Narcissist – Everything You Need To Know

Who is a narcissist? How can you tell if a person is a narcissist? How do you deal with an NPD person? What are the characteristics of a narcissist? Can narcissism be treated? Can a narc stop being exploitative? Find all the answers to these and more questions in this article.

My name is Sean Galla, and I have been an online support group facilitator for over 10 years. In my years of work, I have overseen numerous support groups, including facilitating narcissist support groups. Part of the work we do in our support group is to offer information to help members better understand narcissism.

In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about narcissists and dealing with them.

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Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

Who is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is a person diagnosed with narcissism or Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Wikipedia defines narcissism as ‘a self-centered personality style characterized as having an excessive preoccupation with oneself and one’s own needs, often at the expense of others.’

It is not uncommon to hear the word narcissism being used to describe sociopaths and people who seem overly full of themselves or vain, especially on social media. However, from a psychological standpoint, there is a lot more that goes into this term. A lot of research has been done to help mental health experts and practitioners in diagnosing narcissistic traits.

Are narcissists bad people? Medical psychiatry and psychotherapy experts can argue that people with these personality traits are not bad people but are just people who exhibit a problematic personality.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

The Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder (DSM-5) terms narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as a medically diagnosed borderline personality disorder where the person exhibits characteristics of grandiosity, hunger for admiration, and lack of empathy for others. A narcissist usually has an unreasonably high sense of self-importance and self-worth. They constantly seek and need attention and praise from the people in their lives.  

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a narcissist is an individual who is mentally incapable of understanding or caring about the feelings and needs of others. While they may seem extremely confident, they struggle with their self-worth and self-esteem deep down. This is what even the least bit of criticism sets them off.

According to science, NPD is more prevalent among men than women, and the signs often begin to manifest in teenage years and early adulthood. NPD can be related to other mental health conditions.


Types of Narcissists

Generally, narcissistic behavior can fall under two major categories. The two types often display the same symptoms even though they emanate from different childhood experiences.

The type of NPD one has often determines how one behaves in relationships.

Grandiose or overt narcissism

People with grandiose narcissism were often treated like they were better than others in their childhood. These expectations to always be better than others usually follow them into adulthood. People with grandiose narcissism are often boastful, boasters and elitists.

Overt narcissists are often extroverts who are uncooperative, overbearing, and selfish. Their exaggerated personal image boosts their self-esteem, allowing them to be assertive and confident.

People with grandiose narcissism are often dominant, aggressive, and have an over-exaggerated sense of personal importance. This excessive confidence in self makes them insensitive to the needs of others.

Covert or Vulnerable narcissism

This is the opposite of grandiose narcissism. Covert narcissists were often abused or neglected in their childhood, which caused their low self-esteem. Vulnerable narcissists are often much more sensitive and introverted, and often also live with antisocial personality disorder. Their narcissism is a way of protecting themselves from the feelings of inadequacy they felt in their childhood.

People with vulnerable narcissism often experience mixed feelings of superiority and inferiority. They are often passive-aggressive and defensive. They often feel anxious and are easily offended when they don’t get the special treatment they think they have earned. They will usually develop a substance use disorder as an escape from these mixed feelings.

Antagonistic narcissism

These types of narcs take on a highly competitive approach to social situations. They are characterized by zero-sum thinking and strongly believe that every situation has to bring out losers and winners. This need for winning to get excessive admiration makes them aggressive and highly hostile to anyone standing in the way of them becoming a winner. They do not shy away from disparaging others and are often unwilling to forgive.

Communal narcissism

This is the opposite of an antagonistic narc. People with this type of pathological narcissism often describe themselves as charitable and pretend to care about fairness. It is easy for others to see them as selfless and supportive, while their behavior is often motivated by their sense of entitlement and superiority. They have a deep-set hunger for social power and will usually mirror the behavior of the people they want to control.

 Malignant narcissism

This is often a more destructive form of NPD. On top of the typical signs of narcissism, malignant narcs are aggressive, sadistic, paranoid, and will often find other people’s pain funny. They are highly antisocial and have a high disregard for the safety and rights of other people.

Traits of Narcissism

Patterns of self-centeredness and arrogant behavior and thinking characterize narcissistic personality disorder. Narcs often lack empathy and rarely consider other people’s feelings. Their constant excessive need for admiration drives their life.

Most people will often describe people with NPD as manipulative, cocky, condescending, selfish, and demanding. This is because these are their common traits and way of thinking.

A person with narcissistic personality disorder is often resistant to changing their behavior, even when it causes them issues, even with their personal well-being. Instead, they will often shift blame to others. They are also overly sensitive and will react negatively to criticism and disagreements.

Anyone who thinks differently from them or refuses to agree with their way of thinking is often seen as a threat, and they see it as a personal attack.

other symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include:

They are overly manipulative

One of the most common traits among people living with NPD is manipulation. Narcissists are highly manipulative and exhibit strong controlling behavior. In the beginning, they mirror your behavior as a way of luring you in and trying to impress you. Eventually, they will put their needs before the feelings of others.  

They often keep people at a certain distance to maintain control. They are not shy or exploiting others for their gains.


