Monisha was a bit disturbed. As we were drinking coffee she was trying to concentrate on my words but I could see, she was rather distracted . I stopped and asked her what was wrong.
“It’s Virat, I am a bit confused”, she murmured softly.
She has been in this relationship for quite some time now and seemed quite euphoric at the beginning. The flushed face, chatting online and meetings all was going quite well. The gifts, flowers and roses had become a bit irregular but she was happy and that is what mattered. This was not her first relation but this time she seemed to be quite enthralled by her experience.
“Nothing much really. It is just something which is very uncanny. Can I talk to you?” She seemed to have made up her mind and kept her coffee mug down.
“Yes, do tell me,” I said.
“Well, he is really a wonderful person; please do not get me wrong. I mean, I am very happy with him. He actually is quite a charm to be with, passionate too, but……” She took a sip of her coffee.
“Well, it is those small things which are making me a bit uncomfortable. He is doing quite well professionally. He is very professional person,a perfectionist at that and into real estates . He is really good in many other things. He sings well, is a good writer, blogs extensively and can speak well. He is very popular in social networks, he is an excellent cook. You know Maya, he is actually a genius. Whatever he puts his hands into it yields great results. I am actually quite taken in by all that, but…. I am also kind of feeling cornered because I am so awed by him, that I am about to forget who I am and what I am all about. I mean, I know I am the only one who is going through this, but tell me where am I going wrong?”
I looked at her as she stopped, a bit out of breath. I took her hand and asked her:
“Wait a minute. He really sounds too good Monisha but you have really known him for some months now,how did you come to know about all his qualities? O.K let’s begin again. All these qualities of his, how do you know he is good at it?”
“Well, I know because I have read his blogs. He is really good Maya. I have heard him speak. People listen to him. Professionally too he is quite successful.”
“How do you know? Do you work for him?” I asked.
M: No, but he tells me about his achievements. Whenever he cracked a deal, we had gone out celebrating and enjoyed the outing.
I: O.K. So you don’t really know? He told you. O.K what about his cooking? Have you ever tasted the food which he cooked?
M: No, but he would often tell me how he entertains his friends and how they love his cooking and how popular he is.
I: And about music? Does he sing to you often?
M: No, but yes, I have heard him sing. He says his friends often request him to sing. He is good. He was also into fine arts at one time. Doodles rather well.
I: So basically whatever he says, most of the time it is what he says about himself and you believe him completely?
M: Aaaa…..yes. (She looked quite confused now.)
I: O.K .let me ask you something, does he talk about you or listen to you?
M: Oh yes, he does. He often asks me things and I reply, explain.
I: Now, answer this very carefully. Does he listen to you when you ramble or simply want to talk or only wants you to answer his questions? Cuts you short when you talk a lot?
M: Well, he talks so well that I love listening to him. Actually I tell him only when he wants to know.
I: And, does he help you often? I mean whenever you require a helping hand, listen to you or offer suggestions?
M: Yes he does. I mean he listens and tells me what to do.
I: Again think about this- suppose you have forgotten to pay your mobile bill and you are in your office from where you cannot access the site to pay online. Will he do it for you?
M: Well. I don’t know. May be, but he is very structured so in all probability he would grumble a lot about me being careless.
I: Have you asked him what attracts him to you?
M: Maya, he says he is attracted to me physically. I look good and I am quiet sensual, that’s what he says. Maya, he likes my company immensely. I know. There is something wrong with me. Why do I doubt him?
I: Monisha, when he talks, how many times he uses ‘I’ statements?
M: Maya, you know me. I do not like talking about myself much and moreover I really like listening to him, the way he talks and would talk about various subjects. So yes I do listen to him a lot and yes he really shares his opinions and expressions.
I: Monisha, ‘I’ statement?
M: (with a nervous laugh) quite a few times.
I could have asked her many more questions to confirm my fear. But I already could see a pattern in Virat’s behavior. I held her hand and patted her gently. “It is not you Monisha; you really need to understand a bit more. I will like to ask you few more questions and then if need be please check in with a counselor.”
Virat was showing traits of NPD- Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I crossed my fingers and hoped it wasn’t so. Monisha really did care for him quite deeply.
Story of Narcissus:
According to Greek mythology:
Narcissus was a beautiful youth and was loved by many but he loved none. He was quite self oriented. Echo’s passion for Narcissus was equaled only by her passion for talking as she always had to have the last word. One day she enabled the escape of the goddess Juno’s adulterous husband by engaging Juno in conversation. On finding out Echo’s treachery Juno cursed Echo by removing her voice with the exception that she could only speak that which was spoken to her.
Echo often waited in the woods to see Narcissus hoping for a chance to be noticed. One day as she lingered in the bushes he heard her footsteps and called out “Who’s here?” Echo replied “Here!” Narcissus called again “Come”, Echo replied “Come!” Narcissus called once more “Why do you shun me? Let us join one another.” Echo was overjoyed that Narcissus had asked her to join him. She longed to tell him who she was and of all the love she had for him in her heart but she could not speak. She ran towards him and threw herself upon him.
Narcissus became angry “Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me!” and threw Echo to the ground. Echo left the woods a ruin, her heart broken. Ashamed she ran away to live in the mountains yearning for a love that would never be returned. The grief killed her. Her body became one with the mountain stone. All that remained was her voice which replied in kind when others spoke.
Narcissus continued to attract many nymphs all of whom he briefly entertained before scorning and refusing them. The gods grew tired of his behavior and cursed Narcissus. They wanted him to know what it felt like to love and never be loved. They made it so there was only one whom he would love, someone who was not real and could never love him back.
