The word “narcissist” has its earliest roots in ancient Greek mythology.
But, it wasn’t until the early 1900s when psychoanalyst Otto Rank published the descriptions of narcissism. He connected it to self-admiration and vanity, just like the character of the young man in the great old myth.
In this article, we’ll explain what researchers tell us about narcissistic personality disorder and the 10 warning signs to look out for. We’ll then explain why it’s so difficult to be in a relationship with a narcissist.
First, let’s go over the background to narcissism with the legend of Narcissus.
The legend of Narcissus
Narcissus was a young hunter who is known for his beauty.
One day, he was in the woods when he got thirsty.
He stopped to take a drink from a still pond and saw his own reflection for the first time
Here’s what happened next:
He fell in love with the reflection he saw.
He was unable to pull himself away from the beauty of his own image to the point of not eating or drinking.
He eventually died from too much self-love. Legend says he turned into the beautiful flower that now bears his name.
Narcissists in a nutshell
One case study published in a book states that a narcissist complains of inability to tolerate people’s stupidity and selfishness.
A person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder believes he is intellectually superior. Thus, his superiority is not well placed to interact with others.
People with this condition exhibit arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding behaviors.
Additionally, they think that they deserve special treatment and concentrate on their own success and beauty.
Another case study of a narcissist shows they see themselves as someone others attacked, derogated, coerced, imposed upon, and controlled. They feel they are being victimized by other people. Often, narcissists have themselves been raised by narcissists.
According to Susan Heitler, an internationally recognized psychotherapist and author, narcissists exhibit listening deficit syndrome, particularly if they’re a malignant narcissist.
Narcissists do not listen to other people. Most other traits of NPD are related to this core listening deficit.
Here are the characteristics of narcissism according to a research study:
1. Very dismissive of everyone’s opinion
Narcissists are “deaf” when it comes to others’ attempts to share information with them. They disagree, use contempt, and ignore what the other person says.
It’s as if the other hasn’t even spoken.
2. “Tall-man” syndrome
Susan Heitler used the term “tall-man syndrome” where people suffering from NPD see themselves above others.
It leads to feeling deserving of special treatment. She states that it has something to do with how the parents raised their kids.
An example is a history of being treated as extra-special — treated like little princes and princesses.
3. “I’m always right” syndrome
This sign comes from the combination of not listening to others and feeling superior.
Narcissists think nobody is above them, thus leading to a dialogue stance of “I’m right”.
This self-belief sustains their habits of being dismissive and disagreeing with what others say.
4. Experiences chronic boredom
A person with NPD will describe feelings of boredom and a restlessness.
This results from the constant search for validation and adulation from others. Listening only to oneself doesn’t make life interesting at all.
5. Dominant in the relationship
Narcissists tend to experience all relationships competitively. It means they want to be the ones on top of the hierarchy.
The belief of being above others makes them dominant since they think their partners are below their level.
6. Over-value appearance
NPD patients tend to put a high value on their own and others’ material possessions and status.
A study shows that narcissists over-value appearance to override their feeling of inadequacy.
To compensate for doubt surrounding their self-worth, they insist that their partner should look a certain way to impress others.
7. Quick to show anger
They are impatient and quick to show anger when others do not give them what they want.
In addition to not listening to other people, they also have the tendency to be abusive and controlling.
These behaviors stem from their belief that “It’s all about me so you should do what I want you to do“.
8. Never-ending need for appreciation and admiration
Narcissistic people have this never-ending craving for appreciation and admiration.
It can be derived from their inner feelings of unworthiness.
Another cause is from addiction to the kudos they received from their accomplishments.
9. Rule breaker
A narcissist thinks he is above everybody else. This will make him think he is special and entitled.
These views of himself are often exhibited in their rule-defying behaviors.
10. Monopolizing conversation
Living in an “all about me” bubble makes narcissistic individuals monopolize conversations.
