Lacks Empathy; is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
Often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her.
Inter-personally exploitative; takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends, manipulates situations and people.
Has a sense of entitlement, unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatments or expects automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
Anger or Rage at being called out on the slightest of imperfections or normal human missteps
The above list is the more common traits to look for, but there are a few more subtle traits you should be aware of.
Projected Feelings of Insecurity:
Narcissists say and do things subtle or obvious, that can make you feel less smart, less accomplished and less competent. It’s as if their passing their insecurity onto others as it’s to much for them to deal with. Picture the friend who always damns you with the compliment that doesn’t really feel like a compliment: “Pretty good job this time”.
Feelings are natural for most human beings, we tend to have lots of them in everyday interactions. Having feelings in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family and even the occasional failure or tragedy. Narcissists don’t like feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone outside of themselves. They often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own.
A High need for Control:
For the same reason narcissists often loathe the subject of feelings, they can’t stand to be at the mercy of other people’s preferences; it reminds them that they aren’t invulnerable or completely independent but, in fact, they might have to ask for what they want – and even worse yet people may not feel like meeting their request. Rather than ask for their needs or preferences, they often arrange events (and maneuver people) to orchestrate the outcomes they desire. In extreme form it can manifest as abusive, controlling behaviors. (Think of the husband who berates his wife when dinner isn’t ready as soon as he comes home. He lashes out precisely because at that moment, he’s forced to acknowledge that he depends on his wife, something he’d rather avoid.) As with most of these red flags, the efforts at control are often far more subtle than outright abuse. Keep an eye out for anyone who leaves you feeling nervous about approaching certain topics or sharing your own preferences. Narcissists have a way of making choices feel off limits without expressing anger at all – a disapproving wince, a last minute call to preempt the plans, chronic lateness whenever you’re in charge of arranging a night together. It’s more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom.
Another common trait is the habit of putting people on pedestals. The logic goes like this: “If I find someone perfect to be close to, maybe some of their perfection will rub off on me, and I’ll become perfect by association.”
A Fragmented Family Story:
Narcissism seems to be born of neglect and abuse, both are notorious for creating an insecure attachments style. But the fact that narcissists are deeply insecure gives us an easy way to spot them. Insecurely attached people can’t talk coherently about their family and childhood. Their early memories are confused, contradictory and full of gaps. Their childhood story makes no sense and the most common myth they carry around is the perfect family story.