Narcissism is a trait that is so unique that the ancient Greeks had their own mythological character created for it; Narcissus.
He was a hunter who fell in love with his reflection and subsequently lost the will to live. We might scoff at this story now, for it does sound a bit too far-fetched. But one thing we all agree is that the trait exists. And it is far more common today than it might have been in ancient Greece.
There is always that one person we know who is obsessed with their own self. They hold themselves in the highest regard, seeking gratification through this admiration. All they ever think about is their own self and it always pops up in their conversations which always revolve around them. In extreme cases it takes the form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). People suffering from NPD display an exaggerated requirement for admiration and an inflated sense of self-importance.
Not an actual epidemic, but the numbers suggest differently. According to National Institutes of Health about 9.4% of the population in the age group 20-29 years exhibited extreme narcissism. The numbers fall steeply thereafter with only 3.2% of people above the age of 65 displaying these traits. So, how to tell if a person is narcissistic or not?
Watch out for the following tell-tale signs.
- Responsibilities? Never.
They will be the first ones to walk away from handling responsibility. Once you pick up a responsibility your work becomes open for criticism or praise. Narcissists can’t handle criticism and shame, and thus they will avoid it at any cost.
- Won’t ever display their true emotions
Showing their true emotions would place them in a vulnerable position. Even though a narcissist would always strive to keep the conversation focused on him/her, they would never show how they truly feel.
- Name dropping
Appearing to be better than they really are is a narcissist’s favorite image-booster. Name dropping provides just the right essence to this process and they use it liberally.
- Sorry, not sorry
Now this is something which even regular people struggle with. But the issue becomes severe in case of a narcissist. They would never admit their faults and apologize for their actions because that can wound their sense of self-importance.
- No selflessness
There exists a severe lack of empathy among narcissists. They have an inflated sense of importance which makes them feel entitled. And anything that would move them away from it is not welcome. They would never go out of their way to help or understand someone until it benefits them in some manner.
- All about me
They are experts at veering every conversation towards them. The attention is extremely important to them, so they have an absolute need to be the center of every discussion and are skilled at doing so.
- No self reflection
Narcissism isn’t a normal trait, and it shows that the person has been damaged by an incident at some point of time in their lives. To let go of this, they need to introspect. But that would mean becoming vulnerable and showing their true self, something which isn’t acceptable to them. Thus, they avoid any type of counseling or external help.
- Social media king/queen
Status matters the most to them, and it is clearly evident by their social media accounts. That way they can show off their perfect façade to a wider range of people and gain gratification through the popularity.