Anything you can do, I can do better.
Do I know a Narcissist?
The term ‘narcissist’ is something which gets thrown around quite a lot these days, often by people who refer to their ex-partners or friends who they no longer associate with. If you speak to someone and they make you feel like Anything you can do, I can do better, then you
It’s an easy label used to describe members of the opposite sex that we swipe past or choose to interact with on dating sites. Statistically speaking the chances of us encountering a person who embodies narcissistic traits is probable.
There is a fine line between confidence and having a grandiose sense of importance. But can we always tell the difference?
Have we been exposed to a narcissist?
Are we friends or in a relationship with a narcissist?
Are we all secret narcissists?
First of all, what is Narcissism?
Many people may say that these selfie-loving, self-obsessed, vain people are the definition of a narcissist. But in psychological terms, Narcissism is much deeper and below the surface.
Narcissism falls under a branch of personality disorder often referred to as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or NPD). People who are diagnosed with NPD are not in love with themselves, but rather are in love with an idealized, grandiose image of themselves.
Often, this image of themselves is an inflated sense of self-image to compensate for deeper feelings of insecurity.
More recently, the terms ‘overt’ and ‘covert’ narcissism has hit the mainstream media.
So what is the difference?
While the “overt” narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention, “covert” narcissists were more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.
So how do you know when somebody is a narcissist? Here are some signs and symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
8 Signs and Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
1. Grandiose Sense of Self Importance
Grandiosity is the defining characteristic of narcissism often people who exhibit this trait believe they are unique or “special” and can only be understood by other special people. Narcissists also believe that they’re better than everyone else and expect recognition for things, even when they have done nothing to earn it.
They will have a tendency to exaggerate their achievements and want to associate with people who are high status.
Sense of Entitlement
With a grandiose sense of self-important, there comes a sense of entitlement. Narcissists truly believe that they should get whatever they want and hold high expectations that people will automatically comply with their demands. If you don’t, then you are considered to be of little value to them.
The need for consistent praise and admiration
Narcissists require a consistent amount of recognition, praise and admiration in order to keep their sense of grandiose and entitlement inflated.
Their relationships with others tend to be one-sided in this respect; it is generally all about what others can do for the Narcissist rather than the other way around. This may stem from a sense of low self-esteem.
They exhibit charm and allure
This is often where people fall into the spider’s web when associating with a Narcissistic person. They will come across as being charming and often present themselves in such a way that draws people in.
This is not to say that Narcissists cannot show affection or passion in relationships, but rather this charm is superficial.
Exploits others without shame or guilt
Some Narcissists will struggle to develop to identify feelings with others; in other words, they struggle to put themselves into other peoples’ shoes and generally lack empathy.
They may take advantage of others and not recognise how their behaviour affects others. They will often not be afraid to use tactics to get ahead of others with little regard to consequences.
They may present as ‘attention-seeking’
This goes hand in hand with the need and desire to be admired and be praised. They may engage in behaviours that may disregard others to ensure that the focus is on them.
They may neglect others such as family, children and co-workers and see them as less important. At times, there may be an outburst of anger or becoming withdrawn if they do not get their way.
They will struggle to manage criticism
Criticism does generally not sit well with people in general, however, with those with Narcissism, they will prove to find this be even more difficult. They will present as being dismissive and defensive and will often try to flip the criticism back onto others.
They have a tendency to blame others, can be extremely sensitive and react badly to criticism as they will view these at personal attacks against them.
Will lack healthy boundaries
Narcissists will have difficulties maintaining healthy relationships due to lacking healthy boundaries required. They will often overstep these to achieve what they want to.
They are frequent ‘gaslighters’ and will often make you out to be somebody you are not and put you in a position where you may question who you and what you’ve said.
What to do next
It is important to state that not everybody will have a diagnosis of NPD who exhibits these traits. People with NPD will often be very resistant to change their behaviour which can make them more difficult to engage in treatment or in conversation which they do not like.
To others looking from the outside in, they may be too cocky, manipulative, demanding and patronizing, however, this may not always be so black and white.
There may be underlying issues including poor self-esteem, emotional and physical abuse which have contributed to the narcissistic tendencies so bear this in mind.
Here are some ways in which you support yourself or somebody else:
- Set Healthy Boundaries – setting healthy boundaries can reduce the chances of those being overstepped and means you can take control if a situation is getting out of hand.
- Make a plan and try a gentler approach – think about the changes you want to make and set realistic goals.
- Don’t take things personally and don’t but into the version of who they think you are – Narcissists often live in a reality which is different from the real world and will attempt to blame and undermine your self –esteem. Remind yourself of who you are and do not feel that you cannot stand your ground.
- Look for support – If you or somebody you know suspects that Narcissism plays a role in your life, it is okay to want to explore that. Seek out some support groups or online forums who may be able to help you understand more by educating yourself about Narcissism.
- Don’t make empty threats – If you suspect that you are in a relationship with a Narcissist, you may need to accept that they are not likely to change. They may try to say things to make you stay but if you feel that you want to leave, leave.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be hard to treat, however, there is certainly support that you can access. For some, it can be scary and unpredictable. If you or somebody you know suspects that you may have narcissistic traits, then get in touch with My Family Psychology.
We offer comprehensive assessments to help you work through and understand what is going on for you.
If you are in a relationship or have experienced being in a relationship with a narcissist, then we offer relationship therapy as well as individual therapy to help you work through any issues you are having.
Get in touch and see how we can help to support you moving forward. We have a range of services available so have a look on our website or get in touch via email or telephone. We look forward to hearing from you.
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