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  • Writer's pictureAnneka Barrett

How to spot a narcissist

I’ve written a few blogs recently on boundaries and how we protect our boundaries from boundary invaders. What if there was someone in your life who wasn't capable or willing to be respectful of your boundaries? Could you be dealing with a narcissist? The word narcissist conjures up an image of someone who bulldozes their way to getting what they want. For the past four years we’ve had a great example in Donald Trump.

Interestingly narcissism is classed as a listening disorder. Someone who is unable to hear, interpret and understand what others are saying in the social norms we operate in. There is a scale from low levels of narcissism to high levels. There are also two types, the extroverted narcissist, think Trump here. The extroverted narcissism is probably the one you are most familiar with, the person who has overt ideas of grandeur, the bulldozer who stops at nothing to get their own way. Who can’t understand when others don’t like their views. There is another type of narcissist, the introverted or covert narcissist. This one is harder to spot, often they have infiltrated your boundaries before you realise what’s happened. It is more subtle, they present as vulnerable, often hypersensitive, in need of your ‘help’. Once they have established themselves in your life they are like a vampire, latching on and bleeding you emotionally dry.

Do you think you may have a narcissist in your life? Take a look below at six key behaviours they present with.


A narcissist will continue to take in a relationship while you keep giving. It can often feel like things are one sided, or someone who wears you down.

2. They find a way to make everything about themselves.

We all want to talk about ourselves from time to time, that’s natural. A narcissist will find a way to stear every conversation, topic or event to focus on them at the centre of the narrative. Be mindful this may not be in a boasting fashion they may try to be emotionally manipulative with it.

3. They tend to make grand statements or gestures to assert a sense of power and dominance.

I would refer you to Donald Trump's twitter account for examples of the outlandish and extroverted. The introverted narcissist will project how hurt or hard done by they are to gain attention.

4. They will manipulate and push until they get what they want.

There are no lengths a narcissist will stop at to get what they want. They can be relentless and in some cases pathological in order to achieve their goal. This can be through charm and charisma, making you seem like you are the centre of the world. Or they may make it out like you are the one who has wronged them in order to get you to apologise and submit to their way of thinking.

5. A narcissist will tend to use aggressive language and will say just about anything to maintain power. They are always right. They do not understand the concept of being wrong.

6. They LOVE to violate your boundaries and break your rules. This is part of their game to assert dominance and build their image of superiority.

Someone with narcissistic tendencies may display all or some of these characteristics. It’s important to remember there is a little narcissist in all of us, there is nothing wrong with needing attention. If you do recognise someone who displays a lot of these characteristics all the time however, it may be worth thinking about the nature of your relationship with this person, and if they are taking too much from you. If they are, what is it you want to do about that? I’ve written on boundaries and saying no which could be a great next step for you.

Remember whatever you are going through you aren’t alone.

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