Many people hear the word ‘narcissist’ but do not really know what it means. It is a personality trait that develops in childhood or teenage years. It is not an illness in itself but simply a personality trait, although it can be part of a psychological disorder or lead to the development of one.
Psychology takes the term ‘narcissist’ from the characteristics of Greek mythology and the story of Narcissus who was the son of the nymph Liriope and the river god Cephissus. He was overly vain, gazing at himself in the looking glass of the water. He was fixated on himself and held disdain for others. In the modern context this also means other people’s intellect, knowledge and wisdom.
Narcissists lack empathy for others and are unable to put themselves in another person’s position or see the world through their eyes.
The problem for many people who are overly narcissistic is that they do not know this is happening. They believe that only they know the truth and other people do not have a proper handle on the truth so they dismiss others’ opinions and sometimes label them as stupid or ignorant. So, narcissists often do not value other people’s opinions or viewpoints, even when they may be very valuable and useful.
Do you see any of these traits in yourself?
Males who exhibit narcissism can be very misogynistic and do not regard women or their intellect very highly, even though publicly they may make the opposite statements.
They can objectify women to the extent that they seek them out but then dismiss them, making them very dangerous partners or husbands because they are unstable. In some cases, they can be physically violent towards women but in many cases are mentally, emotionally and socially abusive.
Women who develop narcissistic traits can also be dismissive of others. It is hard for women to gain acceptance as a powerful woman in a world dominated by male power, so we must be careful not to read ambition in women as narcissism. However, there are women who exhibit the same kind of arrogant narcissistic traits as men and can be just as dismissive of other women as well as their partners.
Are other people reflecting this information back to you but you don’t listen?
Narcissists find it difficult to maintain lifelong stable relationships.
While they may be very charming and initially attractive to partners, as the relationship develops their lack of empathy becomes difficult for the partner as they begin to feel dismissed and oppressed and of very little value as the narcissist’s traits of playing the top dog in the relationship wears down their self-esteem, even at times to the point of suicide.
Narcissists may even be very successful people in their careers and business but ultimately do not end up with a circle of people around them who consider them good friends or feel well loved.
Some narcissists may be happy being loners but others find life difficult because they feel rejected by others or cannot understand why people try to avoid them or get as far away from them as possible.
Are you aware with the correct care clinical hypnotherapy and psychotherapy can help you develop a better sense of empathy?
Tracie O’Keefe is a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist with more than 20 years’ experience. She is a member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) College of Psychotherapy, Australian Hypnotherapists Association (AHA), and author of Inspiration for Survive and Prosper: Personal Transformation Out of Crisis.
She practices in her clinic in Sydney, Australia, and consults by Skype.
For help to overcome narcissism and develop empathy, telephone the clinic so we can help you get on with your life through Clinical Hypnotherapy. All therapy is strictly confidential.