Ahhh, narcissism. In its mildest form, it is OK. It might be just a nuisance to others. But in its ugliest form results in corruption, hatred, and devastating wars.
A narcissist is someone who believes the world rotates around him or her, so to speak. Everybody else? what about them? who cares? it is – yes: me me me.
Narcissists cause a lot of stress. They need so much attention. The extreme ones believe they are entitled, and everyone else is a mere servant. People are tools to get to where they want.
How can you spot a narcissist? It depends on which narcissist. The mild narcissists talk a lot about themselves, their needs, and their belongings. They become bored when anyone or anything else is discussed. But remember these are the garden variety. There are more dangerous ones. More dangerous ones though have much more serious symptoms.
The dangerous ones can have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It is a formal personality disorder in psychology books. To them, the love of self means trampling over others. All what matters is self. Even loved ones become an extension of self. NPDs do not know real love. They are not capable of loving anyone. Even there love of their children come as love for a mere possession. The wife, son, brother, anyone else is a sign of self worth. A trophy if you will. Nothing else.
The problem is that NPDs are around us. But to spot them is very hard. Unlike your average narcissist, they are good at hiding their true intentions. They use charm and lies to lure people to their schemes. Even psychiatrists run away from this type of personality disorder. Many psychiatrists refuse to work with them. However, this is not an issue since most NPDs will never confess to having a problem. Everybody else has a problem but not them.
So how can you spot them? The easiest way in my opinion is to notice how a person makes you feel around him or her. If they make you feel inferior, criticize you all the time, seek perfection from you, but the perfection lever keeps getting higher, all these are signs that you are dealing with an NPD. Another funny sign of NPDs is that when you call their behavior, and ask them to stop, they either joke about it and tell you that you are too sensitive. Or if they feel you will not take it anymore and they will lose you, they will apologize and might even put themselves down just to make you happy. The truth is that they want you back, as having someone to abuse is key for them. Usually, others fall for this, they either tell themselves not to be too sensitive, or they believe that the NPD will change his or her ways. Then the NPD goes back to the abuse, and the cycle continues.
There is a lot of literature about NPDs online. However, few notice or pay attention to this important subject. One in 20 people are NPDs, according to research. so being able to spot them and protecting yourself from them is important. Are you worried that you might be one? most probably you are not. They do not admit it. They do not admit to being wrong. Now in the rare case that you are an NPD, and you know it, and you do not want to change, then probably you have graduated from the NPD university and now in the even more cunning group of covert aggressives. But let us not get into that.
Finally, if there is someone in your life who is causing you great stress, check to see if they have NPD. If they do, you have to protect yourself from them. Otherwise they can inflict real damage. Best protection is walking away. Because they rarely change.