A productive discussion with my friends about narcissism made me realize how easy it is to miss the actual signs of narcissism. You don’t necessarily have to display overt signs like admiring yourself in the mirror, being a major warrior against empathy, or even talking over other people all the time. There are subtler character traits that make up a narcissist, and ones that people are mostly unaware of.
My love for the subject of NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, led to a productive conversations with few participants. This made the inherent traits even more visible to me.
When you fall in love, you’re mostly blind to their negative traits. Only in retrospect, do you realize the massive blunders and ask yourself, “Really? I let these pass? How blind am I?”
Being with someone who is a narcissist can take a major toll on your mental and physical health.
Here is a list of traits you should look out for, when considering a relationship with somebody:
1. PROJECTED FEELINGS OF INSECURITY
They do not out and out dismiss somebody. It’s more like saying, “You did an okay job, but it’s not up to standard”. They will hardly ever compliment you whole-heartedly, and if you’re aware, you will recognize it for what it is. They have an immense issue with people out-shining them. In order to feel validated, and rise higher in the eyes of society, they take the negative path of demeaning and belittling the greatness in people surrounding them. Instead of striving harder to climb the ladder, they reach the peak by pulling others down. I’m sure all of us have been around bosses who won’t appreciate your work irrespective of the fact that you put all of twenty four hours into it.
Narcissists can be great escapists. They reject the idea of having any emotion. Feeling affected by something means they are no longer in control, and they hate it. Narcissists do not like being under the influence of other people, not even their own emotions. They will deny their true feelings, even to themselves. Sometimes, they come across as stone-hearted. In a moment of crisis, the last person you should look to for sympathy, is somebody with NPD. They will give you none. In fact, their forced sense of rationality and emotional superiority will only leave you feeling much worse.
3. A FRAGMENTED FAMILY STORY
The basis of most theories of psychology, especially Freudian, connect any discord to childhood trauma. NPD is no exception. The reason why these people grew up to become adults that are self-obsessed lies in some childhood negligence or un-fulfillment. It is possible that they come from background of abusive parenting, and sibling rivalry. They could also have been severely bullied as children. However, they will deny all of it, not wanting to let bad memories foil their current image. They like feeling strong, and invincible, and will therefore paint an overly positive picture of their family, friends, and their life in general. If their story is too good to be true, then beware. It isn’t.
4. IDOL WORSHIP
The thing about perfectionists is that they do not accept imperfection from other people. If you’re dating somebody with NPD, you’ll probably be forced to adhere to unnatural standards of being. It could range from looking beautiful all the time, speaking perfectly in their preferred language, cooking the best food, et all. The preferences obviously vary from person to person, but the basis remains the same: a hunt for perfection. If somebody a narcissist worships, falls from their high-ranging pedestal, all hell breaks loose.
5. A HIGH NEED FOR CONTROL
Narcissists always want things their way. This results in a manic-controlling behavior, that is severely detrimental for the people around them. They hate being at the mercy of others, and therefore do not like acknowledging that they need somebody else for anything. For example: We have all heard of incidents where a man bashes his wife for serving dinner past his mentioned time. This is because, at moment, he does not feel in control of his wife’s actions, and realizes that he depends on her. They won’t ask you not to do something, outright, but if you’re organizing a party, they will probably be very late, and be inappreciative of everything that you’ve arranged. People with NPD are generally wary of anybody but themselves.
You cannot pick one sign in order to label somebody as a narcissist. Like all other diseases or disorders, this too works in groups. If you see the majority of these traits recurring in your partner, wave the red flag violently.