10 Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors to Never Ignore

Here are the signs that often reveal NPD.

Understanding human behavior is critical to fostering better relationships and maintaining mental well-being. With Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), recognizing specific behaviors can significantly impact how you interact with individuals affected by this condition. By understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder behaviors, you can navigate these challenging relationships with greater empathy and effectiveness.

Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a complicated mental health condition. Those who live with it have a long-term pattern of exaggerated self-importance, a need for excessive admiration, and a lack of empathy. People with NPD often struggle in personal and professional relationships, thanks to their behavior. By learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder behaviors, you can better understand and manage interactions with those who have NPD.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors in Pop Culture

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors NPD

Several characters in pop culture and movies exhibit traits often associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) behaviors. Here are some notable examples:


  1. Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street”: Gordon Gekko, portrayed by Michael Douglas, epitomizes the traits of NPD. He displays grandiosity, a sense of entitlement, and manipulative behavior. His famous line, “Greed is good,” encapsulates his self-centered worldview and utter lack of empathy.
  2. Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada”: Meryl Streep’s character, Miranda Priestly, is a powerful fashion magazine editor with extreme arrogance. She also lacks empathy and a sense of entitlement. Her demanding and dismissive nature makes her a classic example of NPD in a professional setting.
  3. Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street”: Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Jordan Belfort showcases grandiosity, a constant need for admiration, and a manipulative personality. His excessive lifestyle and disregard for others’ well-being highlight key NPD behaviors.


  1. Don Draper in “Mad Men”: Jon Hamm plays Don Draper, a complex character who exhibits many NPD traits. His grandiosity, need for admiration, and manipulative behavior, coupled with a profound lack of empathy, create a compelling sketch of NPD.
  2. Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Universe: While not as extreme as some other examples, Tony Stark, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., exhibits several narcissistic traits. He is grandiose, needs admiration, and is arrogant. His character arc shows how these traits can be tempered over time.
  3. Lucille Bluth in “Arrested Development”: Jessica Walter’s character, Lucille Bluth, is a classic narcissist. She displays arrogance, a lack of empathy, and manipulative behavior. Her interactions with her family often highlight her sense of entitlement and need for control.


  1. Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Jay Gatsby is a character with grandiose fantasies and a need for admiration. His persona is built around impressing others and gaining the love and recognition he desires.
  2. Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë: Heathcliff exhibits many traits of NPD. These include a grandiose sense of self, manipulative behavior, and a deep-seated lack of empathy. His actions throughout the novel demonstrate his need for control and revenge.

These characters provide vivid portrayals of narcissistic traits, helping to illustrate how NPD can manifest in various settings and personalities.

10 Key Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors

These can reveal someone has NPD. 

1 – Grandiosity

One of the most prominent Narcissistic Personality Disorder behaviors is grandiosity. This behavior involves an inflated sense of self-importance and a constant need to be recognized as superior, even without achievements to support this belief.

Individuals with NPD might boast about their talents, exaggerate accomplishments, or fantasize about power and success. This grandiosity often leads to unrealistic expectations and can cause both frustration and disappointment for both the narcissist and those around them.

2 – Desiring Admiration

People with NPD have an unquenchable thirst for admiration and validation. They constantly seek approval and praise from others to reinforce their self-worth.

This behavior can present in various ways, such as fishing for compliments, monopolizing conversations, or becoming excessively competitive. The relentless pursuit of admiration can strain relationships, as the narcissist’s needs often overshadow the needs of others.

3 – Sense of Entitlement

A hallmark of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pervasive sense of entitlement. Individuals with NPD believe they deserve special treatment and expect others to cater to their desires.

This sense of entitlement can lead to unreasonable demands and an expectation that others will automatically comply with their wishes. When these expectations are not met, it can result in anger or aggressive behavior.

4 – Lack of Empathy

One of the most challenging Narcissistic Personality Disorder behaviors is the lack of empathy. People with NPD often struggle to recognize or understand the feelings and needs of others. This lack of empathy can make them seem cold, uncaring, or indifferent to the suffering of those around them.

It also makes it difficult for them to form genuine emotional connections. That leads them into superficial, self-serving relationships.

5 – Manipulative Behavior

Manipulation is a common tactic used by individuals with NPD to achieve their goals. They may use charm, deceit, or coercion to influence others and get what they want.

This manipulative behavior can be subtle or overt. Either way, it always serves the narcissist’s agenda. Recognizing and resisting manipulation can be difficult, especially if the narcissist is a close friend or family member.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors npd

6 – Arrogance

Arrogance is another significant trait associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. People with NPD often display arrogant behaviors and attitudes, believing they are superior to others.

This arrogance can manifest as condescending remarks, dismissive attitudes, or an unwillingness to consider others. Dealing with arrogance can be particularly challenging, often leading to conflict and resentment.

