A pattern of grandiosity, excessive need for admiration, entitlement, and lack of empathy are the chief components in the diagnosis of NPD. These behaviors begin in early adulthood. A narcissistic individual is unable to trust others but replies on others to be a mirror which reflects back to him his unrealistic perception of his accomplishments, brilliance, talent, and beauty. A narcissistic individual has a fragile sense of self. To strengthen his sense of self he depends on other's admiration and constant attention. He expects other's to covet his possessions and he is constantly seeking compliments. Thus the narcissist develops numerous, shallow relationships to extract tributes from others.
Because a narcissistic individual has a shifting morality--always ready to shift values to gain favor--any interaction with a narcissist is difficult. Narcissists are self-absorbed and have no interest in anyone other than themselves. Their tendency is to form friendships or romantic relationships with only those that can enhance their self-esteem or advance their purposes.
The narcissist uses others to aid him in any tasks he undertakes and will frequently take credit for work which others have done. The narcissistic individual may be more successful at his chosen field of work than some of the other personality disorders. This is because his work can be advantageous to the narcissist especially if it provides narcissistic supply.
Lying is an integral part of the narcissist's behavior and all their self-reports are unreliable. His cognition is impaired to the extent that he frequently misinterprets other's speech, actions, and thoughts. He may believe that someone respects or loves him although this is a fantasy which exists only in the mind of the narcissist.
A narcissist demonstrates a lack of empathy towards others and this causes him to treat others like objects. He does not see others as human beings, but sees them as objects that have no feelings or needs. His sense of entitlement leads to his exploitation of others and this results in little guilt or remorse.
A narcissistic injury occurs when someone defeats or criticizes the narcissistic individual. The narcissist may not show it outwardly, but he is haunted by criticisms and defeats. Therefore, the narcissist does have emotions. The narcissist, however, does not relate to his emotions as others do because he represses his emotions so deeply that they play no conscious role in his behavior. But, these repressed emotions unconsciously play a large part in determining his behavior. When a narcissistic injury occurs, the narcissist begins to feel empty, degraded, and humiliated and he is capable of retaliating with narcissistic rage. His reactions constitute disdain or defiant attacks.