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9 Signs of Narcissistic Behavior and How to Break Free

What is a narcissist?

When an individual incessantly posts selfies on social media or talks excessively about themselves on the first date, it’s easy to label them as narcissists. However, true narcissism is characterized by Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), a mental condition. People with NPD believe they are superior to others and demand to be treated as such. They often disregard the opinions and needs of others and tend to be dismissive of their problems.

The DSM-5 provides nine diagnostic criteria for NPD, but a person must meet 5 of them to qualify for clinical diagnosis. They are:

  • An exaggerated sense of one’s own importance.
  • Being preoccupied with dreams of boundless success, power, intelligence, attractiveness, or perfect love.
  • Thinking that one is exceptional and distinct and should only interact with other high-status individuals or institutions or those who can understand them.
  • Desiring excessive admiration from others.
  • Feeling entitled to special treatment.
  • Behaving in a manner that takes advantage of others in relationships.
  • Lacking the ability to empathize with others.
  • Feeling envious of or of others.
  • Displaying arrogant and conceited attitudes or actions.

Although navigating a relationship with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be difficult, understanding the signs can provide important context. To assist you in recognizing these indicators and managing them effectively, we have compiled a list of warning signs and practical advice.

1) Initially, they came across as delightful

Initially, they may come across as charming and enchanting, showering you with compliments and affectionate words. However, individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) tend to harbor grandiose delusions and engage in fantastical thinking. They intend to make themselves appear unique and special, and they seek partners who can fully appreciate them. This is according to Nedra Glover Tawwab, LCSW, who founded Kaleidoscope Counseling in Charlotte, North Carolina. They may emphasize your compatibility or intelligence even if you have just started seeing them.

Be cautious if someone seems to be coming on too strongly in the beginning. While it’s natural to enjoy feeling desired, genuine love takes time to cultivate and nurture. As psychotherapist Wendy L. Patrick, JD, Ph.D., says, “Infatuation is like a beautiful flower that eventually dies.” Conversely, true love is like a plant that requires tender care and attention to grow.

If you have doubts about whether they truly love you, likely, they don’t. It may be plausible that the individuals involved are endeavoring to construct superficial bonds in the initial stages of their relationship, fabricating a fictitious impression of closeness. Keep in mind that people with NPD may possess manipulative tendencies and may not be capable of forming genuine emotional bonds.

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Written by Amber Bridal

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