Think of that one person in your life who always seems to enlighten you on every ounce of information about their grand and amazing lifestyles or luxuries, without even being asked. Granted, we all fall into occasional humble boasting, and we value the infrequent announcements of accomplishment or success. But some people thrive on hearing themselves brag, and actually find comfort to their otherwise insecure nature when they do so.
Meet the Narcissist.It’s a wonder at all that they find any confidence in their self-proclaimed grandeur. “What narcissistic people of all appearances have in common is an inner sense of, and/or terror of, insufficiency, shame, weakness, and inferiority.” The feelings that they feel threatened by include, “vague falseness, shame, envy, emptiness or incompleteness, ugliness, and inferiority, or their compensatory counterparts: self-righteousness, pride, contempt, defensive self-sufficiency, vanity, and superiority.”
The Root of Narcissism
So from where do these needs stem? Where does this urge to soar above self-formulated competition even start? How does someone reach the level of narcissism? It may come as a shock to you to hear that their childhood was most likely anything but a spoiled one. Here are a few more likely scenarios that put individuals at risk of becoming narcissists:
The Primary Caregiver for the Narcissist
Take first, the case of the child who finds himself as a “narcissistic extension” for whomever they call their caregiver. The Jackson Five scenario comes to mind. A father saw the unique gifts in his children and fashioned his agenda to capitalize on those gifts accordingly. As the agenda led to his own personal advancement, his children learned to identify the source of his pride in them, thus leading them to perform exceptionally.
The danger with child prodigies is that they have one source of praise which leads to one source of sustenance for their self-confidence. They may indeed have ego problems, but it likely zeros in on one aspect of their person hood. This prompts them to evade any alternate aspects of themselves lest that one, key source of praise fall to the wayside.
“First Impressions are Everything”
Modern culture tells people that first impressions are everything. This may sound like a positive lesson to live by, but the flip side of that coin tells us that things like character and behavioral patterns are somehow less important. The oversaturation of mass media today also teaches us new ideas. On the one hand, outlets like Facebook teach us ordinary narcissism, and on the other, advertising teaches us that our bodies or our lifestyles are not good enough. Ironically, while the modern U.S. flaunts its character as impartial and even-handed to all, narcissism itself seeks to do the opposite.
Narcissism as a Coping Mechanism
Often there are unrealistically high standards set in place for narcissistic people. As a result, they keep these standards inside but make the most of their successes or positions in order to satisfy themselves. Most people in life want to think they bring something unique to the table. The people who breathe the very notion are the narcissistic kind. Their childhood or their general past has fashioned them into believing that simply being one of many is unthinkable. They are addicted to competing with their own lofty standards, which leads to either sickening pride when they are met or feelings of complete insufficiency when they are not met.
In some cases, these folks tend to look for another individual of such accomplished stature. This person may be a lover or close friend. Once attached, the narcissistic person finds superiority by simple association with that person. Yet, the narcissist may lose interest upon realizing that person’s flaws.
Real Life Downsides of Narcissism
Narcissists don’t always go with the most profitable option if status is involved. If two narcissistic parents are considering buying one of two houses, they will always go with the house in the notoriously affluent neighborhood, regardless of whether the other house may be closer to their friends, or their kids’ schools.Unfortunately for them, narcissists are not oblivious to their own behavior. On the contrary, they are well aware and repulsed by it – which only drives them deeper into it. This is hardly a good option for them as they quickly run into the relentless wall of human nature.
Self-acceptance is foreign to them. Rather, self-insufficiency and pompousness are their best friends.
Instead of putting in the effort to build long-lasting bonds between others, they see others as means to ends. The other person is valuable to them only as long as they feed the beast of narcissism.
Dependency on others is a unknown concept to the narcissist, so common gestures of, “Excuse me,” or “Thank you,” are out of the question.
The idea of “others” does not phase the narcissist past his own view of them as competition or means to his egotistic end. If anyone is hurt in the narcissistic wake, it is simply an unfortunate but necessary situation to the narcissist.
Christian Counseling Supplies an Answer for the Narcissist
Do not underestimate narcissism. It is an ugly cycle between self-hate and sickening pride that never resolves. It gives up any sort of loyalty or lasting love between other souls. The answer is not that one should hate the self and tell others how horrible they are. Instead, the Word of God teaches us that vanity and selfishness should be replaced with humility and putting others first.
In Philippians, Paul encourages the church to take Christ’s example to heart. The Son of God came down to earth and was the perfect model of someone who had every reason to inflate his own ego, but chose to walk in humility instead. If these things have spoken to you about problems in your own life, a Christian counselor in Spokane is willing and ready to help you turn towards a new beginning through Christ. A life at peace with yourself through forgiveness is available and possible for you.
“On Top of the World,” courtesy of Jake Ingle, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License; “Free,” courtesy of Jean Gerber, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License; “Ready,” courtesy of Chad Madden, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License