With the rise of social media, and the subsequent importance of how one is percieved by society, a large emphasis is placed on how we present ourselves. This often times come at a cost of what actually goes on in life.
It seems that it is more important to post an instagram story about going to the gym, then to actually have a proper workout. The emphasis has shifted from improving yourself, to being seen as improving yourself.
This comes dangerously close to having narcissistic personality traits. We all associate a negative emotion when a person is described as a narcissist, but what exactly is it? How do we deal with someone who is a narcissist? And what can we do if we ourselves have narcissistic tendencies?
Keep reading to find out!
We all associate narcissism with a negative trait, but what exactly does narcissim mean?
In order to be classified as a narcissist in psychological terms, we have to talk about narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is defined as a mental condition where people have an inflated sense of superiority over others. Often times this is associated with a lack of empathy and a selfish view of the world. A narcissist typically has a need for attention and validation. They are more concerned with how they look to other people, than how their own lives are going.
Narcissism doesn’t come and go, it is found in every area of a persons life should they be suffering from it.
The biggest trouble with narcissism is that it can be very tough to treat. A narcissist is very quick to shift blame to others, and believes that nothing is inherently wrong with them. But when you are trying to unlearn certain behaviours and habits, you have to focus on yourself.
Types Of Narcissism
1. Covert Narcissism
A covert narcissist, as the name implies, can be incredibly difficult to spot. This is simply due to the fact that this narcissistic trait is a lot more inward. There is no grand self-display of superiority or importance. In fact it is much more of a belief than an outward projection.
A covert narcissist is also often shy. While they might not seem like your typical narcissist, they still have beliefs that they are superior to other people. It can be summarised by a quick example: “I am great at my job, it is just that nobody here recognized my talent”.
There can be a firm belief that the system has failed to recongizes their skills and talent in a specific aspect in life. Since covert narcissism is often paired with a shy personality, it can easily be confused as depression. Their low self esteem paired with their pessimestic view of how society sees them can often be deceptive.
However, there is something that can set them apart from people who actually suffer from depression. When talking about their problems, they will never put the blame on themselves. Like any other narcissist, they believe that they are superior, that there is no fault with them.
2. Malignant Narcissism
Malignant narcissism is most likely the worst one to encounter in another person. While narcissism often makes a person feel a sense of superiority compared to others, malignant narcissists go even further.
It can be quite simple to deal with a narcissist, just try to avoid them as it isn’t in their nature to harm and hurt other human beings. A malignant narcissist on the other hand is abusive to the people in their surroundings.
Individuals with this type of personality trait often get satisfaction from hurting others and manipulating them to their own benefit. A malignant narcissist will have no problem throwing you under the bus if they can somehow benefit from it.
They are typically characterized by a lack of empathy. They also have a tendency to use other people for their own personal gain, without offering anything of value in return. A classic example could be a friend in university who spends a lot of time around you in the exam period. But after graduation, when they no longer need your help to study for exams, you never hear from them again. This could be a classic sign of a malignant narcissist!
3. Grandiose Narcissism
Whereas other types of narcissism are often a result of an underlying cause such as insecuritites, a grandiose narcissist will 100% believe that they are better than anyone else. They have no notion of their own shortcomings, and instead of choosing to ignore them like other narcissitic personality types, they do not even know of their existence!
They are what most of us think of when the term “narcissist” comes up. They have a need for admiration, and believe that they are incredibly special. They will have exxagerated levels of self-confidence, and have been known to become verbaly and physically aggressive whenever confronted about their behaviour.
A grandiose narcissist can be found in any walk of life. They can be incredibly important business leaders and CEO’s of major multinationals, as this area of life is their drive to prove that they are in fact better than the rest of us.
It is often a mistake to think that a narcissist will never make it far in life, but they can often be quite cunning in their ways to reach their goals.
A communcal narcissist is known for getting their validation from comminuty related activities. Their entire life evolves around seeking validation from others for their good community work.
They will post more about their activities on social media, then actually helping the people around them. When you see them in real life, they will make sure that you know about all their good deeds. It is more important to them that you know what they did, then the actual consequences of their actions.
Often times you will get a sense that they think they are above the actual people they are trying to help. It comes off as selfish and ungenuine.
Remember that a narcissist only cares how the world percieves them, not about their actual impact on the world. Studies have found that a lot of today’s influencers rank high on the narsissistic scale. They are more concered about how their lives looks like to strangers, then to actually make a meaningful contribution to the world.
Ways To Spot A Narcissist
Knowing the types of narcissists mentioned above, there are different behavioural characteristics you have to look at to be able to spot a narcissist. That being said, there are many traits that all the different types have in common.
Let’s go over the easiest way to spot a narcissist:
- They have a feeling of entitlement and superiority
- Lack of empathy
- Large need for validation
- Need to be the center of attention
- Are arrogant
- Feel special and unique
- Need to be in control
- Ability to exploit others without guilt or shame
There are of course many more traits, and no two narcissists are the same. That being said, the above list lists the most common ones.
How To Deal With A Narcissist
Educating yourself is the first step in tackling any problem you face in life. When it comes to dealing with a narcissist, this is no different. Given that you have read the entire article, you are already well on your way to being quite knowledgeable on narcissism. Of course I recommend you to get more information from a variety of sources, as they can often present different perspectives.
