When you first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can feel like you see them everywhere. You can feel like every person you pass on the street is a narcissist. Most people wonder if we’re paranoid or if they really are everywhere. It’s very normal! This post is about some red flags to help you discern narcissists from normal people quickly.
Narcissists are predators, which means they have a predatory look about them. They study people intently. The predatory studying they do isn’t usually something glaringly obvious. There is something about the way they look at you that makes you uneasy, almost as if they’re looking through you. My mother did this. If I gained or lost as little as 2 or 3 pounds, she noticed. If I trimmed my hair slightly, she noticed. It always felt creepy how she noticed even the tiniest of details.
What you say means nothing to a narcissist. They prove it by talking non stop without letting you get a word in edgewise or interrupting constantly when you talk. (Some folks who interrupt only do so because they don’t want to forget things, but they aren’t rude. They also don’t act as if what you say isn’t important & they’re entitled to talk over you). If by some chance you do get a sentence in, they will turn it around to themselves. If you mention that you had a kidney stone last week, the narcissist will interrupt to tell you about how she had one in 1995, in all its yukky detail.
In fact, if you do mention something about yourself, it will be a contest with a narcissist. Your kidney stone wasn’t as painful as the one that she had in 1995. In fact, no one has ever experienced that kind of pain that she did. You just bought a new car? The narcissist has a nicer & more expensive one that is better for the environment to boot.
Narcissists can be extremely moody. They can go from hot to cold back to hot in a matter of 60 seconds. While everyone has mood swings from time to time, no one can rival a narcissist in how quickly or destructive those mood swings can be. They can be engaged in a friendly conversation, then suddenly turn ice cold, leaving their victim completely confused when suddenly they “thaw” back out & return to acting friendly. And, as the icing on the cake, they act like this behavior is totally normal. If you were to mention their behavior, chances are excellent the narcissist would deny this even happened.
Many narcissists love shock value, especially if they feel they aren’t getting the attention they deserve. They may suddenly interrupt a conversation to start talking about a dark topic of conversation such as details of how a serial killer murdered his victims, the Holocaust or even the occult. Anything that gets a narcissist attention is a good thing, as far as they’re concerned, so uncomfortable topics work very well for them.
Narcissists often exaggerate their mannerisms somehow. They may use exaggerated mannerisms with their body language, or they may speak with a very loud voice at all times, even in quiet situations. These mannerisms garnish them attention. People naturally notice who is speaking with such a loud voice even when they aren’t a part of the conversation. Or, for people in the conversation, they automatically notice the loud person or the one who is moving around a great deal.
Narcissists often love gossip. Even upon just meeting you, they may fill you in on the latest happenings. If you’re new to the place where the narcissist works, she will fill you in on the latest office gossip. She may even let you know just what her neighbors are up to. The fact you never met them is irrelevant.
Beyond these signs, you need to listen to your instincts. If something feels “off” about the person you just met, pay attention to that feeling. It’s there for a reason! Watch this person closely & the truth will show itself pretty quickly. The truth always has a way of making itself known.