Because they are dismissive of other people’s opinions, they hoard conversations.
Their monologues are likely to focus mainly on themselves, of course.
A perfect example is always redirecting conversations about other topics back to themselves.
Why is it difficult to be in a relationship with a narcissist?
Narcissism breeds difficulties in any relationship.
A study confirmed that sexual narcissism is positively associated with infidelity.
Another behavior that exemplifies this pattern is divorcing a same-age wife in favor of a younger “trophy-wife”.
According to Susan Heitler, narcissists are like infants. Narcissists need attention but they don’t care about others.
It is difficult to be in a relationship with a narcissist, mainly because, relationships are for mature people. And psychologically speaking, narcissists are not.
How to deal with a person with negative personality traits: 6 no-nonsense tips
Feeling bogged down by toxic people and narcissists? Want them to learn how to stop being a narcissist? Are they in your head even when they aren’t in front of you? Do you waste precious time thinking about them? Yelling at them in your head and having full-blown fights with them about their nasty ways?
It’s time to start setting the bar higher for your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and contacts. It’s time to get rid of the toxic people in your life.
In case you didn’t notice, they are sucking the soul out of you with every complaint, huff, eye roll, and move.
Need to get rid of a toxic person? Here’s how you can set the bar higher and get rid of them once and for all!
1) Move faster than they do.
A surefire way to get rid of a toxic person is to make moves faster than they can anticipate and don’t tell them about it.
If your sister is constantly ragging on your about your job, stop telling her about your job.
Stop telling her how you hate your boss and wish you could quit. Just quit already and then let her find out about it on Facebook like the rest of the world.
Don’t let them drag you through the mud. Get up on the dry land and do your own thing without worrying about how it is going to impact them.
2) Tell them it’s over.
Be frank about what you expect from them and that negativity isn’t one of those things.
When they are being anti-social, point out how negative they are being and then get up and excuse yourself.
You don’t need to try to fix them. You can simply remove yourself from the equation.
Even if this person lives in your house, you can still walk away and focus on your well being instead of their humdrum ways.
3) Say no.
No is a powerful word and it’s not used enough in the world.
We are trying to please everyone all of the time, and when you recognize someone is toxic, you might feel bad for them or not want to make their situation worse, so you say yes to them a lot.
That is not helping anyone. And since the object is to get them out of your life, stop saying yes and they’ll get the message loud and clear.
You may need to say no to someone more than once before they realize that you are not their punching bag anymore but keep at it.
They’ll see that you are no fun – and who wants to be toxic fun anyway?
4) Don’t make it about you.
You are going to feel tempted to blame this person for the way your life is instead of just owning the fact that you are having thoughts about them.
What they do has nothing to do with you: it’s all about the thoughts you are having about them that are making things worse for you.
So while the toxic people in your life are a problem – no doubt about it – the thoughts you have about them are really the enemy here.
So get a grip on your thoughts and you’ll find relief from your toxic relationships in no time.
5) Stand your ground.
Whatever you do, don’t let them walk all over you when you decide to start sticking up for yourself.
Whether someone is talking down to you or just griping about their last paycheque if you’ve decided to start weeding this person out of your life, stick to that plan.
Sure, there will be detours along the way and it might take more time than you thought for them to get the message, but stick it out.
It is worth it to say no over and over again and watch them walk away for good.
6) Don’t blame them for your problems.
The last thing I want to say about toxic people is that they are not the source of your frustration. Often, toxic people are showing us a side of ourselves that we don’t like.
It’s going to be important that you take time to consider how you might also be contributing to this problem and do not blame them for how they make you feel.
They don’t make you feel anything. Or think they do and want to blame them for your disappointment or frustration in some area of your life, but that’s not how this works.
Pay attention to what your brain is doing and you might come to find that it’s in your interpretation of how this person is acting that has caused so many of your problems with them. Sure, they need a mindset makeover, but you might need one as well.