What is narcissism?

Narcissism is a sense of extreme self-involvement to the degree that it makes a person ignore the needs of others around them. While every person may exhibit occasional narcissistic behaviour, true narcissists frequently disregard others or their feelings. They also do not understand the effect that their behaviour has on other people. Narcissism is a trait, but it can also be a part of a larger personality disorder. Not every narcissist has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), as narcissism is a spectrum. People who are at the extreme end of the spectrum are those that are classified as NPD, but others, still with narcissistic traits, may fall on the lower end of the narcissistic spectrum. There are two different types of narcissism:
  1. Grandiose Narcissism – often develops due to special treatment through childhood, this person feels superior and above others. The person may brag, act dominant, be self-confident and be insensitive
  2. Vulnerable Narcissism – usually the result of childhood neglect or abuse. People with this behaviour are much more sensitive. Narcissistic behaviour shields them against feelings of inadequacy. Even though they go between feeling inferior and superior to others, they feel offended or anxious when others don’t treat them as if they’re special [1].

Signs of narcissism

The signs of narcissism include a sense of entitlement, manipulative behaviour, need for praise, lack of empathy and arrogance [2].


People with narcissistic personality disorder may not want to think that anything could be wrong, so they may be unlikely to seek treatment. If they do seek treatment, it’s more likely to be for symptoms of depression, drug or alcohol use, or another mental health problem. But perceived insults to self-esteem may make it difficult to accept and follow through with treatment. If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, consider reaching out to a trusted doctor or mental health provider. Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable [1].

Related Content

To know more about this topic, check out episode#38 on DOTIVthepodcast titled “Understanding Narcissistic Abuse” with hosts Guni & Thasha and guest Daksha Hirani.


  1. Carleton, S. and Kelly, K., 2007. The narcissist. Fortitude Valley, Qld.: Playlab Press, pp.33-51.
  2. Wee, E., 2004. The narcissist. Singapore: Times Editions — Marshall Cavendish, pp.23-28.

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