Hated because imbued with their person, selfish, without empathy and condescending; narcissistic people feel superior to others. The one we talk about the most, because potentially dangerous for his victims, is the narcissistic pervert. But there are other profiles of narcissistic personalities. How do you recognize a narcissistic person? What are the causes of narcissism? How to deal with a narcissist?
Table of Contents
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
“Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a constant sense of superiority (megalomania), a need to be admired and a lack of empathy, ”reads The MSD Manual, the world’s leading medical information authority, on the site. Narcissism comes from the Greek character Narcissus, who falls in love with his own image reflected in water. Narcissists are, by extension, people who love and admire themselves beyond reason. The concept of narcissism entered psychiatry thanks to Sigmund Freud.
The latter distinguishes primary narcissism from secondary narcissism. Primary narcissism is a normal infantile stage during which a child learns to love himself by eroticizing his own body. Secondary narcissism is itself pathological. It becomes a perversion when an adult cannot detach himself from himself to invest himself with others. You should know that an individual who develops normally detaches from himself in order to reach out to others, while keeping a part of self-esteem.
According to the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, narcissistic personality disorder manifests itself with at least 5 of these symptoms (they must appear in early adulthood):
An overvaluation of its capacities. The narcissist thinks his skills and accomplishments are extraordinary. And because of this, he must be considered superior to others.
The feeling of being unique. The narcissist thinks he is special and therefore feels that he should communicate only with special and high people.
A constant and excessive need to be loved and admired.
An obsession with power, success and beauty.
A lack of empathy. The narcissist sees only himself and therefore cannot be interested in the needs and feelings of others.
Arrogance and a haughty attitude.
A need to manipulate others to achieve one’s ends.
The feeling that others envy him.
The feeling that everything is due to him.
The different profiles of narcissistic personalities
The elitist narcissist. He loves power, domination and manifests it with a haughty attitude.
The fanatic narcissist. He thinks big and always wants more than he has because he feels he deserves it. This is called “having the madness of grandeur”.
These different profiles have, however, been discussed several times by specialists because the same narcissistic person can display several profiles at the same time. They would then only be variants of the same disorder. Also, some characteristics of narcissistic disorder are found in other personality disorders. It is therefore difficult to put a single label on a personality, due to its complexity. We also notice that pathological narcissists often suffer from other disorders such as depression (following one or more failures that they could not endure), anorexia nervosa, a disorder linked to substance abuse or a personality disorder (borderline or paranoid).
Narcissistic Personality Disorder: What Are the Risk Factors?
The possible causes of narcissistic personality disorder are manifold. The risk factors are both genetic and environmental:
To have received a strict upbringing where you always had to excel to be rewarded or conversely to have received an overly lax education where compliments flowed and admiration was limitless.
A lack of self-esteem that makes you lose your means at the slightest failure. To hide this fragility, narcissists make others believe that they are sure of themselves and good at everything. This lack of self-esteem is also found in the fact that they envy the people they (secretly) think are better than them.
Trauma suffered in the past (abuse, aggression, betrayal). Narcissism is then a defense mechanism so as not to be destroyed again.
Parents themselves narcissists, who never taught their child empathy and modesty.
How to deal with a narcissist?
Two schools clash on this subject: one that advocates opposition and one that favors empathy.
Oppose the narcissist
Narcissistic behaviors, if repeated, are often unbearable for those who experience them. It then becomes tempting to say “stop!”. This reaction can be useful in making the narcissist understand that their behavior is selfish and that you dislike it: “I would like you to stop talking about yourself so that I can talk to you about what worries me or makes me happy about.” This conversation is an exchange,“ You only disparage others, but are they so incompetent as you say they are? Maybe they can do things that you can’t do… ”The idea is to put him back in his place, without being mean. In a relationship, the narcissist will always want to be in charge, let him know that he is not alone and that if he wants the relationship to last, he is going to have to make room for you.
Be tolerant of the narcissist
For this, it is useful to understand the origin of the person’s narcissism (strict or too flexible upbringing, old trauma, etc.) in order to better understand them and tolerate their behavior. To congratulate her on what she has accomplished only when it is deserved, but without exaggerating so as not to put her on a pedestal. As the narcissist cannot stand the success of others, it is better to remain discreet about his own successes and privileges so as not to awaken his jealousy and provoke a surge of self-centeredness by way of overbidding. For the sake of the relationship and if you can stand their behavior, don’t go into a confrontation at the risk of weakening your bond with that person.