Examples of Narcissistic Behavior

By amara
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The word “narcissist” gets thrown around a lot in pop culture. Often, it is used to describe a person who has a big ego and believes he or she is superior in all ways to other people. While it can be used in such a way, real narcissism is actually considered a psychological disorder. Most often referred to as narcissistic personality disorder, this is a condition where a person develops an inflated idea over his or her own importance. Characterized by a need for attention and an inability to empathize with others, narcissism can lead to a number of social issues.

Though a person with narcissistic personality disorder might come across as a braggart who believes he or she can do no wrong, those with this condition are usually very unhappy and feel a constant need to prove that they are better than others. Learning more about the signs, symptoms, and causes can be a useful way to understand the intricacies of this psychological condition.

1. Common Symptoms of Narcissism

As with most conditions that impact the mind, the symptoms related to narcissistic personality disorder can be varied. What’s more, these symptoms will usually range in severity depending on the person who is afflicted. Overall, those with this disorder will have and display an exaggerated idea of their own importance, which will usually come with a strong sense of entitlement. A narcissist might also need the people in his or her vicinity to provide consistent admiration and praise, expecting to be recognized as superior even when there’s no proof to back the claim up.

A common trait of narcissism is the habit of exaggerating achievements and talents. The person who lives with this condition might spend a lot of time in a “fantasy world” where he or she lives a very successful life filled with power and beauty. This can also lead to someone with narcissistic personality disorder refusing to interact with people he or she deems as being “less special,” and the person may try to take advantage of those who don’t fit this category.


2. Understanding Grandiosity and Narcissism

Perhaps the strongest indication of narcissistic personality disorder is grandiosity. Unlike simple arrogance, which can come from a person’s level of experience or knowledge, grandiosity is usually an unrealistic sense of being superior to others based on no concrete evidence. This inflated sense of importance can make a narcissist feel isolated from the people in his or her own social circle, believing that he or she should be around a “higher caliber” of person. The classic narcissist might shun any ideas or items he or she finds to be average, basic, or ordinary.

This level of grandiosity can prove to be problematic for a narcissist in a work environment, as he or she will demand praise and recognition for no reason. The person living with narcissistic personality disorder might cause waves at work, claiming to have accomplished tasks or achieved objectives that other people were responsible for.

3. Warped Reality

Almost all people living with narcissistic personality disorder live in a form of warped reality. In this world, the narcissist is the “main character” of everything in life and all other people are simple background performers or extras. In this fantasy, self-deception is quite common and can lead to serious social issues and romantic problems. A person with this disorder may have difficulty meeting new people, as he or she is likely to put the person down and claim to be smarter, better looking, and more capable than the other.

Some experts believe that this warped reality is created by a narcissist because he or she cannot handle the reality of the situation. Namely, it is difficult for someone with narcissistic personality disorder to accept the feelings of emptiness he or she might feel within, causing the person to pretend that everything is working out in his or her favor.


4. Praise

It is not enough for a person living with narcissistic personality disorder to believe that he or she is the center of the universe. The afflicted individual also needs to hear praise from the people he or she is surrounded by. Though the narcissist might feel superior by nature, he or she will start to question this belief when there is no praise or attention. This can cause the person to lash out, demanding praise for the most simple and unremarkable actions. The person might also begin to tear down others in an attempt to feel superior.

While the severity of various traits can vary, most people living with narcissistic personality disorder have a difficult time maintaining relationships. Friends and romantic partners are likely to feel the relationship is one-sided and are unable to deal with the constant demands for praise and attention that the narcissist is likely to require.

5. Special Treatment

Since the average narcissist believes that he or she is superior to all other human beings, this disorder is often characterized by a very strong sense of entitlement. Wherever a narcissist goes, he or she is likely to expect special treatment. What’s more, a narcissist might be incredibly angered or offended by simple inconveniences like a restaurant having no open tables or a yoga class being canceled due to the instructor falling sick. When he or she does not feel special, it can lead to tantrums and other explosive behaviors.

