What is a narcissistic person? How do you identify and deal with narcissists?
Narcissism, one of the three dark traits of personality, is a psychological condition in which a person develops an exaggerated sense of self-worth. A narcissist is obsessed with himself and considers himself more superior, important, special and worthy than those around him. He is in love with himself, excessively.
Identifying a narcissist
According to reports, about 6 per cent of the general population in any community comprises of narcissists and this personality disorder is more prominent in males. A narcissist is easy to spot. Here are a few signs that show a person may be a narcissist:
Show-off and attention
He continuously talks about his achievements and brilliant talents. A narcissist obsessively shows off his superior intelligence, strength or beauty.
A narcissist strives to be at the centre of attention. He loves compliments and seeks people (known as narcissistic sources of supply) who glorify him and acknowledge his worthiness. If a narcissist feels deprived of these sources of supply, he may feel worthless.
Narcissists therefore usually make friends who validate their superiority. Their friendship is superficial because as soon as they stop receiving compliments or feel they are being ignored, they can drop their friendship like a heavy weight.
A Narcissist expects others to glorify him as much as he glorifies himself.
I, me, myself
A Narcissist hardly cares about the feelings of others unless that person is extremely important to him. I can safely say that most narcissists lack empathy.
As long as their exaggerated sense of self-worth is reinforced, nothing else matters to them. They’ll hardly ask others how they are feeling except out of formality.
I had a friend on Facebook who always used to share her photos and along with them some kind of a self-praise like “The beauty queen”, “I’m cute and I know it”, “I’m too pretty for you” etc.
Now if someone did that every once in a while then I would’ve considered it normal but she used to do it excessively.
When I checked the comments, I only saw narcissistic sources of supply- i.e. people glorifying her exaggeratedly. Then I knew why she was repeating that kind of behaviour.
A narcissist constantly fantasizes about having unlimited success, outstanding achievements, fame etc.
Though it is a good thing to dream, the reason why narcissists do it is only to give themselves an ego boost, especially to prove to others how worthy they are so that they can gain more narcissistic sources of supply.
How narcissism develops
If a person undergoes a traumatic past experience, in childhood especially, in which his ego got damaged very badly, he experiences tremendous emotional pain. Now to make sure that such kind of pain is avoided in the future, the mind of the person has to develop a defence mechanism.
The subconscious mind of the person now creates a new identity– a narcissist, who is superior and invulnerable. It is a new mask that an emotionally hurt person gets to wear to hide what’s beneath. It is a new wall that he builds around him to protect his damaged ego.
After all, if people know that he is superior and invincible, they will never think that he is inferior and emotionally wounded inside.
Narcissism and confidence
There’s a fine line between narcissism and self-confidence. A confident person is self-assured and believes in himself while a narcissist believes that he’s better than everyone else.
A confident person admits he’s vulnerable and that he’s just a human being with strengths and weaknesses but a narcissist is ashamed of his weaknesses and hides them under the mask of his narcissism.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. I’ve written 280+ articles and published one book about human behavior on this blog that has garnered over 3 million views. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur.