Narcissist Warning Signs

The term “Narcissist” seems to be used frequently in conversation at the moment.  But what does ‘Narcissism’ really mean? Is the label being overused or taken out of context? As the buzzword of recent times, I thought it might be helpful to share this article to explore the truth behind Narcissism and identify some ‘Narcissist Warning Signs’…

Do you think you might know a Narcissist? Or perhaps someone around you seems to be displaying narcissistic tendencies? Or maybe you even relate to some personality traits yourself and wonder if you (or someone you love) need some support. To help guide you on the path READ ON to discover what the Narcissist warning signs are to look out for…

What does Narcissism mean?

In a nutshell. Narcissism is a personality trait characterised by an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. It’s not a one-size-fits-all trait though. It exists on a sliding spectrum and can manifest in varying degrees in different individuals. Many people may occasionally display certain Narcissistic behaviours  (which are common traits in humankind). But it’s only when an individual consistently keeps showing most of the Narcissist Warning Signs (listed below) and behaves in such an anti-social way (that it has a detrimental impact of their life and the lives of those around them) that they may be diagnosed with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). 

What causes Narcissism?

The exact cause of narcissism is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Parenting styles that overemphasize a child’s specialness and talents can contribute, as can early childhood trauma or neglect.

What is the impact of Narcissism?

Narcissism can have significant negative effects on relationships, work environments, and overall mental health. Those with high levels of narcissism or NPD often experience troubled relationships and difficulties in social and professional settings due to their behavior and attitudes and might benefit from professional help.

Where does the term Narcissist come from?

The term “Narcissist” is derived from the character Narcissus in Greek mythology. According to the myth, Narcissus was a young hunter known for his extraordinary beauty. His story, as recounted by the Roman poet Ovid in “Metamorphoses,” serves as a cautionary tale about vanity and self-obsession.

The Myth of Narcissus:

Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He was admired by many for his stunning looks, but he showed disdain and indifference toward those who loved him.

One of his admirers was the nymph Echo, who had been cursed by Hera to only repeat the words of others. When Echo tried to express her love for Narcissus, he rejected her, leaving her heartbroken.

As a punishment for his arrogance and lack of empathy, the gods cursed Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection. One day, he saw his image in a pool of water and became utterly entranced by it.

Unable to tear himself away from his reflection, Narcissus eventually realized that his love could never be reciprocated. Consumed by despair, he either wasted away or took his own life. In some versions of the myth, he transformed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus, as a symbol of self-love and vanity.

The story of Narcissus has been interpreted in various ways over time. It is often seen as a symbol of the dangers of excessive self-love and the inability to connect with others. In psychological terms, the myth of Narcissus inspired the concept of narcissism, a personality trait characterised by self-centeredness, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.

The myth of Narcissus remains relevant in contemporary discussions about personality and behavior. It serves as a reminder of the importance of empathy, humility, and the potential pitfalls of excessive self-absorption.

Tell-Tale Signs of a ‘Narcissist’…

Narcissist Warning Sign 1: Self-Absorption

This is probably the most well-known characteristic to look out for. While positive self-care and self-love are important and healthy qualities to nurture. Being so preoccupied and self-absorbed with yourself to the point that you exclude the outside world and the needs of others is not. The Narcissist often shows no consideration for the thoughts, feelings, or interests of others. Unless in some way it helps them. Just like their namesake, they keep peering in the mirror of life obsessed with themselves.

Narcissist Warning Sign 2: Grandiosity

The Narcissist may also display a tendency for Grandiosity or superiority .  While positive self-esteem is important and healthy. An inflated, or exaggerated sense of ego, self-importance or superiority is not. The Narcissist might even believe that they are so special that they should only associate with other ‘special’ or high-status people and ignore those they think are ‘beneath them’ in some way.

Narcissist Warning Sign 3: Arrogance

The Narcissist may also exhibit rude or arrogant behaviour. While positive self-belief is important and healthy. A rude, opinionated and haughty attitude is not. The Narcissistic individual often comes across as unpleasantly proud and behaves as though they know more than the other people around them. To prove their superiority and self-importance they may even feel compelled to outdo others to maintain their self-image. 

Narcissist Warning Sign 4: Sense of Entitlement

The Narcissist may also believe that they are more worthy, or deserving, than others in some shape or form. While high self-worth is important and healthy. Displaying an unattractive air of entitlement is not.  The Narcissist might even demand special treatment and expect others to automatically comply with their very every wish or whim!

Narcissist Warning Sign 5: Lack of Empathy

The Narcissist may also have difficulty recognising or caring about the feelings and needs of others. While high self-care is important and healthy.  Showing no consideration or empathy for those around us is not. The Narcissist always tends to prioritise themself first and foremost and often disregards or disrespects the feelings of others.

Narcissist Warning Sign 6: Manipulation

The Narcissist might even try and exploit others for their own personal gain. While high self-value is important and healthy. Trying to get ahead in life by manipulating or exploiting others is not.  The Narcissist might even engage in unscrupulous or unkind behaviour or activity to achieve their own ends and get what they want.

Narcissist Warning Sign 7: Need for Admiration

Another Narcissistic warning sign is the need for excessive attention and admiration from others. While positive inner self-acceptance is important and healthy. Constantly seeking external validation to affirm or sustain self-esteem is not. The Narcissist will often expect people to big them up and make them feel better. But will rarely give back to others.

Narcissist Warning Sign 8: Competitiveness

The Narcissist might also engage in very competitive behaviour as a way to prove their superiority. While positive self-empowerment is important and healthy. Trying to constantly outdo or belittle others to make yourself feel better is not.  Narcissists may even react with bitterness or resentment to the news of others’ success or even take pleasure in others’ misfortunes.

Narcissist Warning Sign 9: Envy

Envy is also a common sign of narcissism and is included in the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  While positive self-improvement is important and healthy. Trying to constantly compare yourself with others or being jealous of others’ success is not. Narcissists frequently feel envious of other people’s achievements, possessions, status, or relationships. And often believe that others are envious of them too.  They may even interpret any criticism or lack of admiration as envy from others.

Narcissist Warning Sign 10: Fragile Self-Esteem

Despite sometimes displaying arrogant and haughty behaviour, the reality is that Narcissists often have very fragile self-esteem. And are highly sensitive to criticism or perceived slights. Because of their desperate need for need for praise. They may even then react with rage or contempt to criticism or heaven forbid failure.

What is the best treatment for Narcissism?

Treatment for narcissism, particularly Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) often involves psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other therapeutic approaches can also help individuals develop healthier self-esteem, better empathy, and more adaptive interpersonal behaviours. However, because of the nature of the condition, those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) may not seek treatment unless they encounter significant life difficulties or pressure from loved ones. If you or someone you know would like to book a consultation with Jane at the Wisdom Room. Please contact me here.

Helpful Links:

This page lists organisations which may be able to offer further support…

Provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Victim Support
Provides emotional and practical support for people affected by crime and traumatic events.

Provides support 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
Provides free 24-hour helpline for women who have experienced domestic abuse and violence, with all female advisors.



As well as being a writer & creative, Jane Eggleton is an experienced and fully qualified Integrative TherapistClinical HypnotherapistNLP Practitioner and transformational Coach.

Jane is also the Founder and Director of the Wisdom Room: a holistic therapy practice that helps people from all walks of life, across the globe. Her personal passion is to help people reconnect with their own Inner Wisdom and release any hidden fears and her professional aim is to help clients regain their sense of well-being, quickly, safely, and in a sustainable, independent manner.

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