When we hear the word "narcissist", which often times can be an overused word, we may think it is describing a toxic, abusive person, or someone who thinks highly of themselves and has no regard for anyone else's feelings; basically a jerk!
To some extent those are good descriptions of a narcissist. However, narcissism is actually very different from being a narcissist.
The DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) states that a person with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) has to have at least 5 of the following 9 traits in order to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder:
* Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
* Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or love.
* Believes they are "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 their expectations).
* Is interpersonally exploitative. (i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve their own ends).
* 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 them.
* Shows arrogant haughty behaviors, or attitudes.
Narcissists are indeed inherently abusive in nature, and they do have an inflamed sense of importance but there is another side to the narcissist that many people don't ever consider. They are insecure, empty, codependent and crave admiration, attention, and love.
There is a reason they are the way they are. Their behavior is just a front, a way to deflect from what they perceive is too difficult to feel.
It is easier for a narcissist to manipulate, abuse, gaslight, lie, rage, and show no remorse for their behaviour, than it is for them to feel the pain of never feeling good enough.
Sadly the narcissist leaves a trail of traumatic abuse behind affecting everyone they come into contact with.
We can't control a narcissists' behaviour, or their intentions but we can learn how to manage the impact of their behaviour on our lives.
If you are codependent and/or an empath you will be a magnet to a narcissist, so please watch for red flags as indicated in the traits listed above.
It is better to walk away as soon as you think they may have any narcissistic tendencies than get sucked into a life with a narcissist, as it can take many years to reverse the effects of narcissistic abuse.