7 – Envy

Envy is a common emotion experienced by individuals with NPD. They may envy others’ success, possessions, or relationships and believe others envy them.

This envy can lead to feelings of bitterness and hostility. It can also mean attempts to undermine or sabotage those they perceive as threats. Understanding this behavior can help you navigate interactions with a narcissist more effectively.

8 – Preoccupation with Fantasies

Individuals with NPD often have elaborate fantasies about unlimited success, power, or love. These fantasies can be so vivid that they struggle to differentiate between their dreams and reality.

This preoccupation can lead to unrealistic expectations and an inability to cope with the challenges of everyday life. By recognizing this behavior, you can better understand the disconnect between a narcissist’s perception and reality.

9 – Interpersonal Problems

Maintaining healthy relationships can be difficult for individuals with NPD due to their behaviors. Their lack of empathy, need for admiration, and sense of entitlement can create constant tension and conflict.

Friends, family, and colleagues may find it exhausting to cater to the narcissist’s needs. As a result, the narcissist can have strained or broken relationships. Developing coping strategies, like setting boundaries and seeking support, can help manage these interpersonal challenges.

10 – Hypersensitivity to Criticism

People with NPD are often hyper-sensitive to criticism, reacting poorly to any perceived slight or negative feedback. This sensitivity can result in intense emotional reactions, including rage, shame, or humiliation.

They may also go to great lengths to avoid criticism, often deflecting blame or attacking the critic. Understanding this behavior can help you approach interactions with a narcissist more carefully, minimize conflict, and foster better communication.

How Do Psychiatrists Make a Diagnosis by Observing Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors?

Diagnosing Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a complex process that involves a detailed assessment by a mental health professional, typically a psychiatrist. NPD is one of several personality disorders within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and its diagnosis requires careful consideration of various factors. Here’s an overview of how a psychiatrist goes about diagnosing NPD:

Initial Consultation and History Taking

The first step in diagnosing NPD involves a thorough initial consultation. During this session, the psychiatrist will gather a comprehensive history of the patient’s mental health, including:

  • Personal History: The psychiatrist will ask about the patient’s life experiences, relationships, and overall functioning in various areas. They will want to learn about the person’s work, family, and social interactions.
  • Medical History includes past or present medical conditions, medications, treatments.
  • Psychiatric History: Information about previous mental health issues, treatments, and any family history of mental disorders.

Clinical Interview

Clinical interviews are a vital component in diagnosing NPD. During this interview, the psychiatrist will:

  • Observe Behavior: Note the patient’s demeanor, speech patterns, and interactions.
  • Ask Specific Questions: Inquire about the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors indicative of NPD. Questions may focus on their self-image, need for admiration, and their relationships.
  • Assess Symptoms: Evaluate the presence and severity of NPD symptoms based on the criteria outlined in the DSM-5.

Psychological Testing

While no specific laboratory tests exist for NPD, psychological assessments can provide valuable insights. These may include:

  • Personality Inventories: Standardized questionnaires designed to measure personality traits and identify patterns indicative of NPD.
  • Projective Tests: Techniques like the Rorschach Inkblot Test can help reveal underlying thoughts and feelings.

Collateral Information

Gathering information from people who know the patient well, such as family members, friends, or colleagues, can be crucial. This collateral information helps to provide a fuller picture of the patient’s behavior across different contexts.

Differential Diagnosis

A critical aspect of diagnosing NPD is differentiating it from other mental health disorders that may have overlapping symptoms. These can include:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Substance Use Disorders

The psychiatrist will carefully consider and rule out these conditions to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Functional Impairment and Distress

For a diagnosis of NPD, the symptoms must cause significant concerns in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Additionally, the behaviors must cause distress to the individual or those around them.

Diagnosing Narcissistic Personality Disorder involves a multifaceted approach that combines clinical interviews, observation, psychological testing, and collateral information. A psychiatrist uses the DSM-5 criteria as a guideline while considering the overall impact of the behaviors on the individual’s life. Accurate diagnosis is the key to developing an effective treatment plan, which often includes psychotherapy to address the underlying issues and improve interpersonal relationships. Understanding the diagnostic process can help demystify NPD and promote empathy for those affected by this challenging disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors

Final Thoughts on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors That Indicate Someone Needs Help

Understanding these ten Narcissistic Personality Disorder behaviors is crucial for managing relationships with individuals affected by NPD. Recognizing and empathizing with these behaviors can help you navigate interactions more effectively, set boundaries, and seek support when needed. Remember, individuals with NPD are still humans deserving of empathy, even when their behaviors are challenging. When you take a compassionate and informed approach, you can improve your relationships and promote mental well-being for yourself and those around you.


The post 10 Narcissistic Personality Disorder Behaviors to Never Ignore appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

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