Narcissists expect friends and family members to comply with each and every thing suggested. If a person disagrees with what the narcissist wishes, then the person no longer has any true value in the eyes of the narcissist. Since people with this disorder believe themselves superior, it is not uncommon for a narcissist to call people rude or hurtful names for no reason.


6. Lack of Shame

Another strong characteristic of those who are afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder is a lack of shame or guilt. Most people are able to have healthy social interactions by taking the feelings and emotional responses of other people into consideration while going about daily tasks. For someone with narcissism, this empathy is never fully realized or developed. A narcissist is therefore likely to take advantage of other people in order to get what he or she wants out of a situation, usually with no thought about the other person’s feelings or consequences of the actions being taken.

In a vast majority of cases, the person with narcissistic personality disorder is not actively trying to take advantage of another person. Usually, the narcissist believes that his or her own sense of superiority makes it acceptable to take advantage of others. Still, there are many people with this disorder who purposely take advantage of other people for their own gain without a second thought or any remorse.

7. Mean and Threatening Behavior

Though narcissists might come across as egotistical, it is a false sense of confidence that drives them. When a person with this disorder meets a truly confident person, it can lead to serious tension and problematic scenarios. A person who is naturally popular might be perceived as a threat by the narcissist. In turn, this can lead to the narcissist lashing out and bullying the person. Contempt is a powerful driving force of the narcissist and it can cause all sorts of serious issues and altercations with friends and strangers.

The tone of a person with narcissistic personality disorder is usually dismissive and patronizing. When he or she feels threatened, however, the speech can become far more threatening and personal. In an attempt to boost his or her own ego, narcissists might stoop to seriously low levels in order to feel superior to another person.


8. Causes of Narcissism

As with a majority of psychiatric and psychological conditions, the actual cause of narcissistic personality disorder is largely unknown. Experts believe that the disorder is likely the result of a number of different factors. Genetics is usually a big cause of psychological disorders, with parents passing down specific conditions to children. Still, there are many experts who believe that environment can have a big impact on narcissism. Children with low self-esteem who are provided false encouragement may develop this disorder if the right conditions are met throughout the child’s development.

A person’s own brain chemistry is another cause of narcissism. Professionals believe that even someone without any family history of psychological disorders can develop this condition. It all comes down to a person’s unique way of thinking, how he or she copes with stress, and the connection between common behaviors and thinking patterns.

9. Treatment for Narcissism

Treating and managing narcissistic personality disorder is the only way for those suffering with this condition to fully integrate into society and establish meaningful relationships. The actual treatments will vary, but experts agree that regular therapy sessions can do wonders for helping a person with this condition begin to make healthy steps toward positive changes. Identifying coping mechanisms can also be useful, especially when it is possible to swap an unhealthy mechanism out for a more practical one. Usually, adjusting coping mechanisms can do wonders to help a narcissist feel better and in control without forcing control.

Unfortunately, there are no specific medications that are known to work well for treating narcissism. Still, by regularly seeing a therapist and actively taking steps toward improving unhealthy behaviors, a person with this condition can make impressive strides in a more positive direction for the future.

10. Reasons To Seek Treatment for Narcissism

While it can seem like a case of intense vanity, narcissistic personality disorder can actually lead to some severe situations for a person. Outside of having serious difficulties creating and maintaining personal relationships, someone with this condition might not be able to work a steady job, get through a college program, or find a romantic partner. This can lead to severe depression and anxiety and has been known to cause drug and alcohol abuse, as well as suicidal thoughts and behaviors. By seeking treatment, these issues can be minimized and healthier habits established.

Though there are many mysteries still surrounding how a person develops narcissistic personality disorder, the signs and symptoms are quite clear. If you or someone you care about is living with this condition, now is the time to reach out to a health care professional to learn more about your options for treatment.


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