Tuesday, November 8, 2022

He's not a Narcissist, he's just a dick.

As pleased as I am that as a society we are becoming more knowledgeable, understanding and aware of mental health conditions, I am also aware that at times it leads to the generalisation of characteristics that are a part of a condition, in an unhelpful way. An example of this is attributing ‘OCD’ (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) to those who preoccupy cleanliness. Being clean does not equip one with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; just good sense, as Monica would say. Another example of this is diagnosing every fuck boy we encounter as a
narcissist, when this is in fact not true. 

What actually is a narcissist?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental health condition characterised by an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.’ 

As children, the development of narcissism as a characteristic is as normal as the development of self-esteem. For most, one’s sense of narcism reduces whilst self-esteem increases throughout life as we learn to develop empathy and balance our own needs with those of others. Unfortunately those with this personality disorder do not develop this balance and instead their sense of self importance can become inflated, causing a stream of behaviors. 

The cause of the disorder isn't exactly clear cut and remains complex though it has been identified that childhood experiences such as neglect or overprotection can be a risk factor for the disorder, which usually develops during teens/ early adulthood.

These days, I keep seeing memes and hearing references to men being ‘narcissistic’, and although I empathise with the selfish and hurtful nature of the individual they’re likely describing, I can't help but think we cannot label every dickhead a narcissist. 

Males have different internal drive states to women, which I feel contribute to the differences in behaviors such as, a tendency to ghost or reduce the effort put in after having sex, for example. Pair this with the exposure to absolute morons such as Andrew Tate on the dreaded social media, and easy access to temptation via technology and what you have is a population of men who prioritise their own needs and sexual desires over the needs and feelings of women. What you don’t have is a generation of narcissists. The reason it is important not to wrongly diagnose people is because it dilutes the understanding of how the actual disorder presents itself, reducing the chances of it being recognised, increasing the likelihood of more people suffering at the hands of the disorder whether personally or by proxy.

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance

  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration

  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it

  • Exaggerate achievements and talents

  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people

  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior

  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations

  • Take advantage of others to get what they want

  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them

  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious

  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

Ofcourse, an individual could have narcissistic tendencies which may make it difficult to have a healthy and reciprocal relationship and these should be explored and worked on in a safe environment. 


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