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What Are the Signs of a Narcissistic Son?

By Sarah Sullins
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

One of the most common signs of a narcissistic son is an exaggerated sense of his own importance. With this kind of disorder, the son may feel as if he is more important than anyone else, and he may insist on being treated that way. Another sign of narcissism is a lack of empathy or an inability to identify with the needs and feelings of others. A narcissistic person often feels envious of other individuals or may feel that others envy them.

Narcissism is often called narcissistic personality disorder or NPD. It is thought to be closely related to borderline personality disorder, although the two are different. This particular disorder is often characterized by an extreme interest in oneself, especially in regards to physical appearance. Many who suffer from this disorder have a difficult time maintaining relationships and being a part of normal, everyday life. Often, they have few or no friends and find it hard to attend school.

Most narcissists seem stable and confident in themselves. In reality though, they are generally insecure and have low self-esteem. Any criticism or critique of their actions or behaviors will generally cause them to break down and display odd and extreme behavior.

Some of the signs of a narcissistic son are jealousy and controlling behavior. The boy may want to know what others in his life are doing at all times and may wish to dictate what family members can and cannot do. He may walk around believing that the world revolves around him.

Those with this disorder may become angry very easily if their needs are not satisfied when they want them to be. They may display unexplainable violent behavior to those who do not give them the attention they are searching for. Although others may see this behavior and attempt to correct it, one of the signs of a narcissistic son is he will not take the blame for this type of outburst; the blame will usually be shifted to the person refusing to give the wanted attention.

Narcissistic personality disorder can be very difficult and detrimental to a family. The family of a narcissistic son will often appear normal to the outside world. The son may be very charming and well-behaved when outside of the home, but in the comfort of his family, he will show his true colors. A narcissistic son can have a strong impact on his siblings, making them feel inadequate and worthless.

This personality disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy, for both the narcissist and his family. Cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and family therapy are all typically used. If the narcissist displays signs of depression or anxiety, medications may be prescribed to help.

Borderline Personality Disorder vs. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and borderline personality disorder are two different yet common pathologies. When it comes to borderline personality disorder (BPD), there's an unstable sense of self coupled with a fear of abandonment. Conversely, a narcissist has issues that result in a lack of empathy, a need to feed the ego, and excessive self-importance.

NPD and BPD share common behavioral patterns and characteristics. These personality disorders are related to unhealthy and inflexible thinking, behaving, and acting. Sons with both disorders are prone to protecting their persona from emotional and mental distress with contrived defense mechanisms. As a result, such people have trouble in significant parts of their lives.

Types of Therapy for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The mental health professional starts by examining and assessing psychological functioning. Before recommending a definitive plan for treatment, your mental health provider will consider coexisting conditions and differential diagnoses.

Individuals with NDP will likely receive therapy that involves the following:

  • Aid you in overcoming resistance to therapy
  • Helping to identify narcissistic behaviors that are the source of problems in your life
  • Assess past assumptions and experiences that led to the development of narcissistic behaviors
  • Enlightenment on how your behaviors impact others
  • Discouraging thoughts of grandeur with realistic ones 
  • Observing the benefits of implementing newly discovered behaviors 


Psychoanalysis serves as a productive kind of talk therapy. You'll explore and examine the reasons for your behaviors and feelings in one-on-one sessions with your mental health provider.

Through understanding your past and how it has affected you, your current behaviors and emotions will begin to make more sense; this talk therapy can better help you manage your feelings and thoughts. Consequently, you can start changing the way you respond to them.

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) serves as a way to identify unhealthy partners of behaviors and thoughts and teach you to have more positive ones.

Your therapist will require you to practice your new skills. You’ll have to complete homework assignments to apply what you’ve learned.

CBT techniques vary and can include the following:

  • Situation exposure
  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Journaling
  • Guided discovery and questioning
  • Scheduling positive activities

Difficulty With Narcissism in Children

It's challenging when your child exhibits narcissism because certain traits, like being focused on yourself, aren't intrinsically negative. Being concerned with your image is a normal and essential aspect of emotional growth and development in children.

Here are ways that you can distinguish what's typical and what's abnormal when your child demonstrates what seems to be narcissism.

NPD or Narcissistic Traits?

All people have parts of their personality that are a bit narcissistic in the sense that they help build our self-esteem and boost our thoughts on self-worth. Someone with NPD constantly feels like they've been wronged or wounded when someone else accomplishes something along with them. 

If someone else is also confident, it offends a narcissistic individual. They feel entitled to receive everyone's attention and usually fail in a typical relationship that requires reciprocity. 

