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Red Flags Of A Narcissist

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

There are so many red flags of a narcissist, there will be a red flag nearly every day that you spend with them.

Since qualities like love, trust, faith, obedience, understanding, empathy, compassion, conscience, denying themselves, choosing morally correct choices are all spiritual qualities, these qualities are what you will never get from the narcissist in the relationship.

You cannot plan, prepare, or manage your way out of box with someone who is manipulative, controlling, self-centered, and abusive.

The potential threat of an outburst will occur. Victims know this. These outbursts and horrible treatment of others (which of course includes you) will have consequences all the way around.

There are glaring red flags. In the end, you will deplete your energy, your capacity for joy, and your ability to see things clearly; as they are happening.

It is as if you become a pawn in this game that is a lose – lose. Your sense of who you are slowly begins to fade.

When you clear the distortions from your thinking, you realize that all the running around, worry, endless anxiety and fear of the narcissist and his/her potential blow-ups is permeating your inner world.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist who is controlling, manipulative, and dismissive of your deeply held wants and needs then the following would be some clear indicators that warrant further discernment and more clarity in perspective.

red flags of a narcissist

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/
  • Does the victim find her/him self defending the actions of the narcissist to family, friends, and/or neighbors?
  • Does the victim appear to acquiesce to the demands of the narcissist without assertion or a sense of control over her or his own decision-making?
  • Does the victim second-guess herself on a consistent basis and feel a need to check and double-check all decisions with the narcissist?
  • Is there an increased level of anxiety, jumpiness, rumination, and nervous energy permeating the victim?
  • Does the victim attempt to anticipate the feelings, needs, and wants of the narcissist because of the unpredictability of his/her actions?
  • Does the victim become increasingly more jealous and make repeated attempts to control or alter behavior in the narcissist that is quite frankly uncontrollable (drinking, flirting, work-status, cheating, gambling, etc.)?

The effort, anxiety, worry, and overall stress layered onto the victim over and over in the relationship get heavier and thicker as time passes.

All that chaos, fake charm, and the glittery façade of the narcissistic abuser fades over time. It begins to wear thin.

People start to see through the faded shine.

This is when you find yourself desperately trying to prevent, control, and mitigate the inevitable consequences of years of abuse. You feel alone and isolated.

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Some red flags of a narcissist include:

There are so many red flags of a narcissist, too many red flags for the narcissist to hide it. Learn the manipulation tactics of a narcissist and the red flags to watch out for.

