Key Traits to Identify a Narcissist and 7 Empowering Steps to Deal with Them

Identify a Narcissist

According to Psych Central, nearly all of us show traits of narcissism from time to time.

We all may show some traits of narcissism when dealing with certain people or in certain conditions or at certain places.

And, if you display occasional narcissistic behaviour, that is okay. But, here I am talking about people who display extreme narcissistic traits.

Many times, a narcissist is in our plain sight but we may not notice him/her. Why? Because they are charming and you may initially fall for their confidence and charisma.

To improve your social experience (SX), it’s better to identify them at an earlier stage so you won’t regret later.

By identifying them, you can take the necessary steps on time. You can save a lot of your time and mental peace.

How to Identify a Narcissist?

To help you identify a narcissist, go through the following traits and see if there is someone in your life right now.

Narcissistic People Have Inflated Sense of Self-Importance

You can identify a narcissist if there is a person around you who has an inflated sense of self-importance. They may talk or think that they have superior abilities or qualities among people around them.

Their stories revolve around “I, me, myself”.

Narcissistic people talk about their own achievements and when you talk about your achievements, they are not interested in listening or acknowledging them.

Narcissists Lack Empathy

Have you ever noticed a narcissistic person’s eyes? You may find their stares emotionless.

If you talk about your pain, sadness or hurtful incidents, they may struggle to understand your emotions. They may struggle to understand what exactly you are talking about or what are your needs. All they care about is their own desires and needs. They don’t care about other people’s feelings or emotions.

Such things convey that narcissistic people lack empathy. If they convey that they understand your pain or emotional talks, they are just pretending and have no genuine concerns towards you.

Narcissists Love People Pleasers

If you identify a narcissist, you may notice that narcissistic people love those people who please them.

People pleasers are their targeted people as these people give them attention, love and admiration. People pleasers are often accommodating and are ready to sacrifice their own needs to please other people.

And, narcissists love being the center of attention and enjoy special treatment. People pleasers feed a narcissist’s ego well.

Narcissistic People Exploit Others

Narcissists love to exploit vulnerable people.

They can take advantage of you for their own benefit. When they exploit you, they don’t care how you feel or what emotions you are dealing with. Their needs are more important than your well-being.

They can deceive you, manipulate you, to get what they want. They won’t care what consequences you may face as a narcissistic person may not feel remorse or guilt about his/her actions.

Narcissists may take advantage of your kindness, resources or skills for their own agenda. And, they won’t even appreciate you or give you anything back.

Narcissistic People Have Hunger for Power and Success

Narcissists love controlling others and everything should be done according to what they want or say.

And to control people, they need power and success. So, they have a strong desire to achieve high positions, where they have authority and power to control.

To boost their ego, they always strive for more power and ways to influence others. Their main priority is their own goals and achievements. And when they are relentless for their personal gain, they may ignore your needs and feelings.

They may use any mean or manipulative tactics to outshine their competitors, so they can maintain their sense of superiority.

Narcissists Lack Accountability

Narcissists believe that they don’t commit mistakes. If something is wrong, others are at fault. They will not hold themselves accountable for their actions.

They shift the blame onto others to avoid negative consequences. They have a tendency to protect their ego and self-image rather than acknowledging their faults. Due to this, it’s challenging to resolve issues or conflicts with a narcissistic person.

A Narcissist Doesn’t Respect Boundaries

You may have noticed that a narcissist person doesn’t respect or understand the boundaries.

They may struggle to understand the limits of your personal space. If a person invades your privacy, that person is a narcissist.

If a narcissist is with you, he/she may not care about your time or preferences. They want things to be adjusted as per their time and preferences without asking for your consent.

Narcissistic People Face Relationship Difficulties

Narcissistic people find it difficult to form and maintain healthy relationships.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you may feel that the person struggles with genuine emotional connection. He/she may struggle with intimacy and empathy. You may observe that the person finds it challenging to connect with you on a deeper level.

Their focus is on prioritising their own interests and needs, due to which they neglect the emotional needs of others. As a result, narcissists may have strained relationships.

Narcissists Have Fragile Self-Esteem

Narcissistic people have fragile self-esteem.

They may appear confident and bold from outside, but from inside they are vulnerable. You can easily shake or damage their confidence and self-worth.

