What is a narcissistic? The meaning 2022 news at ITIL.press

What is a narcissistic? The meaning


Abusers, manipulators, villains — as soon as they do not call narcissists. Far from always, this definition hides a “demonic personality” or the owner of a mental disorder. We understand who narcissists are and how to interact with them.

Who is a narcissist?

Narcissism is a feature of the psyche in which a person perceives himself as a unique individual, considers himself better than others, which is not always true. In fact, these traits are present in the character of many people. In a healthy personality, they result in ambition and a desire to please. But under a certain scenario, laid down in childhood, such behavior can turn into a pathology, which is often accompanied by other diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder and depression.

Who is a narcissist?

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, people with narcissistic personality disorder do not like themselves very much. Rather, they admire their grandiose projection, which allows them to close gaps in their own self-esteem. Such protection allows narcissists to avoid deep feelings and self-doubt. A person with this disorder does not tolerate minimal criticism, he perceives remarks as a personal insult and is able to throw a tantrum if someone refuses to admire him. To check how narcissistic traits are characteristic of you or your partner, you can use the NPI questionnaire. The more positive answers a person gives to statements from the list compiled by American psychologists and researchers Robert Raskin and Howard Terry, the brighter narcissistic features appear in him. Meeting people with a true personality disorder is not easy. According to various sources, their number in society varies from 1 to 6%.

How to recognize a narcissist?

According to the American psychiatrists' handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are nine signs of narcissistic personality disorder. If at least five of these are present, a doctor may suspect a disorder. Usually this person:

  • Has an inflated sense of self-importance. He often exaggerates his achievements and talents. Expects people to admire his actions, even if they were minor. If the narcissist organized the cleaning of the yard, then at least the district newspaper should write about it.
  • Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty, or ideal love. To each new partner, the narcissist can say that he is the love of his life or wait for him to fulfill his fantasies. The beginning of such a relationship is a magical, but short period. In work, the narcissist, according to him, is a genius. If he has not been able to achieve great results, he is simply sure that success lies ahead of him, even if it is time for him to retire.
  • He believes that he is not like others and there are few equals to him. Therefore, the environment must match. The narcissist chooses "special" people for his friends and partners, for example, those with high social status or model looks. Thus, he seems to reflect himself through them, because his problems are unique and can only be understood by special people. Narcissists like to be associated with big brands, whether it be in their work projects or clothing choices.
  • Requires constant attention, recognition and admiration, even if you just took out the trash or cooked dinner.
  • I am absolutely sure that everyone owes him. Expectations for other people are usually very high. Close people are obliged to fulfill the requests of the narcissist at the first call.
  • Uses other people to achieve his own goals. For him, it goes without saying. The narcissist is not used to sincerely thanking for services and does it only within the framework of the accepted ethical norm.
  • He has a hard time with empathy. Such people are not able to draw a parallel between their feelings and the feelings of others. Therefore, the narcissist does not even think about when he hurts someone. Very often, this behavior is mistaken for abuse by partners of narcissists. In fact, he may be concerned with how to hide the shame of his failure and not lose his greatness.
  • Often jealous of others and believes that others envy him. In the latter case, it is precisely this circumstance that the narcissist explains the criticism of others in his address.
  • Arrogant towards other people. Such a person absolutely sincerely believes that he is better than others, and other people's shortcomings are an excellent reason to assert themselves.

Narcissists: men and women

Narcissists: men and women

According to a University at Buffalo study that analyzed data from 475,000 people diagnosed with some form of narcissistic disorder, men are more likely to be affected by this disorder than women. The data was collected over a period of 30 years, and the percentage between the sexes did not change much during this time.

In doing so, the researchers noted two important points. First, male narcissists were more likely than females to exploit others and believe they were entitled to certain privileges. Secondly, men were more likely to seek power. Scientists explain this by the fact that until recently, leadership qualities did not meet the criteria for femininity. According to one of the authors of the study, Emily Griyalva, girls are more often criticized for aggressiveness and authoritarianism. In this way, society unconsciously suppressed manifestations of narcissistic behavior.

