Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists? (If No! What Happens When They Know It?)

Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists? This question does raise inquisitiveness for the readers. If you are putting up with a narcissist in any form of relationship, you might have an urge to confront them or at least know whether they are aware of their own toxic personality or not.

This question may be raised when you have to put up with a narcissist for a long period of time. Suffering through narcissistic abuse can be painful, harmful, and can also impact your life negatively. During this phase of suffering, this question might occur to you many times, “How can someone be so cruel” or “Are they even aware of how they are treating others?” There are a few possibilities for the answer to the question, “Do Narcissists know they are Narcissists?” Let us know those possibilities further in the article. First, let us understand a narcissistic personality disorder in detail and also get to know a narcissist in depth.

Defining Narcissism – What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

NPD(Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or Narcissism is portraying some common toxic traits in an intensified state than others. In psychological terms, narcissists who suffer from NPD(Narcissistic Personality Disorder) portray these emotions and traits in a greater magnitude than others. These emotions include a boosted sense of self-importance, inflated self-worth, and a constant need for admiration, adoration, and validation.

Narcissists are often characterized by their boosted sense of self-importance, self-pride, and self-needs. With a narcissist, everything is just about them. Narcissists thrive upon the attention, adoration, and validation that they receive from others, and what makes them distinguished from others is the way they think and the way they behave, which is totally selfish and mean.

If you are dating a narcissist, or have a narcissistic family member then be ready to be surprised by some of their unusual, surprising, or strange behavior patterns. This outlandish behavior may be the cause of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

If a person is diagnosed with NPD(Narcissistic Personality Disorder), then that may be responsible for many behavioral and personality changes for a narcissistic person. So coming across strange behaviors of a narcissistic person would not come to you as a surprise. When you live with a narcissist, you have to be ready to expect the unexpected sometimes. Not every day do you have to be ready for strangeness but there are a few times when a narcissist would act against normalcy, which might shock you or put you into delusion.

Symptoms or Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

These traits may vary for some individuals, thus here mentioned signs can be generalized for majorly all narcissists in all.

Manipulation – Manipulation is a narcissist’s go-to tactic while dealing with others in order to get what they need.

Grandiosity – Narcissists have a boosted sense of self-importance and thus showing off their achievements, talents, plus points, looks and much more becomes their regular ritual.

Lack of Accountability – Narcissists may never take responsibility for their actions even though their actions may cause distress and harm to others. They use the technique called blameshifting to distract everyone and thus ditch their wrongdoings.

Entitlement – Narcissists believe that they are made for special treatment and deserve all the privileges as they are better than others.

Envy – Narcissists easily get jealous of other people, their looks, their achievements, and much more.

Exploitative tendencies – Narcissists can exploit others without giving it a second thought and without even trying to know the consequences of their actions.

Arrogance – Narcissists are filled with arrogance and their attitude towards others says it all.

Lack of Empathy – Narcissists lack empathy thus they are unable to understand other people’s emotions. they lack a perspective that can help them to understand someone else’s situation. They cannot put themselves in other people’s shoes. For them only self-importance and self sympathy matters.

An obsessive need for admiration – Narcissists constantly need reassurance from other people. They would always direct conversations toward seeking attention in the form of compliments, praise, and glorification of their worth.

Identity Issues – Many narcissists are unable to identify their toxic personalities due to little to no ego strength. Thus they are unable to reflect on their own self.

Behavioral Traits of Narcissists

Some behavioral traits of narcissists are as follows,

  • They use manipulation in all situations where they feel they are losing control
  • They always see the negatives first
  • They are selfish and inconsiderate
  • Narcissists lack sensitivity and empathy.
  • Have uncommon expectations and unusual fantasies
  • You are always the wrongdoer and not them in their eyes
  • They are almost incapable of praising others or giving enough credit to others
  • They act over dramatically over trivial matters
  • There is no winning against them in an argument
  • They are highly competitive even with someone who is incomparable
  • They cheat innumerable
  • Have unhealthy relationships.
  • Have regular mood swings.
  • They use past grudges as their trump card
  • They never provide straight answers

Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists?

When you confront a narcissist, their first reaction would be that they would go into a defense mode with denial as their shield. They would do this as a part of a distorted perception of their own selves. They would switch to their egoistic defensive mode and use rage, or protest against you as a part of their defense mechanism.

They have fragile self-esteem and thus they would do anything to protect themselves while you confront them. When someone tags with their true personality of being a narcissist, their first perception would be a threat to their grandiose self-image. Thus they would take measures to maintain their superior image.

However, as suggested earlier in the article there are a few possibilities to answer the question, “Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists?

The first possibility is that some narcissists are aware of their narcissistic traits despite a lack of self-reflection. They may not fully acknowledge or recognize their narcissistic traits in the first place, but there is a higher possibility of them being aware of their narcissistic traits and tendencies. Narcissists have a highly perceived image of themselves in terms of superiority, power, and grandiosity, and thus they lack self-reflection due to their highly perceived self-image.

