The Narcissist Personality

I have been writing a personality column for Natural Health, where each month I provide some insight into different personalities. Here is some insight into The Narcissist. Does this sound like anyone you know?

Meet the narcissist.  Underneath the narcissists display of unwavering confidence is an exaggerated sense of self-importance.  They have six key traits that protect this self-confidence from crumbling:

  • Imagined superiority – they exaggerate their achievements and accomplishments, assigning these to their superiority

  • Need for admiration – their need for admiration is never-ending

  • Sense of unlimited power – they consistently fantasise about how brilliant, successful, beautiful, and ideal they are

  • Entitlement - they expect others to comply with their wishes and demands without question

  • Exploitative – they don’t think twice about exploiting and taking advantage of others in pursuit of their own ends

  • Distorted self-image – they think other people envy them

Negatives

These are some of the traits to watch out for in a narcissist:

  • Don’t expect validation or praise from narcissists – it threatens their sense of superiority

  • Their arrogance can drive others away or cause them to lash out in anger and frustration

  • They can be very manipulative, blaming their shortcomings on the jealousy of others

  • They are extremely competitive – winning is vital

  • They can employ subtle efforts to undermine you and make you feel insecure or insignificant

  • No one can ever satisfy their high standards, so they can be very critical

  • They often disguise criticism with jokes

 

Positives

 

As with any personality type, the narcissist has a few positive traits too:

  • They work hard

  • Perfectionism means they always do their best

  • They can make good leaders

  • They are ‘doers’ and get things done

  • Their competitive streak and inflated confidence can inspire others to also do their best

THE SELF-CENTRED NATURE OF THE NARCISSIST

In the mind of the narcissist, they are like a King or Queen, and everyone should bow before them and shower them with praise. They believe they ought to be at the Centre of everything and that everyone, even strangers, should acknowledge that they have the first and last say about anything. They consistently long for other people’s admiration; they have a constant need for it, while at the same time they generally show complete disregard for other people’s thoughts and feelings.

HOW DO I DEAL WITH A NARCISSIST?

Ignoring narcissistic people at work or in your home might work on occasion, but is rarely productive. Try and establish genuine empathic communication so they can open up to you, thereby providing you with a glimpse into their world. You will soon realise how extremely vulnerable and lonely narcissists actually are. Furthermore, like everyone else, narcissists want to be validated and acknowledged when they do a good job, even though it can be tempting not to inflate their ego further.  You can tell them you appreciate their efforts and achievements, without going overboard about it. This will help to gain their trust.

WHAT IF I AM THE NARCISSIST?

Everyone has a measure of narcissistic tendencies in themselves.  This is a positive regard directed at the self, which can be helpful for building self-esteem.  However, if you frequently indulge in any of the following behaviours you have a reason to be concerned:

  • Treating others as an extension of yourself – you don’t see your children, partner, colleagues or friends as separate personalities with their own desires and interests. Instead, you believe they exist primarily to serve your needs

  • At work, you generally ignore your manager’s directives and do your own thing, believing you know better than everyone else.

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Categories: Psychology

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2 replies

  1. I think I know one or two of those Nicola…

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