By Elise Brooke;

What is a narcissist?

To be aware of a narcissist you must know how to spot one. A narcissist is someone with a personality disorder called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it is a mental illness. A sense of importance and uniqueness are important aspects of being a happy and fulfilled person, but those with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) take these things to an extreme. There are two types of narcissists “grandiose” and “vulnerable,” a grandiose narcissist craves attention and is out spoken, “vulnerable” narcissists are more introverted. Not all narcissists are the same, narcissism is a spectrum people may carry a few traits or it may be diagnosed as a personality disorder.

Signs and symptoms of a narcissist

  1. Always Talks about themselves;
    A narcissist tends to think and speak only of themselves, often about their physical appearance, talents or achievements. These comments tend to be exaggerated and not an accurate reflection of their lives. They also have little regard for those around them, their thoughts or feelings. People with NPD lack empathy, unable to recognise or understand the needs and feelings of others.
  2. Fantasize;
    The minds of people with NPD tend to be filled with elaborate fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate. As a result they feel they should have the best of everything, homes, cars and clothing and status- affirming things. These fantasies are a way for narcissists to fend off inner emptiness, feel special and in control and avoid feelings of insignificance.
  3. Believe They Are Superior;
    People with NPD have a sense of self-importance, and feel superior to most. In order to maintain feelings of superiority, they will resort to belittling others by focussing on their flaws – real or imagined. This hides their own short comings and preserves their self-image.
  4. Requires Constant Praise;
    Narcissists are often incredibly insecure and have a very fragile self-esteem. People with NPD require nearly constant praise and admiration. They expect to be recognised as superior even without achievements that may warrant this. This fragility makes narcissists highly reactive to criticism. Any comments that shine a spotlight on their insecurities of flaws is met with rage, causing the person to lie or divert the conversation in a different direction.
  5. Sense of Entitlement;
    People with NPD expect others to offer them special favours and fulfil requests without question. If this dose not happen they become impatient and angry.
  6. Takes Advantage of Others;
    People are naturally drawn to narcissists, finding them attractive, charismatic and exciting. As a result people with NPD may not have any issues getting people to do what they want. They have no problem taking advantage of others – with little to no regard for the feelings or interests of others.
  7. Envious of Others;
    Because of their low self- esteem and need to be superior to others, narcissists see people who have things they don’t as threats. Such as tangible items or admiration. They believe that others are envious of them.
  8. Enjoy Being the Centre of Attention;
    A grandiose narcissist will crave attention at all times and will often seek it out. Dominating a conversation, they feel compelled to talk about themselves and exaggerate their accomplishments, often being outspoken, arrogant, self-loving and entitled.
  9. Lack Empathy;
    They are unable to empathise with others or understand other people’s perspectives and struggles. Having a inability or unwillingness to recognise the needs and feelings of other people.
  10. Boundless Ambition;
    Narcissists fantasise about being the best of the best. About how much more powerful they would be, how much more beautiful, and how much richer. They obsess over status symbols and belittle anyone they do not perceive to part of “the club.”
  11. Incredibly Insecure;
    Which is why they feel they need to put down others. A “vulnerable” narcissists insecurity stems from the question they ask themselves, whether or not they are truly special and unique. They seek and rely on positive affirmation from others.
  12. Incredibly Charming;
    First impressions narcissists come across as charming and confident as the relationship develops their behaviour becomes demeaning and aggressive. They often seek out positions of power and leadership and manipulate others into giving them what they want.
  13. Extremely Competitive;
    They are obsessed with winning, there is no in between, either winners or losers. They have to make themselves out to be superior to somebody else. A narcissists has a inability to celebrate other people’s success, or put themselves in a vulnerable situation where they do not feel superior to their opponent.
  14. Hold Grudges;
    A narcissists is extremely sensitive and cares very deeply about maintaining their idealised image of themselves, despite the confident front. They don’t take to kindly to any sort of insult or disapproval, they will hold a grudge because they take criticism as a personal attack and a huge insult. They do not get over feeling slighted or abandoned.
  15. Don’t Take Criticism Well;
    They are unable to cope when things don’t go their way and will be hard pressed to ever admit fault when they are wrong which makes it impossible for them to take any kind of criticism, even constructive.
    Many narcissists react defensively and even aggressively to personal criticism or failures. They can react with sudden and surprising outbursts of yelling, crying, anger or even aggression.
  16. Perfectionism;
    Some want to achieve what they consider a flawless performance. Those with vulnerable narcissism need to achieve perfection in order to get fulfilment. They live with the worry of being exposed for their flaws, which would make them feel humiliated and shamed.
  17. Feeling depressed;
    A mental illness narcissists can develop is depression. Vulnerable narcissists can become depressed because they do not know how to work through emotions properly. Grandiose narcissists have an inflated ego and more arrogant personalities. When they experience a personal or professional failure, isolation, or lack of accomplishment, it may trigger depression.
  18. Difficulty Regulating Emotions;
    A narcissists ability to effectively manage and respond to an emotional experience is compromised. They have less accuracy in the ability to recognise the feelings of fear, disgust and shame in others and difficulty assessing both their own and other peoples emotions.
  19. Feeling Contempt;
    The last thing a narcissists wants to encounter is a person who appears to have something they lack. This takes a hit on their ego as leaves them no choice but to act as if that person is beneath them. This is a defence mechanism turned to when threatened by someone who can challenge them in any way. Contempt is acted out as name – calling, insults, and threatening the other person back into line.

