Narcissism has turned into a hot topic, with Politico magazine’s controversial article branding 2022 the ‘year of the narcissist’ and outing a host of celebrities from Elon Musk to Meghan Markle who ‘used attention as currency and ego as fuel.’
But after reading up about the subject it are you worried that you might be guilty of exhibiting the same traits with a mix of ‘shameless self-aggrandizement and self-confident charm’ coming to the surface?
Boston-based psychologist Dr Monica O’Neal told FEMAIL, that for those who want to check if they fall into the category of ‘narcissist’, there is a simple three-step quiz you can do.
She explains that her three narcissism ‘quiz questions’ are inspired from what Nancy McWilliams, a well-known psychologist and professor at Rutgers University, has written on identifying and diagnosing narcissism. Read on to see where you stand on the narcissism scale.
Politico magazine’s controversial article deemed 2022 the ‘year of the narcissist’
Boston-based psychologist Dr Monica O’Neal has developed a short narcissism quiz
Dr O’Neal says that McWilliams has identified three behavioral traits of which she argues can reveal one’s narcissistic pathology because of ‘each of these behaviors are built from basic human vulnerabilities such as love, comfort, needs, and interdependence’.
The three traits are as follows: 1) They have a hard time offering apologies 2) They have a hard time saying thank you 3) They have a hard time saying goodbye.
Someone with a more narcissistic psychology, Dr O’Neal says, will experience very basic human emotions with ‘a high level of shame and discomfort; experiencing them as signs of someone who is deeply flawed instead of simply human’. She highlights that ‘all of this tends to happen unconsciously’.
Therefore, based on McWilliams’ diagnostic theory of narcissism, Dr O’Neal suggests a short quiz people can take to see if they are a narcissist:
1. Have you been told by past partners and friends that you never apologize? Or that you have a hard time acknowledging your own mistakes / bad behavior without shifting the blame onto someone else?
Dr. O’Neal says the rationale for this is: Narcissists deal with a great deal of shame. They feel deeply ashamed for not being perfect or not being seen as perfect.
So when it’s necessary to acknowledge their imperfect behavior, they cannot do it by offering apologies. They cannot genuinely admit to a flaw. If they do get out a ‘sorry,’ it’s usually a ‘sorry… but you did XYZ to me.’
2. Do you find yourself often offering praise – instead of simply saying ‘thank you’ when you have received support or assistance?
Dr. O’Neal says the rationale for this is: When you say, ‘thank you,’ you are acknowledging that you have some sort of vulnerability or need that is dependent on somebody else’s skill or action.
Instead, a person who is more narcissistic feels more comfortable offering praise, rather than thanking someone for their support.
Praise allows them to feel like they are in a position of superiority and keeps them from having to acknowledge their own needs and vulnerabilities.
Again it’s about the protection of shame about not being perfect but instead being a person in need, which is absolutely human.
Instead of saying, ‘Thank you for your patience and help when I was struggling with XYZ,’ they will instead say something like, ‘nice work on that project’.
Or instead of saying, ‘Thank you for being a supportive partner when I was dealing with the anxiety of having my family stay with us over the holidays,’ they’ll offer up an alternative like: ‘Good job with my family over the holidays.’
3. When you break up with a long term partner, you’re always able to be their friend afterwards… unless they’re crazy. True or false?
Dr. O’Neal says the rationale for this is: When we break up with someone who we loved, sharing a deep, inter-dependent attachment, it should feel painful and difficult.
To insist on staying friends allows a person to not acknowledge the painful ending of the relationship for themselves. A person with a more narcissistic psychology is not required to acknowledge their grief, which indicates love, need, and missing of another.
Further, if their ex-partner refuses to be friends, then a person who tends to have a more narcissistic pathology, will often dismiss that person as ‘crazy’ instead of being able to put themselves into their ex-partners shoes (empathy) to hold in mind that breakups and the loss of a partner is immensely painful and that the other person needs space to grieve, heal, and move on.
If they did, they would have to tap into their own feelings of loss… which indicates a need for a person.
Furthermore, to never say goodbye means that they will never have to experience that loss and will always feel they still have that person’s positive affections (i.e. narcissistic supply).
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