Unveiling the Truth: Do Narcissists Truly Recognize Their Narcissism?

Unveiling the Truth: Do Narcissists Truly Recognize Their Narcissism?

One of the most frequently asked questions about narcissism is, “do narcissists know they are narcissists?” This question is not as straightforward as it may seem, as it delves into the complex world of self-awareness, self-perception, and the human psyche. This article aims to shed light on this intriguing topic, providing insights backed by psychological research and expert opinions.

Understanding Narcissism

Before we delve into whether narcissists are aware of their narcissism, it’s crucial to understand what narcissism entails. Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. However, behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists?

The answer to the question, “do narcissists know they are narcissists?” is not a simple yes or no. It’s a complex issue that depends on the individual’s level of self-awareness and the severity of their narcissistic traits.

Self-Awareness Among Narcissists

Some narcissists are indeed aware of their narcissistic tendencies. They recognize their need for constant admiration, their sense of entitlement, and their disregard for others’ feelings. However, they may not see these traits as problematic; instead, they might view them as necessary for their success and superiority.

On the other hand, some narcissists lack the self-awareness to recognize their narcissistic traits. They may blame others for their problems, perceive themselves as victims, and be oblivious to the negative impact of their behavior on others.

Severity of Narcissistic Traits

The severity of narcissistic traits also plays a significant role in whether a narcissist recognizes their narcissism. Those with more severe traits, such as those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), are less likely to acknowledge their narcissism because their distorted self-perception prevents them from seeing their behavior as problematic.

Evidence from Psychological Research

Several studies have explored the question, “do narcissists know they are narcissists?” A study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that individuals who exhibited narcissistic traits were indeed aware of their narcissism. They not only recognized their narcissistic traits but also acknowledged that they were more narcissistic than the average person.

Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that narcissists could accurately self-rate their personality, including their narcissistic traits. This study suggests that narcissists have a level of self-awareness, but they don’t necessarily see their traits as negative.


In conclusion, the answer to the question, “do narcissists know they are narcissists?” is complex. Some narcissists are aware of their narcissism, while others are not. The level of self-awareness and the severity of narcissistic traits play a significant role in this recognition. However, even when narcissists recognize their narcissism, they may not see it as a problem, which can make treatment and recovery challenging.

Understanding narcissism and its complexities is crucial for those dealing with narcissists in their personal or professional lives. It can help them navigate these challenging relationships more effectively and seek professional help when necessary.

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