How to Pick a Narcissist

Part 2 of 5 – NPD series

 

I’m not claiming to be an expert on narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). I’ve simply learned a lot through experience, other people, and research.

For simplicity, I will describe the narcissist as a ‘he’, as it is men that most commonly have this disorder.

 

NPD defined

According to Wikipedia, people with NPD are characterised by ‘exaggerated feelings of self-importance’. They have a keen sense of entitlement and ‘demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behaviour’. They also have ‘a strong need for admiration but lack feelings of empathy’.

 

My experience against NPD traits

The website, Psych Central, states that to have NPD, a person must meet five or more of the following criteria. (Under each one, I describe how I observed it in the NPD person I encountered.)

* Has a grandiose sense of self-importance:

I was considered ‘less than’ him in all ways, as were many other people.

He thought himself more experienced in all areas of life.

If my views were different than his, he argued to change my mind. This often encompassed belittling.

* Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love:

He was a player. He said inappropriate, suggestive things. His conversation was sometimes provocative.

* Believes that he is special and unique:

A great many people made no sense to him. He considered most people to be fools. He considered himself different – better somehow.

* Requires excessive admiration:

He displayed his creative talent and loved the praise that resulted.

He required high fives for jokes but rarely doled them out.

He baited me into giving him compliments by projecting a low self-esteem. This gave him an ego boost.

He rarely gave me compliments and when he did, he had an ulterior motive.

* Has a strong sense of entitlement (unreasonable expectations and / or automatic compliance with his expectations)…

Even if he didn’t make his expectations known to me, I was still somehow required to measure up. There were so many invisible rules.

* Is exploitive of others:

He laughed often, at my expense and in company, and created ‘jokes’ that highlighted what he thought my character flaws were.

He called me names even though he told me not to name call.

He’d use personal information I’d given him and, in a power play, twist it to suit his agenda.

* Lacks empathy:

He had no room for understanding or compassion (although in the beginning, he made a great show of it). No amount of me apologising was ever enough. Everything I did, or said, was wrong.

* Is often envious of others

He masked his envy with jokes but underneath, jealously seethed.

* Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes:

There were always riddles I had to solve. If I didn’t understand something, he turned his explanation into a ‘lesson’. He wouldn’t give a simple explanation. I was treated like an idiot.

He never said things simply. I always had to read between the lines and would usually be admonished for not interpreting him correctly.

 

Do any of my examples strike a chord for you? You can take the Psyh Central’s quiz (either for yourself or, by entering another’s characteristics, to find out if someone you know may have NPD) here.

 

 

 

 

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Friendships that Damage

Part 1 of 5 – NPD series

 

Unguarded

It felt like my flesh had been shaken from my very bones… Yes, at the time, I was hurt that much. The price I paid for this relationship was far too high.

Last year, I entered a relationship that I severely misjudged as being beneficial. What ended up happening was not good. This person’s game play damaged me.

I saw Narcissism’s ugly head up close, smelt it’s acrid breath and fell for all its dazzling charms.

I was emotionally abused. I was called names, had judgement statements fired upon me, and was ignored. I was treated like no friend should ever be treated.

Please understand, I’m not the sort of person who harbours a victim mentality. I’m not the stereotypical drama queen. The last thing I want to do is belittle anyone – online or in real life – regardless of how badly I’ve been treated.

Having a Narcissist in my life was a tough, confusing time.

I began to understand what really happened (and why) only after extensive research, talking about the friendship with a psychiatrist a few times over, and listening to some wise, trustworthy friends (who resisted the urge to tell me they ‘told me so’).

 

Narcissists are real, with a capital N.

Sure, I knew about narcissism (most people do) but I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t think narcissists actually existed. Like psychopaths, such characters were too incredible to be considered true in my mind. How could someone think like that, act like that? This is real life after all, not fiction!

Many people (statistics show mostly women) across the world have encountered someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Even today, someone is suffering at the hands of someone with NPD (statistics suggest, it’s most likely a man with NPD). This epidemic weighs heavy on my heart because I know what it feels like to be hurt by it – to be that unsuspecting ‘victim’.

 

So what?!

Why should you care? I’m glad you asked. I’m asking you to care because this friendship was one where NPD, and its insipid by-products, ruled.

I hope that this five part series will do at least one of the following for you:

a) Raise your awareness of NPD so you can recognise it
b) Increase your understanding of NPD relationships
c) Help you choose against becoming a victim
d) Motivate you to end a current NPD relationship
e) Help you heal from past NPD damage

A good friend reminded me that even wise men fall for flattery and lies. So don’t beat yourself up like I did. Please save yourself the pain.

 

Light at the end of the tunnel

You’ll be glad to know that since this relationship ended, I’ve redeemed all the vital parts of myself and regained happiness. You can too.

Healing from the ordeal has taken many months for me, considering it was a short-lived friendship. It will take longer, the closer you are to a person with NPD, because greater damage is caused. But I promise you this; you will heal.

 

Survey like a meerkat

Are you judging your relationships wisely by stopping contact, taking a step back and having a good look at what’s going on? Or are you like I was, drifting on the ebb and flow of your friend’s agenda?

Have you felt like you’ve been locked in a cage with no way out? You can break free.

How can you pick a narcissist?

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Fear

I recently read Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Within it’s pages, I found an insightful description of what fear is. I want to share it with you.

‘I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.

‘Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.

‘Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.

‘The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hardtop shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.’

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

 

Am I the only one who can identify with this, or can you too?

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