Do you know of someone who has unusually high levels of self-importance – or comes across as extremely entitled or grandiose?
Perhaps he or she constantly puts you down, and has no ability to empathise with you. They show little interest in your life and what you have to say.
If your answer is yes, you may be dealing with an individual who has a narcissistic personality type. As you would probably know from your experiences with this person, interactions with them can be difficult, frustrating and ultimately depressing.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is known to affect approximately 1% of the population. That’s right, there’s a 1 in 100 chance that you know of someone who has this personality type.
Most of us might choose to avoid people with Narcissistic personalities simply because interacting with them can be so difficult (and wisely so).
However, there is a chance that a Narcissistic individual might exist in your close circle of friends, family or workplace. Or it could even be the person you’ve married! Here are a few tell-tale signs of a Narcissistic personality structure:
- An expectation of being seen as superior and admirable;
- Inability to empathise with others;
- Arrogant and disparaging to others;
- Never believes he/she is wrong;
- Exaggerating his/her success;
- Unable to identify other’s feelings and emotions;
- Overly sensitive to criticism; easily hurt as a result.
The term Narcissistic is originally derived from the mythical character Narcissus, who saw his own reflection in the river and fell in love with himself as a result. He was fixated on himself and his own beauty and thus was unable to have any meaningful relationships with anyone else.
People who have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder are similar – they have a preoccupation with themselves and their focus is on maintaining their perfect perception of themselves. This is of course, highly dysfunctional and unrealistic and in turn, will impact anyone who tries to start or maintain a relationship with them.
How this affects relationships
Interacting with a Narcissist can be very frustrating and emotionally exhausting. Not surprisingly, you might feel incredibly discouraged from the constant put downs, or frustrated because they never believe they are wrong. You might feel helpless and powerless as it seems like nothing you can do will change them. Although you may want to develop a closer relationship with them, their inability to notice or empathise with your feelings, leaves you feeling emotionally distant. You might even just be sick of their fixation on themselves and their feelings of superiority!
Sometimes we cannot avoid interaction with people who have Narcissistic personalities simply because they are in our household or workplace.
Dealing with them can be tiring and over time, cause you great anxiety or depression.
If you have been reading through this and have been nodding knowingly throughout, it is strongly recommended that you see a psychologist to help you through the resultant emotions that come from your difficult interactions.
Seeing a psychologist does not mean that there is something wrong with you – rather it is for your support, as you have unfortunately been placed in situations where you could not avoid extended interaction with a Narcissist. A trained psychologist is able to help you understand more about the underlying factors which cause someone to have this personality type, as well as help you work through how to interact with these individuals as best as possible.
Seeing a psychologist can also help you to work through and process some of the painful experiences and emotions that you have no doubt endured throughout your relationship. Your emotional and mental health is very important – do not delay in seeking some help in this area!
Author: Joey Tai, BA (Psych) Hons, Master of Clinical Psychology.
Joey Tai is a Clinical Psychologist who has extensive knowledge and experience in the area of Narcissistic Personality Disorder – one of the diagnoses which many psychologists avoid. He has a keen interest in working with people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or with supporting those who are living with or having to interact with such an individual on a regular basis.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422.