Sense of entitlement

People with NPD harbor the belief that they are better than others and, therefore, deserve special treatment. They think that everyone else is not as special or smart and is beneath them. They expect unquestioned obedience and believe rules do not apply to them.

Consistent need for admiration

When you are dealing with a narcissist, you will notice that they are always looking for praise and admiration. This is their way of finding validation. They will often brag and even exaggerate their accomplishments to get the admiration they deserve. Being appreciated is a way of boosting their ego.

They are arrogant

People living with NPD already have a grandiose idea about their self-worth. Therefore, they are often termed abusive or rude and treat others badly since they believe everyone else is inferior. They will often treat others with a lot of arrogance and expect others to accept it and see things from their perspective.

They lack empathy

A big sign that an individual may be a narcissist is their lack of empathy for others. A narcissist is unable to empathize with the wants, needs, or feelings of those around them. Because of this lack of empathy, they will never be accountable for their bad behavior.

Because of this lack of empathy, narcissists will exploit anything and anyone without feeling shame or guilt. They do not think about how their behavior affects others, thanks to their sense of selfishness.

They live in a world of fantasy

According to narcissism healthcare providers, a narc will create a mental world of fantasy that is propped with self-deception, distortion of reality, and magical thinking. They will create self-glorifying stories. Some of them also have bipolar disorder.

They are highly successful, brilliant, powerful, and attractive in their world. Living in this fantasy world is their way of protecting their mind from the harsh reality that they may not be any of these things. Anything and anyone posing a threat to this grandiose fantasy is met with rage and defensiveness. Those in the lives of narcs are often left to walk on eggshells around them to avoid being on the receiving end of this rage.  

They will intimidate, demean, bully, and belittle others.

Narcissists often feel threatened whenever they come across someone with something they want, especially if they are naturally popular or confident, or have a high status. Their narcissistic tendencies are usually trying to neutralize the threat.

To this end, they may patronize or dismiss an individual to make them feel small. If this does not work, they will often resort to shaming, bullying, name-calling, and threats to force other people to toe the line.

How to deal with a Narcissist

Narcissists have mastered the art of gaslighting, being charming and magnetic. When interested in an individual, they create a highly flattering and fantastic self-image to draw the person in.

In love and relationships, narcs often come across as the person you have always imagined being with. You will be attracted to their lofty dreams and confidence. When you meet this person, you will imagine they can fulfill your longing to feel wanted and important to someone, especially if your sense of self-worth is shaky.

Remember that narcs are not after finding partners; they want unquestioning, obedient admirers. If the person manipulates, lies, hurts, and disrespects others, this is probably the way they will treat you soon enough.

Stay away if you can

If you realize that the person you are interested in may be a narc, the best thing you can do for yourself is often to stay away from them. More often than not, you will get lost in their web of grandiose sense of self-importance, and what started as an ideal relationship usually ends up being highly abusive.

See them for who they are

You need to see the narc for who they are and not who you hope they will be, even when they are beloved family members. Do not excuse their bad behavior; don’t be afraid to call them out.

Do not lose yourself in their delusions

When in a relationship with a narcissist, never lose focus on the things you want for yourself. A narc will often lure you into abandoning your dreams and ideas to support theirs.

Set healthy boundaries

In a healthy relationship, both partners have mutual respect and care for one another. However, narcissists are incapable of reciprocating your feelings of care and respect. To them, you are not an individual who exists outside their need for you. Because of this, they often disregard others’ boundaries, breach them, and take advantage of others for personal gain.

Setting healthy boundaries and making them known is the best way to deal with a narc. Tell them you will leave if they overstep, and be willing to leave when they do because they will test you.

See a specialist and join a support group

If you realize that you may be on the receiving end of narcissist wife traits, it is best to seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist with knowledge of how to handle narcs can help you make the best decision for your life and better understand the person you are dealing with.

Also, joining a support group for victims of narcissistic behavior can go a long way in getting you back on the right path.

If you are a male individual with a narcissist in your life, joining a men-only support group like MensGroup can go a long way in ensuring you get the support and advice you need from fellow men who have walked in your shoes.


Can a Narcissist change?

It is possible to recover from NPD. However, it requires the effort and willingness of the narc to seek cognitive behavioral therapy for change to take place. People living with NPD generally do not seek help since most of them do not believe that they have the condition.

About MensGroup

As a man who has been a victim of narcissistic behavior, one of the toughest parts of recovery is finding someone to talk to about your feelings, emotions, and trauma. Most people do not believe that men, too, can be victims of toxic relationships. Whether you have narcissistic parents, a narcissistic loved one, or children with narcissism, MensGroup is an all-men online platform where you can get the support you need.

Mensgroup believes that anyone can heal, grow, and change with the right support. You will be placed in a group with other men who have been through narcissistic abuse and understand your situation. This gives you a free space to share and learn from others who have previously walked in your shoes. With a support system of fellow men, you can overcome your trauma and lead a healthy, successful, and happy life.


When someone in your life is a narcissist, taking time to learn and understand NPD can go a long way in making it easier for you to determine how best to protect yourself and deal with the narc.

It is often said that a problem shared is a problem solved. Joining a narcissist support group is the first step you can take towards healing. offers you a platform where you can share your story to inspire others and get support to overcome the trauma of being a survivor of narcissistic behavior.