The Narcissistic Personality
The term “narcissist” tends to get thrown around a lot these days.
But maybe rightfully so . . . our lives tend to be overrun with social media posts, celebrities, and people who appear genuinely preoccupied by looks, status, and fame.
But where does the line get drawn between the abovementioned aspects of contemporary society and narcissism, which is an actual psychological phenomenon?
In his book, “Dangerous Personalities,” author and FBI Profiler Joe Navarro explores what he calls, “dangerous personalities,” which narcissism is among the list.
According to Navarro, “Narcissistic personalities care only for themselves, their needs, and their priorities. While you and I appreciate attention, the narcissist craves it and manipulates people and situations to get it.”
Historically, the term “narcissist” comes from the ancient Greek myth of the man Narcissus, a person who was so consumed by his looks that he fell into a body of water and drowned after looking at his reflection in the water for too long.
Navarro writes that “[t]hese people . . . live selfishly at other [people’s] expense,” and adds that they are selfish, lack empathy, and overvalue themselves.
“They’ll arrive late to meetings, parties, and family events, delaying activities, making others wait and even make sacrifices on their behalf,” the author writes. They may storm in or make dramatic entrances just to get everyone’s attention. They have no hesitation about letting you know they’re the smartest person in the room.”
If you are married to, date, are friends with, or work for a narcissist, you may have a hard time being around that person. Moreover, the narcissist in your life may cause you hardship and even pain. In very extreme situations, some of the most notorious serial killers and criminals have been described as having a narcissistic personality, among other things. It’s important to point out that although not all narcissists are criminals, narcissists may be verbal abusive or otherwise.
“The most dangerous narcissists are those whose utter lack of empathy and high levels of grandiosity verge on psychopathy: the ability to do harm without remorse,” Navarro writes.
Other character traits that may be common among those with a narcissistic personality, according to Navarro, are:
- Feeling entitled and that the rules do not apply to them
- Bullying and belittling others
- Feeling that they do not need to work as hard as others and that they “deserve” things
To conclude, people with a narcissistic personality can be destructive. Although narcissism exists in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a diagnosable personality disorder, narcissists, if you work for one or are married to one, may be easy to spot. Finally, narcissists cause harm over time to the people around them, and it may be a good idea, if possible, to extricate yourself from the situation if possible.
Navarro, J. (2017). Dangerous personalities. Rodale Publishing.