Feeling Grandiose and Special
Not only do they want to be the center of attention, they brag about their accomplishments, trying to impress you. When you first meet, you may not know the extent of their exaggeration, but it’s likely the case. If they haven’t yet achieved their goals, they may brag about how the will, or how they should have more recognition or success than they do. They do this because they need constant validation, appreciation, and recognition.
Because they like to associate with high status, they may name-drop celebrities or public figures then know. Similarly, they may drive an expensive car and wear designer clothes, brag about their school, and want to go to the best restaurants. This may dazzle you, just like their charm, but it’s really a symptom of their need for an attractive facade to hide the emptiness underneath. A simple, intimate restaurant you prefer won’t meet their standards or provide them the public visibility they seek.
Although some people who aren’t narcissists lack empathy, this trait is a crucial and determining symptom when combined with a sense of entitlement and exploitation. Notice their expression when describing sad stories or reaction to yours. Do they lack empathy for the hardships of others and in particular your own needs? I once told a narcissist I wouldn’t be able to travel to meet him due to a back injury. I was shocked by his insensitive reply:
“You wouldn’t let a little back pain keep you.”
Simple examples are rudeness, not listening, walking ahead of you, ordering what you should eat, ignoring your boundaries, taking calls when you’re talking to them. Admittedly, these are minor things any one of them alone may not be significant, but they add up to paint a picture of someone who doesn’t care about you, and will behave that way on bigger issues. They’re not comfortable with vulnerability – theirs or others, and are emotionally unavailable. In time, you’ll notice they keep you at a distance, because they’re afraid if you get too close, you won’t like what you see.
A sense of entitlement reveals how narcissists believe they’re the center of the universe. They’re not only special and superior, but also deserve special treatment. Rules don’t apply to them. They may not just want, but expect a plane or cruise ship to wait for them. If they’re convicted, it’s everyone else’s fault, or the law is wrong. You should also accommodate their needs – stock their favorite treats in your car, like what they like, and meet at their convenience on their timetable. A relationship with this person will be painfully one-sided, not a two-way street. Narcissists are interested in getting what they want and making the relationship work for them. Your purpose is to serve their needs and wants.