“If you’re asking yourself, am I a narcissist? You’re not.” This is simply not true.
Nor is it true that across the board, those afflicted with NPD can never become self-aware or change. Narcissism is a spectrum disorder. Those on the mid-lower end of the spectrum do have the ability to become self-aware and learn to change. But only if they genuinely want to change.
If you think you may have “fleas” from growing up with a narcissistic parent, you may actually have the disorder. In fact, according to The Everything Guide to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, research shows that 68 percent of children of parents with personality disorders have the same disorder, “Approximately two-thirds of the children of parents who were diagnosed with NPD, for example, have NPD themselves.”
Research shows two-thirds of children with an NPD parent have NPD themselves. Are you one of them?
While you may be able to recognize pathological narcissism in someone else, it’s not always easy to recognize in yourself. Ask yourself again, and this time reframe the question in ways that get to the heart of what narcissism feels and looks like to the disordered person.
30 Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Are you good at everything except relationships?
- Do you have trouble putting yourself in someone else’s shoes or feeling their feelings? See the difference between sympathy and empathy.
- Do you often find yourself in fast relationships – such as falling in love quickly or becoming immediate best friends–only for these relationships to fall apart just as quickly?
- Do you feel you must be perfect and beat yourself up when you’re not?
- Do you seek compliments and then feel uncomfortable when you receive them?
- Do you avoid asking others for help, or believe you don’t need others?
- Do you display many of the same behaviors or characteristics as your narcissistic parent?
- Are you uncomfortable showing vulnerability?
- Do you spend a lot of time “rehearsing” imaginary conversations or situations in your head?
- Do you often dominate conversations by talking about yourself?
- Do you often feel lonely or question if you’ve ever truly loved anyone – including emotionally shallow relationships with parents, siblings, grandparents, children, romantic partners, or pets?
- Do you come off as confident, but worry that if others get to know the real you, they won’t like you?
- Are you consumed with thoughts of what others think of you? Do you wonder why people seem not to like you?
- Do you seek the approval of others – even those you don’t necessarily like or respect?
- Do you have problems with addiction or self-medicate with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other drugs?
- When other people are talking, are you so busy thinking about how to respond and look engaged, that you miss what the other person said?
- Are you easily manipulated by others, often with flattery?
- Do you overstate the depth of your relationships to yourself or others? Do you often worry that you are more invested in your relationships than others are with you?
- Are you highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive? Do you find yourself engaging in hostile behavior, such as speaking to others with undue authority or being confrontational?
- Do you have trouble admitting when you’re wrong?
- Do you feel that “the rules” don’t apply to you or often find yourself expecting special treatment? (Not waiting in line, impatience, bending rules that aren’t convenient for you)
- Do you often assume the worst possible interpretation of a person’s given action toward you or believe others are “out to get you”? Doyou seem to often have a nemesis?
- Do you have problems recognizing or respecting “authority”?
- Are you quick to anger?
- Do you hold grudges for long periods of time?
- In romantic relationships, do you feel your partner fails to love you in “the right way”?
- As a child, adolescent or young adult, did you have behavioral issues such as poor impulse control, fits of rage, sexual promiscuity, trouble making or maintaining friendships, or other symptoms? (See Reactive Attachment Disorder)
- Do you lack tact?
- Do you find yourself constantly trying to “win” in personal relationships or arguments?
- Do you fear deep down that you are un-loveable?
If you answered yes to many of these questions, take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory test. Answer honestly and take the results seriously.
Lack of empathy is another telltale sign of some Cluster B personality disorders, including NPD. Take the Empathy Quotient test.
It may also be helpful to read the DSM definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. When reading, make sure to think of it in the context of your own behavior, not the behavior of a narcissistic parent or someone else you suspect has the disorder.