30 Characteristics of A Narcissist Man In Relationships

Do you think you’re in a narcissistic relationship? Learn to see the subtle and clear signs of a male narcissist, so you can unmask his true intentions and nature before he traps you in his cycle of abuse.

A narcissistic man can be charmingly sweet to you, and at the same time, be extremely acidic to a person lower in social rank than him, like a waiter at a restaurant.

So, even when you suspect something is wrong with him, most of his isolated behaviors around you look normal and even praiseworthy when you are getting to know him.

The key to his toxic persona lies in stacking together his individual characteristics and subtle acts. It brings out his real, narcissistic personality, with cunningly hidden fangs and claws.

So, let’s take a deep dive into what a narcissistic man is like in typical circumstances and see beneath his mask.

30 Characteristics of A Narcissist Man In Relationships

Male narcissists are sweet to date, but they are known to become emotionally abusive when you partner with them.

The relationship comes with characteristic behaviors that range from subtly irritating to obviously anger-provoking, mildly intrusive to severely violating, and ignorable to intolerable.

30 signs of a narcissistic man

Now, here is a list of the 30 signs of a narcissistic man, broken down into four groups based on the level of severity.

Mild Signs of A Narcissistic Man

These signs are often less overt and may be overlooked in the early stages of interaction.

  1. Spotlight Seekers: He enjoys being the center of attention.
  2. Self-focused Conversations: He tends to steer conversations towards himself.
  3. Need for Admiration: A constant craving for compliments and positive reinforcement.
  4. Success-oriented: He possesses a strong focus on achievement and often equates it with self-worth.
  5. Perfectionism: The narcissist man strives to be flawless and often expects the same from others.
  6. Relationship Ambiguity: He may avoid defining the relationship and your status in his life until he knows you have fallen in love with him.
  7. Charming Persona: His charisma can be captivating, especially in the initial stages of a relationship.

Moderate Signs of A Narcissistic Man

These signs are more prominent and may raise red flags in personal and professional relationships.

  1. Control: He often exhibits a desire to control ‌situations and the people around him.
  2. Lack of Empathy: They struggle to understand, share, and respond to the feelings of others.
  3. Absence of Responsibility: They rarely admit their mistakes and often shift blame onto others.
  4. Self-centeredness: His needs and wants consistently take precedence over other people.
  5. Doesn’t Uplift Others: They rarely provide positive support or genuine praise to others.
  6. Always Right: He has difficulty admitting mistakes and often insists on his correctness.
  7. Dishonesty: They may resort to lying and creating fake narratives to maintain their image.
  8. Superficiality: They often focus on surface-level qualities and ignore deeper values.
  9. Crave Validation: The narcissist man will seek constant validation and praise from others.

Severe Signs of A Narcissistic Man

These signs indicate a more extreme manifestation of narcissism and can be particularly damaging to personal relationships.

  1. Poor Teamwork: He is often ineffective in team situations due to his self-centeredness and gender intolerance.
  2. Shame: These men frequently harbor intense feelings of shame and inadequacy deep within.
  3. No Long-term Relationships: They struggle to maintain long-term relationships due to their inability to connect on a deeper level.
  4. Difficulty in Separation: He often makes it punishing for his partners to leave the relationship.
  5. Lack of Boundaries: He will frequently disrespect other people’s boundaries, despite many requests not to.
  6. Manipulative Tactics: They use manipulative strategies, such as gaslighting, blame-shifting, and “word-salad” to maintain control.
  7. Pessimistic Attitude: He consistently displays an outlook of negativity, doubtfulness, and cynicism.
  8. Potential Aggressiveness: He may suddenly become aggressive when he feels his superiority has been challenged or minimized.
  9. Split Personality: He often shows inconsistent behavior patterns, leading to a perception of a ‘split personality’.
  10. Inability to Show Vulnerability: They struggle to express genuine emotions and share their own vulnerabilities.

More Signs of A Narcissistic Man

These additional indicators further enrich our understanding of narcissistic men.

  1. Lack of Remorse: They often show no regret or guilt after hurting others.
  2. Entitlement: They believe that they deserve special treatment and have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment.
  3. Exploitative Behavior: They may take advantage of others to achieve their own ends.
  4. Resistance to Criticism: They often react negatively and defensively to criticism, even if it’s constructive, as they view it as an affront to their self-image.
Signs of A Narcissistic Man
Photo by cottonbro studio, Pexels

Narcissistic Man: Definition

A narcissistic man can be defined as one characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a constant need for attention and praise, and a lack of empathy.

He is often arrogant, tends to exploit others, and struggles to maintain healthy relationships. He tends to wear a mask, presenting different faces in public and in private.

The 2 Faces of A Narcissist Man

The male narcissist is typically two-faced, and a bag of contradictions. For example:

  • He is quick to criticize others, but will explode when receiving any negative feedback himself.
  • He can go the extra mile to help strangers, but can be highly abusive to people close to him.
  • He demands loyalty and commitment from his partner, but he himself is not faithful or committed.

Example Behaviors When Someone Is A Narcissist

Here are three examples of narcissistic behavior in a relationship:

  1. Narcissistic Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic where the narcissist makes you feel that what you think and perceive is so wrong that you could be losing your sanity. For example, they might deny things that have happened or accuse their partner of being overly sensitive or paranoid.
  2. Constant Need for Admiration: A narcissist often requires excessive admiration and validation. For example, they might expect their partner to always praise them, agree with them, or put their needs first, often at the expense of the partner’s own needs and feelings.
  3. Lack of Empathy: Narcissists don’t feel they need to help you, even when you desperately ask them. They cannot understand or care about your feelings and needs. For example, they might dismiss your emotions, blaming you for feeling bad or sad, and then go about their work.

