The Story of Narcissus
The story of Narcissus comes from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a beautiful, proud young man.When he chanced to see his reflection in a pool of water for the first time, and did not recognize it as his own image, he became so enamored that he was unable to stop gazing at his own image. He was unable to leave the image at the water’s edge and eventually wasted away, changing into a flower that bears his name (the Narcissus flower).
Narcissism and Narcissist
Narcissism is based on the character of Narcissus. A narcissist is simply someone who demonstrates the characteristics of narcissism. He, or she, appears to be so in love with himself that he cannot love anyone else. They are totally self–absorbed and tend to see themselves as perfect. Narcissism is a disorder of the personality which is characterized by arrogance and extreme selfishness. People with narcissism exhibit behaviors that would be described as conceited, boastful and pretentious. Their behavior is often grandiose (meaning “bigger” or “larger than life”, i.e., flamboyant and extravagant) and highly egotistical, with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. They are commonly called arrogant and self-centered.
Narcissists take advantage of other people, using them or exploiting them to meet their own
needs. A narcissist will monopolize conversations. He or she belittles people that they feel aren’t as good as them. Narcissists have a strong sense of entitlement which makes them feel they deserve special treatment. If they don’t get that special treatment, they tend to become impatient or get angry, sometimes flying into a rage. Narcissists see themselves as superior and want their lifestyles to reflect that despite their socio-economic bracket. Often living beyond what they can afford, a narcissist wants “the best” of everything: they insist on having the best cars, the best houses, the best athletic or country club, and having their children attend the best schools. They cannot empathize with others or put themselves “in someone else’s shoes”. They are only aware of their own feelings and do not understand how others may feel. A narcissist has difficulty handling criticism as they need to see themselves as perfect. He or she is so arrogant and self- centered that people often do not like to be around them.
Narcissists believe they are better than other people and will befriend only those in their
status group or those that lavish praise and admiration on them. They are unhappy unless they are surrounded by others who praise or admire them. An individual with narcissism desperately seeks constant praise and admiration. The unusual twist is that they don’t care if they are liked, just so long as they are admired.
Characteristics of Narcissism
- Believes that he or she is better than others
- Fantasizes about power, success or attractiveness
- Exaggerates achievements or talents
- Expects constant praise and admiration
- Believes they are special and acts accordingly
- Fails to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
- Expects others to automatically go along with their ideas and plans
- Takes advantage of others
- Express disdain for those that they feel are inferior to them
- Jealous of others
- Believe that others are jealous of them
- Trouble keeping healthy relationships
- Setting unrealistic goals
- Easily hurt and easily feel rejected
- Have fragile self-esteem
Have the appearance of being toughminded or unemotional
Areas of Difficulty
Due to these behaviors and characteristics, narcissists usually have problems in many areas of
their lives. They have difficulty maintaining relationships, difficulty at work or school, and not uncommonly difficulty with their financial affairs.
Narcissists present as toughminded and unemotional individuals. Interestingly, beneath all
the boasting and superior attitude, lies a very fragile self-esteem. They have difficulty accepting even the slightest criticism and one mild critical remark may cause them to shut that person out forever. Some of them harbor secret feelings of shame or humiliation. They make themselves feel better by reacting with rage or contempt; they frequently belittle other people in order to make themselves appear better. They easily become jealous of others and feel that others are jealous of them.
Narcissists not only fantasize about power, success or their attractiveness, but they become
preoccupied with these thoughts. They show no remorse if they need to exploit or even “step on”
someone in order to reach their goal.
Are There Positives about Being a Narcissist?
Although most narcissists are arrogant and boastful, their extreme confidence can also make them charming and attractive to others. They are often popular at first, surrounded by admiring friends, colleagues or associates. Individuals with mild to moderate narcissism can function well as entrepreneurs, surgeons, salesmen, entertainers or leaders in cut-throat professions (think Donald Trump or Steve Jobs).
They don’t have doubts about their abilities or decisions; they do not feel remorse or think twice about taking advantage or using people to get what they want. It is not unusual to find that many CEO’s of large companies have some degree of narcissism; they used their confidence and ability to be a cut-throat competitor to get where they are at.
Narcissism is a personality disorder in which people have an over-inflated sense of their own importance, excessive self-centeredness and a lack of empathy for others. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits, or characteristics, that cause them to feel and behave in ways that have a negative social impact, limit their ability to function in relationships, and limit their ability in other areas of their life such as work, school, or finances. A narcissist is someone who displays the characteristics of narcissism.
The main characteristic or trait of this disorder is an egotistical preoccupation with himself or herself and his or her personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he or she is perceived by others. Individuals with milder forms of narcissism, or who have some narcissistic traits, can function well in society in certain professions although they generally still have difficulty with interpersonal relations and maintaining healthy relationships.
There is a significant difference between people exhibiting narcissistic traits and those individuals with a narcissistic personality disorder. The people with narcissistic traits are often viewed as arrogant, confident and self-centered but they do not have the exaggerated or grandiose self perception of their abilities that a person with a narcissistic personality disorder has.