Why do narcissists make everything about themselves?

It’s no secret that narcissists are self-centered and focused exclusively on their own needs and desires. 

While you probably expect the narcissist in your life to be self-centered, that doesn’t make their behavior any less frustrating. 

If you’re dealing with an adult narcissist, it probably seems preposterous that this person, who is no longer a child, acts like such a self-centered brat. 

So, why are narcissists this way? Why is everything about them? Self-centered behavior is just a core feature of narcissism.

As frustrating as that fact may be, it’s a truth you must face. 

Narcissism and self-centered tendencies

Narcissists will make everything about them; you can count on that. If you’re frustrated by this behavior, it’s helpful to take a look at the features of narcissism that make self-centeredness the norm for this population. 

Lack of empathy

Narcissists are notorious for lacking empathy, which means they don’t consider other people’s needs, feelings, and experiences.

During a conversation, they’re only thinking about themselves. They aren’t considering that perhaps you’d like a turn to talk or share your perspective.

Their lack of empathy means narcissists will make themselves the center of attention in most social settings. They aren’t even considering that you might like to share the spotlight. 

Need for praise and admiration

Narcissists rely upon constant admiration to fuel their egos. If they aren’t getting the attention and praise they need, they’ll go to great lengths to seek it, because they cannot survive without admiration. 

This means that narcissists must find a way to make things about themselves. If they aren’t the focus of a conversation, they’ll find a way to turn the attention back to their own lives. 

For instance, if you’re discussing something you’re excited about, the narcissist will mention how they have plans that are even bigger and better than yours.

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Or, if you’re mentioning a recent accomplishment, the narcissist will come back at you with something even more impressive they’ve achieved. They hope to receive admiration for how wonderful they are, so there’s no time to discuss you! 

Superiority complex 

Narcissists live in a fabricated universe, in which they are superior to those around them.

Underneath this superior facade, narcissists are actually quite insecure, but they must present themselves as superior to avoid triggering underlying insecurities. 

Given their delusions of superiority, narcissists believe they should be the center of attention. They perceive themselves as being above others, so it only makes sense to them that they should get all the attention.

To the narcissist, you’re nowhere near as impressive as they are, so there’s really no reason for them to waste any time focusing on you. 

Troubles with intimacy

Narcissists also struggle with true intimacy. They do not desire genuine connections with other people. Instead, they view relationships as transactional.

They aren’t concerned about hearing about you or your experiences. They‘re only interested in what you can do for them.

So, narcissists will tend to make everything about themselves, because they aren’t actually trying to build a genuine connection with you. 

In fact, they do not view you as a unique individual with your own needs, desires, and interests. They simply see you as someone who can help them meet their goals.

Sense of entitlement 

Also a central feature of narcissism is the tendency to feel entitled. Narcissists believe all of their needs and desires should be met, and they don’t care if you feel otherwise.

Because narcissists have a strong sense of entitlement, they feel they have a right to dominate conversations.

They don’t care if others have something to share. If they want the center of attention, they’ll take it. Being the center of attention is just part of the special treatment narcissists believe they deserve. 

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Narcissists are incredibly grandiose, meaning they view themselves as being special. They also tend to overestimate their own talents and positive traits.

This means that they believe they have wonderful information to share, and they truly believe that everyone wants to hear about how special they are.

Narcissistic grandiosity can also lead narcissists to take advantage of any opportunity they have to exaggerate their own talents and achievements. 

Since narcissists view themselves as being so wonderful, they feel they have a right to prioritize their own needs and desires in social interactions. 

Limited insight

The traits that come along with narcissism, such as a lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, and grandiose behavior, often mean that narcissists have limited insight into their actions.

They don’t realize the impact they have on the people around them. In social interactions, they tend to make everything about themselves because they see nothing wrong with doing so.

The narcissist probably isn’t aware that they come across as self-centered and rude. If they are aware on any level, they don’t care, because they feel entitled to be rude to you.

After all, you’re beneath the narcissist in their world! 

Reliance on external validation

Narcissists cannot maintain their own self-esteem, so they need help from others to feel positively about themselves.

This means they need a constant flow of external validation from the people around them.

During interactions with others, this translates to constantly making themselves the center of attention. Narcissists must ensure the conversation is focused on them, or they won’t be able to get the validation they need from others. 

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Need for dominance

Narcissists have a strong need for power and control. Being dominant over others reinforces their superiority complex and feeds their egos.

Because of their need for dominance, narcissists will take control of conversations. They will control the direction conversations take, and they decide who gets to speak and when.

Narcissists’ dominating nature can turn every interaction into something that focuses on them or their needs. 

Manipulative tactics

Finally, narcissists tend to take over conversations because of their manipulative tactics. Interactions with others are simply another opportunity to manipulate and get their way.

Narcissists also manipulate interactions to ensure they are never blamed for wrongdoings or called out for their shortcomings. 

So, narcissists will seemingly make every interaction about themselves, because they are manipulating the dynamics of conversations. 

For instance, if someone begins to talk negatively about the narcissist, they will need to jump in and shift the topic of the conversation in a way that makes them look good. 

Or, if they’re trying to take advantage of others to get something they want, they’ll need to direct the conversation to portray themselves as victims who need help. 

Tying it all together 

So, there you have it: plenty of reasons narcissists make everything about themselves. The narcissistic personality is simply domineering and self-centered, so it makes sense that narcissists always make themselves the center of attention.

The bottom line is that narcissists need every interaction to be about them, so they can get the validation and praise they need to survive. They also need to feel superior to you to fuel their egos, and they lack the empathy to consider how this affects you. 

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