Narcissism can be described as excessive preoccupation with one’s self and lack of empathy for others. The narcissistic personality tends to exaggerate his/her own importance and abilities. People with these characteristics believe themselves to be highly gifted and often engage in delusions of success, fame and/or power. Narcissists are often arrogant. They don’t hesitate to ask and expect special favors from others. Counter-intuitively, these individuals are often insecure and in reality have very low self-esteem. They require frequent admiration from others and find it very difficult to cope with criticism. Adversity or criticism may cause the narcissistic person to either attack in anger or isolate himself from that person. Narcissists cannot handle failure and therefore often avoid risks and situations in which failure is possible.
Another common trait of narcissists is jealousy of others (family members, spouse or spouses family members, friends, most often those that the narcissist is closest to). The narcissist is self-absorbed and lacks empathy for others. They expect others to be devoted to them but have no desire to reciprocate. Narcissistic people often enter into relationships based on what other people can do for them.
It is common for persons with this disorder to compare themselves to famous people of achievement and to express surprise when others do not make the same judgments. They feel entitled to great praise, attention, and special treatment by others, and have difficulty understanding or acknowledging the needs of others. They envy others and imagine that others are envious of them. The person with narcissistic personality disorder has no patience for others, and quickly strays from situations where he or she is not the center of attention and conversation. This attention from others is referred to as narcissistic supply and may be positive (praise or a compliment made to him)or negative (a fight with a spouse). Either are acceptable forms of attention. He may use his spouse, children, siblings, friends, etc. for narcissistic supply. Others are often confused by sudden outbursts of anger or attacks to their character, not understanding where they came from. Inwardly, the narcissist needs attention (whether positive or negative) and any confrontation will do, therefore fights over trivial matters are sure to ensue. If you are involved with someone you believe to be a narcissist, please read as much as you can on the subject to empower you for the battles to come. If it is practical to leave this person, it is usually considered best to do so. If it is a family member, read as much as you can on protecting yourself and not engaging, and therefore becoming a source of narcissistic supply for the narcissist. Narcissists tend to feed off of others and have been referred to as “vampires” by some. Having lived with one for many years, I can speak to the truth of this feeling. (See blog posts) Best of luck!!
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