As said by the marvelous Dr. Dre, “Yeah, I’ve been there and I’ve done that.”
In a Greek fable, a young man, Narcissus, drowned because he stared too long at his reflection in the pond and fell in love with it. These days, it is a little harder to tell if your loved one is this self-absorbed, with so few ponds on campus. Dating, sleeping with or even being friends with a person who is completely and totally absorbed in themselves will never yield good results for you. You will always be competing for attention with another person: their innerself. How can you tell if your lover is a narcissist? The following article contains excerpts from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, and my own personal views on the subject. This article is not meant to diagnose any type of disease; it is only meant to aid a person in determining if their loved one has narcissistic tendencies.
Narcissism is described as a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior) and need for admiration and lack of empathy.
A narcissist is not satisfied with merely being acknowledged for their accomplishments. They must be celebrated and worshiped by peers. They may even exaggerate achievements or talents in order to receive accolades for things they have never done. Saying that they were drafted for the NBA when they were in high school, claiming they were a computer hacker for the CIA at age 13 or lying about winning a beauty contest are all grandiose statements that are most likely untrue. They are being told to try and gain attention and prestige. They expect to be recognized by all.
This person lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings or needs of others. This person cannot relate to anyone but themselves, and while they demand constant attention and acknowledgement of their needs and thoughts, this person cannot comprehend others. They often set double standards of behavior. For example, a narcissist may act out in sexually inappropriate ways, but is disgusted by the similar actions of others.
They are unwilling to relate to others or to interpret the feelings of others. They will say things that make perfect sense in their own minds, but have no concept of how their thoughts and words will affect other people. They don’t choose to mistake emotions and feelings; they are actually unable to take another person’s point of view. They cannot understand how any one could ever hold a reasonable point of view besides their own. During an argument, you will have an extremely difficult time trying to get your point of view across to a person who cannot understand the concept of other points of view.
The narcissist is incredibly arrogant and haughty. They believe they are above the law, the laws of our government, society and basic laws of human decency. The have a sense of entitlement and an unreasonable expectation that everyone around them will comply with their demands. They may break school rules, park in handicapped parking spaces and not return materials on time. They may also get frustrated with professors who seem to be “riding them” or giving them an extra hard time, when the professor is treating them as any other student who has not turned in a paper.
The narcissist does care about one other person very deeply: him or her self. These are serious personality traits that will never go away. You cannot change anyone and you certainly cannot change a person with a narcissistic personality. Some people feel drawn to these people because they seem like they have it all together, like they have so much going for them. In fact, they use other people around them to get what they want, build themselves up and achieve their own goals. They are very envious of those around them and use people to get what they want.
Don’t get stuck dating a person like this. A relationship has to involve two people. A Narcissist brings two things into the mix, him/herself and their reflection in the pond that they worship so dearly. They will never love or care for you as deeply as they do for themselves.
Surround yourself with people who have the kind of positive qualities you are looking for in a friend or significant other. It’s one thing to catch your reflection in a window as you walk by.
It’s quite another to drown in a pool of your own self-love. Stay safe, stay sexy Muhlenberg