Most clinicians won't diagnose a child or teen with NPD because they’ve yet to fully develop their minds, emotions, and personality. Focusing on their needs and themselves is a natural stage of development, and teens often exhibit phases when they're self-absorbed. These kinds of narcissistic traits are relatively common for children and teens. 

Determining Whether Narcissistic Behaviors Are Normal

While it's tricky to know whether your child is growing and developing and these narcissistic traits are temporary, there are signs that their behavior is abnormal. 

A narcissistic son will also:

  • Challenge authority figures
  • Belittle others around them
  • Monopolize attention and conversations
  • Diminish the successes of others while exaggerating their achievements
  • Lack empathy
  • Throw temper tantrums when they’re in unfavorable situations

Again, you can expect this type of attitude and these behaviors depending on their age and how they're developing. External factors like stress also cause the above actions. Remember, their brains aren't finished developing, so you'll need professional assistance to determine whether it's alarming or typical. 


Doctors will consider the following when they decide whether your child's behavior is disturbing:

  • Age
  • Maturity
  • Behavioral patterns
  • Relationship maintenance

If your child is struggling to have any insight regarding the adverse effects their behaviors have on others, constantly blaming everyone around them, and not seeming to move to another phase of development, seek assistance. 

How To Respond To Abnormal Narcissistic Behaviors

The greatest chance to change your child's path is to seek early intervention from a mental health clinician. Consider these tips as you're attending therapy:

  • Continually discuss the consequences of one's actions and the importance of empathy.
  • Discuss manipulation and how it hurts those around you
  • Be aware of the example you set for your child regarding how you treat others, how you feel about yourself, how your relationship maintenance looks, and how you meet your needs.
The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1004685 — On Mar 31, 2021

This was a good read. My son has always been hard work, struggles with authority and his face actually changes as well as his voice. He has been diagnosed with personality disorder but from what I've read it sounds more like narcissism.

By anon1004252 — On Dec 24, 2020

Yeah, no need to rush a label on someone.

By anon998518 — On Jun 25, 2017

This describes my son almost to a T. Even when he was little, if he wasn't having fun doing something, he made sure that nobody else did. He is above everyone else, although he has just failed a subject at school and his other grades are nothing to be proud of either. He is a very smart, intelligent and good looking boy, but school doesn't teach him life he says therefore he refuses to study and all his teachers are stupid, anyway. He's now trying to use emotional blackmail to get his way. I could go on, but it'd become a very long post.

I am not trying to diagnose him, but I happy to have found this article. It gives me a new way of looking at things. I don't think he has NPD. It's probably just part of his personality.

By anon991207 — On Jun 04, 2015

I don't think there's anything typical about a son becoming violent, as the article described. But I do think it's hard to distinguish between true narcissism and the teenage 'me' phase. The frontal lobe of this age group is still not fully developed. If they still behave in a controlling, verbally/physically abusive way beyond adolescence, then they need to been seen.

By fBoyle — On Jul 14, 2014

My nephew has narcissistic personality disorder. Although he's a high school dropout, he acts like he has a PhD. He is always showing off and belittling others.

By SteamLouis — On Jul 14, 2014

@Soulfox-- I think you've touched on a good point. There is definitely danger in trying to diagnose a person with narcissistic personality disorder. Although most people can tell that there is something wrong, only a doctor can make the diagnosis.

Narcissism is actually also a personality trait. Some people are naturally full of themselves, selfish and even manipulative. In order for someone to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, the narcissism must be extreme. It must be so bad that the person can no longer establish and maintain healthy relationships with others.

So people who have a narcissistic personality trait are not necessarily suffering from a disorder. That might just be their personality.

By SarahGen — On Jul 13, 2014

For a narcissist, he is the center of the world and all attention must be on him. I think what angers a narcissistic son the most is not getting enough attention.

Attention is so important to narcissists is that they may even pick fights in order to get it. Because a narcissist often doesn't differentiate between positive and negative attention. If they can't get a reaction from a parent, they may try to get the parent angry. Because even anger is a sign of affection from their point of view.

By Melonlity — On Jul 06, 2014

@Soulfox -- that is precisely why psychologists and other professionals should diagnose problematic kids. The kid might just be going through a phase or might have a serious problem. It's up to a professional to decide that.

By the way, there is some folk logic that claims teens are often unbearable because it's nature's way of making it easy for parents to let go of the little darlings when they become adults. There may be something to that theory.

By Soulfox — On Jul 05, 2014

I don't know. That sounds a lot like a typical teenage boy. What teen doesn't think the world revolves around him or her and tries to manipulate other family members to get what he or she wants?

There is a danger in trying to analyze and diagnose a kid, see. The child might not have a narcissistic personality disorder and might grow out of being so awful to deal with.

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