might Be A Narcissist
You’re more likely to find a narcissist in the C-suite than on the street, research suggests.
That’s because the traits that make narcissists so difficult to hang out with or date — including a constant need for validation, a willingness to control people, and a ruthlessness in getting their needs met — happen to make them super effective at rising up the ranks.
To help you figure out if you are, or perhaps your boss is, a narcissist, we combed through PsychologyToday.com and the psychology literature looking for patterns of narcissistic behavior. We also spoke with Joseph Burgo, Ph.D., a psychologist and the author of “The Narcissist You Know.”
Here are common signs of narcissism.
1. You are a bad sport
Burgo says some narcissists are bullies — and one of their most troublesome traits is their tendency to be a sore loser and a sore winner.
For example, when they lose in a sports match, they might try to humiliate the referee. When they win, they might gloat excessively or act abusive to the losing party.
2. You constantly feel underappreciated
The kind of people that Burgo calls “grandiose” narcissists always hold a grievance against the world.
They typically feel entitled to something better and think they’re not getting the recognition they deserve from others.
3. If you’re not grandiose, then you’re introverted, hypersensitive, defensive, and anxious
Psychologists talk about the “two faces of narcissism.” On one end there’s the hyper-aggressive, super-loud type. But there’s a softer form of narcissism, too. It’s called “covert narcissism,” which is denoted by introversion, hypersensitivity, defensiveness, and anxiety.
“Both shades of narcissism shared a common core of conceit, arrogance, and the tendency to give in to one’s own needs and disregard others,” psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman reports in Scientific American.
4. You think everyone else is stupid
Many narcissists are know-it-alls, and have a hard time getting along with coworkers and friends because they refuse to believe they could possibly be wrong about anything.
Burgo has observed that these narcissists walk around with a marked sense of superiority to others and have a “my way or the highway” approach to decision-making.
5. You really like to swear at people
Psychologists Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube from Washington University in St. Louis found in a study that subjects who scored higher in narcissism are argumentative and curse more than their modest counterparts.
They also tend to use more sexually explicit language.
6. You are self-righteous
Narcissists often believe their views are inherently superior to other people’s perspectives. But what they truly value is the attention they receive for holding those views.
For example, Burgo said, a narcissist might believe he has a closer connection to God — but it’s more important to him that other people acknowledge this connection and admire his deep sense of spirituality.
Narcissists feel okay acting vengeful or antisocial. Flickr/Mike Goren
7. You feel justified in being mean to people
“Vindictive” narcissists generally know vengeful or antisocial behavior isn’t acceptable. But they feel okay about acting that way because they constantly feel they’ve been wronged, Burgo said.
What’s more, they often take offense where it’s not intended, meaning they’re constantly hearing people say, “That’s not what I meant!”
8. You enjoy leading others and telling them what to do
Writing in Psychology Today, Kaufman says narcissists typically enjoy leadership positions since they are able to dominate others and fulfill their need for constant positive reinforcement.
9. You are an entertainer
“A narcissist monk would not be good, but to be Kanye West and a narcissist is fantastic,” said University of Western Sydney psychologist Peter Jonason, an expert on social psychology.
10. You hate having to feel emotions
The “very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure,” Harvard Medical School psychologist Craig Malkin writes in The Huffington Post.
That’s why narcissists avoid emotional displays.
Feeling an emotion “challenges their sense of perfect autonomy,” he continues. “To admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them.”
As a result, narcissists tend to change the topic of conversation when feelings come up — especially their own.
11. You are likely young and male
After 34,653 face-to-face interviews, psychologist Frederick Stinson found that men tend to be more narcissistic than women across their lifespans.
Narcissism is believed to peak during adolescence and decline with age.
12. You are regarded as attractive and dress better than other people
Narcissists are generally rated as more stylish and physically attractive, according to a study conducted by Simine Vazire, a psychologist at Washington University.
13. Instead of listening, you just wait to speak
Anita Vangelisti, a psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin found that “conversational narcissism” typically involves keeping the conversation centered on yourself, making exaggerated gestures, talking loudly, boasting, and showing disinterest by “glazing over” when others speak.
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