Does the DSM IV and all that professional jargon leave you wondering?
A checklist for the non-professional, full of subtle red flags.
Narcissism Symptoms Checklist
How to Spot An Emotional Vampire
In my opinion, the DSM IV criteria (listed at the bottom) for Narcissistic Personality Disorder do not really help the average person. Sometimes people have narcissistic traits that overwhelm us, and we feel drained by their behaviour. When an aura of confusion surrounds an encounter with someone grossly narcissistic, it helps us to recognise this red flag, and to take measures to deal with that person. Narcissistic Personality Disorder does not run rampant in our population, but dealing with narcissistic people may be a challenge for many of us across our respective lifetimes.
Even though I have a Master's in psychology, it did not help me identify and deal with people who are severely narcissistic. The cues, the verbal abuse and emotional abuse, and the manipulation, can be subtle and insidious; our sense of self erodes over time as the narcissist slowly undermines us.
Albert Bernstein's book, (see website: Emotional Vampires) has helped me immensely to see narcissistic people for what they are and how to cope with that knowledge, and them. And it has also helped me to recognise that there may be hope for them as well as those of us dealing with them. Even if it means letting go of someone beloved, because they are not self-aware, and because to remain means we progress in feeling astoundingly diminished and damaged and small till nothing seems left of us. ~Invicta, 08/20/03
The Narcissistic Vampire Checklist
THE SMARTEST, MOST TALENTED, ALL-AROUND BEST PERSON IN THE WORLD TEST:
True or false? Score one point for each true answer.
1. THIS PERSON HAS ACHIEVED MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE HIS OR HER AGE.
2. THIS PERSON IS FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT HE OR SHE IS BETTER, SMARTER, OR MORE TALENTED THAN OTHER PEOPLE.
3. THIS PERSON LOVES COMPETITION, BUT IS A POOR LOSER.
4. THIS PERSON HAS FANTASIES OF DOING SOMETHING GREAT OR BEING FAMOUS, AND OFTEN EXPECTS TO BE TREATED AS IF THESE FANTASIES HAD ALREADY COME TRUE.
5. THIS PERSON HAS VERY LITTLE INTEREST IN WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE THINKING OR FEELING, UNLESS HE OR SHE WANTS SOMETHING FROM THEM.
6. THIS PERSON IS A NAME DROPPER.
7. TO THIS PERSON IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND ASSOCIATE WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
8. THIS PERSON TAKES ADVANTAGE OF OTHER PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE HIS OR HER OWN GOALS.
9. THIS PERSON USUALLY MANAGES TO BE IN A CATEGORY BY HIM OR HERSELF.
10. THIS PERSON OFTEN FEELS PUT UPON WHEN ASKED TO TAKE CARE OF HIS OR HER RESPONSIBILITIES TO FAMILY, FRIENDS, OR WORK GROUP.
11. THIS PERSON REGULARLY DISREGARDS RULES OR EXPECTS THEM TO BE CHANGED BECAUSE HE OR SHE IS IN SOME WAY SPECIAL.
12. THIS PERSON BECOMES IRRITATED WHEN OTHER PEOPLE DON'T AUTOMATICALLY DO WHAT HE OR SHE WANTS THEM TO DO, EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE A GOOD REASON FOR NOT COMPLYING.
13. THIS PERSON REVIEWS SPORTS, ART, AND LITERATURE BY TELLING YOU WHAT HE OR SHE WOULD HAVE DONE INSTEAD.
14. THIS PERSON THINKS MOST CRITICISMS OF HIM OR HER ARE MOTIVATED BY JEALOUSY.
15. THIS PERSON REGARDS ANYTHING SHORT OF WORSHIP TO BE REJECTION.
16. THIS PERSON SUFFERS FROM A CONGENITAL INABILITY TO RECOGNIZE HIS OR HER OWN MISTAKES. ON THE RARE OCCASIONS THAT THIS PERSON DOES RECOGNIZE A MISTAKE, EVEN THE SLIGHTEST ERROR CAN PRECIPITATE A MAJOR DEPRESSION.
17. THIS PERSON OFTEN EXPLAINS WHY PEOPLE WHO ARE BETTER KNOWN THAN HE OR SHE IS NOT REALLY ALL THAT GREAT.
18. THIS PERSON OFTEN COMPLAINS OF BEING MISTREATED OR MISUNDERSTOOD.
19. PEOPLE EITHER LOVE OR HATE THIS PERSON.
20. DESPITE THIS PERSON'S OVERLY HIGH OPINION OF HIM OR HERSELF, HE OR SHE IS REALLY QUITE INTELLIGENT AND TALENTED.
Scoring: Five or more true answers qualifies the person as a Narcissistic Emotional Vampire, though not necessarily for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality. If the person scores higher than ten, and is not a member of the royal family, be careful that you aren't mistaken for one of the servants.
By ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D.
The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are: (don't try this at home, folks):
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of the following:
1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes