Three Factors That Distinguish Narcissistic Tendencies From Narcissistic Personalities

Three Factors That Distinguish Narcissistic Tendencies From Narcissistic Personalities

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Learning whether there is a difference between narcissistic tendencies and full-blown pathological narcissism is important for everyone.

We all possess the ability to be a little selfish at times, but that doesn’t mean we are a narcissistic personality. In addition, those we love and work with may also display self-obsessive traits that are only small parts of who they truly are, making it challenging to distinguish true narcissism from mere character flaws.

Successfully navigating the world of interpersonal relationships requires of us the ability to look deeper into the personalities of the people we spend time with. Fortunately, there are a few key similarities between narcissistic tendencies and true narcissistic personalities that can be easily spotted once understood.

True textbook narcissism exhibits the classic ‘center of attention’ behavior, producing anger and dramatic actions when demands are not met. Self-absorption, poor response to criticism, and perception of greatness are also prevalent in this type of personality. A narcissistic personality will not hear you or accept anything less than their superiority.

These deeply rooted “me” tendencies are different than someone who feels good about themselves and is a strong leader. When distinguishing between true narcissistic personality and self-absorbed or self-confident behaviour, observing frequency, intensity, and duration will help guide you to a better understanding.


A relatively easy task, determining the frequency of display of narcissistic traits will help determine if they are results of a person’s isolated mood or more deeply ingrained personality traits. Determining the incidents of isolated or infrequent narcissistic tendencies and relentless ongoing issues will help you gain needed perspective.


Objectively rate the scale of intensity of actions and traits. One way to do this is to count how many times a person talks about himself or herself in a conversation rather than listening to what you are also saying. Narcissists also not only speak about themselves more, but they are also hyper-focused on themselves, interjecting into any situation or conversation without regard to others.


If a person is merely confident, they are willing to hear suggestions of others and concede to dial back their behavior from time to time. A true narcissistic person will not budge, their behavior will continue in their superiority indefinitely. Not only will narcissists not hear you, but they also won’t believe your opinions of their behavior even if that behavior causes you great pain. There is no change in a narcissist’s behavior or outlook.

Fewer Narcissistic Traits Doesn’t Mean They’re Safer to Be With

A common mistake that victims of narcissistic abuse make is believing that if someone doesn’t check off all of the criteria on these checklists that they find online, they’re somehow safer to be with, and this is where I want to remind you that it only takes one pathological trait to completely destroy another person’s life.

An important fact about narcissism is that it falls into the Cluster-B category. So, if you believe you’re dealing with a narcissist, it’s highly likely that their narcissism is ‘clustered’ with something else. For example, you could be dealing with a narcissist who also has antisocial traits, or you could be dealing with a narcissist who has psychopathic traits, or a combination of all three. This why is why it’s often difficult to determine exactly which category they fall into because they don’t only fall into one. When you put them all together, you have a very dangerous individual.

Recovering from narcissistic abuse is hard, and it’s okay to admit you need help. If you’re ready to go deeper now, check out the #1 therapist-approved online program for narcissistic abuse recovery. Thousands of people have benefited from this program that’s practical, proven, and reliable.  It’s the best place to begin a journey toward renewed self-worth and an end to feeling worthless.

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Tanya says May 18, 2021

When you have finally come out of the dark skies of your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual landscape that entailed subtle covert victim narcissistic abuse.

You see you weren’t crazy, too needy, too sexual too much of everything.

What you asked for you finally see you really never should have had to ask.
Simple emotional connection, openness, honesty, trust, communication and balanced sensuality and sexuality.

The time you spent alone healing after you finally found the strength to say no more and you get him to leave.
You spent the time crying, screaming, collapsing, not sleeping, not caring, reliving every single moment of the relationship unravelling the complex web you just weren’t aware you fell into through your own lack of self worth, doubting yourself, yet sometimes being clear only to have the clarity clouded over by odd behaviours.

The times you felt something up yet could not put your finger on it and to be accused of your crazy there is nothing going on all whilst the other was gaslighting, hiding, doing planning his secret behaviour that undermined the very core and essence of a loving trusting relationship.

You began to see this person who suffered a personality disorder, a decades long addiction for who exactly they are, the persona of many masks they wear in public, the persona at work (there were red flags there) and the person at home.

You see the whole picture plain as day and you thank yourself for finding the strength to hold strong on your boundaries even when it was near impossible yet your soul knew just keep going just keep going. Once the natural healing allowed that space to be filled back up with the integrity of your soul, the people that had your back and the peace that slowly crept beautifully back into your life. You say thank you to yourself for knowing you could do it.

AT the end you see how they throw everything you thought they did for love because you did that you see they never did it for love they did for gain or to serve their own need, their sense of entitlement shines like a neon light.
You see when they met you (at 52) and you had a home a successful career working for yourself they made comments of oh its yours its not ours the little snide remarks laced with victim only to show them up at how much their own lives at then 56 they had nothing but debt, always blaming others for their failures. You never did their washing, cooked their meals nursed them through cancer, near death for any gain simply because its you its what you do its what you do for love.

You learnt so much about yourself and this type of person as to never allow yourself to stumble and miss the red flags again, because you found your worth your emotional intelligence and strength to be able to wake up once more and feel optimistic about life and love again. You took the lessons of your own trauma and saw how the positive was to heal deep wounds of trauma bonding and compromising your values for a very wounded damaged man who you allowed to take your soul and mould it to suit his distorted view on love and life.

You finally you realise you are out of the bubble and ITS NOT YOUR REALITY any more and you feel a lighnesss you haven’t felt since a long time and your more FREE and your wiser
Amen to healing
Amen to finding courage
Amen to finding resilience
Amen to finding yourself again.
Amen to finding the word NO
Amen to saying YES to yourself

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