Narcissism And Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Narcissism is a term based on Narcissus in Greek mythology, who fell in love with his own reflection. He was so obsessed with it that he spurned Echo’s love and eventually withered away into a flower.

Today, “narcissism” is used to describe individuals who exhibit excessive self-obsession and a lack of empathy.

The clinically diagnosed mental health condition is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-RT) puts a pervasive sense of grandiosity as one of the hallmarks of NPD.

These toxic men require excessive admiration.

They have a deeply rooted sense of entitlement. They can exploit almost anyone to save their face, to come off as superior human being, or to gain something personally.

They have near-zero empathy for others, including their closest ones, and feel that others are envious of their perceived special powers or personality features.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) affects more males than females, and it often begins in their teens or early adulthood. 


  1. What is a narcissistic man like in a relationship?

    A narcissistic man in a relationship can be characterized by the following:
    Grandiosity: He may have a grandiose sense of self-importance, believe that he is superior to others, and expect to be treated as such. He may also be arrogant, entitled, and boastful.
    Vulnerability: He may have a fragile sense of self-esteem that is easily bruised. He may be hypersensitive to criticism and rejection, lash out in anger and turn evil in seconds, or withdraw into silence when he feels threatened.
    Interpersonal antagonism: He may be manipulative, exploitative, and controlling in his relationships. He may put his own needs and wants above those of his partner, and may be dismissive or even abusive of his partner’s feelings.
    Lack of empathy: He may lack empathy for his partner’s feelings. He may be unable to understand or appreciate his partner’s needs and may be unable to see things from his partner’s perspective.
    Contingent self-esteem: His self-esteem may be based on the opinions and admiration of others. He may need constant praise and attention to feel good about himself and can become easily deflated if he does not receive it.

  2. How does a narcissist behave with friends?

    A narcissistic person often uses his friendships to boost his own ego and status.
    • His/her charm and charisma are usually a means to an end – to gain admiration, validation, or some advantage.
    • They lack genuine interest in their friends’ lives unless it serves their needs. They may also become envious of their friends’ successes and try to belittle or undermine them to maintain their own sense of superiority.
    • You can recognize the grandiose narcissist by their high-brow looks and high-handed behavior. He/she shamelessly hogs the spotlight and cuts people’s conversations without any empathy.
    • The vulnerable narcissists are careful to hide their red flags beneath their charming and charismatic exteriors. Still, their “goody” mask hides someone who craves validation and control.

  3. How do you tell a guy he is narcissistic?

    Telling a person he is narcissistic can be dangerous, as narcissists can react defensively to criticism. Here’s a suggested approach:
    • Choose a calm and private setting for the conversation, especially when they are not irritated, angry, or excited.
    • Use “I” statements to express your feelings and observations, such as “I’ve noticed that sometimes you seem to focus a lot on your own needs and wants, and it makes me feel overlooked.”
    • Avoid labeling him a narcissist. Instead, focus on the specific behaviors that concern you (meaning what troubles and bothers you), asking them not to repeat those behaviors with you.
    • Encourage them to seek professional help if their behavior is causing significant issues in their lives or relationships.
    • Ensure your own safety and seek advice from a mental health professional before confronting them.
    My clinical experience says you are better off not telling a narcissist that they are narcissistic, especially if they have a history of aggressive or abusive behavior.

  4. What is it like living with a narcissist?

    This study found that relatives of people with narcissistic traits often described them as being grandiose, vulnerable, and antagonistic.
    • Their grandiose characteristics included showing arrogance, entitlement, envy, exploitativeness, grandiose fantasy, lack of empathy, self-importance, need for admiration, and interpersonal charm.
    • Their vulnerable characteristics included contingent self-esteem, hypersensitivity and insecurity, affective instability, emptiness, rage, devaluation, hiding the self, and victimhood.
    • The study also found that relatives of people with pathological narcissism often described them as being perfectionistic, vengeful, and suspicious.
    • Also, some relatives described their loved ones as having experienced childhood trauma, excessive religiosity, or substance abuse.

  5. How to deal with a narcissistic man in a relationship?

    Some ways to handle a narcissistic man you’re in a relationship with:
    1. Be aware of his narcissistic tendencies. The more you understand narcissism, the better you will be equipped to deal with his behavior.
    2. Don’t take his behavior personally. His behavior is not a reflection of you. It is a reflection of his own insecurities and his need for control.
    3. Set boundaries. Set strict relationship boundaries and convey what you will do if they violate your personal space or boundaries.
    4. Take care of yourself. Safeguard your emotional well-being. Make sure you have enough support and are taking care of your own needs.
    5. Use reverse psychology on the male narcissist to get him to do what you want without his knowing.
    6. Consider seeking professional help. If you’re struggling to cope with the travails of the relationship, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help you understand the dynamics of the relationship and develop coping strategies.

Final Words

Living with a narcissistic man can be a challenging and exhausting experience. Do you know why does a narcissist want you to chase them?

He is demanding, critical, and controlling. He may also be emotionally unavailable and unable to provide the support and intimacy that his partner needs.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissistic man, prioritize your own emotional well-being. Let him know clearly (and courageously) what you are willing to tolerate and what you are not.

Consider seeking professional help if you are struggling to cope.

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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy. His expertise is in mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoic philosophy.

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