A healthy sense of vanity means you appreciate it when someone recognizes the hard work you've put into your appearances, your work or your life. But when that becomes an expectation -- a sense that you deserve people's attention -- you've crossed over into narcissism. If you're trying to determine if you yourself are narcissistic, or if you're attempting to figure out if a friend or romantic partner is, several traits can serve as general warning signs.
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Lend Me an Ear, or Not
Narcissistic people tend to turn a deaf ear to the needs or wants of others, reports clinical psychologist Susan Heitler in an article for YourTango. Sometimes, they'll simply ignore what someone is saying. Other times, they may acknowledge the person's concerns but may immediately say something to discount the validity or truth behind those words. Likewise, narcissists often won't ask questions about other people, but will instead continuously steer the conversation toward themselves and their own thoughts, concerns or needs.
Sleep Here, There and Everywhere
Sexual promiscuity is a key behavioral sign of many narcissists, warns psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman in his online column for "Psychology Today" magazine. The reasons are many. For example, it meets their craving to be wanted. It also gives them repeated opportunities to find out if someone else is better than the person they currently have, because for them, relationships are all about their own needs and gratifications. That's why many narcissists are prone to cheating when they are in a supposedly committed relationship.
Call the Control Tower
Since narcissistic people believe everything is about them, they try to orchestrate events and manipulate people to ensure they always get their way in a situation. Often, that means even the slightest thing going wrong, such as someone turning down an invitation to an event, can cause extreme flareups of anger. Such situations remind the narcissist that he is still dependent on another person's choices, which can make him uncomfortable or frustrated.
Here, Hold These Emotions
At their core, many narcissists are insecure. Rather than accepting this and working through these feelings, narcissistic people often project those insecurities on other people. For example, a narcissist who feels insecure about her accomplishments may constantly belittle your accomplishments. By bringing you down, this elevates her and makes her feel better about herself.
Play the Blame Game
In a narcissistic person's eyes, he is perfect. Thus, whenever something goes awry, it's the fault of someone else. Narcissists are prone to constant blaming, even if they're the ones doing something. For example, if he's angry, a narcissist will say that you made him angry instead of accepting responsibility for his own emotions and thoughts.