As for vanity and the desire for a bright self-presentation, in this respect there was no big difference between men and women.

Types of narcissists and how they form

There are different approaches to the issue of the formation of narcissism, including studies that allow for genetic influence, but this is not a decisive factor in the formation of personality.

In 1914, Sigmund Freud stated that children somehow go through a stage of primary narcissism. He believed that this was an intermediate stage of growing up, but later he singled out other forms of narcissism, to a greater extent associated with mental disorders.

Neuro-Freudian spokeswoman Karen Horney argued that the development of such character traits may be due to the fact that parents in various ways pushed the child to create psychological protection. For example, they could delegate the embodiment of their ambitions or rejected the real manifestations of the child, instilling a sense of inferiority.

The contribution of parental figures to the formation of narcissistic disorder is also noted by psychotherapist and researcher Otto Kernberg. He compares narcissism to a false prop that a person erects in order to receive from others that admiration and confidence that he did not receive from his parents in childhood and cannot give himself in adulthood.

In the book Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: the pursuit of Love Admiration and Safety by psychologist Eleanor Greenberg, the author divides narcissists into three types:

  • Open, or grandiose. Embodied stereotype. A bright character illustrating this feature of development and behavior. His whole being screams, "Look at me." This childish behavior indicates that a person is stuck at an age when adults pay a lot of attention to the child, praise him excessively, suggest that he is special, forgetting to teach him empathy.
  • Hidden, or depressive. Such people may grow up in families where one of the relatives, including mother or father, was a narcissist. At the same time, there was a high level of competition for love and attention. On the one hand, children copied the behavior model of narcissistic parents, on the other hand, such a child formed protective mechanisms, since an adult narcissist would certainly assert himself at his expense. Growing up, such people may not openly say that they are special. They would rather choose a person, a book, an object and exalt their virtues. Thus, the narcissist puts them on a par with himself. In personal relationships, such people do not like direct conflicts. Their weapon is passive aggression. A favorite technique is to promise and not deliver, and then blame the other person for everything. They tend to be insecure, and ambivalent behavior often leads them to depression.
  • Perverse, or toxic. These people go even further. They love not only admiration, but also submission. Narcissists of this type love to wreak havoc around themselves, the same that reigned in their childhood in relationships with their parents. These narcissists often give their partners an emotional rollercoaster of humiliation and praise. They take pleasure in destroying other people's careers, destroying people morally and spiritually.
  • There are also mixed representatives of these types.

Treatment for Narcissism

Treatment for Narcissism

Most often, narcissists do not even suspect that something is wrong with them, because they do not tend to blame themselves for something. So if such people were seen by a specialist, then the reason for this could be related problems: depression, bipolar disorder, or excessive alcohol consumption. There is no cure for narcissism yet. Psychotherapy has a positive effect on such patients. Properly structured classes can help a person build relationships with loved ones, learn to withstand criticism, stop despising themselves and others, set realistic goals and achieve them, and not dream of sky-high heights.

How to communicate with a narcissist?

Building an even relationship with a narcissist is not always easy. Some prefer to just cut them off. But what if this is not possible? Let's say that person is a family member or ex-husband/wife with whom you have children in common.

  • The first thing psychologists advise is to try to emotionally distance yourself. Ignore toxic statements and manipulations. It is useless to expect sudden changes in behavior from such people. According to research, narcissists don't tend to learn from their own mistakes simply because they believe they didn't make them.
  • Your personal boundaries are your guard against the actions of a narcissist. “This won’t happen to me anymore”, “I won’t fall for these manipulations” — phrases that will help to avoid an unpleasant conversation or intrusive requests of a narcissist. You can't wait for a response.
  • The shortest answers, conditionally “yes” and “no” are your main allies in a dialogue with such a person if he began to resort to manipulation. By minimizing communication, you give him much less reason to hook on to some phrase and launch an attack.
  • Stick to the topic of conversation and don't get sidetracked. Perhaps your counterpart will try to knock you out of the saddle with accusations or get personal. In this case, the phrase “We are going off topic” will help bring the discussion back on track.
  • Compliments. If you really need to get something out of a narcissist, don't be stingy with praise. Most likely, he will even enjoy fulfilling your request. Yes, this is manipulation, but who said that only a narcissist can use this technique?

