Narcissism has been around since ancient times, but in recent years, the rise of narcissism has become particularly noticeable in our society. From the prevalence of selfies and self-promotion to inflated egos and entitlement, it appears that more and more people are exhibiting narcissistic traits. This can be seen in many different areas of life, from relationships to work and even politics.
The problem with narcissism is that it often leads to a lack of empathy for others and an inability to form meaningful connections.
Narcissists also struggle with maintaining their own sense of self-worth, relying heavily on external validation such as compliments or admiration from others. As a result, they may resort to manipulation or other tactics to get what they want. Narcissists often have volatile personalities that make them difficult to be around and their behavior can cause lasting damage, especially if their actions go unchecked.
Narcissism is generally characterized as a personality disorder in which individuals display an excessive sense of self-importance and entitlement. Individuals with narcissism also tend to lack empathy and be exploitative, manipulative, and oftentimes grandiose in their behavior. It is important to note that while narcissism may be present in mental health diagnoses, it is not considered a mental health disorder in itself.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a psychiatric condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration from others, and difficulties with empathy. People with NPD may appear arrogant or conceited, have an unrealistic view of themselves and the world around them, and show little regard for the feelings of others. They are often preoccupied with fantasies of power and success, yet due to their fragile egos, they can be easily hurt or offended. They tend to be very sensitive to criticism and can often react angrily or defensively when challenged on their beliefs or behavior.
In order to diagnose a narcissistic personality disorder, healthcare professionals look at a number of criteria including an individual’s behavior patterns over time, such as difficulty maintaining relationships or displaying patterns of arrogance or entitlement. Treatment options typically involve psychotherapy sessions designed to help the individual become more aware of how their behaviors may negatively affect themselves or others. Medications may also be prescribed if necessary to help manage symptoms like depression or low self-esteem that may commonly accompany narcissistic tendencies.
The exact cause of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Possible contributing factors include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Unstable or dysfunctional family environment
- Excessive pampering or criticism during childhood
- Extremely high expectations from parents or caregivers
- Feeling isolated, alone, or different from others
Characteristic behavior of a narcissist includes:
- Speaking in an exaggerated, grandiose manner about their achievements and talents
- Acting in a haughty, superior manner toward others
- Expecting special treatment from those around them
- Believing that they are better or more important than others
- Taking advantage of people to get what they want or to reach their own goals
- Being exploitative and manipulative in social situations
- Lacking empathy and being uninterested in the feelings of others
- Feeling easily hurt or offended when challenged or criticized
Narcissists often exhibit the following behaviors to become the center of attention:
1. Making grandiose claims and boasting about their own accomplishments
One of the most common behaviors exhibited by narcissists is making grandiose claims and boasting about their own accomplishments. This behavior is rooted in their deep-seated need to be constantly validated and appreciated, and it serves as a way for them to gain attention from others. Narcissists often come off as arrogant and boastful, attempting to convince others that they are superior or more capable than they really are. They will exaggerate their achievements, embellish stories about themselves, and generally talk in an exaggerated manner. This type of behavior can be seen in many different types of interactions, including conversations with friends, family members, or business associates.
2. Manipulating conversations to make themselves appear more important or superior
Narcissists often manipulate conversations to make themselves appear more important or superior. This type of behavior is rooted in their need to feel superior and in control, and they do this by attempting to dominate the conversation and place themselves at the center of attention. They may interrupt others or change the subject of the conversation to focus on themselves, or use flattery, superficial compliments, and insincere praise to gain favor with others, all in an effort to make themselves look better than everyone else in the room. Narcissists will also frequently talk about themselves excessively, talking about their interests, successes, and their achievements as a way of making everyone else feel small and insignificant by comparison.
3. Being excessively charming to draw people in and make them feel special
Narcissists often use excessive charm as a way to draw people in and make them feel special. This type of behavior is often used in an attempt to gain admiration and attention from others, and it can be seen in both verbal and non-verbal interactions. Narcissists may make people feel comfortable by engaging in lighthearted banter or making flattering comments about them, although this behavior is usually insincere and only serves the purpose of manipulating the other person. They may also over-compliment those around them, showering them with praise for even minor accomplishments. Although this charming façade may initially draw people in, eventually it will begin to wear thin as the other party realizes that the narcissist’s intentions are not genuine.
