Why are narcissists so jealous

Narcissism - When falling in love with yourself becomes a burden

Loving yourself has become an important value in this day and age. Numerous guides give tips on unconditional self-love. Society often draws clear boundaries. If self-love seems to get out of hand and people just circle around, we quickly speak of a narcissist. But is that even correct? What is narcissism anyway? How to deal with narcissists and even be with them? We give answers.

What is Narcissism?

In psychology, narcissism is a personality trait that most people have in the inconspicuous area - extremes are rather rare. Typically, narcissism can be identified by four main characteristics:

  1. Overconfidence
  2. Hypersensitivity to criticism
  3. Seeking admiration
  4. dominant behavior towards others

When it comes to narcissism, most people think of men primarily. But women can also show narcissistic traits, but often show them differently. Narcissists tend to hold back in their devaluation of others and keep their feelings of superiority to themselves.

There are also good sides associated with narcissistic personality traits. This includes performance, a good organizational talent and perseverance as well as leadership and charisma. Narcissism becomes a burden especially when it is very strong and there is a narcissistic personality disorder.

The narcissistic personality disorder

In the case of a personality disorder, people generally deviate significantly from what is expected and accepted in a society. In the area of ​​their thoughts, their feelings, their behavior and in the way they deal with other people. This creates personal suffering or stress for the social environment.

People with a narcissistic personality disorder show a sense of size on their own importance and achievement, that is, they exaggerate their abilities and believe that they are "special", great and unique. In doing so, they expect excessive admiration from others and are entitled to be treated accordingly. A narcissistic personality disorder is also associated with a lack of empathy, a rejection of the needs and feelings of others, and often also with envy. Thus, narcissistic people are often perceived as arrogant, manipulative and exploitative.

Recognizing a narcissistic personality disorder is not always so obvious from the outside. Some do not show their arrogance openly, but only let their counterpart feel what they think of them after a long acquaintance.

Causes of Narcissism

The more severe the narcissism, the deeper the underlying vulnerability and the more insecure and fearful the self-worth. Then the narcissistically exaggerated self-portrayal mainly serves to hide one's own self-doubt and not to show other people how one “really” is. Most narcissists are not aware of this.

Experts such as the psychologist Rainer Sachse see the cause for this primarily in childhood. This is how we all want to be recognized and perceived. Sachse assumes, however, that people with narcissistic personality disorder experienced rejection and hardly any recognition at an early age. The narcissistically inflated self-worth then develops as a kind of self-protection - but the constant desire for recognition remains.

However, the development of narcissism depends on several factors. For example, twin studies show that genes also play a decisive role in the development of narcissistic personality disorder.

Relationships with narcissists

People with a narcissistic personality disorder usually revolve around themselves, are easily injured and not very empathetic. Having a relationship with them seems hardly possible under these circumstances. It turns out that especially insecure people often do just that. On the one hand, this can be due to the fact that they tend to submit to the narcissistic counterpart, and on the other hand, to their excessive self-confidence and the corresponding demeanor. All of this can not only impress people with low self-esteem, but also make them feel good in the short term (“That someone like me thinks I'm great!”).

Behind the facade, however, such partnerships are often shaped by conflicts, humiliation and thus violence in the relationship. It is clear that strong narcissism cannot be changed. So the question is how to deal with a narcissistic counterpart and maybe also lead fulfilling partnerships.

Dealing with narcissists

When dealing with narcissistic people, a compromise-ready, cautious, but also clear and self-confident attitude is important. It can be helpful to realize what the narcissistic personality is looking for in a very pronounced form: recognition and appreciation. Giving that without the narcissist having to make himself big and important can take a lot of pressure off. This can mean, for example, that you praise certain achievements in quiet moments or give a compliment. In this way you can also avoid narcissistic manipulation attempts.

In addition, people with narcissism mostly react over-sensitive to criticism - Sachse speaks of “hyperallergic reactions”. It can help here to pack criticism as carefully, clearly and in first-person messages as possible. So detached from the person and more related to the specific trigger ("I'm sad if you treated me like that yesterday.").

Pay attention to your own self and seek help

Psychotherapeutic help can also be useful for a functioning partnership. Not only together as part of couples therapy, but also each side for itself. Stressed partners: inside narcissistic people can be supported, for example, in understanding their narcissistic counterpart, but also in paying attention to personal needs.

Being aware of your own limits is crucial in relationships with narcissistic people. This can mean planning fixed times for self-care, in which it is only about your own self, or taking a step back if it becomes “too much”. Breakups are - as difficult as they may be - a way of protecting yourself.

Categories GeneralTags relationship, narcissism, partnership, counselor, self-worth, dispute