Narcissists cut a wide, swashbuckling figure through the world. The most benign type may be the charismatic leader with an excess of charm, whose only vice may be his or her inflated amour-propre. In stark contrast are individuals with narcissistic personality disorder, whose grandiosity soars to such heights that they are manipulative and easily angered, especially when they don't receive the attention they consider their birthright. As with many characteristics, narcissism can be viewed as a spectrum—some people are lower on the trait and others higher, with out-and-out narcissists exhibiting the highest levels of self-flattery.
What Is Narcissism?
Who Is Really a Narcissist?
It’s easy to slap the “narcissist” label on someone who spends a bit too much time talking about his career or who never seems to doubt herself, but pathologically narcissistic personalities are relatively rare—an estimated 1 percent of the population. Narcissism, too, is more complicated than it may seem: It’s different from a surplus of self-esteem, encompassing a hunger for appreciation, a sense of specialness, and a lack of empathy, along with other attributes that can prove damaging in relationships. Interestingly, in addition to thinking they are better and more deserving than others, research suggests, highly narcissistic people often admit that they are more self-centered, too.