How to deal with a narcissists

Narcissists follow different norms than most people. Once you recognize these and understand what lies beneath them, you can cope with narcissistic people better.
Don’t give them ammunition; Anything you share with them may eventually be used to humiliate or manipulate you, particularly when you are most vulnerable or in need. Be mindful about what you reveal. Don’t take them at face value; Narcissists lie easily and often seem entirely convinced of even their most preposterous lies. Yet underneath, people with narcissism often feel empty and illegitimate. We can have compassion yet not be taken in by their pretenses.
Don’t try to justify or explain yourself; Narcissists often put others on the defense with pointed questions, sarcasm, posturing as though you must explain yourself to them. You need not justify your feelings or explain your thoughts. The more you do, the more you are at risk of them “gas lighting” you to induce self-doubt. Defending yourself to narcissists is generally a waste of time. They are interested in winning, not listening, self-promoting, not communicating.
Don’t minimize their outrageous behavior; Deceiving, manipulating, and humiliating others is unhealthy and wrong. Note to yourself at least how dysfunctional it is.
Don’t expect them to own their part; Narcissists take credit and give blame. They do not apologize or admit responsibility. Seeking accountability is a waste of time. They believe they have more rights than others and have little interest in introspection. They fear looking in the mirror and owning their mistakes. They will never hear or validate your comments.
Don’t try to beat them at their own game; Narcissists have spent a life time perfecting a campaign of self-aggrandizement. They carry out more manipulation actions in a week than most do in a year. Be you and be true to your values.
Don’t expect loyalty; Narcissists view others as sources of gratification not as equals. They use language as tools and weapons rather than to convey truth. Expecting loyalty from people who are only in it for themselves is counterproductive. Depending on them for important needs will only bring disappointment.
Don’t personalize what they do; Narcissists view others as potential threats or potential victims. If you take what they do personally you grant them real estate in your mind and psyche which is exactly what they want. Its not personal it’s just what they do.
Don’t expect empathy; Empathy is based on the assumption that others are worthy and deserve compassion. The narcissists sense of entitlement leaves them feeling little interest in playing fair or reciprocating. They see others as inferior and underserving of compassion. Focus on respecting yourself and honoring your needs and rights.
Don’t underestimate the power of narcissism; A narcissists life is about gaining, attention, wealth, power, control, sexual conquest etc. The psychological dynamics of narcissism generally last a life time. Hoping they will change is a setup. Recognizing they are on a endless quest for attention and approval can free you from false expectations and allow you to set healthy boundaries.
We can have compassion but compassion dose not mean allowing others to hurt or take advantage of you. It is up to you to take care of yourself, that is healthy living.

By Elise Brooke

Please follow the link to my article on “boundaries” What is boundary setting? By Elise Brooke – Leveraged Writings
Please follow the link to my article on “self-love”
What is Self-Love? Why is it important? – Leveraged Writings %

fashion love people woman
Photo by RODNAE Productions on the results of being in a relationship with a narcissist can be devastating.

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