NPD Characteristics & Traits

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious condition which affects an estimated 1% of the population. Narcissism is characterized by an extreme self-interest and promotion with an accompanying lack of concern for the needs of others.

Narcissism is named after the mythological Greek character Narcissus, an extremely handsome young man who rejected the love of Echo and, as punishment, was condemned to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to obtain he object of his desire, he died there in sorrow.

NPD Characteristics & Traits

The following list is a collection of some of the more commonly observed behaviors and traits of those who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Click on the links on each one for much more information about a particular trait or behavior and some ideas for coping with each.

Abusive Cycle – The Abusive Cycle describes the characteristic rotation between destructive and constructive behavior that typically exists in dysfunctional relationships and dysfunctional families.

Alienation – Alienation means interfering or cutting a person off from relationships with others. This can be done by manipulating the attitudes and behaviors of the victim or of the people with whom they come in contact. The victim’s relationships with others may be sabotaged through verbal pressure, threats, diversions, distortion campaigns and systems of rewards and punishments.

“Always” & “Never” Statements – “Always” & “Never” Statements are declarations containing the words “always” or “never”. They are commonly used but rarely true.

Anger – People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.

Baiting and Picking Fights – Baiting is the practice of generating a provocative action or statement for the purpose of obtaining an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another person.

Blaming – Blaming is the practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Bullying – Bullying is any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.

Cheating – Cheating is sharing a romantic or intimate relationship with somebody when you are already committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else.

Denial– Denial is believing or imagining that some factual reality, circumstance, feeling or memory does not exist or did not happen.

Dissociation– Dissociation, or disassociation, is a psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.

Divide and Conquer – Divide and Conquer is a method of gaining and advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.

Domestic Theft -Domestic theft is consuming or taking control of a resource or asset belonging to (or shared with) a family member, partner or spouse without first obtaining their approval.

Emotional Blackmail – Emotional Blackmail describes the use of a system of threats and punishments on a person by someone close to them in an attempt to control their behaviors.

Entitlement – Entitlement or a ‘Sense of Entitlement’ is an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.

False Accusations – False accusations, distortion campaigns & smear campaigns are patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticisms which occur when a personality disordered individual tries to feel better about themselves by putting down someone else – usually a family member, spouse, partner, friend or colleague.

Favoritism – Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a group of peers.

Frivolous Litigation and Frivolous Lawsuits – Frivolous Litigation and Frivolous Lawsuits are methods of withholding support, harassing or prolonging conflict by bringing unsubstantiated accusations, meritless appeals or diversionary process into a relationship or a former relationship using the court system as a proxy.

Gaslighting – Gaslighting is the practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight”.

Harassment – Harassment is any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior from one individual to another.

Hoovers & Hoovering – A Hoover is a metaphor, taken from the popular brand of vacuum cleaners, to describe how an abuse victim, trying to assert their own rights by leaving or limiting contact in a dysfunctional relationship gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior.

Impulsiveness and Impulsivity – Impulsiveness – or Impulsivity – is the tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.

Imposed Isolation – Isolation from friends, family and supportive communities is common among victims of abuse. Isolation is sometimes caused by an abusive person who does not want their victim to have close relationships with others who may challenge their behavior. Often, isolation is self-imposed by abuse victims, who out of a sense of shame or guilt, fear the judgment of others.

Intimidation – Intimidation is any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat.

Invalidation – Invalidation is the creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.

Lack of Conscience – Individuals who suffer from personality disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.

Lack of Object Constancy – A lack of object constancy is a symptom of some personality disorders. Lack of object constancy is the inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision. Object constancy is a developmental skill which most children do not develop until 2 or 3 years of age.

Narcissism – Narcissism is a term used to describe a set of behaviors characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, self-centered focus, need for admiration, self-serving attitude and a lack of empathy or consideration for others. The name comes from the Greek Mythological Character Narcissus, who rejected love from others and fell in love with his own reflection in the water. These characteristics are common in people who suffer from personality disorders, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Neglect – Neglect is a passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of an individual who is incapable of providing for themselves are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.

No-Win Scenarios – No-Win Scenarios and Lose-Lose Scenarios are situations commonly created by people who suffer from personality disorders where they present two bad options to someone close to them and pressure them into choosing between the two. This usually leaves the non-personality-disordered person with a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” feeling.

Objectification – Objectification is the practice of treating a person or a group of people like an object.

Parental Alienation Syndrome – Parental Alienation Syndrome is a term which is used to describe the process by which one parent, who is typically divorced or separated from the other biological parent, uses their influence to make a child believe that the other estranged parent is bad, evil or worthless.

Pathological Lying – Pathological lying is persistent deception to serve one’s own interests with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.

Proxy Recruitment – Proxy Recruitment is a way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing you up, speaking for you or “doing your dirty work” for you.

Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression – Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression are explosive verbal, physical or emotional elevations of a dispute. Rages threaten the security or safety of another individual and violate their personal boundaries.

Sabotage – Sabotage is the impulsive disruption of a calm or harmonious status quo in a relationship or domestic situation, occasionally perpetrated by those with Personality Disorders, in order to serve a personal interest, to provoke a conflict or to draw attention to themselves.

