Would you know how to spot a narcissist?
Nope! Me neither. And how do I know I don’t know how to spot a narcissist? Because I had three long-term relationships, and each of them ended due to my partners’ narcissistic behaviour. However, narcissism didn’t really have a name back in the day.
Psychology Today wrote “Narcissists have a prominent place in the popular imagination. The label “narcissist” is widely deployed to refer to people who appear too full of themselves.
There’s also a growing sense that narcissism is on the rise around the world, especially among young people.” It appears to be ‘all the rage’ these days. Nevertheless, most psychological research doesn’t support that notion, and I often wonder if people really know what it means.
So to those that don’t, let me tell you something; it’s not a word to bandy around, and it’s no fun being in a relationship with a narcissist. And, if you ever do spot one, stay the heck away from them. If you’re with one, pack your bags and go — ‘cos they ain’t about to change anytime soon.
What is a narcissist?
The dictionary says “a narcissist is someone who has too much admiration for himself or herself.
Kohut, 1971 offers the ‘deficit model’ of narcissism, which asserts that pathological narcissism originates in childhood as a result of the failure of parents to empathise with their child.
By contrast, Kernberg, 1984 emphasises aggression and conflict in the psychological development of narcissism. He focuses on the patient’s aggression towards and envy of others. In this ‘conflict model’, early childhood experiences of cold, indifferent or aggressive parental figures push the child to develop feelings of specialness as a retreat.
Cultural studies have suggested that the USA is seen as a more narcissistic society, where individualism, professional success, fame and material wealth are celebrated. By contrast, Eastern cultures in Asia and the Middle East, promote collectivism and more shared parenting practices. Self-reports of narcissistic traits have been shown to being lower than in Western countries such as the USA (Foster 2003).
The Mayo Clinic said, “A narcissist has an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for excessive attention and admiration.” All of which must be consistently evident at work and in relationships. They lack empathy for others and tend to have troubled relationships. However, behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
What is narcissistic trait?
Narcissists tend to be covert in their behaviours, and many people have been tricked or abused by them. You may never know you’re with a narcissist — until the very end.
While we’re all naturally geared towards self-preservation, someone who thinks that they’re the center of the universe can be described as a narcissist.
Narcissistic traits explained
Narcissism has many traits and can be described by the following behavioral displays:
- Narcissists adore themselves, more than a normal person should; it’s all, “Me, me, and me.”
- The narcissist behaves in an arrogant or haughty manner and loves being adored, being praised and looked up to.
- Being criticised isn’t something they appreciate but they love it when people suck up to them.
- Conversations must always be about them. Say you were talking about your new shoes, give it a minute — that will definitely be usurped by the narcissists new car.
- You were discussing coffee but it will end up with the narcissist, who might look at the time and – oops, look at my Rolex watch, it was only £10,000!
- Most think that they’re special and unique i.e. I had one partner say “There’s only one me, and you’ll never find anyone like me.” Hmmm, sounds good to me.
- They use us and reap the benefits without showing any gratitude or giving credit i.e. claiming your work as their own.
- Narcissists always put themselves first, even at everyone else’s expense.
- They’re proud and tend to exaggerate their knowledge, skills and accomplishments. One ex was a ‘cabinet maker’, I’ll have you know, not a ‘chippy’ or a carpenter.
- Psych Central say that while narcissists want to believe they’re superior and the best, they’re actually insecure. Hence, the need for constant appreciation, validation, and recognition. They seek this by bragging about themselves and their accomplishments. They may even lie or exaggerate. People who brag are trying to convince themselves and you of their greatness.
- They have a sense of entitlement i.e. one guy I was with whinged whenever I bought myself something new (with my money), and asked if I’d got him anything.
- Envious of others and if they achieve success in any area of life, they often believe others are jealous or envious of them.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, so feel free to add any traits I’ve missed in the comments.
Some examples of narcissism
- You might have the narcissistic boss, who works you into the ground without giving you the respect, credit or salary you deserve.
- I had some bosses from hell. One Modern Matron would sit at my desk in my office and invite me in with “come and take a seat,” as she pointed at my spare chair. I’m not precious about having my own office, etc, but she did it deliberately to flaunt her seniority over me.
- It’s sometimes the same with friendships, too. I had a fairweather friend who never bought drinks for others ‘cos I’m saving for my upcoming, fantabulous wedding.” She’d always, always accept drinks from others tho’.
- Another was always busy when I needed something; too tired or sick or looking after some fake grannie. That is, until I said I had spare front row Rod Stewart tickets at the O2. She was round in a flash.
- One ex claimed I was jealous of an old hag he was talking to when we were on honeymoon. When that didn’t get a reaction, he claimed I was flirting with her ‘fugly‘ husband. And for that, he locked me in our apartment while he went back out drinking with the ‘lardy’ arses. Yes! On honeymoon.
- Another asked about and listened attentively to all my insecurities, then loved to throw them back in my face when he was angry.
- Even the boys’ dad was told by a new colleague that he admired his machiavellian (exploitative and maintained dominance over others) approach to leadership. I think he was taking the P, but Tony was actually very proud of this!
You’d have thought I’d have learned after the first and second one, eh? But I have now, and I’m going share a few red flags with you in my next post, which you might want to think about when you first meet someone. If these red flags resonate with you and mirror your partner’s behaviours, I hope you’ll have the courage to walk away.
Over to you
If I’ve missed anything out here, please feel free to tell me in the comment section. Have you had dealings with a narcissist, and if so, how did you cope with it? If you haven’t come across one, what do you think about the topic? As always, I’m looking forward to your comments and any questions.