Narcissistic People are Possesive

Narcissists have a strong desire to possess others. They feel entitled to control you and be possessive about you.

They dislike it when you give attention to others. They don’t like it when others give attention to you.

They closely monitor your interactions and activities. And, if they feel threatened, they may try to limit your independence. They may restrict you from meeting your friends and family. They try to isolate you so you just focus on them and their needs.

Narcissistic People are Arrogant

Narcissists are arrogant because they think themselves superior to others.

They display their arrogance when they boast about their achievements. They exaggerate about their capabilities. They consider themselves more intelligent and talented than people around them.

They show-off and look for the best cars, best houses, best watches, designer clothes, etc.

Narcissists look down on people they consider “inferior”.

Empowering Ways to Deal with A Narcissist

Dealing with a Narcissist
Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Once you identify a narcissist, learn ways to deal with them.

And, it is a challenging task to deal with a narcissist. It also depends on who you are dealing with — A friend, a lover, or a family member.

I have myself faced difficulties when I was friends with a narcissist, and it took a lot of emotional turmoil, pain, and time to get away from that person.

I’m mentioning below some strategies to deal with such persons:

1. Educate Yourself

Educating yourself means understanding what narcissistic traits are, which I have covered above.

By educating yourself, you will understand the patterns and characteristics associated with a narcissist. Once you recognise them, you can behave more rationally rather than emotionally.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

You can set clear boundaries with them by telling them what is acceptable and what is not. Communicate clearly with them to respect your personal space.

Speak up for yourself and be clear and concise.

Be assertive about the boundaries and state them firmly, but do not try to engage in conflicts.

If they try to overstep your boundaries, stay firm on your grounds, to save your emotional well-being.

3. Build a Support Network

Building and maintaining a strong support network will help you in dealing with a narcissist.

Regularly, be in touch with your trusted friends and family members. Talk to them and share your experiences. Maybe they can offer you some valuable advice.

Your support network can provide you new perspectives about how to deal with such a person. With their assurance and support, you can make better decisions.

4. Stay Calm and Practice Emotional Detachment

Don’t give them attention and show emotional detachment.

When they feel there is a lack of attention or emotional reactions from you, they may try to provoke you or try to pick a fight. Stay calm and use your rational mind. Don’t give in to any provocation.

Just refuse to engage with their any attempts to manipulate you. Stay grounded and control your emotional responses.

5. Practice Self-Care

Indulge in self-care practices that bring you joy and relaxation as they are helpful in dealing with a narcissist.

You may start doing meditation or join a class of mediation. If excercise makes you feel good, start doing it on regular basis. Spend time in nature to feel inner peace. Maybe you can follow any creative pursuits like dance, music, painting, etc.

Give time to yourself to understand your inner thoughts. Your self-reflection will help you find your triggers and vulnerabilities. When you become better in self-awareness, you can respond to a narcissist’s behaviours in a more rational way. You’ll feel more empowered.

6. Develop More Empathy for Yourself

Be more empathetic and kind to yourself. Give yourself time and understand your own feelings and needs and do the needful. Tell yourself that feeling hurt, frustrated, or confused is natural when you deal with a narcissist.

Do not think about the narcissistic person in your life, think about yourself. Tell yourself that your feelings are valid.

Don’t blame yourself if a narcissist says something negative. His comments and actions shouldn’t affect you.

Empower yourself so you can deal with that person effectively.

7. Seek Professional Support

If things won’t work out, seek professional support like getting the opinion of a counsellor. A counsellor can tell you practical ways to communicate and how to resolve problems that you face with a narcissist. You will get better insights.


What I mentioned above are general traits to identify a narcissist. But these traits or behaviours may vary, in different ratios, in narcissistic people. Not all narcissists are the same.

Similarly, when you are dealing with a narcissist, you would require trying different approaches.

Identify the narcissistic behaviours and see who you are dealing with: a lover, a friend, a partner, a family member, or a boss. Then you can take the necessary steps and up to what extent.

In the end, what matters is that you must educate yourself, have self-compassion, and take better care of your well-being. This will give you more power to identify the wrong person and avoid difficult situations.

By Rajesh Sharma

Rajesh Sharma is a freelance IT Consultant who have found his new passion in writing. On this blog, he writes about Social Experiences and shares tips on improving them.

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