You mean well, but everyone else just thinks you’re mean! Why is that? Conflict in life is normal, but if you’re constantly experiencing problems in your relationships, always wondering why it seems so difficult for you to achieve your goals, or always wondering why people never seem to live up to your expectations, there’s a strong chance you are the problem and not them.
Maybe you don’t rate as full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder but if, on some level, you’re exhibiting even basic narcissistic behaviors, that’s still an issue, and likely all of your relationships are being negatively affected by it.
Don’t know whether you’re narcissistic or not? Well, take a moment and ask yourself these 9 questions (and answer them honestly):
1. If others don’t give you attention or acknowledgment you feel you deserve, do you feel slighted?
2. Do you get easily upset or feel affronted when people disagree with you?
3. Are you often critical of the ways in which other people come to conclusions about things?
4. Do you believe most other people are dumb?
5. When someone offends you, does “going off” on them (or retaliating in some way) make you feel better?
6. Are you sick and tired of being the only person in the room who truly gets it?
7. Does your life tend to feel more frustrating than fun?
8. Does it seem as if you have a pattern where many of your relationships crash and burn?
9. When you take over a project, do you end up either doing most of the work, or working by yourself?
If you answered “yes” to five or more of these questions, I hate to break it to you, but you likely have a rather offensive personality and people probably consider you a narcissist.
On the surface being a narcissist comes across as having an inflated sense of your own importance, a deep (almost insistent) need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.
But behind this mask of ultra-confidence actually lies a fragile self-esteem—vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
So why should you care? After all narcissists lack empathy, right? Well, you should care because the only thing worse than dealing with a narcissist is displaying the traits yourself and not being aware that you’re doing it.
Beyond people thinking of you in such a disgraceful way, knowing you’re perceived this way is devastating to your own self-worth (even if you don’t want to admit it). This behavior (and mindset) screws up your life in so many areas—ranging from personal relationships, to being happy (or, likely, not) at work, how well you parent. It can even make a holy mess of your financial affairs.
But the good news is that you can do something about this. Most narcissists don’t mean to act this way at all. At their core they’re good people. Narcissism is merely a way they learned to use to cope with feelings of shame, insecurity, and vulnerability, while attempting to avoid an ongoing sense of potential humiliation.
Often, these feelings begin in childhood. Research indicates that one of the root causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder begins with mom and dad overly praising their child in the wrong way.
Development of these traits stem from an overly indulgent parenting style and also an overly authoritarian parenting style. In other words, you as a child either had no boundaries or were overly-restrained from being a normal kid.
Now that you’re an adult you either expect everyone to kiss your butt or you treat other people how your hyper-controlling parents treated you. Either way, your approach to getting your needs met your way is alienating people.