The term "narcissism" can refer to a variety of different behaviors and traits, most of which exhibit signs of egotism, excessive self-love, aggression, and conceit. The signs of narcissism can therefore be quite varied and sometimes difficult to recognize. This condition is usually present in a person who is engaged in some sort of relationship, whether it's a romantic one or a platonic one. Narcissism is often ultimately detrimental to the health of the relationship and the people taking part in it.
A lack of empathy for others and a lack of consideration of the feelings of others are two signs of narcissism that are fairly easy to take note of. A person who is self-absorbed will tend to disregard the feelings of others or be unaware of those feelings entirely. The narcissist will expect others to go along with his or her plans or ideas without question, and other ideas or plans will be disregarded entirely. The narcissist may be extremely critical of others to enhance his or her own standing and to mask what may ultimately be a severe insecurity. Many narcissists compensate for their own shortcomings or insecurities by projecting them onto others.
Other signs of narcissism may include a feeling that others are out to "get" or destroy the person, and that no one can be trusted. The narcissist may actively go about destroying relationships in fear that others are trying to hold him back or drag him down. In many cases, the narcissist will be exceptionally critical of others and will express extreme disdain or dislike for people who are different or otherwise perceived as inferior. These may conceal the narcissist's own sense of self-worth, which may be lacking altogether.
One of the more common signs of narcissism, especially in interpersonal relationships, is the tendency to set unrealistic goals for others. When another person cannot reach these unattainable goals, the narcissist may place blame on that person for essentially ruining the relationship. The narcissist may also feel as though others in the relationship are jealous of him or her. Conversely, the narcissist may also exaggerate his or her own accomplishments and hyperbolize his or her own contributions to the success of a relationship. He or she will generally try to seize power in the relationship and cling to it no matter what the cost.