Narcissist: All of Your Exes are Not One
The narcissist has been the buzzword on social media for the last few years when people have talked about the end of a relationship. I want you to ask someone why their relationship ended, and many say he was a narcissist. I want you then to ask how, and hopefully you will do this after you read this so you are able to better recognize whether the man she is talking about is actually a narcissist. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
What is the definition of a narcissist?
Now I am giving you the clinical definition as described by the Mayo Clinic: DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Exaggerating your achievements and talents
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
- Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
- Requiring constant admiration
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
- Taking advantage of others to get what you want
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy you
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
The Mayo Clinic also noted that while certain traits of narcissistic personality disorder may resemble charisma, Narcissistic people do not have the same feelings of confidence that 90% of the world population would develop naturally over time if they were a success professionally or socially speaking (with regard to public fame).
Just Narcissistic Traits?
Now, look at this:
If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful, or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club, or medical care.
At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability, and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.
Take these last two paragraphs and compare them to the Mayo Clinic’s clinical description. The last two talk about narcissistic traits that many of us have struggled with. If we used the logic of what many people claim are narcissists, we would be narcissists. In honesty, what I have found is that many people who call others narcissists are either really narcissists themselves or carry an alarming rate of narcissistic traits.
What to look for in layman’s terms
Here are some things to be looking for in a true narcissist in less of a clinical description.
- They were charming at first
- Hog the conversation, talking about how great they are
- Feed off your compliments
- Lack empathy
- Don’t have any (or many) long-term friends
- Pick on you constantly
- They gaslight you
- They think they’re right about everything, and never apologize
- When you show them you’re done, they lash out
These are things that have to show consistently within their personality, as narcissism is a personality disorder. Could it just be that the dude was an asshole? An asshole does not constitute narcissism. Not getting along doesn’t make an ex a narcissist. An ex cheating doesn’t make them a narcissist. Because your man doesn’t do what you want doesn’t make him a narcissist. We gotta stop throwing this word around loosely. Please check out another article I wrote about narcissism here.