Narcissism. An oft used term that is thrown around more then it should. But do we fully understand its meaning? What is narcissism and what makes one a narcissist? In this post I intend to answer not only that, but to delve deeper into the subject of narcissistic abuse. This will be a mini series split into two posts, with the subject of the second part explained at the end of this post.
First of All…
What exactly is narcissism? The word itself derives from a Greek mythology where Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. How charming I know…but it is this grandiose opinion of oneself that is the core of what makes someone a narcissist. Not to be confused with egocentricism and definately not to be confused with the concept of self love. Narcissism is a personality disorder which at its root is to view oneself higher than others, with no imperfections (note: they are always aware of their flaws but are in a constant denial about it). This root then evolves into many other branches of traits. Below are the main ones:
The 9 Sins of A Narcissist:
1. Self absorbed and following their art of one sided listening. They genuinely believe that the world revolves around them. A complete and constant dismissal of whay anyone else has to say. Conversations has to revolve around them and them only. Any input from others will be swiftly cut short, ignored, or twisted back to being about them. Your cat died? Oh that sucks…but have you seen how many likes my selfie got on Instagram!
2. Unremorseful and emotionally unavailable. You feel offended by something they’ve said? Your feelings are hurt? Trying to get that across to them is equivalent to talking to a brick wall. You will get nothing but excuses, reasons why you’re wrong to think/feel this way, verbal diarrhoea of how perfect and holy they are, oh and queue in the manipulation and gas lighting right about now. They shut down as soon your feelings are mentioned.
3. Approval seeking. They crave the limelight. Compliments and recognition keeps their head bigger than the Big Ben. Even if they have to walk over others to get it. Even if they have to lie, use/dispose, and belittle others. Oh trust me they’ll do it. Again and again. Pretty patsy has to remain the prettiest.
4. A serial liar. Lying is nothing to them. They’ll lie, then lie to cover up that lie, then lie again to make sure you feel like you’re losing the plot. But may the power be with you if you get caught lying. Ironically, they feel threatened then. Because they perceive it as loss of control over you.
5. Compulsive. By compulsive, we mean their mental state. See narcissistic personality disorder can cause a person to have intrusive, paranoid, ego-dystonic thoughts, which gives them ideas, instructions and demands to act according to whatever benefits the grandioseness fantasy. So thoughts such as ‘I deserve to be rich, famous and powerful. I am always being ignored/mistreated/insulted’, are insidiously prevalent in their minds.
6. Addictive. Narcissists you could say, are almost set up to be easily addictive. They have this void within them, that is insatiable. So they are constantly on the search out for anything that satiates this emptiness within them. They will try to cling on to anything that makes them feel ‘normal’ and ‘capable’. Whether that be a habit, how they treat someone, or even substance abuse.
7. Deceptive. For all those who have known a narcissist, let me throw a question at you: how many times have you had an argument or confrontation, in which you KNEW you were in the right, but by the end of it, you were left either believing you were wrong, or knowing you’re still right, but giving up as they just won’t admit it? Lying, gas lighting, and manipulating situations are like hobbies for a narcissist. It elevates their compulsive need for control and dominance.
8. Perfectionist. According to them, they have no flaws, no vulnerabilities, and no imperfections. An almost ‘god like’ opinion of themselves which they expect the world to share. Anyone who ‘threatens’ that image by equal ‘perfection’, will be competed against until they’re dragged down somehow. However as I’ve stated earlier, this mask does have cracks, each crack being a flaw, or a shortcoming, and each infuriating their low self esteem secretly.
9. Controlling and demanding. They love, and need to feel like they control all those in their life. You will be pushed down to nothing but a mere puppet. This is ultimately what they thrive on. Without this, they wither away as their ‘crown’ feels questioned, which is straight up unbearable for them. And so they use manipulation, passive aggression, bullying, physical and emotional abuse to control a person. Other ways are pulling out the victim card and using that to belittle, humiliate, in still guilt and therefore punish that person.
Now they obviously have more traits such as envy and arrogance, but the ones mentioned above are the most obvious and transparent. They are also the most damaging to the victims. Let us now move on to narcissistic abuse, as I would like to highlight very important pointers towards how to know if you/someone you know have experienced abuse. Study this list and observe if you can relate to any of these points:
- You question your memory and recollection of a place or an incident. This is because you have been gaslighted so many times that you do not trust yourself anymore. You believe the narcissist.
- You have to habitually double check things to see if you’ve made a mistake or have forgotten.
- Frequently feeling disoriented and confused
- Being afraid and embarrassed to share your feelings thoughts and opinions as you rarely feel that you’re right.
- Not talking and socialising much as you’re used to being almost reclusive because of your low self esteem.
- You are highly judgemental of yourself, and dislike most things about yourself because of the narcissists constant criticism, and their displays of dissatisfaction with nearly all that you do.
- You feel on edge around the narcissist but may not be able to pin point why. Feeling threatened and afraid are also felt around their presence. Even if you are physically away from them, a phone call or text message could trigger these feelings.
- You feel lonely, isolated, hopeless and depressed. Most victims suffer from depression because of the abuse and isolation. And most narcissists really do try to cut you off from your friends and family in order to fully control you.
- You feel waves of dread, as if something bad is about to happen, but again you cannot pin point why as their might not be an actual reason at that moment. Again, this is anxiety, and is suffered by victims of narcissistic abuse.
- A sense of guilt and sadness is carried within you, as you remember who you used to be.
The Secret of The Narcissist
The reality of a narcissist is a big irony. A narcissist at face value, or as a first impression, will most likely appear to be charming and witty. Someone who seems to have it all together, and a magnet that pulls people in. It is therefore important to always remember that below the surface of this facade lies low self esteem and an inferiority complex. This then keeps the narcissist’s mind occupied with feelings of envy and jealousy with others. Loneliness is also experienced as they simply cannot maintain relationships.
Their perfectionism and unhealthily high standards for themselves leaves them with feelings of stress and anxiety as they battle each day trying to maintain their own high standards. The worst fear for a narcissist is to be out-beaten in anything. From the pettiness of whose suit looks better to whose billing the highest sales at work. They have to be the best and they have to be in control. And it is this unhealthy competitiveness that transforms into outbursts of anger, manipulation techniques and dominance.
I will end this post here, but keep an eye out for the next part of this series, as I will be sharing true stories of victims who have experienced and endured at the hands of a narcissist. As for now, please do share any experiences that you have in the comments section below.