How to get away from a narcissist

The end of a relationship is never easy. With a narcissist, breaking up can be doubly difficult. For him, the fact that he was abandoned is an intolerable insult. That is why he will try by hook or by crook to bring the partner back. During this period, he will become sensitive and gentle, will swear eternal love and will do this until his victim loses his vigilance. Often, therefore, relationships with a narcissist develop into a cycle of breaks and reunions. Nevertheless, if you decide to put an end to your communication, psychologists recommend the following:

  • Write down the reasons why you want to leave. This list is best kept around in case the narcissist decides to drag you back into the relationship by talking about eternal love.
  • Give up illusions. It is difficult for such people to change, especially without the help of a specialist. Think about whether you have time to wait until he finally learns to show empathy and respect?
  • Cut off all contact. Ask a friend to pick up your belongings from the narcissist. Block this person in all phones and instant messengers. If you have children in common, at first ask someone close to you to be with you at general meetings.
  • Release your feelings. Breaking up, even with a toxic person, is always hard. Give yourself time to get over this situation. Just don't expect the narcissist to suffer in return. Most likely, during this period, he will try to restore his shattered ego and will choose not the most pleasant ways for this: he will either tell everyone what a bad person you are, or seek solace in the arms of someone else.

In addition to family relationships, external factors can also enhance narcissistic traits. Media and social networks broadcast often unattainable ideals, and self-improvement services are imposed by advertising. All this can affect the psyche.

With "normal narcissism" people try to please others, achieve success in work, which helps them adapt in society. However, in the case of pathology, a person's ideas about themselves are distorted. In this case, the emphasis is on the grandiosity of his figure. He experiences difficulties in forming adequate ideas about other people, abuses manipulations, grossly violates the boundaries of the interlocutor and ignores his comfort. Narcissistic features can manifest themselves in pathological perfectionism, hypochondria, constant attempts to correct their "flaws", including, for example, transforming one's appearance as the most noticeable attribute of self-presentation for others.

With superficial communication, narcissists come across as quite pleasant people. According to research, many socially active narcissists have charisma, know how to hold an audience, are not afraid to express themselves, appear self-confident, and have high claims regarding academic and professional achievements. These qualities often show up in job interviews and help narcissists get into leadership positions. However, such bosses may use too subjective criteria when evaluating employees, focusing not on their professional achievements, but on the degree of admiration, devotion, and the absence of doubts about the correctness of the leader's decisions.

Close relationships are not easy for narcissists. In partners and friends, they are primarily looking for confirmation of their exclusivity, superiority (which reinforces vulnerable self-esteem). Often, such people confuse the attachment that accompanies healthy partnerships and collaborations with the addiction that can shackle and inspire fear. The demands of constant adoration and recognition of their grandiosity, which the narcissist often implements in the form of excessive control over the thoughts and feelings of a partner, in most cases, sooner or later, are not fully satisfied, which leads to conflicts and increased manipulative behavior.

If you have found any manifestations of narcissistic traits in yourself and want to change them, then it will be useful for you to develop the skills of self-reflection, mentalization (understanding mental states), work on the development of emotional intelligence, empathy (for example, discuss with your friends the films you have watched, the books you have read with point of view of understanding the inner world of the characters, their motivation, etc.). It is very important to learn to analyze what is happening from different positions, without sliding into extreme points, such as, for example, idealization and depreciation — look for alternative explanations. Try to look at situations or actions from different angles, noting the possible positive aspects of seemingly negative events, including during conversations with loved ones.

If your loved one has narcissistic traits, you need to learn how to track the emotional states of both yours and the interlocutor. It is necessary to soberly analyze situations of interpersonal communication. For example, learning to recognize imposed guilt requires being able to maintain your boundaries and autonomy of choice. Psychotherapeutic help will be useful in both cases.