  1. They blame a lot of things on you, other people or the situation
  2. They believe they are always right
  3. Arrogance and over-confidence. They are just over-compensating for insecurity, but their ‘confidence’ can be very convincing
  4. They are critical of you, the way you do things, the way you say things, the way you are in bed etc. If you keep spending time with them they will knock your confidence
  5. They say things like “I’m perfect”, “I have good genes”, “I’m special”, “I’m unique”, “I’m gifted”
  6. They give themselves credit for everything and steal credit from other people
  7. They are charming and friendly around other people. But if you pay attention, you can tell there’s something fake about the way they’re acting.
  8. They often either act like a cocky salesman, or they act a bit shy and vulnerable. 
  9. They might even have friends who haven’t seen their true colours, and think they’re sweet and maybe an emotionally vulnerable type of person who needs support from others
  10. They love to play the victim. They are always the victim
  11. There is something off about them which is hard to put your finger on. You have a gut feeling that something isn’t right
  12. They lie, they might even boast about the lies they’ve got away with
  13. They are grandiose. They say ridiculous things deadpan like “I’m the prophet”, “I’m the Buddha re-incarnated”, “I’m enlightened”, “I was put on this earth to tell people what to do”
  14. They say things like they would do a better job at running their workplace than the qualified manager, even though they have no manager experience
  15. They are in debt. Also they fall out with their friends / family because they didn’t pay them back, and they don’t pay you back unless maybe you remind them
  16. You feel insecure when you spend more time with them
  17. They don’t respect your boundaries
  18. They use people for their own gain. 
  19. They get you to do things for them, and usually only do things for you if they have an agenda or to appear like a good partner in front of other people
  20. They try to take on the leader role in a group, even if that group all know each other more than they know him/her
  21. They say and imply that you need to change, but when you tell them what they need to change, they say things like “I don’t need to change. I’m perfect. But you’re doing this, this and this wrong and I’m not getting any compensation for it. I’ll get you to do this and this for me.”
  22. They are emotionally abusive, especially when they don’t get their own way
  23. You feel like you qualify for a diagnosis of PTSD
  24. They ‘guilt-trip’ you to get what they want or to shift the blame on to you
  25. They have been in past unstable relationships, but it’s always them who was the victim. They say demeaning things about exes
  26. They have / had some kind of drama / fall out going on with their family. Such as, when their ex threw them out their family wouldn’t let them stay at their house
  27. They have slept with a lot of people in the past and are likely to brag about it. My ex said he got 4 girls pregnant (!)
  28. They don’t show much empathy when you’re upset. Even if they do sometimes, it’s either an act or they lack empathy compared to an average person
  29. They brag about their ‘success’. “I’ve been to the best art college in the country”, “I’m in a position to give advice because I’ve had a lot of success”, “You’re just jealous of all my success.” “I just win at life”
  30. They knock you down to build themselves up. And they might disguise put-downs as jokes and banter
  31. They love-bomb you at the start, where they give you loads of attention, say you’re their soulmate after like a week, say they’re falling for you before they’ve even met you in person etc. etc. 
  32. They idealise you by saying things like “I would use you as an example of a perfect human being”. 
  33. Their compliments are often implying that you’re better than other people. 
  34. When they realise you’re anything less than perfect, they devalue you. Which is emotional abuse btw. This is called splitting, where they alternate between seeing you as all-good then all-bad. And you’re either better than other people or less than other people
  35. They have low self-control and find it hard to resist temptation. They often have addiction problems
  36. They have a sense of entitlement, they just deserve the best in their mind
  37. They project their insecurities and wrong-doings on you. And their insecurities are “your fault”
  38. You don’t trust them, except maybe near the start
  39. You feel like they could cheat on you at any moment. If you feel like that, it means they are probably capable of cheating and are likely to at some point. 
  40. They are expert liars. If they actually have NPD, it’s basically a ticking time bomb until they cheat on you and you might never find out. 
  41. They have the attitude of “what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her”
  42. They gaslight you.
  43. They put down and mock you, their friends behind their back and like everyone on TV
  44. They never bother to hide from you that they find someone else attractive. You will start comparing yourself negatively to other people
  45. They don’t put effort into buying people presents
  46. They display crocodile tears, where they pretend to cry to get their own way and appear vulnerable and sensitive
  47. Their emotions are over the top, and they are volatile. Although sometimes they will appear like they have no emotions. This could be for lots of reasons other than NPD but pay attention. You will also become an emotional wreck and often feel empty around them
  48. They compete with you on everything down to the washing up
  49. They also give you compliments and act nice to you inbetween, you think ah but they’re so nice sometimes

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In addition to these red flags, the following are the most common traits of a narcissist.

The narcissist will assert the he or she has been victimized by:

  • Family
  • Exes
  • Coworkers
  • Teachers
  • Therapists

Emotions Most Narcissist Do Not Feel:

  • regret
  • compassion
  • remorse
  • contrition
  • joy
  • happiness
  • sympathy
  • guilt
  • empathy
red flags of a narcissist

Emotions the Narcissist Does Feel:

  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Anxiety
  • Emptiness
  • Sadness
  • Confusion
  • Envy
  • Angst
  • Contentment
  • Curiosity
  • Excitement
  • Shame brought on by potential perceptions of others

The Narcissist Expects Significant Other (SO) to treat the narcissist with:

  • Consideration
  • Respect
  • Sensitivity
  • Admiration
  • Adoration

Maladaptive Coping Mechanism Utilized:

  • Silent treatment
  • Ghosting
  • Projection
  • Rationalization
  • Vagueness
  • Denial
  • Lies
  • Deflecting
  • Insinuations

Compares SO to others via Triangulation:


Do as I say; do not do as I do. The narcissist does what he wants to do, when he wants do it, with whomever he wants to do it with. Hypocrisy Boulevard is one way street.

