"Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless." ~Jeffrey Kluger
A report in Cosmopolitan Magazine offers ten very insightful points into the psyche of your everyday, average narcissist - and if you keep these in mind when you're dealing with one, you'll find yourself feeling much more in control of the situation.
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Cosmo's insights were, in brief, as follows - but be sure to click the link at the end of this post and see the full explanation on the Cosmopolitan.com website.
1. You can't shame a narcissist - they'll make your life much harder if you do.
2. The reason they're so fragile and insecure on the inside and mean and hateful on the outside goes all the way back to childhood. Though researchers believe there might be a genetic component, the truth is that the way a child is raised has a great deal to do with how they turn out.
Also of note:
- There are two ways to "create" a narcissist - by denying a child unconditional love so they never feel comfortable in the emotional love, or to totally go the opposite direction and overindulging, overpraising and underdisciplining the child - making them believe they're overly special.
- This would indicate that the term "happy medium" could apply to good parenting (My note)
3. Kids who got big responsibilities at early ages are more often narcissists than those who didn't, whether it was direct responsibility such as for a sibling or indirect such as for the emotional health of a parent. This leads to their adult selves always seeking approval and trying too hard, never allowing themselves to just "be," rather requiring to be the center of attention.
4. A narcissist desperately needs to feel superior to everyone around him, because inside they don't feel like they're good enough. And they react with contempt to anyone who seems to have something they lack.
5. Narcissists think big - that is, they are grandiose thinkers because they feel like it fills some hole inside themselves.
6. They have a huge sense of entitlement - they think they DESERVE to have what they want without regard for the needs and desires of those around them.
7. They haven't met a boundary they haven't crossed, and if you don't put a stop to it when it begins, they'll keep crossing until they've crossed every boundary you've got.
8. If you must confront a narcissist, do it carefully - they respond best to "empathic validation," Cosmo says. So you should always "affirm the relationship first before you share anything that doesn't feel right," said a psychologist interviewed by the mag. "For example, if it's someone you're dating, say to them: 'I care about you a lot, so when you don't listen to what I'm saying, I feel like I'm nothing in your eyes,' instead of 'Why don't you ever listen to me?'"
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9. The only thing that might motivate a narcissist to change is having a meaningful consequence for their bad behavior. For example, a healthy narcissist might avoid cheating on a spouse in order to preserve the relationship, because "if the consequences are high enough, they might start to reevaluate their actions."
10. No matter how intelligent and together a narcissist is in other ways, they are emotional toddlers. Cosmo's experts both noted that the best way to deal with a narcissist who is raging is to consider them like you would a two-year-old who is throwing a tantrum, and that most of that is just their way of "putting on a show." Both agreed that as long as you're not in physical danger, you have to pick your battles and decide what you will and will not tolerate, and then make your choices accordingly.
Like I said, I find all of this stuff very insightful and totally on-target. What do you think?
BTW, I've also got a couple of other books on the topic - including Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now.
See Story on Cosmo's website: click here