Here are five tips that a friend came up with for people to help curb their narcissistic urges. However, forever being the devil’s advocate, there is a caveat that presents a paradox in the effectiveness of these strategies. I will get to that later on but, for now, it suffices to say that many of the inherent characteristics of someone with more severe narcissistic symptoms run contrary to them being able or willing to try these ideas in the first place. After all, narcissism is often a deliberate coping strategy rather than a source of obvious self-distress.
Narcissism is destructive
Narcissism, as anyone knows, refers to an unhealthy obsession with the self which can affect people around that individual in an undesirable manner. Most people have some narcissistic features, some more than others. While some are obsessed with how they look, others are concerned with how much they are being valued in life – whether related to salary or respect or adulations. In simple terms, Narcissism is destructive self-absorption which is regarded as one of the Cluster B personality disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is referred to as ‘Narcissist Personality Disorder’ and ranked alongside conditions like Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic Personality Disorder.
If your friends and loved ones have lately started avoiding you and are terming you as a narcissist, it is time to take a step back and consider whether you are actually suffering from narcissism. You can deal with the problem in 5 easy steps.
#1 – Focus on activities that shift your attention
Consider some activities that will divert your attention away from yourself. For instance, look for undertakings which would make you concentrate more on others than yourself. These activities can include embarking on missionary trips, getting involved with charitable causes, or volunteering in organizations. You can work for the betterment of people who belong to less privileged groups of the society and perhaps need food and shelter. The misery of these people will make you realize that they need your support and attention more than yourself.
#2 – Start appreciating others more
You should start showing more appreciation to other individuals. Compliment others for their actions, behavior, or almost anything that you find good, or thank them for anything that they have done well. In the beginning, it can be slightly awkward for you to praise other people, especially if you have been involved in self-praise all along for many years. As more time passes, you will get increasingly used to acknowledge other people and will complement them with more sincerity.
#3 – Be a narcissist, but only in selected situations
Changing your personality can be tough, especially in the initial stages. If you cannot get over your narcissism, limit it to particular circumstances. Even if you are unable to completely get over the behavior, restrict it to the gym, while talking to juniors, or while interacting with people who try to take advantage of you. It can help you to create a more calculating exterior which would make you feel more confident and make others feel disinclined to manipulate or exploit you in any way. You can get some time in the day where you would be able to remain comfortable in your skin, and not be ashamed of it.
#4 – Get feedback
From time to time, you can ask your close friends or family members to come clean about your attitude. Encourage them to clearly tell you when they think you are going overboard with your narcissism, and make a note of all those situations. Do not cut them short or argue with them, if you are committed to cutting your narcissistic attitude short. Reward them for their clarity and their feedbacks, which would further help you become more reflective.
If you feel too embarrassed to ask these questions, keep in mind that it will actually aid your improvement. It will also make it easier for them know that you are actually making an effort to change your wrong attitudes and approaches, and attempt to turn over a new leaf. Another idea is to complete a quick online screening test designed to help people to find out whether or not they are suffering from self-obsession, and which behaviors form part of that attitude.
#5 – Listen to subliminal messages
While many individuals feel that subliminal messages can worsen narcissism, it actually depends on the kind of affirmations that you are listening to. There are audio files designed to rectify this type of behavior. These files contain messages which affirm to patients that they may crave love and support from others, but they are not the only ones in the world. Their lives and values also revolve around relationships with their family members and friends. You can download these audio files, such as the loving-kindness meditation, to your smartphone or mp3 player, and spend some time every day listening to these messages. While meditating or performing deep breath exercises, you can incorporate these affirmations and absorb them into your daily life.
If you are able to follow these 5 easy tips by taking small steps at a time, you should quickly notice a shift in your attitude. Perhaps it will be very subtle at first, but you will be more sympathetic and thoughtful toward others, which will do wonders for your relationships and social standing. Conflicts should decrease too and collaborations will bear more fruit.
But, however promising the ideas above sound to the most of us, there is a caveat. Personality styles, especially if high on the scale of severity, at or toward the clinical criteria, is inherently deeply entrenched and, therefore relatively fixed and habitual. People with personality traits like narcissism do not often have a lot of insight into their own personality styles and tend to blame other for any malaise that they may experience. They also use their attitudes and beliefs to favor themselves and achieve their own needs, often by exploiting others and simply ignoring their rights. It is a deliberate strategy at the expense of those around them. Having said this, would such a person be willing to forego this style if they think it benefits and suits them? Would they be inclined to acknowledge that they are contributing to any problems that they are experiencing, such as conflicts in relationships, or not consistently achieving goals? With a narcissistic style, probably not, which means that they are not likely to see the need to reach out to others or change their behavior. Whether you agree or disagree, please leave comments on the article page! I would love to hear your thoughts.