How to spot a narcissist? The truth is, narcissists can be really tricky to spot. Most narcissists know how to make themselves sound good and how to make you feel bad. It's easy to second-guess yourself around a narcissist. Have you ever found yourself going along with a narcissists games, thinking “Maybe I'm the one in the wrong?” “Maybe I'm just crazy”. It's easy to start making excuses for a narcissist – and if you don't, they'll come up with one for you.
With that said, narcissists can be identified if you use the right methods. Like you can see in the chart above, narcissists have many obvious tells that are easy to recognise when you can reflect on a situation carefully.
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What is a narcissist?
Before I start, let's begin with the basics. What is a narcissist? The term narcissist was coined with inspiration from the myth of Narcissus, who rejected all love invitations because he was already in love with himself. Now, first of all, there's a difference between being self-absorbed and being a narcissist. We can all be a little self-obsessed at times. You're only a narcissist if you can show a pathological, long-term pattern of self-obsession, and if your behaviour is making it impossible for you to function in a healthy way in relationships. So how to spot a narcissist?
My 5 Steps To Spot a Narcissist
So how can you spot a narcissist? I will show you five simple tricks that will make it really easy for you to recognise any narcissist quickly.
#1 They Never Drop Their Guard
If you want to have good conversations with a person, you'll want them to first drop their guard. Conversations flow better when you can have honest, open conversations without any pretense. You'll notice that narcissists are pathologically unable to drop or loose their guard. They'll always want to one-up you, they'll be afraid of looking bad, and they'll use excuses.
You'll notice a distance between the two of you that is impossible to bridge. You can try by softening yourself up, making a self-deprecatory joke, or by doing something to put them at ease. The thing is, with a narcissist, it won't have any effect. Even genuine compliments will be met with suspicion. Still, that's not nearly as bad as #5. I'll show you why in a bit.
#2 They're not interested in you
You're not interesting to a narcissist. They're not going to be asking honest or open questions about you or what you like or what you value in life. When you're with a narcissist, you'll find that they're constantly trying to get you to compromise or make more space for them. If they talk about your interests or values, it's only in relation to how problematic or annoying your values are to them. Somehow, you being interested in a subject is annoying to the narcissist.
Narcissists take little time to think about what you want when they make decisions. In the end, they'll settle for what they want to do. If they are forced to compromise, they'll compromise, but they'll make you regret it every step of the way, by constantly complaining about how annoying it was for them to have to make a compromise.
#3 They're not sympathetic to you
It's a healthy sign to be able to see the other person's point of view in a conflict. It's natural to get upset at other's at times, and we're all human, and humans can be annoying and conflicts can even be healthy at times. Still, when we get some distance, it's natural to start processing and seeing the other person's side. Most of us have some degree of empathy and can understand and respect you for having another opinion and viewpoint. A narcissist, however, cannot. Narcissists are not sympathetic to you or anything you value or believe.
#4 They're inconsistent
Narcissists only value rules and order when it's beneficial to them. They'll have one value or one belief in one moment, and another in the next. As a narcissist, values and laws are only referenced when it's convenient for the narcissist. Sometimes, to spot a narcissist you need to get context into their decision making process. Do they honour principles and agreements? Do they hold themselves to the same values and expectations that they expect from you? Would they make the same decisions if you didn't monitor or hold them accountable for their actions?
#5 They're neurotic
Let's not forget – narcissists are not healthy people. They're generally very neurotic individuals. A narcissist is constantly suspicious of everyone they interact with. They are quick to disagree or become angry by small or perceived criticisms or slights. They're constantly on guard for what you will say or do next. Being a narcissist is something pathological and narcissists find it almost impossible to form healthy and long-term relationships with other people.
How To Spot A Narcissist Using The MBTI
What MBTI type is more likely to be a narcissist? Following the Big 5 model, a narcissist is generally someone introverted, low on openness, low on agreeableness, low on conscientiousness and high on neuroticism.
In the MBTI, ISTPs that are high on Turbulence (Neuroticism) would meet some of the basic conditions of a narcissist. It would not be enough to be an ISTP to qualify as a narcissist. Like I said earlier, a narcissist is someone with a pathological problem. Someone with a cognitive impairment that keeps them from functioning as a normal human being.
I would therefore conclude that it would take an ISTP or similar type, that has had severe traumas in their early childhood that kept them from forming healthy attachments to other people.
Check out this video I made on narcissists and empaths!