Once upon a time, a myth is told of a vain young man known as Narcissus. He was so handsome that he fell in love with himself. He loved to spend time looking at his own reflection in water.


 He would say to himself, “I burn with love for - me! The spark I kindle is the torch I carry”. He was so obsessed with his image that he slowly became weak and finally died at the waterside.

In daily life, we meet people who are also interested in their self-exaltation to the neglect of their own personal advancement, nuclear families and other relationships.

This personality that is known as narcissus personality is in its extreme form a disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Like any disorder, this condition needs psychological attention.

Narcissists feel superior to others and believe they deserve special treatment. Their awkward sense of entitlement is so pervasive. They hardly put themselves in the shoes of others, and therefore appear insensitive. The feelings of other people do not matter as narcissists always look out for themselves first. This is why they react violently and easily get angry when they are unable to have their way. By and large, such persons are commonly described as people who are difficult to live with and have less compassion.  

Narcissists are sometimes hard to recognise because they demonstrate amazing charm and charisma which tends to only be a cover up of their true nature. It takes a close relationship to recognise the manipulation tactics. Narcissists distort truth and often shockingly make up their own stories of realities. Their strong investment in a relationship emotionally can cloud one’s judgement as the façade makes the dynamics of psychological manipulation and emotional attachment too unbelievable. 

Narcissism and deception actually go hand in hand, making it nearly impossible to rely on what such people say. 

Typically, narcissists hide their true nature using gaslighting tactics. This involves denying their inappropriate behaviour by re-writing history or when behaviour is admitted at all, it is minimised to make it seem so trivial and a non-issue. As sweet as they appear, they can be toxic with their words and can go on a discrediting campaign. They also love to shift blame and project their defective behaviours on others. 

These behaviours make living with narcissists very traumatic and unbearable. As long as their behaviour elevates their status, they may not care how others feel.

Though the origins of narcissism have not been well understood, many studies suggest that parental over evaluation of a child can result in this disorder. Such children whose parents see them as untouchables and treat them as the best thing the world could ever host, internalise this belief, making them think themselves to be so special and entitled to privileges.

Trauma, rejection, neglect and lack of support during childhood can also contribute to developing these traits.

This is why early childhood experiences are so important. Children growing up in sub-optimal environments, and children who receive little emotional support while growing up can suffer insecurity. This insecurity shows up as aggressive, dominating and controlling behaviour because of their feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Raising empathetic children who are compassionate is important. Children must be taught that everyone is important and mutual respect for others should be instilled. Children should also be taught about boundaries in order to know where they end and others begin. Set boundaries for children and be consistent in enforcing them. Encourage them to seek permission before doing things that may impact others, like borrowing something that does not belong to them. Children who are raised to be respectful of other people’s space and belongings are unlikely to exhibit such traits in adulthood.

The writer is a Child Development expert/Fellow at Zero-to-three Academy, USA
E-mail: [email protected]

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...