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What Are the Signs of Narcissism in Men?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The term "narcissism" can refer to a wide variety of behaviors or attitudes, though in most cases, it refers to a person who is self-centered, egotistic, or unable to form honest and meaningful relationships. Narcissism in men can be manifested as an inability to consider the emotions or thoughts of others, establishing a double standard, breaking down another person's self esteem or ego to boost one's own, and much more. Many of the signs of narcissism in men are the same as signs of narcissism in women, and these signs are most commonly found in romantic relationships such as boyfriends and girlfriends or husbands and wives.

Some of the signs of narcissism in men that are easily distinguishable include an avoidance of discussing emotions and using other people for the man's personal gain. He may exhibit signs of extreme self-love, though he is likely to avoid talking about his own feelings or emotions. Many people who exhibit signs of narcissism may be outwardly aggressive but inwardly sensitive, especially to criticism or harsh interactions. A boyfriend or husband who exhibits signs of narcissism in men may become emotionally unavailable the more a person shows concern or love for that man.

A strong sense of entitlement leads narcissistic men to exhibit rage whenever they are not treated better than others.
A strong sense of entitlement leads narcissistic men to exhibit rage whenever they are not treated better than others.

A man may also exhibit narcissistic rage, which occurs when the man feels he is constantly under attack by others. This often stems from a sense of entitlement, meaning the man feels he is worth more than others and deserves better treatment at all times. The man will likely exhibit signs of extreme confidence, usually in an attempt to mask a sense of inadequacy or insecurity. He will therefore have extremely high and unrealistic expectations for relationships and interactions, and when those expectations are not met, the man may become angry, enraged, or overly aggressive.

A narcissist might exhibit extreme signs of self-love.
A narcissist might exhibit extreme signs of self-love.

The narcissist will have an extremely fragile ego and will often find a reason to be offended or angry at someone even when no insult has been given. This may lead to false rage or consistently volatile relationships that are emotionally charged and very draining. At the same time, a lack of empathy for others is a prominent sign of narcissism in men, and the man may actively devalue others. In some cases, he may even praise another person and then devalue or insult that person immediately after. The narcissist will also have extreme difficulty identifying or relating to the emotions of others.

Discussion Comments


@Ivan83 oh, please. "Painful and boring" is purely a matter of opinion. Anything worthwhile in life takes hard work. It's good that people want to actually get in shape and better themselves instead of being lazy couch potatoes (which I used to be myself, so I definitely have the right to talk).


I don't doubt that there are many bodybuilders who are true narcissists, but isn't a sweeping generalization to call them all narcissists? I think most bodybuilders are self-absorbed, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are narcissistic.They can be extremely self-absorbed and spend/waste most of their time lifting weights and looking at themselves in front of a mirror, but probably not all of them look down on other people.


Unfortunately, I became involved with a narcissistic man who treated his kids like they were nothing and did the same to me. He said he would be my "worst nightmare" but I turned out to be his. I refused to tolerate his verbal abuse and finally ended all with him!


@post 17: Perfect example of a Narcissist. My behavior is very similar to your ex's. Yes, I am a narcissist (somewhat extreme).

Here's a little about me my thoughts. They're not in any order, but you'll get the gist.

I've been together with my current girlfriend for under a year. I do want it to work out, but I know it won't. I have been visiting a therapist over the last month to improve my behavior, but nothing will change, except for my understanding of how 'normal' people think and feel. I knew I was different even as a child (here we go again, my ego). I've finished with her over various incidents, and also used the silent treatment if she says or does something I don't like. She is always asking, “What have I done now? Please tell me,” which aggravates me (as she should know precisely what she has done wrong), but I also like it because I know I'm hurting her, which means she must love me, right? I know a lot of people and can get anybody to like me, even after only meeting them for a short period of time. Most people aren't worthy of my friendship and true loyalty is rare (even though I'm disloyal and I don't consider anyone a true friend). I lie, I cheat, I steal, I'm good looking, I'm aggressive, I'm a charmer, I'm extremely confident, I'm insecure, I care, I need praise, I need worship, I'm highly sexed, I'm asexual, I spy, etc., etc.

