What is Narcissism

There are a lot of good sources to define Narcissism.    Some characteristics from http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Living_With_a_Narcissist


Determining whether someone is a narcissist

It can be difficult to determine whether someone is a narcissist, even to experts. This is particularly true if you do not know the person very well or spend some time looking for the traits to be revealed. Non-professional diagnosis should be avoided, since there is a risk that they will be skewed closeness to the subject.

Narcissistic traits are the source of self-love/value and self-empowerment, everyone has the traits found in narcissism at different levels, it is only when it is pathological (akin to schizophrenia) that it can become detrimental to those around the sufferer of the disorder.

It is not uncommon between partners, couples and parents (in relation to children, especially teenagers) to at some point interpret a strong personality as being narcissist, labeling and explaining away behaviors as such is easier, more that to dedicated the necessary effort in a deeper analysis. Furthermore, only a qualified mental health professional can officially diagnose personality disorders or mental illnesses.

The following list of traits may provide clues, if someone is demonstrating strong narcissist behavior.

  • A narcissists typically require:
Attention from others (e.g. likes to be at the center of a discussion when visitors are in the house);
Adulation from others (i.e. likes to be admired by others and therefore presents a positive image of himself or herself to others in order to secure that admiration);
Subservience from others (especially those who live with him or her);
  • Recent research shows that narcissists sometimes are “ego dystonic” — that is, having thoughts or exhibiting behaviour that contradict their idealized self-image. Mostly, narcissists don’t care about the clash, and moreover they often rationalize the clash by blaming others. But many narcissists do develop permanent “ego-dystony” — that is, they constantly feel bad about themselves and their behaviour. When in such a mood of self-doubt, the narcissist is likely to utter things like “you deserve better” and “I can never please anyone”.

But these proclamations are meant to TEST the narcissist’s closest, nearest, or dearest. Will they abandon/humiliate/betray him once they discover his true face?

  • A narcissist often criticises or vilifies others but hates it when others criticise him or her.
The narcissist may also be very adept at vilifying, doing it in a gracious or innocent or humorous manner, and making his or her backbiting seem socially acceptable.
  • A narcissist likes to receive praise from others but often dislikes to hear other people being praised.
Therefore, if you are in the habit of often speaking well of people (always giving praise when praise is due) then you may soon encounter objections from narcissists who hate to see others being praised. In this way, you may start to see narcissists raising their heads above the parapet to take aim at others who you praise.
  • A narcissist likes to ask favours of others but dislikes it when others ask too many favours of him or her.
  • A narcissist can be dishonest but at the same time is a master of disguise and can lie very convincingly. The narcissist’s lies may take the form of exaggeration or, in some cases, complete fabrication. To many who live with the narcissist it seems that the narcissist has a cavalier disrespect for precise truth, and there is a strong temptation for other family members to adopt a similar disrespect for precise truth.
  • A narcissist thinks that he or she is entitled to special privileges or special treatment.
  • A narcissist is interpersonally exploitative and takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends, without regard for how their choices might effect others.
  • A narcissist has little or no empathy and is unwilling or unable to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
A lack of genuine empathy (e.g. feeling genuinely sad when seeing other people being sad) is a key aspect of pathological narcissism — although it should be borne in mind that a lack of empathy is exhibited not only by narcissists but by sociopaths as well. Moreover, one may feel genuine sympathy without expressing it, or may convincingly feign sympathy while feeling nothing.
  • A narcissist is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  • A narcissist typically seeks to control the family finances.
  • A narcissist often has an arrogant affect (e.g. haughty behaviours or attitudes).