Below are tips can help in recognizing and coping with a narcissist
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) – Meaning
In our selfie-obsessed, celebrity-driven culture the word narcissist gets to be heard a lot, often for describing someone who seems excessively vain or full of themselves. But narcissism in terms of psychology doesn’t mean self-love at least not of a genuine sort. It’s more precise to say that people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are in love with an image of themselves which is idealized, grandiose. And they’re in love with this inflated self-image only because it allows them in avoiding deep feelings of insecurity. But it takes plenty of work of propping up their delusions of grandeur and that’s where the dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors come in.
A pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration is involved in narcissistic personality disorder. Cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding are terms used often by others to describe people having NPD. This way of thinking and behaving comes up in every area in the life of a narcissist starting from work and friendships to family and love relationships.
Resistance in changing behavior in found extremely in people with narcissistic personality disorder, even when it’s causing them problems. Their habit is to turn the blame on to others. In addition to this, they are extremely sensitive and react badly to even the slightest criticisms, disagreements, or understood slights, which they view as personal attacks. In the narcissist’s life the people who are with them, often easily just go along with their demands to avoid the coldness and rages. However, by understanding more about narcissistic personality disorder, spotting the narcissists in your life, protecting yourself from their power plays, and establishing boundaries which are healthier.
Signs and symptoms – Narcissistic personality disorder
The defining characteristic of narcissism is grandiosity. Grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of superiority more than just being arrogant or in vain. Unique or special and can only be understood by other special people is the belief which the narcissist have. To add more is that they think they are too good for anything average or ordinary. They only want to relate and be connected with other people, places, and things which are of high status.
Being better than everyone else and expecting recognition even when they’ve done nothing to earn it is also believed by narcissists. They will often be exaggerating or outright lying about their achievements and talents. Talking about work or relationships, all that is there to hear is how much they are contributing, how great they are, and how lucky the people in their lives are to have them. They consider themselves as the undisputed star and everyone else is at best a bit player.
Narcissists live in a fantasy world made up by distortion, self-deception, and magical thinking as they have a grandiose view about themselves. They revolve around self-glorifying fantasies of limitless success, power, brilliance, attractiveness, and absolute love that make them feel special and in control. From feelings of inner emptiness and shame are avoided by them as their fantasies protect them from these, so facts and opinions that are against them are ignored or rationalized away. The fantasy bubble if threatened to explode is met with extreme defensiveness and even anger, so those around the narcissist learn to walk carefully around their denial of reality.
A narcissist’s sense of greatness is like a balloon that slowly loses air without a stable stream of applause and recognition to keep it inflated. The compliment which is occasional is not enough for them. Narcissists need their ego to be fed constantly, so they surround themselves with people who are willing to cater to their obsessive craving for affirmation. These are one-sided relationships which are all about what the admirer can do for the narcissist, never the other way around. And if there ever comes an interference or diminishment in the attention of the admirer and praise, the narcissist will treat it as a betrayal.
Sense of entitlement
Narcissists expect favorable treatment as their right as they are special according to them. Whatever they desire, they should get is what they truly believe. They also expect the people around them to automatically follow with their every wish and idea which are their only value. You’re useless if not anticipating and meeting their expectations. Prepare yourself for aggression, outrage, or the cold shoulder if something is asked for in return or defying something they said.
The ability to identify the feelings of others or to put themselves in other people’s shoes is never developed in narcissists. It can also be said that they lack empathy. In many ways, people are viewed in their lives as objects that are there to serve their requirements. As an outcome to this, they don’t think before taking advantage of others to achieve their own ends. Sometimes this interpersonal exploitation is vindictive, but often it can be oblivious simply. How their behavior is affecting others is not thought by narcissists. And if it pointed out to them, they still won’t truly accept it. Their own needs are the only thing they will understand.
Whenever narcissists encounter someone who appears to have something they lack especially those who are confident and popular, they feel threatened. They’re also threatened by people who don’t bow to them or who are challenging them in any sort. Their defense mechanism is negligence. Putting those people down is the only way to counteract the threat and prop up their own sagging ego. They may do it in a humiliating or negative way as if to demonstrate how little the other person is looking to them. Attack with insults, name-calling, bullying, and threats to force the other person back into line may be used.
They can be very magnetic and charming. Creating a fantastical, flattering self-image that draws us in is a quality in which they are very good. Confidence and lofty dreams are the things which attract people and if their own self-esteem is shakier, the more seductive will be the allure. Getting caught up in their web, thinking that they will fulfill our desire to feel more important, more alive is easy. But this is just a fantasy which is a costly one.
It’s critical to remember that narcissists aren’t looking for partners but they are in the search for obedient admirers. Narcissist will see your sole value as someone who can tell them how great they are to cope up their insatiable ego. Your desires and feelings are not taken into account.
Lying, manipulating, hurting, and disrespecting others is done by a narcissist then they will eventually treat you the same way. Fantasy that is created should not be fallen for and thinking of yourself as different and will be spared will not happen.
It’s important that the narcissist in your life should be seen as for who they really are, not who you want them to be. Excuses being made should be stopped for bad behavior or minimizing the hurt it’s causing you. Being in denial will not make it go away. The truth is that narcissists are very resistant to change, so the true question to be asked to yourself is whether living like this can be done indefinitely.
Focus on the things you want for yourself instead of giving yourself away in the narcissist’s delusions?
Healthy boundaries to be set
Mutual respect and caring are the basis of healthy relationships. True reciprocity in their relationships is not a capability found in narcissists. They’re not willing is not the case but they truly aren’t able. They will not see you or hear you. Recognizing you as someone who exists outside of their own needs is not what they do. Because of this, narcissists daily violate the boundaries of others because of this. In addition to this, they do so with a complete sense of entitlement.
Going through or borrowing your possessions without asking is considered as nothing for narcissists including snooping through your mail and personal correspondence, eavesdropping on conversations, barging in without an invitation, stealing your ideas, and giving opinions and advice which are unwanted. What to think and feel may also be told by them. These violations are necessary to recognize for what they are, so healthier boundaries may initiated in order to see where your needs are respected.
Taking back control may not be easy if having a long term pattern of letting others violating the boundaries. Success should be set up by carefully considering your goals and the potential obstacles that may come. Below should be noticed:
- The most important changes hoping to be achieved
- Anything that is tried in the past with the narcissist that worked
- Anything that is tried in the past with the narcissist that did not work
- What is the balance of power between you and the impact caused on the plan
- Plan for enforcing your new boundaries
These will help in evaluating the options and developing a plan which is realistic.
If retaining the relationship with the narcissist is important, then ever it should be treaded softly. You may be damaging their self-image of perfection by highlighting their hurtful or dysfunctional behavior. Message should be delivered to them calmly, respectfully, and as gently as possible. How their behavior makes you feel should be focused on, rather than on their motivations and intentions. Try to stay calm when they are responding with anger and defensiveness. Walking away if required and revisiting the conversation later.
You should be prepared as the narcissist may rebel against new boundaries and test your limits. Any consequences should be followed up as specified. It may seem as if sending a message and you are required to be taken seriously if backing down.
By attempting to take control of your life may make the narcissist feel threatened as they are used to calling the shots. To pay back for this, they may step up their demands in other areas of the relationship, distancing themselves to punish you, or attempting to manipulate or charm you into backing up the new boundaries. But standing firm is up to you.
Taking things personally
Narcissists must always deny their shortcomings, cruelties, and mistakes in order to protect themselves from the feeling inferiority and shame. This is often done by projecting their own faults on to others. Getting blamed for something that’s not your fault or be characterized with negative traits you don’t possess if very upsetting. But as hard as it may be, it should not be taken personally as it is really not about you.
Narcissists live in fantasy, and have included their views of other people. Their shame and blame game should let your self-esteem be undermined. Undeserved responsibility, blame, or criticism should be refused to be accepted. This negativity is the narcissist’s to hold.
The natural instinct when being attacked is defending yourself and prove the narcissist wrong. But it will not matter how rational you are or how sound your argument is, narcissists are unlikely to hear you. And arguing the point may escalate the situation in a very unpleasant way. Don’t waste your breath. Simply tell the narcissist you disagree with their assessment, then move on.
A strong sense of self is the best defense against the insults and predictions of the narcissist. When own strengths and weaknesses are known, it’s easier to reject any criticisms which is not fair or leveled against you.
Detachment from the narcissist’s opinion and any desire to please or appease them at the expense of yourself is necessary. Knowing the truth about yourself has to be kept in mind, even if the narcissist sees the situation differently.
