The Two Telltale Signs of a Narcissist

As clinical psychologist Dr. Joseph Burgo states in his book The Narcissist You Know: 

“Although the APA sets forth nine potential criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder…. those nine actually boil down to two: an inflated sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy for other people; the remaining features are by-products that naturally follow from them.”

1) an inflated sense of self-importance

2) a lack of empathy for other people

Bingo! There it is, in a nutshell.


The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age by Joseph Burgo, PhD — a terrific book!

13 thoughts on “The Two Telltale Signs of a Narcissist

  1. katiesdream2004 March 30, 2016 / 10:13 am

    It is nice to have book recommendations thank you! I most appreciate the recommendations from someone that has survived narcissists, they are the real experts on the subject and have more discernment when someone gets it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 30, 2016 / 11:30 am

      You are welcome, and thank you, Katie.

      My particular favorite book for adult children of narcissists is: THE NARCISSISTIC FAMILY: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 30, 2016 / 11:28 am

      I imagine we all know at least a few people like that. According to Dr. Burgo, although only about 1% of the population has full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder, probably about 1 in 20 have what he calls extreme narcissism.

      In my experience, I don’t really mind very much about how egotistical a person may be — it’s whether or not they have the capacity for empathy and caring about others, that makes all the difference. A certain amount of self-confidence is healthy, as Dr. Burgo also believes. But the most toxic and potentially damaging person is someone who lacks the capacity to genuinely care about the well-being of anyone else.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bluebird of bitterness April 4, 2016 / 10:10 am

        There’s a big difference between a true narcissist and someone who just has a big ego — thank you for pointing that out! So many people nowadays think the two are synonymous and use the two words interchangeably.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. survivednarc March 30, 2016 / 12:17 pm

    Yes. This is true. All that ever mattered to the ex narc was him, his needs, and so on… and I struggled SO hard to make him understand/care about what I needed, my pain, and so on… to no avail.. he just could NOT care. i honestly think that the lack of empathy is the most scary thing about it all… it is just so… foreign, to us. Like, how could a person just not care at all, when someone is in deep pain? I believe for us, feeling human beings, it goes against all that we know and feel… Good post! If I would add anything, it is the lack of remorse and lack of accountability, but, as the author there already said, that is sort of a side effect to the lack of empathy…. thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 31, 2016 / 4:27 pm

      Thank you for following back! You were already following my old blog. I had to start a whole new WordPress account with a new blog, because of serious technical difficulties with my old account that no one could help me resolve. It’s been a pain having to start all over again, but worth it to have an account that works.

      I pray you and your family are well.


  3. roseinspiration April 1, 2016 / 9:29 pm

    I think narcissism is more prevalent than most people believe. The one I was married to for 38 years appears so “normal” to his work associates who’ve never seen the explosive anger side of him.PTSD indeed when the real him surfaced, now on try#2 to annul our marriage in the Catholic church (after divorcing 5 years ago) so his new Catholic love, I suspect, won’t be put through what I was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee April 2, 2016 / 9:13 am

      The very idea of a Catholic church annulment of a 38 year marriage is repulsive to me on a visceral level. Is it alright for me to hope that his second attempt also fails? I don’t know if you share my feelings about this, but to my mind, a Catholic annulment of a long term marriage in order to make a second marriage more acceptable to God is about as useless as the man who murdered his wife, then got rid of the evidence by using the deep cleaning service that advertised: “Like it Never Even Happened.’

      It happened. Trying to make it all go away after the fact does not change that fact.

      I have strong feelings about this because my late father had his 13 year marriage to my mother annulled in order to please his last wife, a Catholic who was all of five years older than me. His annulment went through. When I learned about this — at his Catholic funeral, no less — I had to wonder: If my parents’ marriage never happened — what does that make the five of us kids who were born during that annulled marriage?


      Liked by 2 people

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