Narcissist Red Flags to Be Aware Of

model in neutral colors looking out the window

Photo by Jeremy Marasigan from Burst

You have probably heard about Narcissus, an impossibly handsome figure from the ancient Greek myth of solipsism and self-obsession who fell in love with his image and had an unfortunate end.

Even to this day, the term `narcissist` refers to people who exhibit characteristics related to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). It is characterized by a lack of empathy, a magnificent sense of self, and an enormous need for praise and admiration.

Anyone, like your partner, friends, siblings, parents, relatives, neighbors, or workmates, can be narcissistic.

Any kind of relationship with a narcissist can have profoundly negative effects on your mental health. People with this disorder believe they are superior to others, have unreasonable expectations, and require constant, excessive commendation.

I truly hope you won’t come across one of them, but just in case you need help and information on how to handle them appropriately and protect your overall well-being, keep reading.

What Are the Red Flags of a Narcissist and How to Spot Them Early On?

Narcissists need and seek too much attention and want everyone to admire them. They have an extreme, intense sense of their own importance and lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of other people. They act manipulatively and use you for their own self-interest.

Often, this behavior appears as a defense mechanism for low self-esteem, insecure closeness and loyalty issues, or trauma from childhood abuse. Narcissists usually suffer an important psychological wound early in life. NPD is deeply rooted in one’s own pain, but it is manifested in inflicting pain on others.

NDP gives rise to problems in many dimensions of life, such as relationships, family issues, school, or work.

It’s crucial to acknowledge how to spot a narcissist early. But how can you tell if someone is narcissistic? Let’s look at the red flags of a narcissist that can help you spot one of them and protect your mental health and happiness.

1. Lack of empathy

They are unable or unwilling to have empathy for other people. They usually seem to have no desire for emotional intimacy.

2. Seek to always be the center of attention

When they feel ignored or if someone gets more attention, they will get unreasonably distressed. They must have the main role in every play.

3. Unreasonable sense of entitlement

They expect other people to do anything they want without questioning them, and they usually get angry when corrected, stamp out, or feel as if they are ordinary.

4. Exhibits arrogant behaviors and attitudes

They can talk non-stop about their successes, romantic conquering, money, or beauty.

5. Exploits and takes advantage of other people

They use others for their own benefit and advantages. They may be friends with you just so they can use your vacation home, borrow your clothes, or get rides to work.

6. Overstep people’s boundaries

They will always go beyond the lines of what you allow if that is in their interest. They don`t care about other boundaries.

Narcissists have dramatic and erratic emotions and behaviors. They may not be inherently bad people, but they can be challenging to be attached to.

Keep your eyes and ears open, and always keep in mind narcissist red flags.

Red Flags That You Are Dating a Narcissist

Being in a relationship with someone with male narcissistic traits is really challenging and may require modifying and balancing your expectations about what your relationship looks like. If your partner seems to lack any signs of empathy and vulnerability and harbors narcissistic characteristics, you will probably want to proceed with caution.

In order to protect your emotional and mental health, you should be able to spot some red flags.

  1. Minimizes Your Emotions
  2. Love Bombing
  3. Uses Manipulative Tactics
  4. Never Gets Vulnerable
  5. Excessive Needs For Attention And Validation
  6. Lacks Guilt
  7. Always Cross Your Boundaries
  8. Compares You With His Exses
  9. Easily Triggered Emotions
  10. Monologues About Himself
  11. Dislikes People And Things You Like
  12. No Will To Change

Love bombing—intemperate and adoring communication and gestures—is commonly carried out by narcissists to secure power and control over you. This is also one of the red flags of a rebound relationship.

If he seems absurdly concerned with his appearance, focuses only on his own achievements and successes, and uses manipulative tactics, you will probably find his behavior hurtful every so often.

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Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be really hard, challenging, and painful. I hope you will try to avoid this kind of relationship and keep your well-being safe.

But if you have strong feelings for your partner and think he is worthy, you may decide to stay in that relationship. In that case, you must set clear, healthy boundaries and educate yourself on narcissism. It’s crucial to learn how to deal with a narcissistic partner. My best advice is to consider therapy.

Red Flags of Narcissistic Friends

Having friends makes life better, more enjoyable, and easier. Friends share the beautiful aspects of life and help us through the difficult times. I’m sure you have friends who support you, make things more fun, build you up, respect you, and love you.

But, guess what? There are narcissists among your friends.

If you fall into a toxic friendship with one of them, it can have a pretty important effect on your overall well-being—and not positively.

Let’s look at how to spot them.

  1. Put Themselves Front And Center, Always
  2. Lack Of Self-Reflection
  3. Engage In Unappropriate Behavior Just To Get Attention
  4. Act Negligently
  5. Unstable Relations
  6. Put You Down
  7. Gossip
  8. Have High Expectations From Others
  9. Obsessed With Social Status
  10. Prioritize Only Their Own Needs
  11. Seek Praise And Validation


Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Narcissistic friends are manipulative, self-obsessed, and self-interested. You won`t feel supported among them; you’ll feel lonely, isolated, stressed, or even embraced. Dealing with jealousy will be just one of the toxic things you will struggle with every day. Your self-esteem will start to diminish.

I have just one piece of advice: keep your distance miles away from them.

Red Flags of Narcissistic Family Members

Having a narcissistic family member is difficult and complicated to deal with, but being raised by a narcissist can be a disaster.

