The 9 Traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Illustrated by Tweets from Donald Trump

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, is a long-term pattern of deviant or abnormal behavior characterized by grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.

People with NPD often display arrogance, a sense of superiority, and power-seeking behaviors. Narcissistic personality disorder differs from having a strong sense of self-confidence; people with NPD typically value themselves over others to the extent that they disregard the feelings and wishes of others and expect to be treated as superior regardless of their actual achievements. In addition, people with NPD may exhibit fragile egos, an inability to tolerate criticism, and a tendency to belittle others in an attempt to validate their own superiority.

A person may be diagnosed with NPD if they exhibit five (or more) of the following nine traits, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance

For example, the subject exaggerates achievements and talents, or expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements. They give the impression that they are bearing heroic responsibility. They ignore or denigrate the abilities and contributions of others.

A person with this personality trait might tweet something like this:

2. Is fixated on fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

A person with this trait might tweet something like this:

3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

Narcissists may think that everyone who is not special and superior is worthless. They may frequently mention their friendships with other, high-status people. A person with this personality trait might tweet something like this:

4. Requires excessive admiration

Persons with NPD want praise, compliments, deference, and expressions of envy all the time, and they want to be told that everything they do is better than what others can do. Sincerity is not an issue here; all that matter are frequency and volume. A person with this trait might frequently tweet out expressions of praise that have come from others, for example:

5. Has a sense of entitlement

Persons with NPD may have an unreasonable expectation of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations. They may expect automatic compliance with their wishes or especially favorable treatment, such as thinking that they should always be able to go first and that other people should stop whatever they’re doing to do what the narcissists wants. They may react with hurt or rage when these expectations are frustrated. A person with this trait might tweet something like the following:

6. Is interpersonally exploitative

The subject takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends. Narcissists use other people to get what they want without caring about the cost to the other people. Tweets about the subject may illustrate this personality trait, for example:

7. Lacks empathy

The subject is unwilling or unable to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. They may be excessively attuned to the reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to themselves. They may over- or underestimate their emotional effect on others.


8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

Someone with this trait might issue tweets like these:

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors and attitudes