Look for support and purpose
Set expectations for yourself and be honest if you’re going to stay in a relationship with a narcissist. Changing into someone who truly values you will not be done by the narcissist, so looking elsewhere for emotional support and personal fulfillment will be required.
If belonging from a narcissistic family, then having a very good sense of what a healthy give-and-take relationship is may not be present. Pattern of dysfunction of a narcissist may not feel uncomfortable to you. Keep reminding yourself that as similar as it feels, it also makes you feel bad. You will feel respected, listened to, and free to be yourself if the relationship is reversed.
Maintaining perspective and avoiding buying into the narcissist’s distortions, it’s necessary to spend time with people who know you as you really are and validate your thoughts and feelings.
In order to better control them some narcissists separate the people in from their lives. If this is your situation, rebuilding lapsed friendships or cultivating new relationships will be needed and time should be invested in this.
Pursue meaningful activities which make use of your talents and allow you to contribute instead of getting validated by the narcissist to feel good about yourself.
Leaving a narcissist
It is never easy to end an abusive relationship and ending one with a narcissist can be especially hard as they can be so charming and charismatic at least at the beginning of the relationship or if when threatening to leave. The narcissist’s manipulative behavior will make it easy to become disoriented, caught up in the need to seek their approval, or even to feel “gaslighted” and doubting own judgement. If being codependent, the desire to be loyal may trump even the requirement to preserve the safety and sense of self. But it’s necessary to keep in mind that being bullied, threatened, or verbally and emotionally abused in a relationship is deserved by no one. To begin the process of healing, there are ways for escaping the narcissist and the guilt and self-blame
To be able to recognize the techniques it is more better to understand that a narcissist may use the techniques keep you in the relationship. When threatening to leave, a narcissist will often come back with the flattery and adoration (“love bombing”) that caused you to be interested in them in the first place. Or grand promises will be made be them about changing their behavior that they have no intention of keeping.
To help in preventing you from being sucked back in you need to be clear on the reason for ending the relationship. A list should be kept somewhere easily reachable, such as on your phone, and refer to it when you’re starting to have self-doubts or the narcissist is laying on the charm or making outlandish promises.
During your time together, relationships with friends and family or limited your social life might have been damaged by the narcissist. But whatever your situations, you’re not alone. Help can be found from support groups or domestic violence helplines and shelters even if old friends are not reachable.
When you’re ready, simply leave as its better to accept that the narcissist will not change. Threats or pronouncements if made will only forewarn the narcissist and enable them to make it harder for you to get away.
Help should be sought as soon as possible if you’re physically threatened or abused or Call 911 in the U.S. or your country’s local emergency service.
After you’ve left
It can be a huge blow when leaving a narcissist and to their sense of entitlement and self-importance. Feeding of their huge ego will still be needed, so trying to exert control over you will still be continued by them. If charm and “love bombing” doesn’t work, they may resort to threats, diminishing you in front of mutual friends and acquaintances, or stalking you, on social media or in person.
All contact with the narcissist should be cut off as the more the contact you have with them, the more hope will be given to them that they can reel you back in. Block their calls, texts, and emails, and disconnect from them on social media will be safer. Keep others with you for any scheduled custody handovers if having children together.
Whatever the situation is, but breakups can be extremely hurtful. Feeling sad, angry, confused, and grieving the loss of shared dreams and commitments can also come from ending a toxic relationship. It can take time to heal, so go easy on yourself and family and friends should be turned for support.
Once they accept it that you will no longer be feeding their ego, the narcissist will likely to exploit someone else soon. Loss or guilt will not be felt by them, only that never-ending need for praise and admiration. This is no effect on you, but rather an illustration of how their relationships were one-sided and always are.
Needing help for narcissistic personality disorder
Most people with NPD are reluctant to admit they have a problem because of the nature of the disorder and even more reluctant if help needs to be sought. Even when help is sought, narcissistic personality disorder can be very demanding to treat. But this does not imply that no hope is there or that changes aren’t possible. Drugs are prescribed for severe cases which include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotic or if the NPD co-occurs with another disorder. However, in most cases the primary form of treatment is psychotherapy.
Accepting responsibility for your actions, developing a better sense of proportion, and building healthier relationships can be learnt when working with a skilled therapist. Your emotional intelligence (EQ) can be developed also. The ability to understand, use, and manage your emotions in positive ways to empathize with others, communicate effectively, and builder strong relationships is known as EQ. Importantly, the skills required to make up emotional intelligence can be learned at any time.