According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), there are nine things that identify a narcissist. This was the same criteria published 9 years earlier. But only five of these qualities are necessary to give someone the narcissist label.
The nine traits of a narcissist, according to the DSM, include the following:
1. Extreme self-importance 2. Delusions of uninhibited power, success, ideal love, brilliance, and even beauty 3. Believe that he/she is special and should only relate with special people 4. Needs extreme admiration 5. Self-entitled 6. Exploitative of others 7. Lacks empathy 8. Envious and thinks others are envious of him/her 9. Is rude, abusive, or arrogant in his/her conduct
But as far as a clinical expert who has had decades of experience dealing with these people is concerned, there are at least six other qualities that should be added to the list.
1. Overreacting to Criticism
Anything that negatively touches on a narcissist’s personality or performance is taken very badly, as these people cannot stand being seen as incapable, vulnerable or guilty. They often respond explosively and change the subject right away.
2. Incredible Defensiveness and Self-righteousness
As their egos are very fragile, these people will often be very defensive. Their competence cannot be questioned, and they live for the justification they get off their actions. Making apologies is an impossible task for them.
3. Alternative Viewpoints Anger Them
This is very common among narcissists. They can have angry outbursts to contrary comments and will often display their ‘narcissistic rage’ when their deep insecurities are exposed.
4. Low Self-Esteem
Although on the surface a narcissist will seem self-assured and very confident, they have deep self-esteem issues. They might be very driven and will even end up in positions of power, but deep down, they have a very poor self-image that they cannot let the world know about.
5. No Understanding of Personal Boundaries
Narcissists have a hard time telling where their personalities end and where another person’s personal space begins. They see other people as a means to achieve what they want. Other people simply fill the role of ‘narcissistic supplies’ in their lives.
Many will focus mostly on themselves in conversations, but some can interact normally with people. However, they might relate how they did something bad to someone and expect you to find it impressive.
Since narcissists have to conceal their insecurities no matter what, they usually have to project the bad feelings they have about themselves onto others. This keeps them from dealing with deep issues that plague them. They lack self-insight, and they have to focus on the problems of others instead, even when they make them up themselves.