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  • The Narcissist Next Door
    While overly confident, self-absorbed people have issues seeing themselves and the world correctly, that doesn’t necessarily mean the root issue is narcissism. So how can you recognize narcissism in others and yourself? Read >>
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The Narcissist Next Door

What you need to know to figure out just who in your life is a bona fide narcissist.

Your boss insists he’s never wrong, despite being borderline incompetent. Your neighbor is pretty sure she hung the moon. And your father longs for pats on the back and recognition that he’s a great dad. While you may want to slap the narcissist label on every one of these, such a decision may be misplaced. Because while overly confident, self-absorbed people have issues seeing themselves and the world correctly, that doesn’t necessarily mean the root issue is narcissism.

So how can you recognize narcissism in others and yourself?

Inside Narcissism

While you may be more likely to see the narcissist in others, everyone has a hint of this hated trait. Otherwise, you may never have the confidence to try new things, meet new people, or put on clothes and go to work. The real problem doesn’t come with drops of narcissism, but rather with an extreme case of narcissism.

Known as a narcissistic personality disorder, this level of narcissism takes self-confidence to otherwise unknown heights and is only displayed by approximately one percent of the population. Whereas most people dabble in narcissism in order to perform certain daily tasks, the narcissist may have such an overwhelming dose that the narcissism makes it difficult or impossible to perform daily tasks. That’s because every social interaction for the full-blown narcissist works against him. Instead of engaging in communication to learn about other people, the show is about one person: the narcissist. The focus is so tightly aimed at the narcissist that he has a notable lack of empathy and as a result struggles to have real, meaningful relationships.

Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms. - Elizabeth Bowen

Different Looks

While we may expect narcissists to claim to be the brightest, best looking, and most athletic, they don’t all look the same. In fact, some relish in being known as the kindest person anyone knows, the most giving, or most likely to volunteer for a local charity. But the narcissist doesn’t always see herself as best.

Some feel they are superior to others because of some cherished outsider status. Whether a misunderstood artistic genius, an unparalleled political thinker, or even the least attractive person around, these self-made titles—even when openly rebutted by others—serve as a sort of importance for the narcissist. Because others don’t recognize how brilliant, misunderstood, or lazy a narcissist is, everyone else is a moron, and the narcissist alone has any semblance of sense.

Surefire Signs

Though narcissism looks different in different people, you can catch one often by talking with him. That’s because every conversation is interrupted and ruled by the narcissist. When you happen to get a word in, the narcissist has to correct your incorrect views.

But it’s not just about having the last word and being the authority on every topic in conversation. It’s about being in control of absolutely everything. As a result, the person living with a narcissistic personality disorder may treat everything he comes in contact as his own. This can work out many ways. The narcissist may take your car to run errands without caring whether you offered it. She may eat food from your plate without asking, brag about ripping people off financially, make and break promises without a second thought, and shove the blame for consequences of such action on the victim.

Additionally, the narcissist may work day and night to maintain a certain image that he thinks forces people to admire him. He may also expect complete strangers to recognize him and give preferential treatment. And while a narcissist is often charming upon first contact, the sheen quickly goes away. This can result in abuse from the narcissist or being completely forgotten by the narcissistic individual.