Just today, an article appeared in my inbox describing how those with narcissistic personalities are handling the COVID pandemic, and although this does not relate to the field of immigration, I found it worth the read, especially in a time when people are fueled with so much frustration and anger...
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Know someone who begins every sentence with “I” or “My”? Who deflects anything you have to say by changing the subject back to him or herself?
Narcissistic personality disorder appears in many forms - not merely the selfie-obsessed, vanity driven personalities seen in Hollywood.
The root of narcissism stems from deep feelings of insecurity that are masked in narcissistic behavior. Narcissists exhibit a pattern of self-centered thinking and behavior, a lack of consideration for others feelings or opinions, an excessive need for admiration or praise, only see their way as right, and are unable to take even the slightest of criticism.
Narcissists will often exaggerate their achievements and emphasize how much they are loved by everyone. They will make bold, self-affirming comments like, “I was the best Worker in the whole office and everyone admired me”, “I was a damn good Mother”, or “my Boss likes me the best”. Narcissists are unable to admit when they are wrong or see their weaknesses. As such, narcissists often end up alone in life, without a network of friends, and either strained or estranged family relationships. Narcissists have usually experienced multiple failed marriages or relationships and lack meaningful relationships in their life.
In extreme cases, a narcissistic person may take their behavior to the extreme – for example, using manipulative tactics to achieve a certain outcome, such as feigning an injury or illness to get attention, or worse, “tattle-tailing” on someone close to them for their own advantage or to acquire something they want. Narcissists often cry to get attention and are often known for making scenes in public places, like restaurants or stores.
As a result of their deeply rooted insecurity, you will often hear a narcissist say, “Did you see the way they were looking at me”? When in reality, these people were likely going about their daily routine without any interest in the narcissist.
How to Deal with a Narcissistic Personality?
People with narcissistic personality disorder are extremely resistant to changing their behavior, even when it’s caused them problems or has led to an isolated lifestyle. Their tendency is to place the blame on to others. They are extremely hypersensitive and react poorly to even the slightest criticisms, disagreements, or perceived slights, which they view as personal attacks. For the people in the narcissist’s life, it’s often easier just to go along with their demands to avoid the anger and wrath. However, by understanding more about narcissistic personality disorder, you can spot the narcissists in your life, protect yourself from their angry behavior, and establish healthier boundaries.
Narcissists feel threatened when they encounter someone who appears to have something they lack—especially those who are confident and self-assured, or those who can “see right through them”. They’re also threatened by people who challenge them in any way. The only way to neutralize the threat is to put those people down. They may do so in a patronizing way as if to demonstrate how little the other person means to them, for example, talking badly about their own family and perhaps even talking badly about one’s own child to his or her other child! Or they may resort to insults or mean, bullying behavior. When dealing with narcissistic behavior, it is important to understand that the battle is within themselves and has nothing to do with you. Walk away and don’t take it personally.
Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect and caring. But narcissists aren’t capable of true reciprocity in their relationships. They don’t see you, hear you, and have no compassion for you. Because of this, narcissists regularly violate the boundaries of others. What’s more, they do so with an absolute sense of entitlement. For example, a narcissist will expect gifts from others, but will not reciprocate by giving back. Then they likely will not even give so much as a simple “thank you” for your kindness.
Narcissists simply don’t think about how their behavior affects others. And if you point it out, you become the bad guy. Any negative feedback is considered a betrayal, rather than simple constructive criticism or an attempt to help. If you set your expectations accordingly, there will be less disappointment. Never expect to receive an apology from a true narcissist, because it will never happen, and always expect to be wrong when around a narcissist. Unfortunately, you will get trampled on and belittled, but the best approach is to tune it out and get used to the negative, angry tone.
Living with a narcissistic personality can be extremely frustrating and even exhausting. But rest reassured that the only one who loses in the end is the narcissist, as time reveals all truths and karma will eventually bring everything into alignment. In the meantime, you can set healthy boundaries by limiting the amount of time you spend with this person, and either limit or outright stop the giving altogether. Use your energy on someone who appreciates you!