We hear and read so much about Narcissism and Narcissists lately, what does that mean and why there are so many people out there with this disorder
Well on some level we all have some of the personality traits that represent Narcissism, but only a Narcissist has 99.9% of them and some, scary as it is, doesn’t even know that they have it
The even scarier thing is that these people walk around our society influencing men, women and children and sometimes we even view them as confident, successful people but in fact they are the opposite of that.
So you ask yourself, how do I recognise someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Well it is not always simple or as easy as looking at the signs and knowing. A Narcissist is usually very charming and can easily sweep you off your feet and tell you exactly what you need to hear at that time to fall for them, and when I say fall I mean fall hard.
The general symptoms of A Narcissist is the following:
- They have a grandiose sense of self-importance (feels like they are superior to everyone in everything they do – Know it all’s)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a very strong sense of entitlement (expects you to comply with their expectations to the point where if you don’t they will put you down and tell you everything that is wrong with you)
- Is exploitative of others (Takes advantage of others to achieve their own ends and don’t care who they have to hurt in the process)
- Lacks empathy (is unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others . Their needs is all that is important)
- Is often envious of others or rather believes others are envious of him or her
- Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes (here is where it gets confusing as we sometimes confuse arrogance with confidence)
Disorder usually is long-standing and enduring patterns of behaviour, they are most often diagnosed in adulthood.
Narcissistic personality disorder is more prevalent in men than in women and is thought to occur in up 6.2 percent of the general population.
Like most personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder typically will decrease in intensity with age with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in their 40s or 50s.
Most people with this disorder will tell you there is nothing wrong with them and they will never go see a trained professional to diagnose it. This is also because they believe they are special and unique and you are the problem not them.
I have often wondered how a person becomes like this. How do you intentionally hurt someone that you supposedly love? I have had many sleepless nights wondering how and why someone can go through life like this. I, myself have once been with someone who presented with these symptoms but was never diagnosed.
Unfortunately researchers don’t know what causes this disorder. There is a lot of theories about the possible causes but nothing concrete. Most professionals believe in biopsychosocial model of causation. Yes that is a mouth full and what does it mean.
It means the causes of are likely due to biological and genetic factors, social factors (such as how a person interacts in their early development with their family and friends and other children), and psychological factors (the individual’s personality and temperament, shaped by their environment and learned coping skills to deal with stress). This is a very complex disorder and involves many factors, but can we guard ourselves against it and what should we be aware of.
How do I spot a Narcissist? It is not easy as they are very clever at how they play the game, but here are some signs to be aware of:
- Narcissists love the sound of their own voices, opinions, achievements etc. They will always turn the conversation about them, barely giving you a chance to talk about what is important to you. They will not listen to your feelings. Their feelings is the only feelings that is important. Whether what they have done is wrong as far as they are concerned, and it didn’t hurt them, so that is all that matters. If you disagree with them then your comments or thoughts are likely to be corrected, dismissed or just plainly ignored.
- Narcissists show little interest in anyone else, and if they are part of a conversation they will make sure that the conversation heads back to them
- Narcissists enjoy breaking the rules and getting away with it. When in a relationship a narcissist will for instance do how they please and see who they want, come home when they want, go for drinks with who they want, without even worrying about the feelings of the other person. They in fact derive pleasure out of this. They do not like rules and do not want to be confined to the basic expectations of a monogamous relationship. They don’t want to answer to anyone and to a degree they want to be obeyed, but will not obey themselves.
- They will show no regard for anyone’s feelings, thoughts, possessions and physical space. They will break promises and obligations repeatedly and show no remorse for the damage they cause in the process. They will in fact rather blame you or find a fault within you why they acted this way. In a relationship they will break you to the point where you believe that there must be something wrong with you.
- Many narcissists will project a false image of themselves. This is called the “Trophy” complex. They want to appear better than anyone and don’t be fooled, they are very good at this. You might even see this part of them as self-confidence. Usually they will jokingly tell you how good looking they are or how much better they are than you and in the beginning you will think this is funny but eventually you will realise its anything but a joke. There are many types, physically, romantically, sexually, socially, religiously, financially, materially, professionally, academically, or culturally. In these situations, the narcissist uses people, objects, status, and/or accomplishments to represent them self, substituting for the perceived, inadequate “real” self. The underlying message is, look at me I am better than you. I am special, I am worthy of everyone’s love, admiration and acceptance! These external symbols become pivotal parts of the narcissist’s false identity, replacing the real and injured self.
- They believe the world revolves around them and when they say jump you should ask how high! Their needs are the only needs that matter.
- Narcissists use their charm to persuade you to fall for them and they are very good at it. They will make you feel very special if they are interested in you. They will make you feel wanted like you have never felt, while they are reeling you in. But don’t be fooled, they only want you for their gratification, not because they care or love you. Once they lose interest in you, which mostly happens after they got what they wanted, or became bored, they will drop you without a thought for your feelings, or what it will do to you. A narcissist can be very engaging and sociable as long as you are fulfilling what they desire and as long as they get all your attention.
- Oh and this point makes me think of the Narcissist I was fortunate enough to have in my life, lucky me. They have an exaggerated sense of self importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without their magnificent contributions.
- Most of us who have been with a Narcissist will tell you that they like to be perceived as positive people while spreading and arousing negative emotions in their partners. They use this to gain attention, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off balance. Oh yes, you thought you suddenly became an insecure person. Oh no, not true, this is all done by the hand of the Narcissist. They are easily upset when they feel that you have done wrong by them, or that you are inattentive towards them. They will throw tantrums if you disagree with them, or if you do not live up to their expectations. They dislike criticism and will shut you out, or engage in a heated argument with you should you dare to criticise them. However they are very quick to criticise, ridicule and blame you. Some are emotionally abusive and will make you feel inferior to boost themselves and to feel better about themselves.
- Narcissists will use anyone close to them to satisfy their own needs. They will use them to meet unreasonable self-serving needs to fulfill their unrealized dreams, or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws.
- Finally but most definitely not the least important trait of a narcissist is the guilt trip. They will use guilt, hijack your emotions and lure you to make unreasonable sacrifices. They manipulate you by saying things like I’ve given you so much, and you’re so ungrateful, or they like to play the victim.
In conclusion, be careful you who trust, open up to and who you fall in love with. Make sure they don’t present with these signs and if you find yourself already in this situation as I was, then GET OUT!
Stop making excuses for their behaviour, it is not going to get better unless they seek professional help. It will destroy you before it destroys them. Walk away while you can still repair yourself.
These are not just words I decided to write. I have lived this and I have been set free for almost a year now and I am still in recovery. This is the toll that this kind of person can and will take on your life. Let my experience be your inspiration to get out.
Sources used: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201409/10-signs-youre-in-relationship-narcissist, http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/08/04/how-to-spot-a-narcissist, http://psychcentral.com/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder-symptoms/, http://divorcedmoms.com/articles/narssist-te-personality-disorder