Sunday, October 16, 2016
from Daily Health News, May 9, 2011
The following description may remind you of someone in the news today:
Narcissists are characterized by the following...
Grandiose, exaggerated sense of self-importance and belief that they’re better than others.
Preoccupation with fantasies of power, success or beauty.
Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.
Need for constant praise and admiration.
A strong sense of entitlement.
Expectation that other people will go along with their ideas and plans.
Inability to recognize the needs and feelings of others.
Tendency to take advantage of people.
Jealousy of others and/or the belief that others are jealous of them.
Fragile self-esteem and extreme sensitivity to criticism.
Making these characteristics even more difficult to live with is the fact that narcissists tend to not have any idea of the impact that they have on those around them. They won’t understand your complaints, and they won’t change. So you can either choose to leave or must figure out how to make the most of a difficult situation. Should you choose to stay, it will require time and energy to make it work while -- and Dr. McBride emphasizes that this next point is critically important -- preserving your own sense of self-worth. To do this, she recommends the following coping mechanisms...
Learn more about the condition. Understanding what makes a narcissist tick and the root of how he/she got that way may help you accept the person’s limitations and modify your own expectations.
Demand respect. Be clear that you will not tolerate disrespectful language such as belittling remarks... constant criticism... controlling behavior... and unreasonable rages. Any behaviors that veer into physical or emotional abuse are not acceptable -- for instance, yelling and name calling, isolation from family and friends, or other possessive or manipulative behavior.
Don’t blame yourself. A narcissist will value or devalue you according to what you’ve done for him lately, putting your own self-esteem at risk, warns Dr. McBride. If the perception is that you haven’t done enough, the reaction may be to put you down -- but don’t accept the blame. Never lose sight of the fact that you are a good person and that the "noise" from the narcissist is simply his distorted point of view, not reality.
Put your well-being first. Don’t lose yourself while tending to the narcissist. Define your own wants and needs and figure out how to get them met. Guard your self-esteem at all times: Be firm and consistent about expressing your wishes and requirements.
Build a support system. Since narcissists lack empathy, they are not going to be able to give you understanding or support. You need to have others in your life who can provide friendship and emotional connection outside of your home.
Realize that you can’t change a narcissist. You can encourage an individual to gain more self-awareness -- e.g., see a therapist -- but for the most part you need to accept him as is... or move on.
WHEN IT’S TOO MUCH TO TAKE
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for narcissists to eventually behave in ways that are destructive to themselves and the people they purport to love. Changing one’s personality traits -- which is the challenge that faces a narcissist -- is a very difficult proposition. If a person has a few narcissistic traits on the continuum, psychotherapy can help by offering him a more realistic self-image. But be forewarned -- those with a full-blown narcissistic disorder will not go into therapy. And if you drag them there, they will spend their time discussing how bad you are.