I don't know about others but I know I can be anything you want me to be, especially at the beginning of the relationship. Then once you're hooked, I know I can get away with more. Although I won't physically abuse you (I can be very tender), I know emotionally I'll scar you (and be proud of it too!)

My typical targets are insecure, naive, immature, very good body and typically a flaw/secret something I can use against you at a later date if we ever split up to stop you bad mouthing me. Call it insurance.

I'll be your knight in shining armor. You've never met anyone like me before. You're so different, unique. I love your lips. I love your private parts, they're so neat and tidy -- perfect.

Then I may not kiss or touch you for a week, ignore your calls and messages, all because you held your breath for a short period while watching a film starring Ryan Gosling, then later mention that you like him. Don't ever look another guy in the eye in front of me. I'll become extremely paranoid and hack emails, bug your car, set traps etc. If you've ever done anything behind my back, I will find out. Then you are treading water in a shark tank, but you'll be relaxed and think you're having a bubble bath.

I'm writing this to warn you! It won't make a difference to me whether you take my advice or not. But it may save you.

Hey, don't be silly baby. I'm only kidding with you. How's your day been? My number one. I love you so much baby. I'm missing you. I need my next fix. When are you coming around?


Love the comment suggesting that there is nothing worst than an aging narcissist. I am reading this post in an effort to wean myself off of a relationship with a 71 year old, self centered, self absorbed man whose life revolves about himself, his art and watch collections and the money that his ex has stolen from him in the thirty years ago since she broke off the relationship. But he is not the problem -- I am.

I am 64 and he is the exact duplicate of similar men I have been drawn to at various stages in my life. It is depressing to find myself still drawn to the men who are unapproachable, into themselves. I am acting out a 60 year old daddy drama. At least I can look at myself and recognize the syndrome.

It is disappointing to still find myself attracted to these moody, elusive, social outcasts who are poor listeners, twist every conversation so it is about them and seem to get pleasure in arguing, complaining, zeroing in on your short comings, I urge women who find themselves somehow drawn to men who are not drawn to them to get help, seek therapy, run for the hills. They don't improve as they "mature." They just age--ungraciously, sad and alone,


One good way of telling if someone is narcissistic is that they attract a pack of women who promote them as 'alpha-males' and become their followers. They spread good rumours about them so they become highly ranked in the community.

They project their bad traits like being abusive and selfish onto men who lack narcissistic traits, so if the narcissist is being a jerk to people, someone else gets the blame for the behavior.


Narcissistic men do everything to gain attention from everybody. My ex-boyfriend is extremely focused on his appearance, as well. He would ask me if his appearance was that of an athlete. He was extremely self-absorbed. Also, they take criticism very seriously. One day I pointed out that a good workout should also include healthy meals. He started raging, asking me if I was trying to tell him something. He left, went to his parents’ house and came back after three weeks. I asked why he did that and did not answer the phone just because I gave him a simple suggestion. He said he was very stressed.

Also, narcissists are extremely controlling. He needed to have control of all the finances. They keep track of every single cent they spend on you. One day, I was cleaning his desk, and I found a spreadsheet of all the money he had spent on me, and his plan for how he would get that money back from me. I also found a note where he stated he only cared about himself and not about me or anyone else.

Narcissists are very charming, but this stage does not last long. At the beginning of the relationship with a narcissist, you will feel like he is the man you have been waiting for your whole life. He wrote me poems, gave me flowers, told me he wanted to marry me and introduced me to his parents within the first month. However, once they have you secure, they start abusing you and taking advantage of you. Very slowly, I was losing my self-esteem. I had anxiety attacks, did not have contact with my friends and felt I could not live without this man. The cycle of abuse would continue. He would start bringing me presents and telling me how much he loved me for two months and then once again started devaluing me and telling me all my facial flaws and how other women were more beautiful than me.

