A narcissist is a person who is in love with him/herself. A person with an inflated sense of self-worth and importance is a narcissist.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a handsome hunter. One day he was walking in the woods and sensed that someone is following him. She was Echo ( a mountain nymph). Echo was in love with Narcissus. After some time she reveals her identity and attempted to embrace him. But narcissus stepped away and ask her to leave him alone.
Echo was heartbroken. She spent rest of her life all alone with echo sounds of her own. A goddess of revenge notice her suffering and decided to punish Narcissus after learning the story.
One day narcissus lean upon the water in the pool and saw himself in the bloom of youth. He doesn’t realize that it is his own reflection and fell in love with it. He failed to pull away, withered and died in the pool.
“Narcissistic personality disorder is named for Narcissus, from Greek mythology, who fell in love with his own reflection. Freud used the term to describe persons who were self-absorbed, and psychoanalysts have focused on the narcissist’s need to bolster his or her self-esteem through grandiose fantasy, exaggerated ambition, exhibitionism, and feelings of entitlement.”
—Donald W. Black
Narcissism is not easy to recognize. It has a large spectrum from healthy to pathological. We all are a narcissist to some extent. It is a common component of the human psyche. Checking yourself in the mirror before leaving the house is a healthy narcissism. But if you are the one with the urge to see himself as especially attractive and impressive most of the time, whether you deserve it or not. You are the one with the narcissistic personality disorder.
I thought narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it… It is unrequited self-love.
The concept of self-love and narcissism are often misunderstood and misinterpreted. As they both are the state of being in love with oneself. Self-love is a healthy sense of self-worth or self-esteem. Self-love is caring for yourself without snatching others happiness. It doesn’t need boasting and bragging. Whereas narcissism is opposite of that. It is an unhealthy and dangerous vision of being in love with yourself. A narcissist has an excessive belief in his own abilities and attractiveness. They are unaware of (or unconcerned) how his or her actions affect others.
The difference between narcissism and self-love is a matter of depth. Narcissus falls in love not with the self, but with an image or reflection of the self with the persona, the mask.
The narcissist sees himself through the eyes of another, changes his lifestyle to conform with what is admired by others, tailors his behavior and expression of feelings to what will please others. Narcissism is voluntary blindness, an agreement not to look beneath the surface.
There is no clinical tests or scientific methods to recognize narcissist behavior. You may see some narcissistic traits, but that does NOT mean the person is a true narcissist. We all have at least one narcissistic trait. To recognize narcissism you have to pay utmost attention to a person behavior, attitude, and reactions. Here are the most common signs and symptoms of narcissistic behavior.
Self-perception of being superior/ Expectation of superior treatment:
The narcissist has an unrealistic sense of superiority. They always see others as inferior to them. Overt presentation of fantasies and demands of entitlement makes it difficult for others to be around them. They never think before downgrading others in a harsh and rude manner. Their self centered and boastful attitude makes them believe that they are the best. And they don’t need other people.
“Narcissists are consumed with maintaining a shallow false self to others. They’re emotionally crippled souls that are addicted to attention. Because of this, they use a multitude of games, in order to receive adoration. Sadly, they are the most ungodly of God’s creations because they don’t show remorse for their actions, take steps to make amends or have empathy for others. They are morally bankrupt.”
― Shannon L. Alder
They like to do things to impress others. They love to boast and brag their accomplishments. They have a compulsion to let others know that they are better in every aspect. They have the false perception of themselves of being perfect. They sometimes use random and silly strategies to present himself superior to others.
Fixation on someone or something:
An obsessive interest on anything can be harmful and irrational. An obsessive mind is not healthy. People often misunderstood passion and obsession. Passion is positive and fulfilling for mind and soul. And when passion crosses its limit it becomes an obsession.
We need to understand that obsession for anything can never be positive. Even when your fixation is to do all the good things to the world. No thought, idea or thing should dominate your life at the point when you start living only for it. It is not good for your mental health. Apart from that, it impacts every aspect of your life. Moderation is the key. Let the moderation lead your way.
Excessive need of admiration from others:
We all love getting compliments. It makes us feel good about ourselves. But It’s okay if we get none some day. Whereas narcissists are not like that they crave for praise and compliments. They can’t handle criticism, setbacks, and disagreements. This quality makes it hard for them to be in any kind of relationship. whether it is personal or professional.
They never let you talk:
Narcissist believes that they know better. They love to brag about themselves. they will never let you talk. It’s hard to lead a two-way conversation with them. You have to struggle hard to put your point of view in front of them. and suppose your opinion is not in agreement with them you have to bear the brunt of their anger. They will interrupt you many times while talking. And manage to switch the focus on themselves again without a fail.
They use others for their own interests:
Narcissists can be very charismatic and persuasive. When they are interested in you they will do everything possible to make you feel happy and special. Once they get what they want, they drop you without a second thought. they will be very warm-hearted as long as you are fulfilling their needs. They will hijack your emotions and thinking abilities and urge you to make unreasonable sacrifices.
“A narcissist can’t be faithful. This is because—to a narcissist—’you’ don’t exist except as a mirror. When he looks at you, all he sees is his own reflection. Distort this reflection and he will go find another mirror. It’s as simple, or as complicated, like that.”
As I already mentioned narcissism is present in everyone more or less. you can’t recognize these traits until or unless you are in a close relationship with that person. the narcissist in your life can be your parents, coworker, or sibling. Finding a way to deal with a narcissist is imperative for your own mental health.
With a narcissist, you can never win. If they hurt you they will tell you that you are weak. If they mistreat you they will tell you that you pushed them to behave that way. Their “I’m always right” attitude can make your miserable. Don’t let them do that.
“When we meet and fall into the gravitational pull of a narcissist, we are entering a significant life lesson that involves learning how to create boundaries, self-respect, and resilience. Through trial and error (and a lot of pain), our connection with narcissists teaches us the necessary lessons we need to become mature empaths.”
― Mateo Sol
It’s easy to lose your own sense when a narcissist takes charge. You don’t need to follow everything they say. Find the balance between your desire and the narcissist’s anxiety and insecurities.
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Standing up to a narcissist can be a losing battle. Walk away from conflict if you have to, and be sure to set healthy boundaries when they try to get under your skin.
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