Narcissist in your life?

By David Joel Miller.

Discovered a narcissist in your life?

Proud peacock.

Narcissist?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Suddenly one day it dawns on you that someone in your life is a narcissist. This person is causing you pain, and you are trying to figure out what to do about them. Maybe this narcissist is a family member, a romantic partner, or maybe it is your boss.

You see all the signs. They have an inflated opinion of themselves, think they’re superior to you and others. Everything is all about them. You notice that they are constantly trying to manipulate you. This narcissist keeps asking your opinion about them. They are hungry for praise but become furious if you criticize them. The more you are around them, the more you feel used. No matter how much you give, it is never enough. They are causing you a lot of pain, and they can’t seem to see why you feel the way you do.

Sure, looks like a narcissist. What are you going to do now?

They shouldn’t act that way, but they do.

The first thing most people do when it dawns on them that they’re dealing with the narcissist is to try to get that narcissist to understand how it makes them feel, and to change their ways. You can spend a lot of time talking to them, trying to get them to understand how they are affecting you. Not only don’t they get it, but they believe they are so special that they have the right to expect everything to be about their needs and wishes. No matter how hard you try, they will not change.

They may be incapable of change.

If this person is really a narcissist, they may be incapable of change. Some people are high in self-esteem, assertive, and confident. The psychologist would say they are high in trait narcissism. Since they are competitive and want to win, they expect everyone else to take care of himself and this person may be slow to recognize how they are impacting you.

If this person has reached the point of malignant narcissism, technically diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder, one of the symptoms of their disorder is a lack of ability to empathize with you. They’re not capable of seeing your point of view. Any change in this situation is going to have to come from you.

What other problems do they have?

As you think about how you can cope with the narcissist think about what other problems, particularly mental health challenges, this person may have. Do they have a history of antisocial behavior? This increases the risk for you. Narcissists who are also paranoid, have Histrionic or Borderline Personality Disorders, present challenges even to highly trained professionals. If the narcissist in your life also has depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder professional help, for them and you, will be needed. Especially avoid narcissists with addictive disorders may be a danger to themselves and others.

What choices do you have?

If you have identified a narcissist in your life, think carefully about your choices. If it’s a boss, you can learn techniques to manage your interactions. You may be able to transfer to a different department or find a different job. Keep in mind that high level of narcissism is common in managers and in certain professions. Think carefully about whether this is something you can put up with or would it be emotionally healthier for you to leave.

For people in a relationship with a narcissist, you need to think about the long-term. If you been going together for two years, you may be telling yourself you have a lot of time invested. Ask yourself how you will feel if you have had to live with this person for 30 or 40 years?

If this is a family member, a parent or sibling, decide if you can tolerate them in small doses. Some people find they have to move away and reduce contact.

Is this a recurring pattern?

Have you been in multiple relationships with narcissists? You need to take a look at yourself; possibly you will need therapy. If you were a child of a narcissistic parent, you might be attracted to a narcissistic partner. We become comfortable with what we are used to. If you are low in self-esteem, you will attract narcissists who will believe it would be easy to manipulate you. What is the solution to the recurring problems? Work on changing yourself.

Will it get better with time?

People who are high in trait narcissism, competitive, self-confident people, tend to mellow with age. You may find that by lowering your expectations for those around you and learning to meet your own needs, that high narcissism person can become tolerable. Think about it. How will you cope with the narcissist in your life?

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Advertisements

Why they think you’re a narcissist.

By David Joel Miller.

Have you been called a narcissist?

Proud peacock.

Narcissist?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Among the reasons that people come to counseling, conflicts with others are high on the list. When a relationship comes apart, whether that relationship is a work one or an intimate one, it’s common to blame the other person. Sometimes both people involved, blame each other. The accusations usually include calling each other selfish, self-centered, and narcissistic.

At first encounter, the narcissist looks full of self-confidence. Closer examination may reveal someone who feels insecure, and needs reassure. Counselors and coaches find people who are high in narcissism difficult to work with. They are prone to think highly of themselves while having low opinions of others. Here are some of the behaviors that may be causing others to label you a narcissist.

You have grand dreams.

Having great dreams is a wonderful thing. Beginning to think that because you are pursuing large goals, you are an important person, is the result of an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Pursue huge dreams but avoid getting a large head. If you want to accomplish great things you need to keep your ego in check.

You think there is no limit to your success.

You can be great at a few things, good at some things, but no one is successful at everything. If you start believing everything you do is better than others, you are leaving reality for delusions. Expecting to win and everything leaves you unprepared for setbacks. Believing you’re the greatest at everything alienates others around you.

You need lots of applause to keep you going.