One day whilst out enjoying the sunshine Narcissus came upon a pool of water. As he gazed into it he caught a glimpse of what he thought was a beautiful water spirit. He did not recognize his own reflection and was immediately enamored. Narcissus bent down his head to kiss the vision. As he did so the reflection mimicked his actions. Taking this as a sign of reciprocation Narcissus reached into the pool to draw the water spirit to him. The water displaced and the vision was gone. He panicked, where had his love gone? When the water became calm the water spirit returned. “Why, beautiful being, do you shun me? Surely my face is not one to repel you. The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckoning with the like.” Again he reached out and again his love disappeared. Frightened to touch the water Narcissus lay still by the pool gazing in to the eyes of his vision.
This story can be used for marking the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.
Symptoms of a Narcissist:
- Likes praise, and self praise is the first indication.
- Cannot take any criticism, will defend to the point of aggression and at any cost. An argument with a Narcissist person can drag on and on forever till the other concedes.
- Thinks of connections as stepping stones and can be quite manipulative at times to get their own end.
- Grandiose or exaggerating own importance with active references to achievements and talents. Needs constant affirmation of their worth form others. Considers themselves better than others around them.
- Entertains unrealistic fantasies about success, power, beauty, intelligence or romance. Thinks they are the best and have quite extensive knowledge about everything around them.
- Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment and will often expect to be treated like an exception. ‘ You have to love me and accept me in spite of all my problem areas.’ ‘I don’t have a problem, you do’
- Lacks empathy. They are unable to see or even listen to others and their sorry tales. Would have lot of knowledge but will seldom offer help or support to the one who needs support.
- Is easily jealous of others and would take other’s achievement as their failure. Makes them highly competitive.
- Obsessive about self goal, occupation and hobbies. Can pursue them with an enviable single mindedness. They will always others what they like,seldom asking them their preference.
- Resistant to change and need to co-relate to a structured process. ‘What I believe in is always right, what you tell me cannot change my mind’.
Scary? Do not be scared even if you are into a relationship with a Narcissist. There is a flip side of every coin:
A recent study conducted by accredited psychologist Oliver James, has classified the four types of people who excel in business: psychopaths, Machiavellians, narcissists and the amalgamation of all three.
Here is why it is actually a good thing to be a narcissist in our competitive business world:
Because You Should Feel Better than everyone else
Our society hates the individual. No one should rise too quickly or be too smart. It takes a supreme confidence to climb the ladder of success. The rest are trampled by a quotidian future.
There’s no reason not to puff your chest and be proud. Self-perception permeates social perception, and confidence demonstrates your superiority. If you believe you are better than everyone else, they will as well.
You Make For A Great Leader
Nice guys are the ones who slave away their whole lives for a narcissist. To be a leader and to be in charge of something, you need to have some pretty tough skin. Being a yes-man, sycophantic, or too agreeable with your subjects only makes those around you less productive and somewhat lazy.
Narcissists enjoy leadership positions because they are able to dominate others without explanation or need of constant positive reinforcement. Self-reliance is what distinguishes a narcissist from a commoner. Ordinary people need direction; the narcissist provides it because he has a constant assurance of his own skills in delegating tasks. He understands how to deal with people on both a personal and business level. And he loves doing it.
You Are Feared And Loved
This is one of the best qualities a leader can have. It’s the simple concept of being both feared and loved. Narcissists tend to have a large amount of charisma, they entertain people and make them laugh, but they’re also feared because they will do anything to get things done. The people a narcissist leads develop a love-hate relationship. The narcissist brings out the best of them because he drives them to work harder and they desire to please him.
You Know Exactly What You Want Out Of Life
A narcissist is focused. His work ethic is indefatigable. When he loves what he does and believes in his cause, there is no halting his progress. Narcissists are the kind of people who know what they want from life. This is a far stretch from the liberal arts youth whose great philosophical meanderings of purpose leave them stranded.
Being a narcissist means using charm, charisma, work ethic, confidence, arrogance and dominance to get to the top. And in today’s world all that matters is ending up at the top of the food chain, because no one cares about who is below. Yes, this means being impatient or compulsive, but that just develops a necessitation for the immediacy of success.
You Are Self-Centered
If you are not selfish, you will get nowhere. Narcissists seek to devalue other people. And it works. They work harder because of it, and establishing dominance will weaken others as competitors. It’s a dirty game, but it’s a game we have to play.
You Are a *&%#
Ruthless aggression and unflagging ambition will get you to the top. It’s okay to love yourself and to be unerring in your arrogance, because those are all qualities of successful people. How many nice people do you know who are successful? By being a narcissist you choose not to be average, living an average life. You believe you should have more in this life.
Your Dating Life Is Quite Exciting
Narcissism is business focused, but there are perks. You’re not the idiot in the Disney fantasy relationship. You become a playboy and a whore. Narcissists are more stylish and physically attractive. Narcissistic women consistently dress provocatively and narcissistic men demonstrate aesthetic confidence.
The narcissist game consists of quick hook-ups, because they thrill, it’s like being on a roller coaster. We get a rush out of convincing others to engage in promiscuous sexual acts that they might not normally feel comfortable with.
We’ve explored the connotation of narcissism in popular culture, and I will have convinced you by now of its need for re-appropriation. We shouldn’t frown on what distinguishes the strong from the weak. If you don’t want to be a narcissist, don’t complain to us that you haven’t accomplished anything in life.
(Source: Elite Daily)
The discussion does not end here. More to follow on Part II.
- NPD relationships
- NPD parentage
- NPD Personalities and insecurities
- NPD and management – for families and friends.
Founder & Program head – ThetaSkills.com