Some experts call them inhuman, along withpsychopaths and sociopaths, because of their significant lack of empathy, and immense capacityfor destruction.
They don’t fight shy of systematic abuse, and often leave a trail of misery when they move from prey to prey.
And those who are associated with them, letit be family, friends, spouses, coworkers, business partners, are left disillusionedand, in many cases, crushed.
Along with the lack of empathy, goes a lackof personal responsibility.
The environment they destroyed, ironically, also gets the blame for it, while they, themselves, seem to get out unscathed.
Or, so it seems.
Because how can something be damaged whenit’s already broken? I’m talking about a specific group of individualsalso known as people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder – in short: NPD – or simply referredto as ‘narcissists’.
So, what’s narcissism? What are the symptoms and traits? Where does it come from, and how can we identifya narcissist? There’s a lot of hype around narcissismand NPD; some describe narcissists as real life demons that are only out there to causemisery, while others put more emphasis on that fact that they’re wounded souls thatneed healing.
This video is an exploration of the psychologyof narcissism, that will hopefully lead to a better understanding.
Last decade the term ‘narcissism’ hasbecome widely popular and as ‘fashionable’ as autism as far as mental health conditionsare concerned.
Narcissism in itself (as opposed to NPD) isn’tnecessarily a mental health disorder, but more of a character trait that appears asa pursuit to maintain an idealized self-image.
Narcissism is derived from the mythologicalcharacter Narcissus who fell in love with himself after looking in a pond.
He was so obsessed with his reflection, thathe wasn’t able to part himself from it – a bit like Gollum and the ring.
So he drowned.
Narcissus, the handsome man that couldn’tlove anyone but himself, therefore, became the paragon of vanity and self-absorption.
So, is narcissism getting more common nowadays? According to a German study, there’s empiricalevidence that narcissism is increasing in Western societies.
They refer to certain symptoms like a changein language that has become more “I” centered, not only in books but also in song lyrics.
There’s also a significant increase in peoplethat call themselves ‘important’, and there’s a stronger emphasis on fame in TV-shows.
And scores of self-reported grandiose narcissismamong American college students increased by 30% between 1979 and 2006.
Most people have some narcissistic traits.
Sometimes, it’s great to look in the mirrorand enjoy what we see and to share things about ourselves with others.
And a little bragging won’t do harm, andit’s fine to be selfish occasionally.
But there are individuals with such high levelsof narcissism that their behavior has become extreme and pathological.
If that’s the case, they might be viablefor the diagnosis ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’.
Around 1% of the population has NPD, whichmeans that a much larger group has narcissistic traits.
There’s a huge difference between narcissism, including healthy forms of narcissism, and NPD.
People are often quick to label someone a‘narcissist’, but someone with narcissistic behavior doesn’t automatically have a personalitydisorder.
Some experts tell us that we are currentlyexperiencing a narcissistic epidemic.
This only gets worse as we live in a societythat’s more and more turning into a narcissistic playground.
In today’s culture of social media, theincreasing lack of true human connection, the growing importance of the individual, and the deification of money and status, it simply pays to be a narcissist.
Because what a narcissist is looking for, is a specific form of attention, known as narcissistic supply, that functions as fuelfor a terribly fragile ego.
Today, everyone can put themselves on displaythrough various platforms on the internet.
It’s not just easy to acquire this superficialattention in the form of likes, views, and comments; the ongoing pursuit of online attentionhas become the norm.
For some, it has even become their ultimateconcern.
Now again, not everyone who does this hasa personality disorder.
Many people simply have narcissistic traits, but they are not out of control, and in some cases, they’re even helpful.
So, how can we identify a narcissist? What are the symptoms? To answer this question, it’s probably bestto explore what mental health professionals that are trained to diagnose people with NPD, are up to.
NPD is officially recognized in the Diagnosticand Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (in short the DSM) which is often referredto as the ‘bible’ of psychiatry.
The DSM describes a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, that all starts in early adulthood.
Officially there are seven criteria, and ifone meets five out of seven, this individual can be diagnosed with NPD.
According to the DSM, someone with NPD.
(1) Has a grandiose sense of self-importance(for example, exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superiorwithout commensurate achievements).
(2) Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimitedsuccess, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
(3) Believes that he or she is “special”and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special orhigh-status people (or institutions).
(4) Requires excessive admiration.
(5) Has a sense of entitlement, i.
, unreasonableexpectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
(6) Is interpersonally exploitative, i.
, takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
(7) Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognizeor identify with the feelings and needs of others.
Narcissists can come in the form of tyrants, exploitative bosses, unfaithful spouses, so-called ‘toxic’ friends, and so forth.
They typically don’t respect boundaries, and their relationships are entirely based on what they can get, and not on what theycan give.
Overtime, narcissism has been subdivided intodifferent types.
Two main distinctions are overt narcissismand covert narcissism.
The first one is much easier to spot, whilethe second one often flies under the radar.
Typical and overt narcissistic traits aren’tdifficult to recognize.
We all know people who are overly arrogant, have the inclination to show off, and boast about themselves, and have an insolent senseof grandiosity.
We see this in some world leaders, who putmore emphasis on their self-proclaimed greatness than the needs of the people.
However, unfortunately, many narcissists aren’tso easily recognized, because they tend to be very manipulative.
This means that they’re masters at keepingup appearances, and make great first impressions, and know exactly how to lure in their victims.
They act more covertly, meaning that theybasically crave the same things as the overt narcissist, and also have a fragile senseof self.
They’re just much better at hiding it.
So, what are the origins of narcissism? It’s always difficult to decide where specifichuman behavior comes from.
There’s evidence that the origins of narcissismlay partly in the genes.
But it’s more likely that narcissism isa consequence of environmental factors.
Parents play a huge role when it comes tothe development of narcissism in a child.
A core characteristic of narcissism is a fragilesense of self, which is likely the consequence of parental abuse.
There are many different forms of abuse.
When a child is neglected by overly authoritarianparents, for example, who love him conditionally based on performance, the child is abused.
But when a child is put on a pedestal by theparents, and repeatedly regarded as ‘special, the child is also abused.
In both cases, he or she gets spoonfed a distortedreality, which has probably more to do with the parent’s own need for approval and asense of specialness, than the child itself.
Unfortunately, the child is used as a vesselfor the parent’s gratification.
In one way or another, a child that growsup to be a narcissist has learned that validation is to be found exclusively outside of them.
They’ve learned that they’re only deservingof love when they are the best.
Thus, they must be more important than theaverage Joe because if they aren’t they have no value.
So, their lives are built around this cravingfor attention that confirms a false self-image, that could vary from blatant grandiosity tosilent and covert convictions of superiority.
There are some typical narcissistic behaviorsthat are destructive to the people around them, and, eventually to themselves as well.
One of them is that they never apologize andalways blame other people.
Their fragile egos just cannot handle theidea that they could be wrong, and, therefore, see apologizing as a form of weakness.
Another one is that they repeatedly put peopledown, in order to elevate themselves.
For them, this is just a way to reassure themselvesthat they’re better than the rest and, therefore, worthy.
It’s no surprise that narcissists cannothandle criticism.
I mean: how dare they, those inferior people, criticize them! Another one is gaslighting, which is a formof psychological abuse, used to make people doubt themselves.
This could be done by telling lies, projectingtheir ugly behaviors, denying that they ever said certain things, and creating all kindsof illusions around their victims, so they’ll question their sanity.
A narcissist might tell you, for example, that your friends are against you, or your colleagues think you’re a bad employee, and that he is the only one who, despite everyone disapproving of you, will put up with you.
Now, what can you do to protect yourself againstnarcissists? Well, the most common advice that you’llencounter is ‘going no-contact’.
This is the best and most effective way tokeep the destructiveness of the narcissist out of your life.
When going this route, it’s important tobe consistent with this, so you won’t be tempted to engage with this person again, who will try to manipulate you back into orbit.
However, chances are that you’re not inthe fortunate position to cut ties completely, because you cohabitate with this person, oryou work in the same office.
In that case, there’s another strategy calledthe Gray Rock Method, and you’ll find a separate video about this method on this channel.
All in all, as long as there’s enough supply, the narcissist feels great.
But when it runs out, he or she quickly becomesdesperate for new supply, and often damages and discards people without mercy, in theprocess of achieving it.
There is no question that narcissistic behavioris manipulative and abusive, but there seems to be no consensus about the motives of thenarcissist.
Do they wake up in the morning with a consciousdesire to do evil? Or could it be that they’re so wounded thatthey’ve unconsciously developed highly destructive coping mechanisms, and that they’re hardlyaware of having them? Thank you for watching.