The Rural Mindset Podcast™ Episode 37 - About The Word Narcissism
Today, we chat about the word narcissism. I really wanted to come on and chat about this word, because we hear it a lot more often now! We hear that social media is making people narcissistic or that more people have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) now, but I wanted to hear from the research, so I took a deep dive into some papers and various articles about narcissism as it's being studied today!
Did you know that NPD is a psychiatric condition that only affects around 5% of the world? Yeah, that means that not everyone on TikTok has NPD, so we need to get that info right! Now, we say narcissists crave the attention of love and others, but this craving of love and attention has consistently shown negative consequences on mental health (Brin, 2013).
Narcissistic people may seem self absorbed, but research has found that their behaviours come from deeply ingrained insecurities. (Clevland Clinic 2021) When we are looking at narcissistic people, their behaviour often shows up as a lack of empathy, need for excessive attention and admiration, and trouble in relationships, but behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
Common Symptoms of NPD:
- an inflated sense of self importance
- need for constant validation
- thoughts of superiority
- manipulative behaviours
- difficulty understanding the needs and/or wants of others
- struggles with handling criticism
- difficulty with emotional regulation (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
Narcissistic Personality Disorder and/or people who have narcissistic tendencies but don't have the disorder can be treated through therapy and anxiety and depression medications.
Now, not every narcissist has NPD, it works on a spectrum. A spectrum disorder is a mental disorder that includes a range of linked conditions, sometimes also extending to include singular symptoms and traits. People with narcissistic traits may fall on the lower end of this spectrum. The difference between a narcissist and someone with NPD is the frequency, intensity and duration of their behaviour. Some people may show narcissistic traits after they receive praise for something or if they are doing well in life. Just because someone is showing narcissistic traits, doesn't mean they have narcissistic personality disorder.
Someone with NPD will willfully induce toxic environments and harmful relationships or exploit others to serve in their own self-interest - and this is not linked to a lower moral ground, it is a psychological condition that needs therapy. Typically, like most things in psych or mental health that are out of balance, it will eventually affect this person’s life. We need to practice empathy, do our best to set boundaries, and be patient with this 5% of people who are dealing with NPD.
So if you’re in cahoots with a narcissist - what can you do?
- Practice empathy
- Painstakingly spell out your boundaries and expectations, and stick to them
- Be clear in your own moral code
- Rehearse difficult conversations you need to have with them in advance
- Focus on giving choices if you need
- Remember that at best, you can only change their behavior towards you by how you set your boundaries and what you allow.
- Help your positive self talk
- Surround yourself with supportive people
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- Narcissus | Definition & Myth | Britannica. (2021). In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Narcissus-Greek-mythology
- Brin. (2013). Historical overview of pathological narcissism. ResearchGate; unknown. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259187048_Historical_overview_of_pathological_narcissism
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Traits, Tests, Treatment. (2021). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9742-narcissistic-personality-disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder - Symptoms and causes. (2017). Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662
- Mitra, P., & Dimy Fluyau. (2021, May 18). Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Nih.gov; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556001/
- Kacel, E. L., Ennis, N., & Pereira, D. B. (2017). Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Clinical Health Psychology Practice: Case Studies of Comorbid Psychological Distress and Life-Limiting Illness. Behavioral Medicine, 43(3), 156–164. https://doi.org/10.1080/08964289.2017.1301875
- How to Deal With a Narcissist’s Sense of Entitlement | Psychology Today Canada https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/evolution-the-self/202206/how-deal-narcissist-s-sense-entitlement
- Balik, M., Cohen, J., Balik Breakdown. Summer Edition - Best Of Mayim and Jonathan (2022, Jul. 26) https://www.bialikbreakdown.com/watch-podcast/best-of-mayim-and-jonathan