What does it mean to be a Narcissist?
Merriaman-Webster definition: Extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
Narcissistic personality disorder, according to Psychology Today, is characterised by “grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration.”
According to HelpGuide; “Narcissistic personality disorder involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding. This way of thinking and behaving surfaces in every area of the narcissist’s life: from work and friendships to family and love relationships.”
To help you figure out if you (or some you know) are a narcissist, we combed through various psychology literature looking for patterns of narcissistic behavior.
Read on to learn about the most common narcissistic traits:
They are always right
A true narcissist with never admit they are wrong. As a narcissist, you state your opinions more as a fact than a point of view. As Kushnick said, “Pathological certainty is when someone seems like they’re in the business of making other people bad or wrong.” It’s as though they’ve made the choice to be right instead of happy. Many narcissists always have to be right. This is the unattractive side of narcissism.
“Many narcissists and gaslighters have thin skin and can react poorly when called to account for their negative behavior,” Ni noted on Psychology Today. “When challenged, the narcissist is likely to either fight (e.g., temper tantrum, excuse-making, denial, blame, hypersensitivity, etc.) or take flight (bolt out the door, avoidance, silent treatment, sulking resentment, or other forms of passive-aggression).”
They rationalise anything
A narcissist will rationalise everything. “Rationalisation is an individual’s attempt to justify or find reasons for unacceptable behavior or feelings and thus present them in a form consciously tolerable and acceptable. This mechanism involves a measure of self-deception, which is required in order to make what is consciously repugnant appear more credible”
Even when they are wrong or things don’t go their way, they will find a way to rationalise and justify their behaviour to serve their aims,ego or motives. They think they are always right and never accept other people’s points of view. Ever entitled, they tend to manipulate and exploit others, then rationalize their actions to shirk responsibility or blame.
According to Thought Catalogue “One sure sign of toxicity is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his or her own shortcomings and uses everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for them. This is known as projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of one’s negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. It ultimately acts as a digression that avoids ownership and accountability. While we all engage in projection to some extent, according to Narcissistic Personality clinical expert Dr. Martinez-Lewi, the projections of a narcissist are often psychologically abusive.
Rather than acknowledge their own flaws, imperfections and wrongdoings, narcissists opt to dump their own traits on their unsuspecting suspects in a way that is painful and excessively cruel. Instead of admitting that self-improvement may be in order, they would prefer that their victims take responsibility for their behavior and feel ashamed of themselves. This is a way for a narcissist to project any toxic shame they have about themselves onto another.”
Narcissistic abusers love to play the “blame shifting game.” Objectives of the game: they win, you lose, and you or the world at large is blamed for everything that’s wrong with them. This way, you get to babysit their fragile ego while you’re thrust into a sea of self-doubt. Fun, right?
They don’t know how to have a real conversation
To a narcissist, conversations are not just conversations, they are verbal competitions. Their goal is to win at any cost. They have absolutely no interest in seeking understanding or listening for understanding or clarification or compromise, or in reaching a meeting of the minds. Their conversations are only meant to manipulate, confuse, control, destabilize, deflect accountability, cast doubt, distort reality and create drama.
They lack empathy
A narcissist cannot feel empathy – Unable to feel empathy for someone’s loss, pain or illness a narcissists reaction will not be in the realm of ‘understanding’. When faced with having to feel for another they will turn it around to get attention for themselves because they are being ignored or bot getting the attention they feel they deserve given their perceived effort for doing something or having experienced something.
Excuses are a narcissist’s best friend
Narcissists tend to externalize blame, pinning the blame on everyone but themselves.“They’re good at making excuses and not taking credit for mistakes they make,” Explains W. Keith Campbell, a narcissism researcher and co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement.
When you call them out, they lose their s***
Nobody loves to be called out — but narcissists tend to react with what psychotherapist Hannah Martin describes as “unexpected and uncontrollable anger and desire for revenge.”
“Narcissists love to be in control, especially of their public image,” explains Hannah “Remember, this is carefully contrived to preserve their fragile self-esteem. If they are challenged or exposed, it can trigger narcissist rage.” It can be scary to be on the receiving end of someone’s temper. Remember: a screaming match is exactly what they want so try to keep calm and not engage.
They are master manipulators
Narcissists can be very charismatic and persuasive. When they’re interested in you (for their own gratification), they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you (most likely after they’ve gotten what they want, or became bored), they may drop you without a second thought. A narcissist can be very engaging and sociable, as long as you’re fulfilling what she desires, and giving her all of your attention.Making decisions for others to suit one’s own needs. Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt, such as proclaiming, “I’ve given you so much, and you’re so ungrateful,” or, “I’m a victim—you must help me or you’re not a good person.” They hijack your emotions, and beguile you to make unreasonable sacrifices.