Narcissism is a self-centered personality style characterized as having an excessive interest in one’s physical appearance and an excessive pre-occupation with one’s own needs, often at the expense of others.
Narcissist is an individual showing symptoms of or affected by narcissism: such as
an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance
It is human nature to be selfish and boastful to a certain degree. There is a significant difference between healthy narcissism, being self-absorbed and difficult and having a pathological mental illness like narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissism is not necessarily ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it depends on the contexts and outcomes being measured. In certain social contexts such as initiating social relationships, and with certain outcome variables, such as feeling good about oneself, healthy narcissism can be helpful. In other contexts, such as maintaining long-term relationships and with outcome variables, such as accurate self-knowledge, healthy narcissism can be unhelpful.
Types of Narcissism
There are two different types of narcissism that narcissistic behavior can fall under. The two types can have common traits but come from different childhood experiences. The two types also dictate the different ways people will behave in relationships.
People with this behavior were most likely treated as if they were superior or above others during childhood. These expectations can follow them as they become adults. They tend to brag and be elitist.
Those with grandiose narcissism are aggressive, dominant, and exaggerate their importance. They are very self-confident and aren’t sensitive.
This behavior is usually the result of childhood neglect or abuse. People with this behavior are much more sensitive. Narcissistic behavior helps to protect them against feelings of inadequacy. Even though they go between feeling inferior and superior to others, they feel offended or anxious when others don’t treat them as if they’re special.
Four dimensions of narcissism as a personality variable have been delineated: leadership/authority, superiority/arrogance, self-absorption/self-admiration, and exploitativeness/entitlement
Signs of Narcissism
Narcissism is still being studied and explored, since many narcissists and people with NPD don’t seek treatment. However, there are some common traits of people with narcissistic behavior that you may be able to spot.
Sense of Entitlement
A common sign of people with narcissism is the belief that they are superior to others and deserve special treatment. They believe that others should be obedient to their wishes and that the rules don’t apply to them.
Another common trait of narcissism is manipulative or controlling behavior. A narcissist will at first try to please you and impress you, but eventually, their own needs will always come first.
When relating to other people, narcissists will try to keep people at a certain distance in order to maintain control. They may even exploit others to gain something for themselves.
Need for Admiration
One of the most common signs of a narcissist is a constant need for praise or admiration. People with this behavior need to feel validation from others and often brag or exaggerate their accomplishments for recognition. They also like to feel appreciated to boost their ego.
Lack of Empathy
Lack of empathy is another sign of narcissism. This means that the narcissist is unwilling or unable to empathize with the needs, wants, or feelings of other people. This also makes it difficult for them to take responsibility for their own behavior.
People with narcissistic behavior already see themselves as superior to others, so they may become rude or abusive when they don’t receive the treatment they think they deserve. While they hold themselves superior, they may speak or act rudely toward those that they deem are inferior.
Dealing with Narcissism
Those with high levels of narcissism or NPD may learn how to recognize their behavior with the right treatment. This can help to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Historically, narcissists do not seek help since it doesn’t fit the self-image they have of themselves. They may need the encouragement of a loved one to help them seek out professional help.
If you recognize that you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you can change your dynamic in the relationship and challenge your partner to alter how they view you and your relationship. It is possible to change the way your partner looks and you and to help mitigate some of the effects of narcissistic behavior.
If you recognize narcissism in yourself, you can begin to change your self-esteem to self-compassion. This means treating yourself with kindness instead of comparing yourself to others. You can stop trying to evaluate yourself against others, which can lower your need for praise and recognition.