Spoils Birthdays and Holidays

The narcissists creed– “If I a am not the center of attention, I am going be throw “a wet blanket” over the event.”

Job and Relationships: 

short-term and highly tempestuous–there will be no shortage of drama, trauma, and chaos.

Texts and Phone Calls

When the narcissist calls or texts, the SO better respond without delay. On the other hand, when the SO calls or texts the narcissist, the narcissist will get to it when he gets to it.


None given as the significant other (SO) is always at fault. The narcissist has no regrets, feels no remorse/contrition, and admits to no vulnerabilities.

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Favorite Defenses:

  • blame shifting
  • projection
  • deflection
  • silent treatment

Intimacy: Post love bombing phase, the narcissist finds intimacy to be.…

  • vile
  • repulsive
  • repugnant

According to the narcissist, displaying emotions is a sign of.…

  • weakness
  • a whiner
  • an immature person
  • pathetic behavior
  • a cry baby
  • childish behavior

Frequently has financial woes…

  • not apt to repay loans
  • forgets wallet
  • vanishes when check arrives
  • will assert the SO will get paid back in the future

Often prefers SO’s who are…

  • honest
  • trustworthy
  • fair minded
  • empathic
  • forgiving
  • monogamous
  • aspires to try to always maintain personal and relationship integrity
  • decent
  • caring

Often prone not to be faithful

  • one night stands
  • sex may be used as a weapon
  • hook ups with strangers
  • sex may be used to exert power and control
  • if somatic narcissist will hook up for revenge and w/o being selective
red flags of a narcissist

Narcissist does not introduce his current SO to…

  • family
  • friends
  • teachers
  • former SOs
  • coworkers
  • classmates

Cell Phone Habits:

  • takes phone to bathroom
  • always places phone face down
  • does not leave phone out when it’s being charged
  • tells SO not to text but rather email
  • has multiple email and texts addresses
  • turns ringer off/leaves phone on silent mode
  • speaks to people so that he can not be heard
  • has more than one phone
  • has apps for dating sites used
  • frequently checking phone
  • constantly making remarks about how SO is doing sneaky things with his or her cell phone
red flags of a narcissist

Intense disdain for true self which is considered…

  • weak
  • unlovable
  • inept
  • “too soft”
  • worthless
  • ineffectual
  • clingy
  • less than
  • too emotional

When angry with SO, will accuse SO of being…

  • weak
  • unlovable
  • inept
  • “too soft”
  • worthless
  • ineffectual
  • clingy
  • less than
  • too emotional

Physical Intimacy ASAP:

comments made about hyper sexuality

•discussions about additional people involved in sexual escapades

••testing technique

••generate allure

•will discuss pushing boundaries sexually — eager to try new things

•sex often is ace card to expedite the NT SO’s emotional vesting

red flags of a narcissist

Computer Habits Suspect:

  • not allowing SO to see what is on screen
  • history is cleared after narcissist uses
  • multiple email addresses
  • dating sites
  • social media hook ups
  • computer is apparently a boon for narcissistic supply
  • hovers when SO using computer
  • asking SO passwords but not providing same
  • puppet accounts

*narcissists not aware SOs cousin or friend knows narcissist by as both narc and SO using different names; 3 degrees of separation.

Vagueness about past relationships.

•Narcissist vacillates between grandiose self-perception and self loathing.

•Finances often in poor shape.

•Very few, if any, close friends.

•Multiple abortions; multiple children with different mothers.

•Expensive gifts and holidays.

Vagueness Regarding…

  • schools attended
  • graduation dates
  • awards received
  • programs took part in

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