A person who takes too many selfies, seems to only talk about themselves when you are together, and interrupts you constantly when you are speaking could be a narcissist. But there is a difference between someone being selfish and self-obsessed, and someone who has the clinical mental disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The former is someone who has those traits - they're not empathetic, they don't really care about what you're saying, and they tend to think they're a bigger deal than they actually are. People with the disorder, however, act like this all the time, in all their relationships, and need to be diagnosed, and talk to a therapist. They react badly to criticism and struggle with self esteem issues; whereas narcissists have enough esteem for themselves and everyone around them. Most people with this disorder aren’t always aware they have it.
You might be dating a narcissist, or a person with narcissistic tendencies. Here are some of the ways you can tell:
All about me, me, me!
This you can’t miss. They will cut you short in conversation and constantly deflect back to them. The conversation always revolves around how great they are in a very exaggerated manner. Like “I can’t believe how successful I am, I worked so hard and now look at me.” It’s all about 'floss' mode with narcissists. You must see what they have and how great they are doing! Plus, they sometimes put down others in the process to exaggerate their real or perceived grandiose achievements.
The world owes me this!
They expect everyone to be at their beck and call. They expect preferential treatment when there is no need for it. They will be upset at the slightest aversion from special attention or treatment. When you are at a restaurant or establishment on a date, for example, watch how they treat the waiters or support staff. They are more likely to bark orders at them or be extremely rude and condescending to them.
I want you...but I don't want you
You will always experience a sense of withdrawal or apprehension when you push for a commitment from a narcissist. It will always be a push to remain in the status quo - 'this works just fine, why label it or make it official?' They may say or insinuate something deeper, but never actually commit to it. Anything that pins them down and forces them to compromise what they believe is their convenience is unthinkable.
No one's better than me, including you
No one can ever be better, or more talented, or earn more, or get more recognition in the eyes and world of a narcissist. It’s them or nothing! If they get into a situation where they may be the less talented or less superior one, they will do anything they can to tear the other person down. They may mock appearance, make passive-aggressive jokes, rudely comment about competence or just tear people down by ridiculing them. Sound familiar?
I'll hurt you, but I'll be charming about it
It may sound bizarre because there is nothing wrong with being charming; it is an inherently good trait to have. But remember that narcissists have an end game: to have what they want at any cost, which means you. You are the cost. They will be charming and romantic when they need to be. Very flirtatious, lots of compliments, expensive dates, dinners and grand gestures, just to get what they want out of you.
You're a toy in my hand...
Narcissists see their partners as tools. Everything they do which, on the surface seems kind and considerate, is an agenda to demonstrate their illusions of grandeur. Sometimes, making sure you join him at his hang out with his boys is to make them jealous of his new girl/boyfriend - not because he wanted to spend quality time with you. Or maybe, when he convinces you to move in together, you pay all the bills and cater to his every need. And when you raise it? The violent reaction will be more than enough to keep you silent.
There are other ways that you can tell if you're dating a narcissist. What do you usually look for?