Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health disorder where a person has an inflated sense of their importance, a need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for other people. Their behaviors can also lead to trouble in other relationships, work, school, and finances. However, even though narcissists may seem highly confident, they actually have a fragile sense of self and lower self-esteem that can be sensitive to the slightest criticism.
Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Grandiose sense of self.
Grandiosity is one of the vital characteristics of narcissism. It is not simply being arrogant or vain but features an unrealistic sense of superiority. In addition, narcissists believe they are unique and can only be understood by equally “special” individuals.
They live in a fantasy world.
Reality doesn’t actually support a narcissist’s grandiose sense of self. As a result, narcissists live in a fantasy world fuelled by distortion, self-deception, and magical thinking.
They will also spin their fantasies to make themselves feel better than others and in control.
Craves constant praise, admiration, and attention.
A narcissist’s feelings of superiority continually need a supply to keep their ego inflated. Therefore, they need constant praise and admiration and will surround themselves with those who will cater to them and affirm their needs.
A high sense of entitlement.
Since narcissists view themselves as unique, they feel owed favorable treatment. Therefore, they believe that they should get whatever they want and that the people around them should allow them to fulfill every whim and wish.
Exploits other people without remorse.
Narcissists can’t develop the skills to identify with other people’s feelings. In essence, they lack empathy. Many narcissists see other people as objects who are only there to serve their needs.
Demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles other people.
Narcissists will feel threatened if they encounter a person who has something they lack. They are exceptionally resistant to people who are confident, popular, and well-liked. In addition, they will not get along with people who don’t cater to them or who challenge them.
How to Cope with a Narcissist
Some people may experience difficulties in their relationships with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Here are some coping strategies:
Educate yourself about narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Learning more about this disorder can help you have a basic understanding of a narcissist’s personality. That way, you can learn how to handle their behavior better. In addition, knowing their true intentions can allow you to accept the situation and have more realistic expectations so that you’re not constantly struggling or let down by them.
It is essential to set boundaries with a narcissist. Narcissists are known for getting upset over boundaries, but keep in mind that this is fine. You do not have to look after that person’s emotions.
If you say no to the narcissist, be sure to stick to your no, or else they can use it against you and take advantage of you.
Stand up for yourself.
If you need something from the narcissist in your life, be sure that you’re clear. It is essential that they understand what you are asking of them.
Keep your cool.
If a narcissist tries to pick a fight with you or engages in abusive behaviors like gaslighting or stonewalling, try to stay calm and not react.
Find a support system.
Dealing with a narcissist can create insecurity, confusion, and self-doubt. However, finding a support group that you trust can help.
Don’t argue or confront a narcissist.
It is essential not to confront a narcissist directly. Even though you may be frustrated that you continually need to walk on eggshells around them or tiptoe around their feelings, it can be more effective to manage their need to feel in control or in charge of the situation.
Don’t try to control or direct them.
Narcissists thrive off of having control and usually fear losing it. Therefore, if you try to control a situation or tell a narcissist what to do, your efforts will likely not be successful.
Keep in mind that they likely won’t see your POV.
Narcissists don’t like admitting when they’re wrong or that they’re unlovable. If you make them see things from your point of view, it could backfire on you.
Don’t expect to have deep or meaningful interactions.
Since Narcissists lack empathy, honest, open communication isn’t likely to happen. In fact, it can create anger, emotional outburst, or shutdown.
Don’t bring up issues from the past.
If you bring up a narcissist’s behavior from years ago or compare them to their parent, it can end up setting them off. Instead, it is essential to stay in the present moment if you have any issues you want to bring up gently.
What Types of Social Media Accounts Can Help With Coping With a Narcissist?
One resource I highly recommend for coping with people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder or for toxic relationships is Lee Hammock (@mentalhealness). Hammock himself has NPD and is self-aware, and offers excellent advice. His TikTok account and Podcast: The Narcissists’ Code is especially illuminating.
Some narcissists can become self-aware and seek treatment. This treatment involves talk therapy (psychotherapy).
However, even though the narcissists may be self-aware and knowledgeable about their disorder, they will never heal from it. Therapy, instead, can offer behavior modification.
In essence, narcissists can change their behavior, but they cannot heal. There is a significant difference between behavior modification and permanently altering their personality. Selfish behavior can also be modified with medication.
In addition, narcissists undergoing therapy mainly accommodate the needs of their loved ones – more than simply “treating” the narcissist. Essentially, the narcissist’s rage, mood swings, and impulsive behaviors are modified, which will benefit the people around them.