Narcissists are pathological liars. I found my narcissist was dating other women when he was with me. He said he was developing a dating app and that was why all the pictures popped up on his phone. One day, he left the phone and I answered a phone call. When I pointed out his wrongdoing, he changed his phone number for obvious reasons, and would take his phone everywhere he went – even to the restroom. I decided to forgive him once again because I am a person who does not want to hate anyone forever and he promised this would not happen again. However, the next thing he did was worse.

The day of my graduation, the narcissist got very upset with me because my parents and I went to the beach to celebrate. Because he was very arrogant and did not get along with anybody, I decided it was best not to invite him. He gave me the silent treatment and never talked to me again. I called his mother one day to ask if he was OK, and she said that he was perfectly fine. I could hear he was even laughing. He would not answer his phone or my messages and the silent treatment was the end of our relationship. If you are dating a narcissist, get out as soon as possible; it is the best favor you can do for yourself. Narcissists repress all their emotions; it always has to be their way. They lack empathy and can never love. They hate happiness and cannot ever have a normal life\relationship with anyone. Good luck and be safe.


I truly don't believe in personality disorders. However, my parents' divorce and remarriage to others didn't change their behavior to us kids. In fact, our parents rejected us more and accused us of being trouble makers. They pawned us off to other family members so they could continue their new lives with new people and left us kids to pick up the pieces of the emotional trauma that was left behind. They didn't want to be reminded of their actions and said we'd get over it! We all are affected.


I seem to attract narcissists. I am very passive, and that has attracted some very abusive people in my life. I was always taught to love people, even if they are mean, but it's hard, you know? I've learned that the only way you can deal with these people is to get rid of them. They are toxic and will eventually make you toxic too.

I'm very confused about things now, because I'm left with very few friends. Is it my fault? Am I the narcissist? I don't know. I can't tell. I feel very alone, but okay. I needed to cut ties with those people. They were exhausting (literally, physically and mentally exhausting) to be around. I was like hell. I'm just wondering if some of it didn't rub off on me because I'm so angry and confused now. I fly into rages and am often suicidal.

I feel trapped. Maybe I should go back to my drugs. I don't feel like killing myself when I'm on them. Oh well.


Amen to post #4. You took everything I have been experiencing and put it in perfect form. The part that really gets me - is if a narcissist is so self-loving and worthy of being bowed down to and everyone is beneath him, how is it that they love (or seemingly so) love their ex and their children? What you said is true! So are they actually feeling love towards their ex and children? So they are capable of love? He has what I call an 'unnatural' bond with his daughter. She snaps her fingers and he jumps. His ex can do no wrong. But me, I am a lowly nobody who is made to bow down to him and his daughter and never receives anything in return.


I have been married to a narcissist for 42 years! At the beginning, I just thought it was all bravado but then the controlling conversations started where I wasn't allowed to even finish a sentence; he would finish the story.

Then there was the moving around for work and being dissatisfied with the jobs. He was never happy about anything and woe betide anyone who doesn't give him the respect he should have. Rage isn't the word, but insanity more like.

Gradually, I sank under the constant strain of it when I had our children, who by the way, think he is wonderful and I am awful because I don't give in to it, but now I have researched it I realize it isn't me causing issues, but his personality type.

I sought counseling, but all the words they teach you to use to defuse situations don't work, and only enrage him more. The secret to living with a narcissist is to parrot back to them their words but on another occasion, e.g., when he explodes by saying something like, "I never get any help around here and I have always got to do things on my own (even though you are there to help him at the time)," you wait until something happens in the house and you scream the same words when he is passing by. It makes them realize how stupid their outburst was.

If I had known all those years ago about this personality type, I would have run a mile away, and that is what I would advise any sane person to do. You will only have strife in this relationship because this person is a user, not a lover. Now I understand the constant need for approval for everything he does and how he will seek it from whoever is around, thinking nothing of it being from any young woman who feeds his ego.

It is very sad to see an old man behaving that way. They have no real friends and they don't treat anyone like a friend, not even their spouse. It is too late for me now unless some wonderful man comes along to rescue a past her prime woman. Stay away from narcissistic people at all costs.


