Narcissus was a mythological Greek hunter who as the legend goes, saw his reflection in the water and fell hopelessly in love, with himself. A person who is obsessed with himself and has a sense of superiority is called a Narcissist.
What is Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)?
“This is a condition in which a person has an exaggerated sense of his/her own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration and troubled relationships with family and at work”, says Dr. Anirudh Kala, a psychiatrist. “There is a striking lack of empathy for others because of which there is an inability to perceive needs and feelings of others.”
Traits of a Narcissist
- Shows extreme confidence but has vulnerable self-esteem which to the slightest criticism and often leads to lashing out and vengeful behavior when wishes are not fulfilled. Has a very strong sense of entitlement which needs to be constantly fed with excessive admiration. Spends a lot of time in grooming and keeping the wardrobe updated.
- Is preoccupied with fantasies about his/her success, power, brilliance, beauty, or handsomeness.
- Believes in self-superiority and associates only with people who are similarly placed because they are the only ones who will understand them.
- Feels a need to outshine others in order to exaggerate self-achievements and talents.
- Is manipulative, exploitative, and insists on having the best of everything — the best car, the corner office, and the best house out of the company pool, the best corporate jet.
- Feels an innate need to be in control of things and situations. They want to be informed of their partner’s whereabouts, will check and keep a tab on their social media and correspondence, will criticize and control the aspects of their physical appearances, and will be the decision-maker on their behalf as if the partner’s say or opinion has nothing to do.
- Monopolises conversations to the dismay of your friends and colleagues. They will want to head the conversation often bordering on their accomplishments and superiority and will offer unsolicited opinions.
- Blames you when adversity strikes. Projection of blame is more like a self-defense mechanism they employ when they feel psychologically threatened. This can be frustrating and unfair as the partner gets accused of doing things that they aren’t actually doing.
- Lacks empathy or the ability to identify with or recognize the experiences and feelings of other people. They want everything to be about them and belong to them. They have zero respect for personal boundaries often mistreating, devaluing, and humiliating others with their speech and actions.
Marital disharmony is common between such partners because the other can feel overpowered by a sense to upkeep the NPD’s reputation and may feel their partner is their ‘energy stealer’. However relationships can work if one is a highly passive person content to be in the shadow. The image of bravado actually masks a strongly risk averse personality.
Persons with NPD are more prone than others to develop depression and paranoid disorders. Identifying such personality streaks, therefore, becomes necessary. If you or someone you know is in a manipulative relationship, it is best to seek help. Asking a Narcissist to undergo therapy is easier said than done. One can instead lookout for support groups. Sometimes it may take some convincing because usually, they begin to think that a manipulative interaction between them and their partner is normal and that’s how generally relationships are. A strong support group can help the victim to break out of this assumption and help them realize the extent of manipulation by their partner.