So some narcissists are able to recognize certain traits associated with their narcissistic personality, like the trait of exaggerating and prioritizing their self-importance everywhere every time. They may also realize some of their manipulative behaviors but would never acknowledge them. They would realize their toxic behavior up to a certain extent but would feign ignorance. In this case, they are just aware of their behavior but do not realize the hurt and pain they might be causing others. They would just be able to realize that their behavior is perceived as different and incorrect by others and they would be aware of that fact.

The second possibility is that some narcissists would completely deny the fact that anything is wrong with them. They would still be living in their fantasy world where they are this perfectly crafted being with no flaws or possible faults. Narcissists cannot bare when their impression of being perfect goes down the drain even for a while. Thus they may lie innumerably or just avoid the blame shamelessly. Narcissists do that because their defense mechanism or defensive nature doe snot allow their conscience to feel guilt even though they have a feeling of underlying guilt.

Narcissists are full of themselves, so they never really care for what others feel. They always just keep in check that they are not somehow embarrassed or insulted by others. Narcissists do not actually care when they hurt someone, they do not even realize that they have hurt someone unless and until that person leaves them, somehow representing their discontentment with the narcissist or just stopping being available to the narcissist.

Narcissists lack empathy and do not feel remorse for their actions. While a narcissist may be able to display fake remorse as a part of their manipulative tactics, just to maintain their grandiose image. Their narcissistic traits hardly allow them to feel real emotions, so they fake them most of the time just to maintain their image. As a narcissist is self-centered, they might not be able to experience genuine emotions and thus they are unable to provide convincing emotional responses. Thus they exploit other people’s genuine emotions by providing fake apologies and displaying superficial shame and remorse.

The third possibility is a positive one, where a narcissist might recognize their narcissistic traits and would be willing to even change them up to some extent. When a narcissist feels responsible for committing a mistake or making someone suffer, then they can feel guilty unless their defense mechanism is not active. But in situations where their defense mechanism against has been activated like a breakup or when someone challenges their ego, then they do not feel guilty but would instead be in an attack mode where they would challenge your patience.

The “Guilt” kicks in for the narcissist for being the way they are when they realize that they need that person whom they hurt and sent away. For instance, a narcissist might feel guilty when they start missing their ex whom they sent away or the ex left them just because of their rage outburst. At this point, a narcissist might feel the guilt building up when their defense mode is shut off and their conscience allows them to feel repentance upon the disappearance of their beloved person. Beloved in the sense that they were the source of their narcissistic supply, and thus they had an attachment to that person.

Thus depending upon various factors and possibilities, a narcissist might or might not be fully aware of their narcissism. Those factors include the self-reflection capacity, recognizing the impact of their on others, and the willingness to change. If a narcissist is able to recognize their traits it is not necessary that they would display changes in their behavior. Changes really depend on an individual’s willingness to change, their commitment to the process of incorporating changes, and their ability to take criticism and actually realize their fault.

What Happens When the Narcissists come to know that they are Narcissists?

Different narcissistic individuals provide different reactions to being confronted. But in most cases, you may expect a denial or deflection.

Narcissists have a boosted sense of self-importance, thus they seek constant attention, adoration, and validation from others. They lack empathy and feel that they are entitled to behave as they wish with others as they always take others for granted. They would manipulate, abuse, and exploit others.

Narcissists do not believe that they need to change in the first place. They hardly even acknowledge the fact that someone is willing to make efforts for them to change. They believe that they are perfect and would not see any problem with their behavior. Narcissists hardly change.

There are a few reactions you may expect from a narcissist when they come to know about them being narcissists,


Expect the most common reaction of a narcissist “Negation” or “Denial” to anything undesirable happening in their life. Your confrontation right is undesirable for them as they cannot accept criticism well. When dealing with a narcissist, confrontation is always risky and a bad idea. Narcissists run away from the truth and they do not like being told about reality. Narcissists are not good while dealing with truth, feelings, vulnerabilities, and confrontations.

Increased manipulation and arrogance

When you confront a narcissist, they would use some abusive vocabulary that can hurt you emotionally, leave emotional scars for a long time you, and make you feel guilty for what you said. They will be saying such things which you might not be willing to hear. They would call you names, would be mean, and try to make you feel regretful so that you can take back your confrontation or just feel bad for saying such things about them.

They might even blame you for everything, which is their go-to move. A narcissist cannot accept their mistake because according to them, they are never wrong. This is when they make you feel you have done something wrong but in reality, it is they who are living with their ignorance.

A will to change and get better (In very few possible scenarios)

Narcissists have the urge to change genuinely but this is a rare case scenario. They may also get a will to change depending upon the importance of that person in their life and their priorities.


Thus depending upon various factors and possibilities, a narcissist might or might not be fully aware of their narcissism. Those factors include the self-reflection capacity, recognizing the impact of their on others, and the willingness to change. If a narcissist is able to recognize their traits it is not necessary that they would display changes in their behavior. Changes really depend on an individual’s willingness to change, their commitment to the process of incorporating changes, and their ability to take criticism and actually realize their fault.

It would be incorrect to say that narcissists are incapable of feeling emotions. Narcissists are not insensitive or emotion resistant, it is just that they feel experience the same emotions differently than others.

It is not necessary that all narcissists may be ingenuine and not feel regret, shame, or guilt. Some may feel those emotions but struggle to display them while some would shut these emotions behind their defense mechanism.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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