Are You a Narcissist?
By: 2nd Story Staff
Narcissism is a term that gets commonly thrown about to the point where it doesn’t really mean anything anymore. If you’re ever hanging out with a group of friends and take a particular dislike to one person in particular, you may say to yourself “Oh, of course I don’t like him – he’s a narcissist.” However, narcissism means a whole lot more than just “a negative quality about a person that I can’t quite put my finger on.”
It is actually an important term with a pretty clear definition – an excessive (and some might say almost erotic) admiration of yourself. We all know narcissists in life. The issue is that you may be one yourself without ever realizing it. There are seven clear signs that you might be a narcissist that you really can’t ignore – no matter how hard you may try to.
Warning: What follows may be difficult to read because it strikes a little too close to home.
1. It’s All About You
Because narcissism is defined as an extreme love of one’s self, it makes sense that the first sign that you might be a narcissist is that you make everything about yourself. When you’re hanging out with a group of friends, you need to be the center of attention. You might interject with a story during a discussion, even though that story is only barely related to the topic that was being talked about in the first place. If you find a way to turn every conversation inward towards yourself, you might be a narcissist.
2. Seriously, It’s All About You
Taking “Sign #1” to its logical extreme, another sign that you might be a narcissist is if you make truly EVERYTHING about yourself in some way. It isn’t just enough to be the center of attention – you also need to be the center of discussion. If someone tells you about a bad day you’re having, you might feel the need to trump them and talk about how your day was worse. If a family member gets bad news from the doctor, your first thought might be “Well this is bad for me, too.”
3. You Obsess Over the Way You Look
Taking pride in your appearance is one thing. If you’ve worked hard to lose weight and get into great shape, it’s natural to be proud of the way you look. If you’re the type of person who absolutely obsesses over what you’re going to wear, however, and you have this unexplained urge to always be the most attractive person in a room, you’re definitely going to have to face the fact that you’re a narcissist at some point.
4. You’re the Smartest Person on the Room
One of the most obvious signs of narcissism is that you hold yourself in incredibly high regard. If you’re at a dinner party and people talk about a great film that they have just seen, you feel the need to somehow prove that they like it for the wrong reasons. The film is great, sure, but it’s great for some highly intellectual reason that only you have realized. You then explain that reason, beat by beat, and suck all of the fun out of the room with your narcissism in the process.
5. You Talk. A Lot
Another clear sign of narcissism is excessive talking in situations where it isn’t really appropriate. When you’re having a conversation with another person, a pretty important part of the situation is that BOTH people are talking in equal measure. If you find yourself standing in a room and giving monologues to groups of people purely because you like the sound of your own voice, that may be a clear-cut sign of narcissism.
6. You Want Everyone to Really, Really Love You
It’s natural to want to be liked. However, if you need everyone to love you – even strangers that you may pass in the hallway at work or at school – you definitely might be a narcissist. This is one of the primary reasons why many narcissists pursue careers in show business. Not every celebrity is a narcissist. Chris Evans for example isn’t one. Neither was Paul Walker. Many others however certainly have been tagged with this label.
7. You Act Like You’re the Main Character in a Movie
It’s natural to feel like you’re the main character in the story of your own life. In a way, that type of thinking is actually healthy. However, if you equate “I’m the main character in my own story” with “I’m an action hero,” you might have a narcissism problem that you’re likely overlooking.
If you found yourself in agreement with the 7 points made here, it might be time to go about the business of creating positive change. A good start might be to pick up a copy of the book entitled Narcissism: Denial of the True Self.
Inside, you will find page after page of insight that might help you recognize and change some of the behaviors that you have read about here. You can also take the narcissism quiz as a way of learning more about this problem.
Finally, one additional way to focus on changing your relationships with others is to consider entering into psychotherapy. Counseling can help to uncover some of what fuels your behaviors and create awareness around how your actions (or inactions) impact the lives of others.