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Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

March 19, 2018


Since the election of Donald Trump there has been a lot of talk in the news about mental health and narcissism. What is a narcissist? How would you know if you had one in your life. Statistically speaking only 6 percent of the general population meets the criteria for Narcissistic Personality disorder.


Those numbers increase in certain communities and professions. For example it is likely that there would be a higher percentage of narcissists in positions of power since power seeking is a hallmark trait of the disorder. It is also common to have some traits of narcissism without actually having the disorder.

So what does it take to be a full blown narcissist? Here is the diagnostic criteria:


A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood.


Person displays at least 5 of the following behaviors:


(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) 


Translation: Brags a lot and wants lots of praise


(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love 


Translation: Status or power hungry


(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) 


Translation: Behaves like a snob


(4) requires excessive admiration 


Translation: Needs lots of attention and is often "thin skinned."


(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations 


Translation: Thinks they are owed things


(6) is interpersonally exploitative


Translation: Social climbing and back-stabbing


(7) lacks empathy


Translation: Self centered and inconsiderate


(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her 


Translation: Green eyed monster


9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes


No translation required


Reprinted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Copyright 2000 American Psychiatric Association


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