They criticize everything you do, even your little steps, usually ignore your feelings and requests, have no empathy, and often promote negativity. They almost never intend to teach moral values or good habits, help you grow your self-confidence, or boost your self-esteem.

It’s important to spot signs of narcissistic family members.

  1. Gaslighting
  2. Criticizing
  3. Lack Self-Awareness
  4. Strong Sense Of Entitlement
  5. Unrealistic Expectations
  6. Seeking External Validation Versus Internal Validation
  7. Unhealthy Emotional Connecting
  8. A Lot Of Competition, No Cooperation
  9. Vulnerability Is Dangerous

Being raised by a narcissistic parent is emotionally and psychologically abusive and may cause post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. NPD can be destructive and have devastating effects. It`s a difficult disorder to treat. Narcissistic parents always feel superior over anyone else, so you probably grow up with crippling self-doubt, feel emotionally empty, and are not nurtured.

You can choose a partner or a friend, but you cannot choose your family. The best and most crucial thing you can do is set boundaries with your parents. They must be clear, announced, and addressed. Always stick to them, no matter what.

How to Spot the Red Flags of a Covert Narcissist?

It can be hard to recognize a covert narcissist, as they lean towards shyness and introversion. They experience similar emotions, perceptions, and thoughts as the typical narcissist. But they hide their problematic and toxic behaviors from other people.

They are radically emotionally sensitive and breakable people who cannot seem to handle even inappreciable criticism.

They are masters at manipulating and hiding their traits and true selves. They can hide almost everything, but not their sense of grandiosity. There will always be a lot of monologues about themselves. They are also very needy for attention and validation; they will even directly ask for it by acting codependent and obsessive.

Spotting the red flags will help you identify them and avoid an abusive relationship.

  1. They Are Hypersensitive And extremely fragile
  2. They Are Often Angry And Highly Stressed
  3. They Experience Chronic Envy
  4. They Are Self-Absorbed
  5. They Usually Experience Severe Mood Swings
  6. They Mention Past Traumas As An Excuse
  7. They Lack Compassion And Empathy For Other People
  8. Always Play The Victim For Sympathy
  9. Often Break Boundaries

Convert narcissists usually live in fantasy. They create delusions and expect others to confirm them. They will even make up stories about something that never happened just to support their fantasies. This can be an obvious sign that you are involved in a toxic relationship.

Don’t expect empathy when they meltdown, just a one-sided discussion or monologue about how they get annoyed by the fact that you are upset and cannot give them the attention they need. They do not just feel worried and stressed all the time, covert narcissists are likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and even non-suicidal self-injury.

Keep an eye out to recognize covert narcissism in relationships, and always try to avoid this kind of relationship.

How to Deal With a Narcissist?

The fact is, you can meet narcissists everywhere. They may be among your family members, relatives, friends, or coworkers, and you may not be able to avoid them. It`s important to learn how to deal with them and protect your emotional and mental health.

According to experts, you can handle situations by

  1. Educating Yourself About NPD
  2. Creating Or Finding A Support System
  3. Offering Them Professional Help
  4. Setting Clear Boundaries
  5. Speaking Up For Yourself
  6. Building Your Self-Esteem
  7. Acting Immediately
  8. Working On Skills To Help You Keep Calm

If you confront narcissists about their behavior, they will feel threatened and annoyed. They may be rude, even cruel. Set solid and clear boundaries and enforce them. Know your worth, and do not forget that self-care includes walking away from the narcissist.

How to Walk Away?

Walking away from a relationship with an abusive person, especially one with narcissistic characteristics, can result in post-separation abuse. This can be worse than anything that happened during your relationship. If your partner was abusive when you were in a relationship, it can be the biggest sign your breakup will be hurtful.

Narcissists usually cannot handle rejection. Prepare yourself for a highly toxic breakup. As they don’t have enough capacity for remorse or self-reflection, they cannot handle the breakup in a healthy way. Never try to get your partner to see your point of view.

There is no point in arguing with him because he will continue to escalate the situation and manipulate you. He won’t take any responsibility, as he thinks all mistakes are someone else’s fault.

A narcissist won’t let you go that easily. He will use all the available means of manipulation to persuade you to stay. He can even beg, cry, promise behavioral changes, start to act differently or buy you very expensive gifts just to impress you. Stick to your decision, no matter what. Narcissists cannot change that drastically.

He may threaten to ruin your reputation or career. He will probably try to humiliate and downgrade you as much as possible. In order to isolate you from your friends and family who support you, he will spread gossip. Distance yourself and be persistent.

Surround yourself with supportive people. Rebuild yourself. Heal. Never look back. You deserve a healthy, loving relationship.

Final Thoughts

At the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist, they may seem too good to be true. They can be overly charming and charismatic. They will mask their true selves to win you over. They will do anything to make a great first impression, but by the time this impression is made, it will have declined.

They cannot hide their true selves for a long time; their unhealthy behavior will be revealed by themselves or through the circumstances. They will start to manipulate you into giving your full attention only to them. Red flags will appear right in front of you.

Narcissists are manipulative, controlling, self-centered, and abusive. There is no empathy, compassion, trust, understanding, or spiritual qualities in relationships with them.

They tend to ruin your self-esteem and confidence.

They will try to change your perception of what they like and need. Narcissists will ignore your feelings, expectations, and requests. There will be a lot of promises, but no real action.

Honestly, I have one great piece of advice: Never mess with narcissists.

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