Sonya Thomas lcsw

Narcissism – Part 1 of 3

Over the next 3 blog posts, I will share some of the information gleaned from a recent training I undertook on narcissism.  In today’s post, we will look at the traits and characteristics that define narcissism.  To begin, we want to think about narcissism as existing on a spectrum, from the most extreme (malignant and much more challenging to treat) to less extreme (annoying, but more amenable to treatment).  On this spectrum, we can see the below traits:

  • Self-absorption – Struggles around inconveniencing themselves for others, and sees others as sources of gratification rather than people with their own needs/desires.
  • Lack of empathy – Unable to imagine the internal world of others.
  • Lack of remorse – Difficulty with taking responsibility for their actions and their impact on others.
  • Controlling/domineering behaviour – An unbending, inflexible quality that can look like “my way or the highway”.
  • Entitlement – They do what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, without consideration for others.
  • Grandiose – Seeks extraordinary amounts of external approval/acknowledgement from others.
  • Weighted emphasis on performance over connection.
  • Quick to anger, frustration and passive aggression rather than accessing more vulnerable feelings.

The intensity and number of traits influence where on the narcissistic spectrum a person falls.  More excess (in intensity and number) equals more challenge when it comes to treatment of narcissism.  Less intensity and fewer traits suggest a higher degree of amenability to treatment.  We will pick in with treatment in the next blog post.  Until then, peace.