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Are You a Narcissist? Here Are 7 Things You Should Ask Yourself

Men's Health Logo By Isadora Baum of Men's Health | Slide 1 of 8

Are You a Narcissist? Here Are 7 Things You Should Ask Yourself

Do you have a healthy dose of high self-esteem— or an actual personality disorder?

You're generous. You're highly sociable. And when you meet new people, you make a damn good first impression, if you say so yourself. But underneath all of that external charm and hearty dose of self-esteem, you might actually be a narcissist.

Named after the Greek hero Narcissus, who famously fell so in love with his face in a reflecting pool that he drowned in it, narcissistic personality disorder (or NPD for short) is defined by more than just self-love. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), narcissistic personality disorder is defined by a "grandiose sense of self-importance," "a need for excessive admiration," and "a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success [and] power," among other symptoms.

“These people have no awareness and no insight into what they do, meaning they feel no guilt or remorse from their actions," says Miami-based psychotherapist Whitney Hawkins, LMFT. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 6% of the population has NPD, and it is slightly more common among men.

It's important to note that there's a distinction between people with narcissistic tendencies and those who have narcissistic personality disorder. Unlike people in the former camp, who might just suffer from an inflated sense of self-esteem, people with NPD often struggle with a less stable sense of identity. "Underneath this tough, boastful exterior is often a very fragile individual who cannot handle criticism or judgment,” she says.

Narcissistic personality disorder also tends to manifest itself at an early age. “Narcissism can stem from childhood if the person was either overly pampered or overly criticized. They may be struggling with insecurity, low self-esteem or jealousy. And so in order to combat these feelings they may try and put themselves on a pedestal in an attempt to make themselves feel better,” explains NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW.

It's crucial to note that NPD is a clinical diagnosis, so if you recognize many of the following traits in yourself, it's worth speaking to a therapist and seeking treatment. But if you suspect you might be a narcissist (or that you might be dating one), here are 7 common early warning signs.

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