Do you have a friend who constantly talks about their life but never asks about yours? A Facebook friend that regularly posts their political views and refuses to compromise with other arguments besides their own? Do you ever catch yourself posting selfies more than once a week? If you answered yes to any of these three questions, you are or may know a narcissist. Psychologist Joseph Burgo’s book Narcissist You May Know not only defines the different personality traits of a narcissist, but can help you deal with the narcissist that you have become or the ones that are in your life.
This book characterizes narcissism on a spectrum from mild, to medium, to extreme. On a recent radio show, Burgo said, “We’ve got healthy self-esteem to one extreme and we’ve got narcissistic personality disorder on the other.” Burgo fears that in the 21st Century, narcissism is becoming the cultural norm.
According to Burgo, the primary examples come from the world of politics, celebrities, and glamorized social media. Burgo says, “We live in a culture that increasingly sees celebrity as the highest good we can imagine.” Celebrities that Burgo frequently uses as examples are Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian.
Narcissism has become a new form of communication on social media and our selfie-obsessed culture gives everyone the opportunity to become a celebrity. While Burgo argues that selfies are announcing to the world “look at how great I am,” some people see it as a way to increase self-esteem in a society that has high expectations of beauty.
Everyone is a little bit of a narcissist and that’s normal, but it’s important to be aware of these tendencies before they become a habit. Burgo identifies eight different personality types and gives advice on how to deal with them.
They view the world as winners and losers and tend to make other people feel insignificant in order to come out on top. An example of this are athletes like Tiger Woods who are sore losers and often ungracious because someone is threatening his or her winner status. The best way to deal with a bully is to simply ignore them and don’t take their behavior seriously.
The most common and non-threatening narcissist is the know-it-all. They always have an opinion and make every conversation about them. Burgo advises in his book that the best way to deal with a know-it-all is to have some humor about it and politely change the conversation.
THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS NARCISSIST
One of the most annoying narcissists are the ones that are self-righteous. They tend to believe they are superior to you. Burgo explains that this kind of personality can trigger many responses, especially on Facebook. Most likely, they will fight back because they see responses as a personal attack and are afraid of being humiliated. For those of you who deal with a narcissist at your work, Burgo advises to find another job because they will never change.
THE NARCISSISTIC PARENT
We all know this one: the narcissistic parent. These people prove that they are winners through their children. Burgo’s book explains that these kind of parents often mention in subtle ways to other parents that their kids are better.
THE SEDUCTIVE NARCISSIST
According to KRQE News, Burgo believes that the seductive narcissist is the hardest to deal with because they make you feel guilty about yourself. The seducer’s strategy is to build you up as a winner so you can give them things that they want. An example is if someone is spending too much money on their significant other because they made them feel special about themselves. The best response is humility and skepticism.
THE VINDICTIVE NARCISSIST
A vindictive narcissist is a person who is determined to punish a person who hurt them. They take insults personally and constantly defend their self-image. The best advice is to stay civil and remain calm.
THE GRANDIOSE NARCISSIST
A grandiose narcissist believes that the world revolves around them and they use people who admire them to feel good. Many celebrities fall into this category. This leads to an addicted narcissist, who is addicted to the “high” of narcissism. When it comes to an addict, nothing matters but their habit.
When examining all the people in your life who fit these personality traits, remember that you can change the behavior of a minor narcissist but an extreme narcissist is a lost cause.
What if you’re a narcissist? Burgo’s book addresses that the easiest way to disqualify a person’s criticism is to blame somebody else. This is completely normal. Just remember that you aren’t less important because you are wrong.