Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) defines a narcissistic person as someone who has a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), an excessive need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.
This is indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
- Requires excessive admiration.
- Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
Warren Buffett said: You can’t make a good deal with a bad person. This is something you need to always remember when dealing with narcissist people including your parents or guardians. However it is not easy to identify a narcissistic person when you first meet them. You may even think they are very charming, agreeable, or even thoughtful and considerate because they are very good at masking themselves to be the person you want them to be so that they can get closer to you and eventually get what they want from you and/ or manipulate you into doing something for them which have been in their mind from the very start.
So it is smart not to be too open towards people when you first meet them because you don’t really know them yet. Not everybody is what they appear to be. It’s like the saying “not all that glitters is gold”. A lot of people unfortunately live from a quite superficial level. Even though it sounds cliché, but it is true that people can only meet you as deeply as they meet themselves. Narcissistic people lack emotional depth and maturity, they don’t have the capacity or desire to understand or experience life from a deeper and more authentic level. To them, they only think about how to get what they want and don’t really care about how their decisions, actions affect other people. So you can also say that narcissist people do not have empathy meaning they can’t sympathize with other people’s pain and therefore they can be physically and/or emotionally cruel. That’s why a lot of narcissistic people are verbally, emotionally and/ or physically abusive. However, these traits may not be apparent until you get to know someone well. So it’s smart and important to be observant and a bit reserved when you meet new people. Those who are respectful of others will respect your boundaries and will be open to you when you are also ready to be open because they are empathetic and do not want to take anything from you. Narcissistic people do not respect other people’s boundaries and when you say no to them, it may even enrage them as if you don’t have a right to choose or say no when you are dealing with them.
Narcissistic people may grow up in families that that are highly traumatic or their parents coddled them when they grew up and never teach them to be responsible for their actions or wrongdoings. That’s why in many male dominant cultures, there are a high percentage of men being narcissistic than women.
However, the level of narcissism is also largely influenced by a person’s own nature. An empath who grew up in a dysfunctional family, was raised by narcissistic parents and is highly traumatized, when given the chance, will still choose the path of honesty, love, compassion, learning to be self-responsible and making sound and good decisions in life. It’s like the story a wounded healer – someone who was deeply wounded, but never gives up on love, goodness and trust in themselves and others because that’s who they truly are. Everyday they choose to open themselves to light, learn to reflect on and learn from their past experiences no matter how difficult it is on some days. Eventually, they heal themselves deeply and profoundly, and therefore, they have and exuberate deep love and understanding for all beings in the universe.
You can also say it’s like a warrior’s journey – a warrior may encounter all types of challenges, monsters or demons, but they never surrender or lose their fighting spirit. They focus on learning the skills and learning from their past experiences and eventually earn the power to outsmart and slay all monsters and demons. Their victory does not depend on external circumstances but the inner light, wisdom, skills and strength that they have learned a long the way.
Empaths who are healed are extremely strong, aware and intelligent because they can perceive people, things and situations deeply and truthfully. They will be able to see and understand things that others cannot. It will be very difficult to fool them because they have learned to listen and understand their intuition and differentiate the voice from their heart from the noise of their mind. The synergy of many deep parts of their psyche make them very intelligent, wise, wholesome, loving, compassionate and strong.
Empaths are on the opposite spectrum of narcissists. They are very sensitive to other people’s emotions and well-being and therefore a lot of them may choose careers such a counselling, spiritual healers, artists or psychics.
When you notice someone who is a narcissist or have narcissistic traits that you feel uncomfortable or that you can’t trust them, it’s important that you establish your boundaries in a smart way. Be nice and polite but do not invest or engage anymore than that. The goodness narcissists share is very superficial and you don’t have to give people more than they deserve especially with narcissists because they are very selfish, manipulative and don’t care about anything else as long as they get what they want. It’s very important to stay cautious around narcissistic people if you have to be around them. If you can, it’s best to distance yourself from them and those who don’t contribute or bring positivity to your life.
Love and light,