Scapegoating – Scapegoating is the practice of singling out one child, employee or member of a group of peers for unmerited negative treatment or blame.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia – Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia is the use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Self-Aggrandizement – Self-Aggrandizement is a pattern of pompous behavior, boasting, narcissism or competitiveness designed to create an appearance of superiority.

Shaming – The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.

Stalking – Stalking is any pervasive and unwelcome pattern of pursuing contact with another individual.

Testing – Testing is the practice of repeatedly forcing another individual to demonstrate or prove their love or commitment to the relationship.

Thought Policing – Thought Policing is any process of trying to question, control, or unduly influence another persons thoughts or feelings.

Threats – Threats are written or verbal warnings of intentional, inappropriate, destructive actions or consequences.

Tunnel Vision – Tunnel Vision is the habit or tendency to only see or focus on a single priority while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.

Credit is respectfully given to the author of this information at

  1. My narc. was also a racist. But for her socail mask, they were her feinds, but mainky only saw her when she cuase be of use to her and only for her shortsighted goals. Most ppl she used. Ahe rarely gave back. She woukd give 1st with ppl she wanted something from. Right after she gave, she expected 10 times in return. These friends did not last long and every time when the freindship ended, She did not only burn the bridge in the relationship, She dropped a nuke on the bridge.


  2. My relationship started off so perfect he was the perfect man he loved everything about me always gave me 100% of his attention. He wanted me to be his wife,go on trips together. I was so happy, we were so happy…one day it all stopped. He started calling me names,told me I’m delusional, I was all of a sudden to clingy, used my secrets I told him about myself against me to hurt me. He would go days without contacting me then out of the blue he would act like nothing was wrong and when I would talk to him about my feelings he accused me of playing games with him.
    Am I correct that he is a narcissist or am I crazy????


  3. Biggest lesson and blessing I’v gotten was the knowledge that they are fake! The person I fell in love with didn’t exist. That person was mirroring me! I fell in love with my image. the difference between me and she is I’m real and she was acting! Playing a role, her shenanigans only worked because I am a loving individual. I have a ‘self’ she doesn’t. I’m not losing a relationship, I getting myself back. She want’s me gone AFTER I saw her mask fall off! Wow! life lessons.


  4. Reading some of this has suddenly hit home. I don’t believe how he has gone undetected for so many years. The adored son, the ‘loving’ husband, fantastic father, local celebrity, the wonderful man who everyone loves…
    Who’d have believed the things he did behind closed doors, the control and manipulation, the lies, scapegoating, shaming and humiliating, all so his victim, his child would NEVER tell the outside world the truth. After all, she was the only one who ever really knew the real monster behind this man’s facade. But she is known as the local dumbo, a liar, a disappointment and trouble maker… He is safe now, everyone still loves him, he has won.


  5. same… dealt with it for over 10 years, only to have it get much worse after I put my foot down and left. Now, 6 years after the split, he’s finally leaving me alone (although he says he doesn’t communicate with me about our kids because I don’t and still makes shitty little comments to the kids), and he’s now living with another woman who has two kids of her own. I hope and pray he’s grown up and can have a better relationship with her then we did, especially for all the kids, but I’m afraid that he’ll slide back into the old ways and she’ll end up stuck like I was. Her and I don’t communicate at all, I’m sure he’s told her I’m the psycho one, and I don’t want to come off as the bitter ex trying to start shit. He does seem like he’s doing better, maybe he’s grown up? Maybe he’s realized? Or could it be that he wants to be better for her? Is it even possible for a narcissist to change, or is the demon just hiding in the closet for now?


  6. I am suffering from a vast amount of the said emotions articulated in these definitions, not because I am but because I think I am in a relationship divided by NPD. I have strong thoughts and was a stable at least think I still have a stable personality, I do however understand that being exposed to the verasciousness of the narcissistic personality in which has literally made me totally confused. I don’t get it, I’m strong I see it but no one else does I don’t know what to do but use my strengths and pychology background to keep me out of total destruction. If I weren’t smart enough I would be underground by now, but because of my vast pyscholbackground it keeps me above water. Only I fear, I am becoming, acting, feeling of anguish, mistrust anyone around me, misinterpret and question if I heard or saw it for REAL, and confused as hell if I’m losing it. I really need to hear from a professional if there’s anyone out there who can help (caz honesty not the conversation I can have with my father who is a PHD in Psychology and Human Sexuality)…I’m driving myself insane by to the NPDs around me (hence his family) and I need to protect my children from it. Help please…? I know who I am so I want myself back.


  7. This is my boss!


  8. This is him… everything. The hoover, the gaslighting, tunnel vision… wow. I am trying tk get away from “him” but it’s so hard, I love him but this is all him to a T.


    • You love him because when he shows “live” to you it’s merely a mirror of the characteristics you’ve shown him but not the genuine love from himself. It’s harsh and hard to digest, but he isn’t capable of love for others.


  9. Wow… Thats what I lived with apart from the cheating (that I know of)…6 months out of it, still pure hell… Hell bent on destroying me in every sense… 😦 I just want peace and quiet


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