“In the narcissist's world being accepted or cared for (not to mention loved) is a foreign language. It is meaningless or even repellent. One might recite the most delicate haiku in Japanese and it would still remain utterly meaningless to a non-speaker of Japanese. This does not diminish the value of the haiku or of the Japanese language, needless to say. But it means nothing to the non-speaker. Narcissists damage and hurt but they do so offhandedly and naturally, as an afterthought…They are aware of what they are doing to others - but they do not care.”
― Sam Vaknin, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited
Who hasn’t encountered a difficult person who is so determined to have his or her way? Reasoning with them is useless! For some, these are one-off encounters, thankfully. For others, they have to live and work with difficult, toxic people on a regular basis, which can be a nightmare.
Dr. Ramni Durvasula a professor, therapist, and author, believes that one of the most pressing issues that plagues society is the prevalence and enabling of narcissism.
When I speak about narcissism, I want to be clear I am not diagnosing people with narcissistic personality disorder or NPD. I'm using the word to describe a particular personality type. Narcissism is a spectrum with NDP at the one end. We all have narcissistic traits, some more than others. As babies, we depend on our caregivers. They are essential for our survival and they regulate us emotionally. As we grow up, we're supposed to become self-sufficient, regulate our feelings appropriately, and be accountable for our actions. Unfortunately, some have a sort of arrested development. To break it down, these are some common traits that come out in people with high narcissism in their personalities:
Self-centered and lacks self-awareness
Narcissists are sensitive when it comes to themselves. What they want and how others perceive them is very important. But when to comes to the golden rule, do unto others as if you would have them do to you, they just don’t get it. They think that they matter, and everybody else doesn’t. And when people get upset, they can’t understand why. And you can’t explain it to them, they just don’t understand.
Lack real empathy
This is one of the weirdest things I find about narcists, they lack real empathy. They are good at pretending to have it, but if you get close up, suddenly this person who looks really loving and compassionate from afar, becomes a monster. They may campaign for a cause, like save the whales, but at soon as the public isn’t looking, they will tyrannize those closest to them.
Needs attention and admiration
They always need to be at the center of everything. If someone major is going on with you, they will either make it about themselves somehow, or they will through shade at you to make people dislike you and adore them. They go to great lengths to get attention. Like everyone, they prefer positive, but unlike a normal healthy person, they always take negative attention over being ignored. Attention to a narcist is like blood to a vampire. That is why no matter what, some people always have drama, even over the stupidest things.
Cocky but deeply insecure
Another bizarre characteristic about them, they act like the toughest, but in reality, they are deeply insecure. I know, who isn’t, but this isn’t the normal insecure, like when you start sweating five minutes before you have to speak publicly. In some ways, they think everybody is jealous of them, or out to get them, or in love with them. Their egos may be big but are very fragile. They are the kind of people that will accuse you of cheating on them, simply because you laughed at someone else’s joke, nothing more...seriously. They can spend all day acting like you don’t exist, but the second you are flipping through a magazine and you say, “Oh, that model is cute”, the narcist is on you like white on rice.
Manipulative, uses people and plays mind games with them
They are very manipulative. They have this excessive need to control, especially the people around them, but they don’t want you to know that. They want you to think they are the nicest person they ever met. So, instead of directly telling you what to do, they will play mind games. For example, if they fear losing their mate, they may do and say things to devalue them, like tell the mate, he or she is the difficult one and if they leave, they will never find love and happiness again. Or, to win a fight or get their way they threaten to break up, to scare you into letting them win.
Refuses to be accountable, shifts blame
They never take responsibility for their actions. It is always some else’s fault. You can’t blame the narcissist for driving drunk. His wife made him mad, that’s why he had five beers. It’s her fault. The narcissist is never at fault and will not apologize or make amends when they screw up!
In a nutshell, this is what a person with a high degree of narcissism is like, and it really affects those around him or her. The first step to resolving and/or managing a problem is recognizing it. Sometimes when you realize a person isn't going to change you give up, but some people can't walk away for various reasons. Still understanding this personality is a step towards developing and strategy to cope with the situation.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Bernetta Pratt