“1. The person displays a complete lack of empathy for other human beings.
2. The person engages in boasting or attention-seeking behavior to the point that it is embarrassing.
3. The person “rages” when he/she doesn’t get his/her way or is questioned in any way”)
to identify any person with a Cluster B personality disorder. Of course when it comes to differentiating Cluster B or dramatic personality disorders (Narcissistic, Antisocial, Histrionic, and Borderline) from one another there are no set boundaries. A person with a Cluster B personality disorder is usually affected by a combination of all four to some degree.
However to exclusively distinguish a Narcissist (in addition to the) the best sign is their “fear of being judged“. They try to avoid judgment by any means necessary: by acting too nice, by acting as if they are above judgements, by dissing anyone who questions them, by constantly judging others, or even by reflecting their own iniquity on others. To a Narcissist their image, or should I say their image of their image, is the only thing that matters. (I say this because they tend to overestimate their image, after all how can anyone not adore their glorious presence?)
Their utter and complete lack of empathy is their most monstrous characteristic. Unfortunately, you will only find out about this when it’s too late: when you have become too close to them.
As a psychiatry prof of mine said at a psychology course I took when I attended Med school:
“This I should not be telling you, but I say it to all my students and all my residents. Always avoid a person with Narcissistic or Antisocial Personality Disorder, even as a patient!”
If you observe Narcissistic traits in anyone to a degree that you suspect NPD, my personal advice is to RUN! Do not try to diagnose their condition, do not try to get an insight into their behaviour, and certainly DO NOT TRY TO TREAT THEM! And if that person is not dispensable in your life (a parent, a sibling, a colleague, etc) keep a distance. From a distance some of them might even appear charming and pleasant! But there is a catch to this charm. This quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park describes it best: