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NARCISSISM: Acquired Trait or Genetical Disorder?

The Greek mythological figure “Narcissus” fell in love with his amazing beauty after seeing his reflection in a pool of water, which is how the term “narcissism” originated. His self-obsession made him blind to all the potential repercussions, and because he was unable to pull himself away from the water, he ultimately starved and died of thirst. As a result, those who are unduly fixated on themselves, especially on their physical characteristics, are associated with Narcissus.

The science behind Narcissism

According to Sigmund Freud, the narcissistic approach has grown since the child’s developmental stage. However, when that approach continues to grow after puberty, it becomes a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which leads to negative personality traits and significant impairments in personality functioning like viewing oneself as exceptional, having superficial relationships with impaired empathy, and preoccupation with beauty, power, and importance. They are likely to reach a much extent to fulfil their unreasonably high sense of admiration. People with narcissistic personality types are considered to have an excessively positive self-concept, and their reactions often depend on the aggrandizing feedback of others. Studies find that narcissist’s self-esteem depends upon the admiration of others, and that admiration is often pursued by manipulating the impression they create on others. On further in-depth research, researchers found another type of narcissism titled ‘Grandiose Narcissism’ where the narcissists build up an interesting profile surrounded by a large group of friends on social media. In order to play the role of a protagonist, they must exhibit a bold, assertive personality that makes them loud and proud. Although the exact cause of narcissism is unknown, it is assumed to be the result of genes, childhood trauma, rejections, excessive praise or judgement by parents, or even ‘helicopter’ parenting, which can lead a child to walk towards the path of narcissism in later adulthood, which can last for years. However, the condition is incurable, and an and an early medical diagnosis followed by proper treatment can help.

How to spot a Narcissist

Over a course of time, narcissists master the art of making every situation about themselves. They often justify their abuse by either blaming it on some other person or taking full credit for the situation by inviting embarrassment, and they even become delusional about the fact that the well-being of some other person (be it their ex) is due to them. They try to justify their abuse by using means like religion (quoting from scriptures) or victimizing themselves in order to not take responsibility for the damage they do to others. Apart from that, they go to greater lengths of mean behaviour in order to serve their ego. Narcissists have a habit of belittle others, put their own selves under greater importance, and seek constant admiration. They can’t stand any sort of insult and are impaired by the need to change themselves. They hardly respect any other perspective apart from theirs and put forward their point of view at first in social or professional settings. Thus, spotting a narcissist can be challenging yet easy, as they expose their ego over empathy and intelligence in front of a larger audience.

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Behaviour and Common Traits of Narcissists

In order to satisfy their inner selves, narcissists become hostile when people fail to respond appropriately, which leads to disturbed interpersonal relationships, which is a hallmark of this disorder. Researchers have also found that such people tend to put down others in order to market themselves and are constantly alert to the slightest inconvenience they perceive as disrespect. They are often envious of others and interpersonally exploitative for their own gain. As they are likely to surround themselves with people who feed their egos, it also brings up a superficial relationship. One common trait of narcissists is their manipulative tendency and controlling behavior, which seems to impress other people at first but eventually keeps their priorities at the top of the list. Narcissistic people also never take accountability for their own behavior, causing problems for their surroundings, as they never empathize with the feelings of others. All they need to do is feel validated, praised, and appreciated to boost their ego. 

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Narcissism in personal and professional settings

When a romantic relationship is formed with a NPD person, they often project what they have in mind upon their partners. They suspect the other person of cheating or deceiving them in the relationship and become excessively vigilant towards the actions of their partners, like tracking their location. They become paranoid beings and project their false- selves on their partner, ending up making the relationship toxic. Such a relationship with a narcissist can make one feel lonelier physically, emotionally, and spiritually, although technically they are present. They would never accept their delusional selves and continue to blame others for pointing out their mistakes and accusing their partners of what they project in reality and the confessions that they don’t accept in themselves. Basically, narcissistic partners are insecure and only secure themselves with the supply of others. As a result, their sense of entitlement, followed by the habit of devaluing others, makes their partners feel unimportant and unworthy. So, when setting up a professional relationship with a narcissist, one must keep in mind to keep boundaries and not pay much attention to their priorities. Narcissists shall try to take the most benefit out of a conversation, and thus it is one’s duty to keep a conversation sweet and short. As they are good at converting people’s points of view, they are likely to impose their thoughts upon their subordinates. Thereby, if you are surrounded by narcissists at your workplace, adopt strategies to avoid their charismatic influence on your life.

Path to Recovery: Healing

Although it is known that there is no exact cure for such psychological issues, it is also mentioned that periodic treatment can help the narcissistic person have a less negative influence on himself or herself and the environment.

Psychologist Sradhanjali Dasgupta (President of the West Bengal Mental Wellness Council and the Founder of Wandering Mind) has suggested some strategies to deal with narcissistic individuals with grace and assertiveness.

“1. Set boundaries Establish clear boundaries and stick to them. Narcissists often push boundaries, so it’s essential to be firm and consistent in asserting your limits.

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2.Maintain Perspective Remember that narcissistic behaviour is often a reflection of the individual’s insecurities and inner struggles. Try not to take their actions personally and instead focus on maintaining your own emotional well-being.

3.Avoid engaging in power struggles. Narcissists thrive on attention and control. Refrain from getting drawn into power struggles or arguments, as this only fuels their behaviour. Instead, remain calm and composed.

4.Practice assertiveness: assertive communication is key when dealing with narcissistic individuals. Clearly express your thoughts, feelings, and needs without being confrontational or aggressive.

5.Limit Contact When Possible: If feasible, minimize your interactions with narcissistic individuals. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people who uplift and respect you.

6.Focus on self-care. Invest time and energy in self-care activities that promote your mental and emotional well-being. Engage in hobbies, exercise, and spend time with loved ones who bring positivity into your life.

7.Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can provide guidance and validation. Having a support system can make a significant difference in navigating challenging relationships.

8.Practice Empathy: While it can be difficult, try to empathize with the underlying insecurities driving the narcissistic behaviour. Understanding where they’re coming from can help you approach interactions with more compassion.

9.Stay Grounded in Reality: Narcissists often manipulate and distort reality to suit their narrative. Trust your instincts and rely on objective facts and evidence rather than getting swept up in their version of events.

10.Know when to walk away. In some cases, the best course of action may be to disengage entirely from toxic relationships. Know your worth and prioritize your own well-being above all else.”

By implementing the above strategies, you can effectively navigate interactions with narcissistic individuals while safeguarding your mental and emotional health. Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in all your relationships.

Reporting for True to Life

By,

Anushka Pattadar from Kolkata

Truetolifenews dosen’t take any responsibility for this article

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