A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.”
Gore Vidal (Author, Lincoln)
She left me cold.
My brain felt like a piece of twisted metal.
I’m a normal guy. I consider myself a non-wimp. But this hurt.
I couldn’t believe she didn’t like me anymore. She didn’t care.
All she cared about was herself.
After all this time. (We were together for years).
After everything I gave to her and everything I did for her.
How selfish. How self-righteous.
Good. Fine. Whatever. I was happy it was over because I deserve somebody who cares more about me than they do about themselves.
I remember thinking these things then. I’ve thought them before too.
Whenever I didn’t get my way, these thoughts crept back up. The other person was the problem, not me.
Their arrogant, self-absorbed nature ruined everything. Right?
Narcissism Or Self-Justification
It’s easy to call friends, colleagues, and relationship partners narcissists when they don’t do what you want them to do.
It’s easy to call these people selfish when they don’t care about you and your needs as much as you want them to care.
When you’re in pain, labeling someone a narcissist feels good.
It feels good because it relieves you of the responsibility of having to deal with your own emotions.
They’re the problem, not you.
They don’t like you so they must have a personality disorder. As such, you feel sorry for them. And…
You feel angry at them. You want revenge. Justice. Vindication.
In reality, you’re just being a baby.
They don’t have a disorder, they just decided you weren’t that important. Which they have every right to do.
When other people put their needs above yours, when they act on behalf of their own self-interest over yours, they’re behaving exactly how they should.
People who care about themselves more than you are not narcissists.
In fact, a recent study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that people classically labelled as narcissists don’t use the pronoun “I” (as in, me, myself and I) more than any other person.
They say “I” just as much as you do.
Would you really want someone to care about you completely out of guilt, fear, or obligation?
Would you really want them to put your needs over their needs purely out of a sense of duty?
If so, you’re the one with the disorder.
Needy People Are Narcissists
In Metamorphoses, Book III, Ovid tells the story of Narcissus.
Narcissus was a hunter known for his good looks.
One day, Narcissus walks through the woods and after a series of events is led to a pool of water.
Narcissus sees his own reflection in the water and, not realizing it’s his own image, falls in love.
He lays by the pool looking at himself for years until, one day, after realizing his love will never be returned, he dies.
True narcissism has nothing to do with being selfish and everything to do with being needy and lazy.
Expecting others to live for you and put your needs above their needs is narcissism.
Refusing to take responsibility for your own emotions is narcissism.
Selfishness is not.
3 Ways To Avoid Being A Narcissist
Your entire life is your fault.
How you feel today, tomorrow, and the next day is your responsibility.
The only way to live a happy and fulfilling life is to stop pointing fingers and start being accountable to yourself
1. Expect less from others and more from yourself.
Most of the pain you will ever experience in life is due to your own mismanaged expectations.
Of course it’s going to hurt when you expect people to give you the world and they don’t deliver.
Stop expecting other people to live and die for you. Stop expecting others to fix whatever is broken in your life.
You’re not the center of anyone’s Universe.
If you want something done, look to yourself. If you want to feel better, look to yourself.
Quit waiting for prince charming or Carmen Electra to drop into your lap and solve all your problems.
They’re not coming.
2. Never rely on anyone else for your own happiness.
Every time you rely on someone else to make you happy, you’ll be disappointed.
No one can make you happy. No one can reach into your brain and force you to feel a sense of happiness.
They can’t experience happiness on your behalf either.
You have to do this happiness thing alone.
If you’re not happy, it’s because you’re too lazy to decide to be happy.
Decisions are hard work. Especially when life isn’t going the way you want it to.
Still, you need to find a way to decide. Every day.
Fake it before you make it and force yourself to be happy even before the happiness feelings show up.
3. Realize no one is working against you.
It’s easy to feel like everyone is working against you.
Like other people are meeting secretly and planning out intricate ways to keep you unhappy and unsuccessful.
The truth is no one is meeting. There’s no conspiracy.
Other people don’t care about your problems. The Universe doesn’t care either.
Sure, people might care enough to listen to you complain. Or their interests might be aligned enough with your interests to help you work through something. But they won’t care enough to put your life in front of their life, nor should they.
At the same time, most people won’t care enough to work against your life at the expense of moving their life forward. So…
Quit obsessing. Quit being needy. Realize you are in control.
You can stop narcissistic thinking in its tracks at any time by taking responsibility for yourself and taking action to improve your life.
No blame. No finger pointing. Just self-reliance and self-directed action.
Check out my book of personal and professional advice, Black Hole Focus: How Intelligent People Create A Powerful Purpose For Their Lives