4. Interrupting conversations to bring the focus back onto themselves
Narcissists often interrupt conversations to bring the focus back onto themselves. This type of behavior is a way of asserting their superiority and control over others, and they may do this by talking over someone else or cutting them off mid-sentence. They may also continually change the subject of the conversation to topics that are more interesting or flattering for themselves, in an effort to make the conversation about them and not anyone else. This type of behavior can be disruptive and bothersome for those involved in the conversation, leaving them feeling as if their contributions are not valued or appreciated.
5. Needing constant validation from others and feeling threatened by criticism
Narcissists often need constant validation from others and can be heavily threatened by criticism. This is because they have an inflated sense of self-importance and take any form of criticism or rejection as a direct attack on their ego. Narcissists may become defensive or aggressive when criticized in order to deflect or invalidate the criticism, demonstrating their fear of being found flawed or wrong in any way. They may also seek approval from those around them in the form of compliments or attention, as a way of boosting their own fragile sense of self-worth and esteem.
6. Expecting to be included or given special treatment in social situations
Narcissists often expect to be included or given special treatment in social situations, sometimes demanding it. They may expect to be the center of attention and may feel entitled to preferential treatment, resulting in feelings of indignation and contempt when they are not. They may also manipulate or exploit people to achieve their desired outcome in a group setting, such as attempting to control the conversation or getting others to do things for them. Narcissists may be overly dramatic or agitated when not given the level of respect that they feel is due to them, leading them to take drastic action in order to gain attention and have their needs met.
7. Using flattery, superficial compliments, and insincere praise to gain favor with others
Narcissists often use flattery, superficial compliments, and insincere praise as a way of gaining favor with others. They may have a tendency to overstate their own accomplishments or glorify themselves in order to be perceived as more impressive. Narcissists also tend to shower people with excessive attention and compliments, although they often lack genuine emotion or authenticity. This behavior is an attempt to create a sense of admiration and loyalty from other people in order to increase their own feelings of power and superiority.
8. Becoming easily offended if they are not the center of attention or when challenged or criticized
They may attempt to undermine, belittle or marginalize anyone who questions their authority or opinions. As narcissists often have a fragile sense of self-esteem, they may take any criticism personally and be unable to objectively consider another person’s point of view. Narcissists may become defensive and make excuses for their behavior, even if it is wrong, in order to save face and protect their ego.
9. Making unreasonable demands on family members and friends while expecting complete loyalty in return
They may manipulate people in order to get what they want, often taking advantage of the trust and affection that relationships are built upon. Narcissists may even isolate their loved ones from other relationships or activities, making it hard for those around them to have any sort of life outside of their own desires. Narcissists may also expect others to accept their opinions without question because they believe themselves to be superior and influential.
10. Talking excessively about themselves, their interests, and their achievements
They may be overly boastful and full of grandiose ideas, believing that they are the most important person in any room. Narcissists may also brag about their abilities or possessions to make them seem more successful or powerful than they actually are. The goal is to gain admiration and attention from those around them and mask any underlying insecurities or feelings of inferiority.
How to deal with them?
Dealing with a narcissist who wants to be the center of attention can be difficult. It is important to remember that narcissists are deeply insecure and may act this way in order to gain validation from those around them. It is best to set boundaries and keep communication clear, honest, and respectful. Avoid engaging in lengthy arguments that detract from the conversation or offer unnecessary praise. Keep conversations focused on topics related to the narcissist and try to redirect the conversation away from themselves when appropriate. If necessary, don’t hesitate to disengage yourself from any situation where you feel uncomfortable or disrespected.
Why narcissists want to be the center of attention
Narcissists often seek attention in order to gain validation and admiration from those around them. They may talk excessively about themselves and their achievements or brag about their possessions in order to make themselves seem more important or successful than they are. They may also be overly boastful, full of grandiose ideas, and believe that they are the most important person in any room. Their desire for attention is a way to mask any underlying feelings of insecurity or inferiority.