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August 2, 2011 / joelmalm

You Might Be a Narcissist if…

According to the DSM-IV (the manual pros use for diagnosing psychological problems) you might have Narcissistic Personality Disorder if you display five or more of the traits below:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents)
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. 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)
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

We all demonstrate some of those traits from time to time, because we are all self-centered.  A true narcissist shows these traits in excess.  The problem is, true narcissists wouldn’t see themselves as having the above traits.  To them everything is fine.

In a narcissist’s mind everyone around them is a character in a play they are directing.  If something isn’t going the way it’s supposed to it’s not their fault, it’s the actors.

Now before you start thinking of all the people you know that fit those criteria it’s really important to check out the log in your own eye.

In Greek mythology Narcissus got so obsessed with his reflection in a pool of water that he couldn’t pull himself away.  We all tend to get caught up in our own reflections from time to time.  But the mirrors we use are often distorted.  Like those skinny mirrors they put in the workout room at the gym to make people feel better about themselves.

The only way to truly evaluate where you are is to ask someone else to tell you what your reflection looks like.  When that true friend shares with you the areas that you are out of balance, don’t react – listen and start to change.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  James 1:22-24

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.  Proverbs 27:6

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