If you have had the realization that you might be a narcissist, then congratulations on your honesty. It can be extremely difficult for a true narcissist to be able to see or acknowledge it in themselves. Let’s skip the endless lists, and I’ll get right to the heart of what I’ve noticed to be the key identifier of a true narcissist.
A true narcissist has a very difficult time accepting and acting on valid criticism. Narcissists have extreme difficulty remembering instances when they were wrong, or made a mistake. Likewise, they will almost never openly take the blame for problems of their making.
The biggest challenge of overcoming narcissism is that we can’t trust our own minds to steer us rightly. Read on for a simple test that help you can trust, as well as links to other resources you can use to help you improve life and your relationships.
How to Tell if You Are a Narcissist
The first thing to realize about narcissists, is that generally, they are not at fault for the condition that they find themselves in. Most narcissists have developed in part due to events in their childhood. But, ultimately, narcissists have so much to gain by realizing and addressing their situation in terms of improvement in their relationships and quality of life. Non-narcissist feel better than narcissists on a daily basis.
Here is an exercise to help you determine if you are a narcissist.
- Take out a piece of paper and pen, or open a blank computer file
- Write down five times that you were wrong, or made a mistake
- Then, write down how you changed to not make the mistake again in the future, and how you corrected the mistake
If you aren’t even able to get past step 2, then you are a good candidate for having some form of narcissistic tendencies. Remember, these mistakes can be as major or minor as you like.
In cases of only mild narcissism, you may be able to get to step three, but have trouble finding times when you allowed your mistake to be known. Even if you redressed the problem in the end, if you took steps to protect your identity or shift the blame to others, then you likely have some level of narcissistic tendencies.
For more detailed descriptions of what a narcissist acts like, check out my article here:
I’m Still Not Sure I’m a Narcissist
As a narcissist, the reason it can be difficult to be sure if you are a narcissist or not is because your mind has developed the ability to block out any facts or events that are obvious to everyone else.
One short funny video that demonstrates this quite well is skit where two German soldiers realize they might not be on the “side of good.” By the end, they realize there are obvious symbols all around them that they just hadn’t noticed before.
For those with psychological conditions, coming to realize that we might not be the force good that we hope to be can be a hard fact to come to grips with. But, the sooner we are able to face facts, the better our future looks. No matter what our story is, in the end reality tends to win out.
Ultimately, the only way that we can improve ourselves is through self-knowledge and introspection. There is a reason that the first step in AA and other 12-step programs is to admit that you were wrong. Without radical truth, there can be no recovery.
How Do I Get Better?
Having determined that you may need to improve is a huge first step, but you will probably need help to stay the course.
For a list of resources to help you with your journey, including books, courses, and opportunities for coaching, check out our resources page.