What can a narcissist do to stop being narcissistic?

People with a narcissistic tendency often suffer from emotional instability and crisis in their relationships.

But luckily, there isn’t one psychological trait that has to necessarily stay at the core of someone’s personality, especially if that’s causing problems. Therefore, in this article we will a review of various tips to stop being markedly narcissistic.

    What is narcissism?

    Narcissism is a psychological phenomenon which may take the form of a personality trait or a psychopathological disorder, in some extreme cases.

    To a greater or lesser extent, we all exhibit some degree of narcissism that manifests itself through our actions in interaction with our environment and with others; however, some people have such a strong tendency towards narcissism that it produces problems, and in such cases it is possible to diagnose a psychological disorder, as we will see.

    That is, while narcissism can be measured quantitatively (it is possible to see how narcissistic someone is), it can also be studied qualitatively, seeing whether it becomes so intense that it constitutes a disorder, a clinical entity that appears in the diagnostic textbooks of psychiatry and clinical psychology.

    Now… what exactly characterizes people with highly developed narcissism? Narcissism is a tendency to cultivate a concept of the idealized “self” which, to be sustained, must be nurtured by the constant admiration and validation of others.

    Like that, narcissism has to do with trying to convince us that we are someone of great importance, of extraordinarily positive qualities, an exceptional person in a good way. This idea that we are someone “special” makes us hope that the attitude of others towards us matches the idea that we are someone interesting, with the ability to seduce others whether it is for our sake. academic or professional merits, for our charism, etc.

    But paradoxically, this tendency to maintain a “bloated” self-image is a source of insecurity, and very narcissistic people often suffer from very unstable self-esteem. And it is that narcissism can predispose us to extreme shyness, for example, because the possibility of experiencing the rejection of others is very disturbing and generates an intense fear that leads to avoidance. It can also predispose us to the reverse, a maintain an intense social life to maintain a circle of friends and acquaintances which gives us constant validation.

    In any case, narcissism promotes dynamics of dependence and low tolerance for rejection and failure, which, as we have argued, can be problematic.

    Narcissistic personality disorder

    Pathological narcissism is known as a narcissistic personality disorder. This psychopathology is expressed through symptoms such as the following:

    • Unrealistic and overly optimistic expectations about the deference with which others should treat us.
    • The person has fantasies about their positive qualities to maintain an inflated self-image.
    • Feeling very frustrated when receiving treatment that is “normal” or does not favor it in front of others.
    • You need to feel the admiration of others very often.

    Faced with pathological narcissism, it is important to seek professional psychotherapeutic help.

    What to do to weaken the tendency to narcissism?

    The most effective way to curb the tendency to narcissism is to go to psychotherapy (and, in case of pathological narcissism, all solutions go through professional psychological help). But in general, the following guidelines can help with moderate narcissism.

    1. Develop tolerance for own imperfections

    It takes time and effort, but it’s important to do it. It consists of exposing ourselves to what we interpret as our imperfections (psychological or physical) without trying to avoid these images or thoughts, in a situation where you can more or less control the time and degree of exposure.

    For example, standing in front of a mirror and focusing your gaze on the wrinkles in your skin, or closing your eyes and remembering a situation in which you made a fool of yourself. The idea is to keep our attention fixed on these experiences and perceive them as not accepted, by limiting ourselves to recognizing objective facts, without judging them as good or bad. From this node, you will have a more nuanced and compensated view.

      2. Detects validation search behaviors

      Try to detect in you typical patterns of behavior in which you recognize a search for validation (e.g. always keep a constant stream of flattering selfies on your social media, because you’d feel bad if you didn’t). Therefore, it is recommended to use a personal journal.

      After a few weeks, you will have familiarized yourself with many of these common behaviors that you practice almost without realizing it, and you can try to get rid of them little by little, even if it means learning to be able to do without them.

      3. Focus on honesty in relationships

      To be less narcissistic, it’s important to face the fear of rejection and connect with personal relationships. give more importance to honesty on both sides.

      You must be able to express your insecurities and you must also be able to hear criticism or even negative opinions about yourself. It’s okay for this to make us feel terrible at times, but it shouldn’t always be the norm.

      4. Set yourself a scale of goals in what you want to achieve

      Many people who are narcissistic see everything in black and white: either something is a success or it is a failure. Stop a outline your goals and objectives let them unfold with varying degrees of success.

      5. Emphasize the importance of asking for help

      When faced with certain emotional experiences and troubles, you will need to seek help. Sometimes friends and family, and in more serious cases, also mental health professionals. It’s not a bad thing, and in fact, taking this into account makes you a more resilient person with a greater capacity for self-regulation.

      As a routine, close your eyes for a few minutes and imagine asking for help and getting it in a way that is not humiliating, but humane on both sides: you feel bad and the other person is involved with you because that she sympathizes with you. .

      Are you looking for psychotherapy services?

      If you are considering starting a process of psychotherapy to improve your relationships with others and with yourself, contact us.

      A Psychoines we work with the most effective psychotherapy techniques adapted to the characteristics and problems of each person, taking care of patients of all ages. You can find us in our center located in Barcelona (in the district of Gràcia), and you can also opt for online therapy by video call.

      Bibliographical references

      • Alarcon, RD; Sarabia, S. (2012). Debates on the enigma of narcissism: trait, dominance, dimension, type or disorder ?. The Journal of nervous and mental diseases, 200 (1): p. 16 – 25.
      • American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
      • Brunell, AB; Gentry, WA; Campbell, W.; Hoffman, BJ; Kuhnert, KW; DeMarree, KG (2008). The emergence of the leader: the case of the narcissistic leader. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 34 (12): p. 1663 – 1676.
      • Campbell, WK; Reeder GD; Sedikides, C .; Elliot, AJ (2000). Narcissism and Comparative Self-Assessment Strategies. Journal of Research in Personality, 34 (3): p. 329 – 347.
      • Horton, RS; Bleau, G .; Drwecki, B. (2006). Aging narcissism: what are the links between parenthood and narcissism? Journal of Personality, 74 (2): p. 345 – 376.
      • Serra Undürraga, JKA (2016). The diagnosis of narcissism: a relational reading. Journal of the Spanish Association of Neuropsychiatry, 36 (129): p. 171-187.

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