If you suspect you may have been on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse, and are curious about narcissist signs, this list will be helpful. While every single human has some narcissistic traits, it's important to be aware that this is a spectrum and we all fall somewhere on this spectrum. It's when someone is on the very high end of the spectrum and is being emotionally abusive when there is a problem. It's possible to see these signs in yourself but also be a healthy person who would not intentionally inflict pain on somebody. If you are worried that you may be a narcissist, then that is your proof that you are not one. True narcissists are incapable of self-reflection, so if you're able to self-reflect, then you do not need to worry. Also, please be aware that a true narcissist will never be diagnosed formally by a doctor because they refuse to believe that there is anything wrong with them. If you suspect you have been narcissistically abused, do your research and get as far away from this person as possible before they mess with your mind and emotions any more.
If you have survived this type of abuse and want support on healing, I offer 1:1 coaching which can be booked by clicking here.
There are also many other signs as well but these are the main ones. On any given day a narcissist can display one, some, or zero of these signs. They are extremely manipulative so if you call them out on their behaviour, they'll gaslight you (basically they'll make you think you were imagining things so you think you're crazy so the focus isn't on their abuse) into believing that they are not narcissists. Again, there's a difference between someone who is just having a bad day and someone who is purposefully manipulating you to get what they want out of you and that is when you're dealing with a toxic person.
Now, onto the signs!
Never takes responsibility for their actions. They either conveniently forget they did something awful or you're the one who misinterpreted what they did/said - you're the crazy one. This is called gaslighting when they clearly did something and they make you feel crazy for calling them out on it.
They need to be the centre of attention at all times - everything is about them (even if it's not - for example your birthday) and anything that suggests otherwise will set them off
Excessive need and desire for control. This ties into everything being about them.
Narcissists are very dishonest and manipulative. They'll outright lie or bend the truth to suit their needs.
They can't take any criticism (but they sure can dish it!) If you're doing something "wrong" (like unloading the dishwasher the wrong way, or using the wrong laundry soap, or something that should really not be an issue) you will hear all about it. When they are clearly doing something wrong, like being rude or mean, and you try to call them out on it they explode, and throw it back in your face. "How could you do this to me?" is a very common line they like to use.
Jealous of others. They may not show it outright but you'll see it in signs - for example - they criticize the person they're jealous of, or purchasing the same types of things as that person to "compete" whether that other person is even aware or not.
Everything is a competition. Narcissists compete with everything. These competitions range from absolutely ridiculous things to brag about, to normal things that no one really needs to brag about - they just make anything into a competition. For example - here's a ridiculous one - they won a championship for cutting vegetables the best. Their child is the best in math. Their baby said their first word at 2 months old and grew their first tooth before any of the other babies. They have children for the purpose of having an extension of themselves to compete (I will have a page all about narcissistic parents in general very soon). Their christmas tree has the best lights, they almost invented the best toothbrush ever but someone stole their idea and now they're thinking of suing this person who has never met them before.
Everything that's going wrong in their life is also a competition. Beware of these types in forums and online support groups. For example - if they have chronic pain, theirs is the worst and most uncurable. If they have an illness, and you had the same illness and are okay now, your advice is not welcome because they could die from it - their version of this illness is the special and deadly kind (even if it's not a deadly illness such as a cold). They went to the hospital soooo many times this year because they're so much sicker than anyone else. Their ex-spouse is the worst ever, in fact, all of their ex's are crazy and responsible for the relationship ending, the narcissist surely had no part in the break-up they're just an innocent victim.
They play the victim. This is a slap in the face to, you know, ACTUAL victims of crimes and injustices. Anything that goes wrong in their life is never their fault. They play the victim and love staying the victim, but they're the perpetrator. For example, they mentally abused their ex-spouse so the ex left them, but then the narcissist turns it around and says the ex was verbally, mentally, and even physically abusive and they'll completely fabricate a story for pity, attention, custody of the kids, whatever suits them. Then they'll keep telling the story of their horrible ex 30 years later. (I acknowledge there are ACTUAL victims of this - this is just how a narcissist goes about it. This contributes to a lot of the whole not believing victims that is so prevalent in our society because of people like narcissists who have been proven to fabricate stories just for attention. I always do believe victims no matter what - but just putting this info out there to bring out awareness that there are people who lie about their circumstances for various reasons and this is a sign of narcissism).
Grandiose sense of self-importance. Narcissists think they're extremely important. Grandiosity is defined as "the quality of being impressive and imposing in appearance or style, especially pretentiously so." So imagine this is how they feel about themselves. This is more than just being arrogant or vain. They believe they deserve recognition for just showing up to work, sometimes they even lie about their achievements or importance. They'll pretend to know famous people just to show that they're so important and superior to all of us peasants. A worse example - they think they deserve a trophy for having a kid and providing it food and shelter. If the kid calls the parent out on any emotional abuse, the narcissist comes back and says well I put a roof over your head so you owe me. More on this topic in the narcissistic parents section coming soon on my website.
Sense of entitlement. Because of their illusions of grandiosity, narcs believe they deserve special recognition and treatment for... nothing. If they're going on a trip they will get offended that they didn't get bumped up to first class just for showing up at the airport. They also expect anyone within earshot to comply to their every whim. So if they say something like oh I have a craving for chocolate, they will literally expect someone to produce a chocolate bar, or to go to the store and get them one, and then they will get mad if nobody has any chocolate for them.
They're just plain MEAN! Anyone who they feel threatened by (including their own children) - watch out! The wrath of a narcissist is such a mentally draining thing to go through. They may feel threatened by someone who appears to have more than them, or something they want that they don't have, so they use this as an opportunity to belittle, bully, berate, or just be plain mean to that person. They usually will criticize them behind their backs because narcissists are generally cowards, but sometimes they will criticize one of their victims to their face if it gets a reaction. Narcissists live for your reaction - it's their narcissistic supply - and it doesn't matter if that reaction is good or bad, as long as you react.