Oh boy, my ex boyfriend seems to have all the traits of narcissism. I am not a perfect person and I loved him so I went along for the ride. He actually told me at dinner why everybody likes him. It's because he knows something about everything. I wish everybody would like me.


Narcissists do not have any "real" relationships. They find people to prey on and suck energy from. The people in a narcissist's life are either their victims or their enablers, period. Each feeds the ego of the narcissist. Remember to vote with your feet and move towards healthy and light-hearted folks.


I have a guy friend who is a narcissist. He is so ego driven, that if you do not wish to speak to him, it couldn't have been something he did. His problems are far more important and significant than yours. The moment you tell him you care for him, he starts to dig into you with his ego and then starts to be crude and a smart aleck. If try go to address something about how you feel, he will say, 'I don't want to hear about it."

Habits of a narcissist: If you speak to him about how he is acting with you, he will quickly hang up the phone.

Any negative opinion of them is an outrage, but they are more than willing to share their own opinion about you and they expect you to just be quiet and listen to it.

Whatever is going wrong in your life, is going right in their own, and they will make sure they tell you this if you share how bad your problems are. Example: "I had a bad day today. Everything went wrong." The narcissist: “My day was wonderful, I enjoyed myself and everybody was nice to me and everything went right.”

They will use run ins with ex-boyfriends or girlfriends as way of showing you just how "hot" they are and will rub it in your face by hugging on them or having unusually long conversations with them.

They will talk down to you and talk to you in a tone that they use with children. They will expect all the attention to be on them when you are out with them and find it an insult if it is not.

They criticize your life in any way they want but consider it downright offensive if you do it to them.

You will have to go above and beyond to win just a bit of their respect and get just a bit of attention.

My guy friend does all these things. He has one of the biggest egos I have seen, which means he is really insecure. If you say something, he tries to find ways to "school" you on whatever it is or make some false judgments about you.

One thing about the narcissist is that if you dare to bring it to their attention about how they treat you, they will just claim you are the one with the problem, or that you are jealous, or will try to find a way to end the conversation entirely. It is very exhausting having a relationship with a narcissist. Their sole purpose of keeping you around is make themselves feel bigger and to keep their ego inflated. Narcissists also do not operate that way around everyone, but only around people they feel they can convince are beneath them, or who they really think are beneath their level. It has gotten so bad with my guy friend that, unless I let him pick the subject to talk about, where we eat, talk about him or stroke his ego and hear about what he is doing for himself at the moment, he doesn't want to talk. He even expects me to please him sexually before he will please me.

Keep in mind that he wasn't like this with his ex wife, because in his eyes, "she is worthy of him in some way because she is the mother of children." Compliments and respect are optional and must be earned by catering to his ego first, when it comes to being in a relationship with another woman.

Just me having to wear a faded blue jean shirt of his was something he felt like he had to think about first and see if I was worthy to wear it. He said to me, "if you become my wife someday I will let you wear a shirt of mine." I never asked to wear a shirt of his but his ego compelled him to tell me that.


I have a friend who I have always considered a huge narcissist. He is still a good guy and I like hanging out with him, but he is his own favorite person for sure.

He is at the center of every conversation and always leading the topic back to himself. And if you ever prove him wrong about something he acts as if he has been stabbed in the back. He lives for the inflated image he has of himself.


@Ivan83 - I have to take issue with your comments. I am pretty fit, not a body builder but lean and strong, and I work out regularly. I do not do it because I am full of myself or I love staring in the mirror. I do it because I like the way exercise makes me feel and the way it helps me focus. It makes every other part of my life better.

It is not fair to make those kinds of broad generalizations about people. People work out for all kinds of reasons and it should not count against them. If you dismiss anyone who is fit all you are doing is writing off a huge segment of the population who might be really great to know.


Whenever is see a guy who is really fit I always assume that he must be narcissistic and in my experience I am almost always right. Some guys are naturally muscular, but for most guys it takes a lot of time and hard work. You can't want to spend that much time doing something that painful and boring if you were not vain, self absorbed and narcissistic.

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