What Is a Narcissistic Person and How Can We Help Them? – Healizm

What is a narcissistic person and how can we help them

Narcissism – a term with roots in Greek mythology – has made its way into our modern vocabulary and it’s usually associated with negative connotations.
But what does it really mean to be a narcissist and how can we as a society offer help to those who fall under this psychological category?
Below we’ll discuss what is a narcissistic person and how we can help them.
We’ll also explore the aspects of narcissistic personality traits in order to offer information to anyone trying to understand and offer support.

The Narcissistic Persona

How can we distinguish self-assuredness from self-absorption and if the line is crossed, what happens to the human mind?
The concept of narcissism is more than a current trend.
It’s a layered psychological profile that deserves examination for the purpose of encouraging empathy and engaging support.

What is Narcissism?

To truly grasp the impact narcissism can have we first need to define narcissistic personality disorder and consider the signs and symptoms of those who suffer from it.

What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a psychological health condition where people have an exaggerated sense of their own importance and a deep need for excessive attention and admiration.

Characteristics and Behaviors of Narcissistic People

Here’s a narcissist checklist.

  • Grandiosity: A sense of superiority and belief in being special.
  • Need for Admiration: Desperation for constant praise and attention.
  • Lack of Empathy: Difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others.
  • Fragile Self-Esteem: Internal vulnerability behind the outward show of strength.

It’s also important to understand that not every person who shows these traits has NPD.
The disorder is diagnosed only when these traits adversely impact functioning and cause distress.

Narcissism vs Confidence

The line that separates narcissism and confidence is subtle yet important.
Confidence is a positive thing that reflects a person’s belief in their abilities and self-worth.
It’s healthy and motivates us to take on problems and make a positive difference to our environments.
Though narcissism in its extreme forms, can be harmful.
It’s an excessive sense of self-importance and a desire for excessive attention and admiration usually at others’ expense.

Identifying the Difference

One difference lies in empathy; confident people can celebrate both their own achievements and those of others and they also maintain healthy and reciprocal relationships.
But narcissists struggle with empathy. Their self-focus damages others’ feelings and encourages manipulative or demeaning behaviors to maintain their fragile self-esteem.
It is essential to recognize this difference in personal and professional relationships because it can help to foster environments where true confidence radiates and narcissism is acknowledged and managed healthily.

Root Causes of Narcissism

Narcissism is rarely the result of a singular cause; it arises from a blend of environmental, psychological and genetic factors.
Understanding where it comes from can help guide you to a more sensitive response.

1. Childhood Experiences and Environment

The upbringing of a narcissistic teenager or anyone usually involves:

  • A combination of excessive praise.
  • A lack of meaningful emotional connection with caregivers.
  • The encouragement of a ‘winner-takes-all’ mentality.

2. Psychological Factors Contributing to Narcissistic Traits

  • The False Self Phenomenon: The development of a false, idealized self due to early trauma or neglect.
  • Inherent Vulnerability: A fragile sense of self that underpins the facade of grandiosity.
  • Cognitive Biases: The reinforcement of self-serving thought patterns through positive feedback or personal success.

How to Help Narcissistic People

Supporting someone with NPD can be hard but not impossible.
Constructive efforts to help people like this usually start with building empathy and awareness.

1. Building Empathy and Understanding

An understanding of the experiences that shaped a narcissistic person’s self-view encourages compassion.
It’s essential to see the person behind the symptoms and acknowledge their struggles.

2. Encouraging Therapy and Self-Reflection

Therapy – the forms that focus on grasping one’s thought patterns and emotions can really help narcissistic people reconstruct their self-image.

3. Setting Boundaries and Managing Expectations

Constructive support should also involve being upfront in communication and setting boundaries.
Friends and family members should learn to say ‘no’ and hold the line when necessary.

Support Systems for Family and Friends

Family and friends are often the first line of support for people with narcissistic traits.
It’s important to have strategies to deal with difficult behavior.

1. Coping Strategies for Dealing with Narcissistic Loved Ones

In the face of manipulative or difficult behavior, adopting confident, non-reactionary responses can help maintain personal and emotional boundaries.

2. Importance of Self-Care and Seeking Professional Help

Support systems around a narcissistic person should prioritize self-care as well as seeking professional help or counseling to cope with the stresses of the relationship.

Concluding Thoughts

By exploring what it means to be a narcissistic person and how to provide them with constructive help, we affirm the notion that everyone regardless of their psychological makeup is deserving of kindness and empathy.
Each action we take to support those struggling with narcissism brings us closer to building a inclusive society.
An understanding of narcissism can be beneficial not just for the person in question but for the collective mental environment we share.
For support and treatment, please contact us at Healizm today.
For additional resources, consider visiting Mayo Clinic.


Do narcissists know they are abusive?

Sometimes narcissists might know about their abusive behavior but they could justify it or choose not to see how it affects others.

What is the difference between being arrogant vs narcissist?

Being arrogant is usually seen as thinking highly of oneself and being a narcissist goes deeper with a lack of empathy and a craving for admiration.

What are common personality traits of a narcissistic woman and man?

Both narcissistic men and women might show traits like feeling entitled, craving admiration and lacking empathy for others.

What is vulnerable narcissistic personality disorder?

Vulnerable narcissistic personality disorder shows up as being super sensitive to criticism, feeling insecure, and craving admiration – all hidden behind a front of self-importance.

How growing up with a narcissistic mother shapes a person?

Growing up with a narcissistic mother can mess with your self-esteem, make it hard to build healthy relationships and bring emotional struggles from missing that real maternal care and support.

Can a highly sensitive person and narcissist be in a relationship?

They can be together but it might be hard because of the narcissist’s empathy deficit and the highly sensitive person’s emotional requirements.

What’s the difference between being self-absorbed vs self-centered?

Being self-absorbed is about being caught up in your own feelings and interests whereas being self-centered might mean totally ignoring what others need or feel.

What happens when 2 narcissists are in a relationship?

When two narcissists are in a relationship it can become tense with both parties trying to maintain control and seek admiration without offering emotional support or empathy.

Can you recommend any self-help books for narcissists?

There are many books on understanding and coping with narcissistic traits including:

  • Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy T. Behary
  • The Narcissist You Know by Joseph Burgo

Do narcissists believe their own lies?

A narcissist often believes their own lies to maintain their self-image and protect their ego.

What happens when you go no contact with a narcissist?

Cutting off a narcissist might involve pushback and sneaky moves to get back control but it’s a move towards healing and taking back your life.

Can you have BPD and NPD at the same time?

Yes it’s possible for someone to have traits or be diagnosed with both BPD and NPD.

How do you explain narcissism to a narcissist?

Explaining narcissism to a narcissist is a delicate process, honing in on specific behaviors instead of labels, and could use some professional guidance.

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