At one time or another, most of us behave in a way that might seem self-centered.

For some people, self-centered behavior is so extreme that they have difficulty relating to others and dealing with life situations.

People who fall into that category are considered to have narcissistic personality disorder.

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The signs and symptoms of NPD can be divided into three main categories:

  • grandiose behavior

  • a need for admiration

  • a lack of empathy

Knowing the signs and symptoms of NPD can help you recognize narcissistic behavior.

Grandiose Behavior

Grandiosity is a sense of specialness and self-importance.

People with grandiose behavior:

  • have an inflated sense of self-importance

  • belittle those who don't praise them

  • have a sense of entitlement

  • feel that they deserve privileges and special treatment

  • exaggerate their accomplishments

  • require constant attention & validation

  • are arrogant

  • make achievements and talents seem bigger than they are

Flaticon Icon “I’m the only one keeping this company afloat; without me, we would fold tomorrow!”

Spot the Grandiose Behavior

Read the sample social media profiles below and decide which describe grandiose behavior (Select all that apply).

Myra: "I work hard and play hard. Can you keep up with the best or are you just one of the rest?"

Matthew: "Follow me to see what it's like to live your best life! Celebrities, cars,'ll wish you were me."

Nina: "Some of my favorite things are hanging out with my friends, going to the beach, and traveling with my sisters."

Shane: "Looking for people to share recipes and home improvement tips with."


Whose profile statement was an example of grandiose behavior? Select all that apply.

Need for Admiration

Admiration from others feeds a narcissist's sense of grandiosity.

People with a constant need for admiration and attention:

  • often have one-sided relationships

  • don't give admiration back to others

  • can seem panicked if they feel criticized

  • disregard the opinions of others

  • openly discuss their accomplishments

  • believe others are envious of them

  • have unrealistic expectations of nonstop praise

  • put others down

An icon stating

Melanie is a doting mother to Charlotte. Melanie constantly checks in on Charlotte's needs and praises her when others are around. In private, though, Melanie pays little attention to Charlotte and gets annoyed when Charlotte needs something.

Unwilling to Empathize with Others

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes — to imagine how another person feels.

Cartoon girl saying - What is this feeling I'm feeling right now? It's like I'm sad, for another person? Is that a thing?

People with lack of empathy:

  • put their own needs above others

  • are critical of others

  • are quick to blame others

  • don't feel happy for others' success

  • aren't in tune with their emotions

  • struggle to show compassion

  • have trouble showing appreciation

  • don't take responsibility for actions

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The quote below is an example of a typical comment from someone describing her partner with NPD symptoms:

He would actually get mad at me if I was sick. I said, 'I sat here with you for days when you were depressed and couldn’t get out of bed. And now you can’t even be a little nice to me when I am sick?'


Jim works at a local food bank once a month and makes a point of bringing it up in conversations regularly. In private, he tells his wife that the people who come into the food bank are lazy and should get jobs. Which NPD trait(s) does Jim show?

Take Action

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David from Schitt's Creek, nodding, saying - Yes, I would like that very much


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