5 Narcissistic Behaviors to Watch Out For

5 Narcissistic Behaviors to Watch Out For

You may find yourself wondering what narcissists do that you should watch out for.

This is because a lot of people make defining narcissism more difficult than necessary.

However, truth be told, if you find any of the behaviors that are mentioned in this article, then more than likely you're dealing with a narcissist.

So, here's what you should watch for.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021

Narcissists Have an Exaggerated Need for Attention and Validation

One of the things that lie at the heart of what narcissists do is the fact that they constantly need attention.

Their validation comes from other people, but even then this doesn't count for much.

Regardless of how much positive validation you provide, it's fleeting.

Many people find narcissists' need for validation intriguing because on the outside they're self-absorbed and brag about themselves a lot.

However, on the inside, they're very insecure and afraid they won't measure up.

So what narcissists do is they constantly seek your praise and approval to feed their ego.

Unfortunately, no matter how much of these things you provide, it'll never be enough for them.

Narcissists Really Need to Be in Control

signs of narcissismOne of the most typical signs of narcissism is how they try to control everything.

What narcissists do here is they become disappointed by life's imperfections, so they go out of their way to control as much as possible in their lives so it's to their liking.

When this is coupled with their sense of entitlement, it appears logical to them that they should be in control of everything.

The more you get to know a narcissist, the more you'll see that they view life as a story.

Each person is a "character" with roles regarding how they speak and act.

Anyone who doesn't behave in this way makes them feel very upset because their world has become unsettled.

In this world, you don't have your own thoughts or feelings because it's all about them.

Narcissists Have No Empathy

Narcissists are known for their lack of empathy.

This is because their selfish and self-involved which means they can't understand how others think or feel.

Instead, you're expected to think and feel like them.

Therefore you'll rarely hear them apologize, show remorse, or feel guilt.

Some narcissists also can't understand their own feelings and how they occur.

They believe that others are in control of these things instead of realizing that they depend on their biochemistry, thoughts, and interpretations of the world.

It's easy for them to act this way, especially when you don't follow their plan or you make them feel vulnerable.

This part of what narcissists do makes it difficult, if not impossible, to have a true emotional connection with them.

They simply never notice what other people feel.

Narcissists See Everything as a Threat

Narcissists are very attuned when it comes to perceiving rejection, threats, and anger from those around them.

What narcissists do with this that makes it so wrong is they tend to misread subtle facial expressions.

So, unless you're a very dramatic person they won't understand your feelings.

When they're on edge or angry and you apologize or tell them that you love them it'll frequently backfire on you.

This is especially true of sarcasm.

They won't believe you or understand that you're joking with them.

In fact, it's quite possible that they'll misperceive your comment as an attack.

All of this happens because they can't correctly read body language.

Of course, they also can't understand you feel differently than they do.

This is why they tend to respond wrong or become defensive frequently.

Deep Down Inside Narcissists Fear Being Rejected and Ridiculed

Another thing on the long list of what narcissists do is that they allow fear (e.g. fears of losing money, being attacked, being seen as bad, being viewed as inadequate, being abandoned) to motivate and energize their entire life.

Many people don't believe this because narcissists tend to deeply bury and repress their fears.

They do this because they don't want to be wrong, ridiculed, or, even worse, rejected.

Herein lies the real reason behind most of what narcissists do.

It stems from their difficulty in trusting others.

Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about this because the closer your relationship becomes, the more untrusting they'll become.

Some of this also stems from their fear of intimacy and vulnerability.

This specific fear stems from their fear that you'll see their imperfections and when this happens that you'll either judge or reject them.

It doesn't matter how much you try to reassure them, it won't make a difference.

This is because deep down inside, narcissists deeply hate the imperfections that they themselves are ashamed of.

Since they can't develop trust in your relationship what narcissists do is they'll continually test you by behaving worse and worse until they eventually find your breaking point.


While there are no direct signs that point out what narcissists do, hopefully now you'll have some idea of things to watch out for.

Even those of us who are in the psychology field have to base our diagnosis on the observations of people's behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics.

It's also important to remember that not all these traits have to be present to diagnose someone as being a narcissist.

However, if you feel that you're dealing with a narcissist in your life and need professional help and support, we want you to know that we're here for you at Overcomers Counseling.


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July 17th, 2024

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