Avoid confronting a narcissist about their behaviour. As I mentioned in a previous section of this article, a narcissist can often times react quite aggressively if they feel backed into a corner. Some may even do so physically, so try to avoid this at all costs.
Stay calm at all times. Similar to the previous point, you have to stay calm to ensure that the argument or situation you are in does not further escalate. When you stay calm you can always reason your way out of a bad situation. Remember that a narcissist won’t hesitate to manipulate you for their own good. Staying calm can provide you a way to see through their schemes, while if you are emotional it may not always be possible to do this.
Consult a therapist if you are unable to cope on your own. There are a wide variety of reasons why going to a therapist can help. Not only can they give you personalized advice on how to deal with a narcissist more efficiently, they can also help a person suffering from narcissism deal with their behaviours.
If you are interested in learning more ways to deal with a narcissist, then make sure you keep an eye on my most recent posts as well as my archived articles. I will soon be writing a much more in-depth post about ways you can use to deal with a narcissist!
How To Deal With Narcissim
As I have mentioned previously, being diagnosed with narcissism and truly believing it is the hardest step in the entire recovery process. So if you have managed to do that, then you are more than halfway there to dealing with your narcissistic tendencies!
Narcissism often become an issue when other people are involved. If we can combat the behavioural aspect of it, then we should be well on our way to create a healthy social environment for not only ourselves, but also those around us.
Being able to unlearn these toxic behaviours can be done using the following methods.
1. Journal And Reflect
Journaling can be one of the most powerful self discovery tools out there if used correctly. When we write about our experience and behaviours, we get a well rounded overview of why we displayed it, and how it affects our immediate environment.
When we are trying to combat our narcissistic tendencies, we have to journal in a way catered to unlearning to display those tendecies out in public. There are two main reasons why journaling is so effective in unlearning a behaviour.
The first reason is because journaling is a great tool to discover what kind narcissistic tendencies you might have. Try and remember your day and write down about all the thoughts you had when you felt superiority over someone else. What did you think at that moment? Why did that thought originate? These are all questions that can help you uncover the reason why those thoughts manifested.
Secondly, you can write about ways in which your thoughts were wrong. The idea that you are in all ways better than someone else is false, and if you are still reading until here you might understand that already! When you confront your own thoughts in writing, you are changing they way you think. You are exploring alternatives you never would have thought of otherwise.
When is the best time to journal?
Personally, I like to journal before I go to bed. It is part of my bedtime routine. It is the perfect oppertunity to journal about the previous day, as most of the memories are still fresh. If you are trying to journal about your narcissistic traits, the evening is a perfect time to do it.
That being said, early in the morning can also be a great alternative. While the memories of the previous days might not be very clear anymore, it does provide you with a great oppertunity to plan ahead for the coming day
If you are aware of your narcissistic tendcies, a morning journal session could help you set a goal to try and not manifest a toxic behaviour.
2. Ask Your Peers For Advice
Asking around your social circle for advice is another great method to get insight into your own behaviour. We tend to not notice our own flaws, and this is exaggerated in someone with narcissism. Your friends and family memebers however have a good idea about your behaviour, particularly how it is percieved by others.
Not only can they tell you how these narcissistic tendencies manifest, but they might even be able to provide you with potential solutions.
In case you stuggle witn building and maintaining meaningful relationships, I have written a detailed article outlining how we can make social situations more enjoyable for ourselves. If you are interested in reading such an article, it can be found here!
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about helping us understand how to live in the moment.
It teaches us to forget the regrets of the past and the worries of the future, and focus on the beauty of the now– Simply Lifestyle
It has gained a massive following over the last few years. The rise of popularity is due to the effectiveness that this type of meditation offers. It is even being used in clinical therapies, particularly for stress related complains.
On top of that, it has shown incredible results in its ability to aid with the unlearning of certain behaviours, which is exactly what we are trying to do when we want to deal with our narcissism!
How should you practice mindfulness
It is often the case that people are confused on how to actually practice mindfulness, so that it can help them in their daily lives. The actualy meditation techniques used to teach you this skill are very basic and not hard to learn at all.
All you have to do is find a comfortable sitting position, close your eyes, and focus on the present. Focussing on the present simply means that you:
- Listen and focus on sounds in your environment
- Focus on the rise and fall of your chest and stomach as you breath
- Feel the sensantion on your skin
There are more ways to focus on the present, but I have found the above to be the easiest.
You should spend just 15 minutes doing this. Sooner or later your mind will start to drift away from these things. You will begin to daydream about what you want to do in the weekend, or whether you should have a snack.
The moment you realze that your mind is wandering off, you have to bring it back and focus on the present. This action of telling your mind to keep focus on the now is what mindfulness is all about. It strengthens our connection with reality.
This then in turn will help you to be more aware of your actions in the present when your narcissistic traits manifest themselves.
Whether you yourself have narcissistic tenedencies or you know someone who suffers from narcissism, there are many solutions to fix any issues that may arise. Note that this is not an easy journey, no matter what camp you are in, but I assure you that a solution exists!
I hope you enjoyed the read and were able to learn something from this article. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours!