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Narcissistic Tendencies Test

Is Your Partner a Narcissist?

This test is intended to serve as a supplement to our chapter on Narcissistic Types Among Chinese Women. However, it can be used by anyone to determine if one's partner may suffer from pathological narcissism independent of culture.

For each of the following 25 questions, think of your girlfriend (or boyfriend) and indicate whether you strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, aren't sure, somewhat agree or strongly agree with each statement.

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Life with a pathological narcissist is not a happy one. If your current partner is a narcissist, and especially if you have a history of being attracted to this type of person, this also says a great deal about you as well.

Pathologically narcissistic women are commonly drawn to two specific types of characterological constellations (cluster of traits) in men: those who also have narcissistic traits (or disorders) and those who suffer from what is referred to as a borderline personality disorder.

Specifically, closet narcissists (see chapter on Narcissistic Types Among Chinese Women) tend to be drawn to borderline men, while exhibitionistic narcissists seek out men who are also phallic narcissists as well. The later include those "beautiful people" or "special couples" who bask in each other's glory.

The former relationship type (closet narcissistic female and the borderline male) is usually marked by a woman who feels burdened, even martyred, by her ineffectual, disappointing husband, and typically refers to herself as a "masochist." The borderline husband feels angry and resentful most of the time and may even "screw up" frequently to punish (as well as self-destructively validate) his critical, disapproving, and unadmiring wife. He stays in the relationship because he is terrified of being alone and also because he feels inadequate and unlovable, and she stays because she has found in him someone who generally understands and can relate to her struggles and, at times, a man who is even a true admirer.

DSM-IV Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

For your edification, we are appending the American Psychiatric Association's criteria for the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).

Narcissistic DSM IV Criteria

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  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)
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, Substance Abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms


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Middle Kingdom Life is the premier award-winning educational website for foreign teachers and Western expats in China. It was founded by an American professor in psychology and sociology for the purpose of disseminating valid and reliable information about living and teaching in China. The site's mission is to protect and enhance the interests and social welfare of foreign teachers and Western expats in China.

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