August 9, 2022
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

What is narcissism? These are the things you should know

In our selfie-obsessed, celebrity-driven world, the term narcissism is often used to characterize someone who seems overly conceited or full of themselves. However, in psychological terms, narcissism does not imply true self-love. People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are more accurately described as being in love with an idealized, grandiose picture of themselves. And they adore their inflated self-image because it helps them to escape real emotions of insecurity. However, maintaining their illusions of grandeur demands a significant amount of effort—which is where dysfunctional attitudes and actions come into play.

A pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and conduct, a lack of empathy and respect for others, and an obsessive desire for praise characterize narcissistic personality disorder. Others frequently describe persons with NPD as arrogant, manipulative, self-centered, pompous, and demanding. This pattern of thinking and acting manifests itself in every aspect of the narcissist's life, from job and friendships to family and romantic connections.

Even when their conduct is causing them issues, people with narcissistic personality disorder are highly resistant to change it. They have a propensity to place blame on others. Furthermore, they are very sensitive and respond negatively to even little critiques, arguments, or perceived slights, which they see as personal assaults. People in the narcissist's life frequently find it simpler to just comply with their demands to escape the coldness and rages. However, by learning more about narcissistic personality disorder, you will be able to identify narcissists in your life, defend yourself from their power plays, and set better boundaries.

The distinguishing feature of narcissism is grandiosity. Grandiosity is more than arrogance or conceit; it is an inflated sense of superiority. Narcissists feel they are one-of-a-kind or "special," and that only other exceptional individuals can understand them. Furthermore, they are just too good for anything mediocre or ordinary. They only want to associate and be associated with other people, places, and things of high rank.

Narcissists also feel they are superior to everyone else and demand to be recognized as such, even though they have done nothing to deserve it. They often exaggerate or plain lie about their accomplishments and skills. When they speak about jobs or relationships, all you'll hear is how much they give, how wonderful they are, and how fortunate the people in their lives are to have them. They are the indisputable star, while everyone else is only a supporting actor.

Because reality does not support their inflated self-image, narcissists live in a dream world supported by deceit, self-delusion, and magical thinking. They conjure up self-serving dreams of limitless prosperity, power, intelligence, beauty, and perfect love that make them feel exceptional and in command. Facts and views that contradict them are disregarded or explained away because these fantasies insulate individuals from feelings of inner emptiness and guilt. Anything that threatens to puncture the fantasy bubble is treated with tremendous defensiveness, if not outright wrath, so others around the narcissist learn to walk cautiously around their rejection of reality.

A narcissist's perception of superiority is like a balloon that eventually loses air if it is not kept inflated by a continual stream of acclaim and accolades. The occasional compliment is insufficient. Because narcissists want continual fuel for their ego, they surround themselves with individuals who are eager to pander to their compulsive need for validation. These are one-sided partnerships. It's always about what the narcissist can do for the admirer, never the other way around. And any halt or diminution in the admirer's attention and admiration is seen as a betrayal by the narcissist.

Narcissists demand favorable treatment because they believe they are exceptional. They sincerely feel that they should be able to have anything they desire. They also expect others to instantly comply with their every need and whim. That is their sole worth. You're useless if you don't foresee and supply their every demand. And if you dare to resist their wishes or "selfishly" request something in return, expect violence, wrath, or the cold shoulder.

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