Many of us have narcissists in our lives. In fact, we might even be narcissists! But narcissism can truly take a toll on your relationships. In fact, it is classified as a personality disorder. How can you tell you or someone you know is a narcissist?
Here are 9 signs of narcissism:
- Relentless focus on yourself and your needs over the needs of others.
- A penchant for praise. It often feels like you’re fishing for compliments.
- A “chip on your shoulder.” You feel entitled, like other people owe you something.
- A tendency to manipulate or exploit other people for your own gain.
- Lack of remorse when you’ve hurt another person’s feelings. You often think they are just being too sensitive.
- Inability to admit fault or wrongdoing. It’s usually someone else’s fault when something goes wrong.
- Frequent criticism of others, particularly for not meeting your expectations or for making you look bad.
- A tendency to look down upon others and regard yourself as superior.
- Jealousy and a strong aversion to shame or humiliation. Such feelings may incite anger, violence, depression, or extreme moodiness.
Not every narcissist exhibits all these signs, and signs may vary. But if you or someone you know fits this bill, they may benefit from counseling. While the cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown (it could be rooted in one’s environment, upbringing, genetics, or biology), narcissism can lead to poor relationships, trouble at work or school, increased stress and physical health issues, depression, anxiety, addiction, violence, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
How to treat narcissism
If you’re a narcissist, you may be harming or distancing those who are closest to you without even realizing that you are at fault. If you are close to a narcissist, it is often you who must change to protect your feelings.
Narcissists are unlikely to seek help for this disorder because they don’t believe they have a disorder. They think the world must change around them, not that they must change. In fact, that’s usually what happens. Other people may grow tired of their behavior and distance themselves or cut off contact entirely. This dynamic often appears in parent-child or spouse relationships.
There is some evidence that narcissistic personality disorder wanes with age, but that may offer little comfort when you’re dealing with it regularly. The best you can do if you have this disorder is seek counseling for any issues you have, perhaps starting with your childhood, and learn healthy ways to communicate with others.
If you are on the receiving end of a narcissist’s behavior, the best thing you can do is set boundaries and separate yourself from their behavior. Counseling can help you do this and focus on healing. Whatever side you’re on, mental therapy can help you feel more secure, strengthen your identity, manage stressful situations, and live a more fulfilling, rewarding life.