What is Narcissism?

What is Narcissism

                                                  Matt S Aug 27th 2016 Part 4

The photo that I have used to head this article is also a good representation of Narcissism and it just so happens that this image captures a face of two halves. There is the red evil half of the face and the normal half. What struck me about the normal half is that it is still not entirely normal or innocent. As per my last article narcissists are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They try to present as normal or innocent, but the cover or façade slips to reveal their true nature at some point.

In my last article (Part 3 – Considering Deliberate Evil) I started to describe some of the behaviours of narcissistic people and what you might expect to see in the way they behave toward others.

I want to start by saying very clearly that we can all have some of the behaviours, and being self centred and selfish at times does not make us narcissists. Some people can be selfish a lot of the time but are not necessarily narcissists. Having some of these behaviours some of the time is part of having a sin nature, it is when people have a lot of these behaviours most of the time (as listed in Part 3) and show unremorseful selfish behaviour, this might indicate that they are narcissistic.

There is a list of criteria (as listed below) that is used by Mental Health professionals to diagnose narcissistic personality disorder. This information can be found in the DSM manual which is used for diagnosis and insurance company purposes. Although these12 criteria are certainly reasonably accurate, if you know about narcissism you will know that there is much much more to narcissism than just this list. (Below are the criteria listed in the DSM manual).

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance

  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it

  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents

  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people

  • Requiring constant admiration

  • Having a sense of entitlement

  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations

  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want

  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you

  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

What is now being recognised by a considerable number of both professional and non-professional people, on internet forums and websites that are dedicated to understanding and blogging about narcissism (and related disorders), is that narcissism is a more complex and varied behaviour disorder. From my perspective we are all very different, and it stands to reason that narcissism will also come in many shapes, shades, and forms.

If you are familiar with narcissism you will know that it comes with a very ugly side and to call it evil is well justified. The reason it disturbs me so much (and I am very disturbed by it) is that it causes so much chaos and strife. Narcissists seem to be able to create a good deal of havoc and then just leave it and move on to creating the next piece of havoc and chaos, meanwhile blaming the victim for creating it, (and they are often very convincing in the way they blame the victim).

If you have done some internet research on narcissism you will sometimes hear people talk about the ratio of men and women that are narcissistic. There is a claim that comes up often that around 75% narcissists are men. I am not certain how people have reached this figure, as it has never been explained clearly. I am going to say that I believe that in my estimation that it is closer to a 50/50 split. The reason that I say this is that I have known a lot of narcissists and the ratio has always been around 50/50 from my perspective. The reason I think that people say that there are more men with narcissism is that they may only see the overt (out there) narcissistic male and fail to see the more covert female narcissist, but I will leave discussing the different types of narcissism for another article. (And yes I do believe that genders present differently with narcissism)

Here is a list of informal characteristics and behaviours taken from the Narcissistic Abuse website. There are many websites that list these types of informal behaviour and characteristics but what I find is that they are much more extensive than the criteria used by Mental Health Professionals to diagnose narcissism. I know these lists are long but they will give a really good idea of the behaviour and characteristics of narcissism. (I will stress again that we all have some of these behaviours some of the time, but you will see most of these behaviours grouped persistently with true narcissistic personalities shown over a period of time).

These characteristics apply to males and females

1. Self-centered. His needs are paramount.

2. No remorse for mistakes or misdeeds.

3. Unreliable, undependable.

4. Does not care about the consequences of his actions.

5. Projects faults on to others. High blaming behavior; never his fault.

6. Little if any conscience.

7. Insensitive to needs and feelings of others.

8. Has a good front (persona) to impress and exploit others.

9. Low stress tolerance. Easy to anger and rage.

10. People are to be manipulated for his needs.

11. Rationalizes easily. Twists conversation to his gain at other’s expense. If trapped, keeps talking, changes the subject or gets angry.

12. Pathological lying.

13. Tremendous need to control situations, conversations, others.

14. No real values. Mostly situational.

15. Often perceived as caring and understanding and uses this to manipulate.

16. Angry, mercurial, moods.

17. Uses sex to control

18. Does not share ideas, feelings, emotions.

19. Conversation controller. Must have the first and last word.

20. Is very slow to forgive others. Hangs onto resentment.

21. Secret life. Hides money, friends, activities.

22. Likes annoying others. Likes to create chaos and disrupt for no reason.

23. Moody – switches from nice guy to anger without much provocation.

24. Repeatedly fails to honor financial obligations.

25. Seldom expresses appreciation.

26. Grandiose. Convinced he knows more than others and is correct in all he does.

27. Lacks ability to see how he comes across to others. Defensive when confronted with his behavior. Never his fault.

28. Can get emotional, tearful. This is about show or frustration rather than sorrow.

29. He breaks woman’s spirits to keep them dependent.

30. Needs threats, intimidations to keep others close to him.

31. Sabotages partner. Wants her to be happy only through him and to have few or no outside interests and acquaintances.

32. Highly contradictory.

33. Convincing. Must convince people to side with him.

34. Hides his real self. Always “on”

35. Kind only if he’s getting from you what he wants.

36. He has to be right. He has to win. He has to look good.

37. He announces, not discusses. He tells, not asks.

38. Does not discuss openly, has a hidden agenda.

39. Controls money of others but spends freely on himself.

40. Unilateral condition of, “I’m OK and justified so I don’t need to hear your position or ideas”

41. Always feels misunderstood.

42. You feel miserable with this person. He drains you.

43. Does not listen because he does not care.

44. His feelings are discussed, not the partners.

45. Is not interested in problem-solving.

46. Very good at reading people, so he can manipulate them. Sometimes called gaslighting.

That is quite a list, but in some ways it is a much more informal and accurate description of how a narcissistic person behaves than described in the DSM diagnostic criteria . There are even more extensive lists and descriptions of narcissistic behaviours on other websites that are drawn from peoples personal experiences of narcissism, and I will include references to these in later articles. In future I will also go into some of the specific types of ways that narcissists manipulate other people/victims and how to recognise these manipulative behaviours .

In short, if you are not familiar with this type of person, you will be getting the idea that we are dealing with someone who is at their core, very selfish. If you are wondering if there is a purpose to this, there is. I will get to that in time, but first I need to build you a picture in order to give a clear understanding of this personality disorder, and what it may in reality represent.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that you may be learning something from this as there is plenty more to come. God bless you.


I managed to stop the article going to the webpage just in time to include a practical learning exercise for you to do, here is a news story that came to my attention just this morning. I would like you to read it and compare the person who is the subject of the article and the lists of characteristics above and see what conclusion you reach!!

Here is the URL below for you to do your practical exercise.