Being a narcissist and having the traits of a narcissist are two different things. The clinical definition of a pure narcissist is different from that of someone who processes particular narcissistic traits.
To better understand the narcissists, we would first have to delve into how the person develops to become one.
According to George, F.R and short, D., NPD involves long-term sequences of the abnormal behavior patterns. This type of personality disorder involves inflated self-importance feelings, along with an excessive need for all the admiration combined with a lacking for understanding of the feelings of other people.
Considering the evolutionary point of view, self-interest has a lot of survival value itself. Caring about oneself has opened up the way for humans to survive the horrendous conditions that it has been through. On the contrary, the excess of anything is devastating and having too much self-interest leads to selfish and narcissistic behavior.
Erich Fromm, who is a humanistic philosopher and a social psychologist, describes narcissism as a quintessence of the society’s evil.
A classic narcissist
Being a German-born Jew, Fromm escaped Nazi Germany back in the days. He believed that Adolf Hitler was the perfect depiction of malignant narcissism. It was later confirmed in research in the year 2017 that Adolf Hitler suffered from NPD amongst numerous other disorders.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder was made a part of the psychiatric disorder’s “Bible” DSM back in the year 1980. The information about this type of personality disorder was not readily available and people were often labeled as “self-aggrandizing.”
In the year 1987, there were alterations in the DSM diagnostic model. This shift in the paradigm led to more clarification on the NPD. NPD is defined by DSM-III-R as a disorder that involves “…imaginations of endless power, beauty, success, brilliance, and the search for an ideal love along with envious feelings.”
Although the criteria to diagnose and define the NPD as a disorder has altered over the last 40 years, narcissists show a particular set of features over time. These are the major dimensions that pure narcissist shows:
1- Narcissists feel entitled
A person who believes that they deserved to be treated specially and hence they expect to be treated that way is a narcissist. They think that they ought to have the best that life has to offer. What’s surprising is that these people have done nothing to deserve all the attention that they expect.
An unruly entitlement sense is how they have enormous lacking self-awareness displays up. For instance, for a narcissist, it’s becoming increasingly uncommon to keep up with the boss’s demands, demanding people for favors or even treating random people badly.
2- They live on other’s admiration
Researches reflect that people having more and more narcissism traits frequently requires a lot of admiration. When the narcissistic people get involved in intimate relations, they are more like to display a heightened level of inappropriate behavior if they haven’t received enough admiration.
The avid needs of admiration, approval, attention, and adoration are often labeled as their “supply.” Psychologists believe that this supply is the manifestation of the person’s futile attempts to fill the void of the traumas they have suffered in their lives.
3- They can’t empathize with people
A factor that differentiates a narcissist from other people is that they lack empathy. Empathy is the ability to share and understand fellow being’s feelings.
The low level of empathy in the narcissists leads to more volatile emotions in close relations. These include aggression and anger. Having low empathy levels, they also cause toxicity in the working environments.
4- They often act superior
People suffering from NPD tend to over exaggerate their abilities, skills, and merits. They commonly overstate their relations with significant people to “succeed.” The delusional sense of grandiosity additionally manifests their interpersonal skills of communication. Their messed-up superiority sense further leads to the often manifestation of their conversation monopolization.
Another aspect of their misdirected perceptions is a dignified delusion. This means that if the active situation doesn’t go hand to hand with their goals and what they want, they create a fantasy world in their minds to satisfy their self-esteem.
5- Often too sensitive
The NPD-affected people are not too good at handling the criticism that they face. Whether it is lighthearted and not too offensive, they are extremely sensitive and affected by it greatly.
This sensitive side of the narcissists is also visible in the form of their anger and rage. They often get agitated when things don’t go out the way they want it to. This means that the problems are often escalated as a result of their actions. In addition to that, they face numerous problems to get used to the society that doesn’t work the way they want.