It’s hard being beautiful, they say. Hey, living up to a certain standard is constant, painstaking work. Look at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian — perfect examples of celebrity extravagance, and narcissism. Rumor has it that Kim’s brother was absent from the wedding after she chastised him for not losing weight, and subsequently being unable to fit into a designer suit — he flew back home after that. If you like your friends, family, or anyone else that is close to you, then you might want to spot signs of narcissism in yourself, before it’s too late.
Your Appearance Is Everything… EVERYTHING
We all love looking good, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. A study from Stanford University found that people who felt attractive tended to view themselves as confident and powerful. Confidence is awesome, if it’s kept in check. Things start to go wrong when that confidence oversteps its bounds. The same study found that people who felt attractive felt so powerful that they believed they belonged not only in a higher social class, but that those who weren’t as attractive — and were therefore part of a lower social class — were there because they deserved it.
Keeping a clean, attractive appearance is one thing. But if you find yourself looking at your reflection in the mirror, or a store window, every time you come pass by one, you’re one step closer to being a narcissist. After all, the word narcissism comes from the Greek mythological character Narcissus, whose love for his own beautiful reflection in the river water caused him to commit suicide.
If you’re always on top of the latest fashion trends, buying designer or flashy outfits, you’re also headed toward the land of narcissism. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that participants were able to make snap judgments about whether a person is narcissistic or not, simply based on their appearance. Those who wore expensive, flashy clothes; looked like they took time to appear clean; and, among women, wore lots of makeup while showing cleavage, scored higher in measures of narcissism too.
It’s All About You, Even When It Shouldn’t Be
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply,” Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, once said. Indeed, anyone who does this is surely scoring higher on a narcissism exam. But one’s obsession with themselves extends to so many other areas when it comes to narcissism. If you look through your writing, whether it’s in emails or Facebook statuses, and you see excessive use of “I,” then you could be narcissistic.
That “I” mentality exists in shy, introverted narcissists, too. Whereas extroverted narcissists may openly direct everyone’s attention toward them, people who have “covert” narcissism tend to direct attention to them through introversion, hypersensitivity, defensiveness, and anxiousness. These people are less likely to brag about their accomplishments, but when they start telling stories of defeat, they always victimize themselves. They say things about “not being understood or people not recognizing your value,” Dr. Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor at the Department of Psychology of Iowa State University, told The Huffington Post.
Moving Up Because “I Deserve It”
We’ve all had a job where our boss was the biggest jerk. Think back to that time, and everything they did looked like they were on the ultimate power trip. Well, as it turns out, they may have just been a narcissist.
Narcissists don’t back down in the face of competition. In fact, anybody can be considered a rival, even those who they’re in close relationships with. Because of this, many of them have difficulty accepting the success of others, and therefore try to make themselves better so they can rise to the top.
This is the reason why many narcissists tend to be leaders in their respective fields. They don’t even have to be good at their job, but because of their competitiveness, they took every opportunity to lead. What’s more, their outgoingness makes them look good to their bosses, furthering their chances of getting a promotion.
“Narcissists tend to be extraverted, and that is leading to a positive relationship between narcissism and leader emergence,” said Emily Grijalva, author of the study finding this correlation, in a press release. “But you have to keep in mind that although narcissists are likely to emerge as the group leader, over time, the more negative aspects of narcissism tend to emerge.”
Although there are many other indications that you’re a narcissist, these are three major ways you can tell. Among some of the ways it can develop, one of them is by having a parent who gave both praise and admiration, and coldness and rejection. Narcissistic personality disorder may be treated with talk therapy, which can help a person with the disorder learn to empathize. However, many people go through life unknowing that they’re narcissists.