Recognition feels wonderful, but if you begin to have cravings for admiration, you are headed towards the narcissistic addiction. Expecting everyone to recognize your greatness, and then being hurt when they fail to give you the admiration you expect, reeks of Narcissism.

You expect to be treated in special ways.

Feelings of entitlement are warning signs you are on the road to narcissism. Be careful about believing your own PR. Regardless of the position you occupy treat others the way you would like to be treated. If you start believing that you deserve special treatment, you’ll start looking down at others. Believing your superior drives others away. Your specialness may be pathological narcissism.

You believe it’s okay to get over on others.

The best deals are the ones where both people benefit. If you start believing that it’s okay to take advantage of others, others will not want to be around you. Severely narcissistic people treat others as objects there only to meet their needs. If you treat people like things, you create resentments. If you act narcissistic, people will call you a narcissist.

You can’t feel empathy.

Not being able to put yourself in another’s shoes, results in others not wanting to walk alongside you. Narcissists see things only from their point of view. They can’t understand what others are feeling.

Have you convinced yourself that other envy you?

Riding the envy Express is a fast track to loneliness. Once you convince yourself that others are jealous of you, it’s easy to start being envious of them. Hater’s convince themselves that everyone else hates them.

Your successes have made you arrogant.

Once you convinced yourself that you can do everything better than others, that everyone hates you, and that you are entitled special treatment, your thinking, your behavior, and your speech become arrogant.

People make you angry.

If you come to believe that your anger is caused by other people you have begun to take yourself far too seriously. Take ownership of your feelings. Others have their reasons for what they say and do. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that others behavior has something to do with you.

Your anger quickly turns to rage.

You start excusing your anger outbursts, and now you are going from zero to homicidal rage in seconds’ flat. Living in the land of rage points to your already having crossed the border into narcissism.

Your self-esteem has blown up like a balloon.

Rapidly expanding self-esteem requires lots of input to keep it inflated. Have you experienced complement shortage, and you are constantly fishing for compliments to keep your ego fed. If you believe that others ought to be recognizing your greatness, telling you how wonderful you are, you have left the land of reality.

You do a lot of blaming others?

As you feel more important and more entitled, you may start believing your failures are the results of others letting you down. The more you take the “it’s not my fault” stance, the easier it is to find others to blame. People who become highly narcissistic never accept any blame.

As a highly important person, you expect perfection from others.

The more your ego inflates, the more you expect perfection of others. You said impossibly high standards and those around you feel the strain. Setting impossibly high goals for others, while making excuses for yourself is the narcissistic thing to do.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Are you dating a narcissist?

By David Joel Miller.

Can you spot the narcissist in your life?

dating a narcissist

Is he a narcissist?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can result in long-term emotional damage. Much has been written about the consequences of relationships with narcissists. There are books about healing from the damage narcissists can do. Some people report having had multiple relationships with narcissistic others.

How do narcissists manage to appear so wonderful at the beginning of relationships? Do you know the signs to watch for to spot a narcissist? How long does it take for a narcissist to reveal they’re true nature?

People in recovery from relationships with narcissists have reported that in the early stages of dating, the narcissist is a great deal of fun to be with. On average, it took seven dates for the narcissist’s true nature to appear. Unfortunately, many people had begun sexual relations with the narcissist before the troubling aspects appeared. They often did not realize what they have gotten into in time.

It’s important to know that there are several kinds of narcissism. In psychology, sometimes the term narcissism describes people who are high in self-confidence. In mental health, pathological narcissism is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There’s a world of difference between being in a relationship with a strong, assertive person and having a partner who only thinks about themselves.

First date with a narcissist.

People who sought treatment for the consequences of being in a relationship with a narcissist reported that in the beginning, the narcissist appeared agreeable, competent, intelligent, confident and entertaining. The narcissist is often a very good dresser. They’re likely to surround themselves with expensive things, fancy cars, extravagant homes, luxury possessions, rather than practical items.

When the narcissistic problems appear.

By the seventh date, the problems were apparent. The narcissist began acting arrogant, overestimating their abilities, bragging and hostile. Pathological narcissists consider themselves successful with the opposite sex because of having had many serious relationships. Often they were dating and sleeping with, multiple people at the same time.

Highly narcissistic people experience more extreme emotions. While emphasizing how strongly they were attracted sexually, they had high levels of jealousy and obsessed over their partner.

Relationships with narcissists are characterized by being full of turmoil and are high in instability.

Most narcissists are men.

The characteristics that define narcissism are traits that have traditionally been valued in men. The narcissist is all about being important. The have a high need for admiration. Grandiosity and self-centeredness are other defining characteristics of narcissism. Narcissists are competitive, but for them, competition is all about winning. Some high self-esteem is a good thing, but having too high an opinion of yourself results in toxic relationships.

Women who score high narcissistic traits.

