Learning to spot when someone is a narcissist

Anesha Wheaton, Courier Staff

The root of all evil. It’s entitlement, disregard for human life and an ego the size of the moon.

Narcissism is classically defined as an inflated sense of self importance. There are several different subsections of narcissism which include narcissistic traits, narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder. Each one is gradually worse than the one preceding it and should not be ignored. It is one of the major problems of this era. Knowing what a narcissist is and how to deal with them is something that everyone should have knowledge of.

Narcissism is not a character flaw, it is a personality disorder. It is nothing that can go away with TLC or even with therapy. It is a disorder that will remain with an individual for their entire life. Here is a quick checklist to see if a person has narcissistic personality disorder. Do they have a grandiose sense of self importance? Fantasies of power, beauty, love or success? Believe that they are special and that no one can understand them, or only a select few can understand them? Have a sense of entitlement? Need for excessive admiration? Exploitative behavior? Lack of empathy? Envious of others or believe that others are envious of them? Arrogant behaviors or attitudes? If you know someone who checks a majority of those questions as a yes, you might be dealing with a narcissist.

Narcissism usually starts with childhood trauma that the child does not learn how to cope with, leading to unresolved C-PTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder). Unresolved C-PTSD for the narcissist in the making comes with narcissistic traits that eventually lead to narcissistic personality disorder that fully presents itself in late adolescence and early adulthood. There are several areas in the narcissism spectrum that a person can end up and not progress into. Some people have C-PTSD and no narcissistic traits while others have C-PTSD and do display traits. Some people are plain old narcissists that people can interact with in their daily lives and not have any problems with while others have narcissistic personality disorder that lead to abusive and dysfunctional relationships, psychological trauma and even death.

Narcissists need a supply (usually a person) like a drug addict needs drugs. They need people to be around to soak up their energy since they are lacking energy themselves. Admiration, support and drama are a constant for these individuals and once they can no longer get that from their supply, they discard them and move onto another person with their sob story of how they were wronged in their previous relationship and how no one truly “understands” them. It is the classic tale of the boy who cried wolf. Sure, there might’ve been a time where they were the victim and needed help, but now they are in this self-perpetuating cycle of victimization that leads them feeling empty inside, needing someone to connect with until they get tired of them. They start the cycle over again with someone new because they do not want to look inside themselves and realize that they are an empty shell of a human being and need to work on who they are. Their frailty over their sense of self is something they do not want to deal with and run from one person to the next, hoping that they will be their savior, when no one is going to save them from their own self destructive habits.

Narcissists leave a trail of destruction in their wake. When confronted with their past mistakes they go, “Who? Me? I would never do the thing I obviously did. I’m an innocent victim. Pity me” and suck someone else into their destructive tornado. Narcissists are all around us. The best defense is a good offense with these individuals. Know your values, defend your boundaries and walk away when need be. Keep your sanity intact.