Some women score high on personality tests for some narcissistic characteristics. Rather than being important, women tend to emphasize being close. They’re likely to be overly invested in others. As a result, women are more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or dependent personality disorder.

It’s common to find dependent people, those with low self-esteem, attracted to narcissists. In the early stages of the relationship being with this fabulous other makes them feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, they rarely realize they have begun a relationship with a narcissist until they are so deeply involved they find it impossible to leave.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (F60.81.)

By David Joel Miller.

Pathological Narcissism.

Proud peacock.

Narcissist?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

When certain patterns of behavior, or your inner experience, become continuing, pervasive, and inflexible and deviates from what your culture expects, you may have a personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder involves an extreme need for admiration, delusions of grandeur or grandiosity, and a lack of empathy.

This particular disorder is rarely diagnosed because those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder do not believe there is anything wrong with them. Lacking empathy, the narcissist blames their problems on others. What brings the narcissist to therapy is most likely extreme impairment in social relationships or a deteriorating job functioning.

One great paradox of narcissists is that despite their beliefs in their superiority, they often are very vulnerable to challenges to their self-esteem. Narcissists need to feel they are better than others in order to feel okay about themselves. This dichotomy results in a high sensitivity to criticism. They often meet perceived attacks with rage.

Even when forced into counseling, the narcissist likely will continue to insist that the problems are caused by others. The DSM lists nine characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder. Having five or more of the characteristics is required to receive the diagnosis. I have paraphrased these from the APA DSM-5.

1. Excessive self-importance, grandiosity.

They expect that everyone will recognize their superiority to others. The narcissist boasts, brags, and exaggerates their accomplishments and are shocked when other people do not recognize their superiority. There is an exception to this if they actually are superior. As the saying goes, it’s not bragging if you can do it.

2. They live in a fantasy world of power and success.

They are preoccupied with fantasies of limitless excesses, absolute power, unrivaled beauty, and brilliance, or ideal love. Narcissists are prone to compare themselves favorably with famous people.

3. The narcissist has a firm belief that they are better than others.

He believes that he should only associate with other superior beings. They expect to attend the best schools, drive the best car, and live in the best neighborhood. Believing they are better than others, they are quick to find fault with the accomplishments of others.

4. The narcissist can’t live without the worship or admiration of others.

Narcissists are often desperate for recognition from others. They expect to be the center of attention and are shocked when others don’t notice them. Narcissists will fish for compliments and be insulted when they feel underappreciated.

5. The narcissist believes they deserve special treatment.

Because they believe they are superior to others, they expect their needs to receive the highest priority. They have a sense of entitlement and a belief that the rules should not apply to them. They see themselves as too important to have to wait for their turn or to stand in line.

6. Give the narcissist a chance he will use you to meet his needs.

Given his sense of entitlement, it’s not surprising; narcissists have no qualms about using others. Sometimes this is a lack of sensitivity, but it may also be rooted in their belief that they are more important and deserving than others. Don’t expect a narcissist to feel guilty for taking advantage of others.

7. Empathy is foreign to narcissists.

The narcissist is incapable of seeing things from others point of view. He can’t see why the feelings or needs of others should matter and expects others to be fully committed to meeting his needs. While they will talk at great lengths about their concerns, they will have no patience to listen to the problems of lesser beings.

8. Narcissists feel entitled to the most and the best.

The narcissist believes others hate him and are jealous. He believes he is entitled to the biggest and best. If someone else has something of value, the narcissist believes it should belong to them.

9. The narcissist excels at arrogance.

The narcissist criticizes everyone. They are quick to use derogatory labels such as stupid, lazy, fat, and rude.

Having read those nine characteristics, you probably have a pretty good mental picture of a narcissist. While I referred to the narcissist as he, it is possible to encounter a narcissistic she also. Some of the characteristics of this and other personality disorders sound like immaturity. To use the personality disorder label, we require that this disorder first begins in early adulthood.

In adolescents, these characteristics may not be fixed and would be described as narcissistic traits. In the adult population, it is estimated that up to 6% of the population have severe enough narcissistic traits to receive the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. About 75% of those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are men. One possible explanation for the high rate of narcissism in men is our culture’s emphasis on competition and winning. More on that in an upcoming post.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder overlaps and co-occurs with depression, especially Persistent Depressive Disorder, and hypomania in bipolar disorder. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often also have Histrionic, Borderline, Antisocial, and Paranoid Personality Disorders.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until those future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Selfishness.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Waste dump.

Selfishness and Waste.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Selfishness.

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”

― Oscar Wilde

“We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.”

― Booker T. Washington, The Story of My Life and Work

“Selfishness and greed, individual or national, cause most of our troubles.”

― Harry Truman

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you. Today’s is less about happiness and more about motivation us to do what we should.

Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.