How to Eliminate Narcissism
As a recovering narcissist and someone who has spent over 1200 hours doing psychoanalysis, it’s not difficult for me to spot someone with narcissistic tendencies. In fact, I hate to say this, but most of us have some level of narcissism. We all vary in how much as a function of two things.
First, by how we were raised. The constant need for a person with narcissism to receive attention, praise and affirmation is a defense for their deep-down insecurities and inability to regulate self-esteem. This is formed at an early age and continues to form as we grow up. Generally speaking, if your parents are narcissistic, then odds are you will be as well.
Second, how narcissistic we are is a function of how aware of yourself you are and how much real work you have done psychologically to understand where your insecurities come from. I chronicle this journey of mine with psychoanalysis in my book Perfect Pain.
I highly recommend exploring this about yourself because you can never find your most authentic self if you don’t chip away at your narcissism. I don’t believe it’s possible to be truly happy if you aren’t authentic. People love to say “be real” but know this, is not possible if you are narcissistic. If you’ve ever questioned if you were a narcissist, take a minute to take my new Self-Sabotage Assessment. This is a tool I know you’ll find helpful in evaluating how you’re handling and reacting to situations in life.
So, instead of telling you the thousands of ways to recognize a narcissist. I will instead tell you the dashboard I use to help gauge my progress to the elimination of narcissism:
1. Victim chasing – Most people think that narcissists have to always be great. Not true! The opposite also holds true. In either case, it’s attention seeking. I always knew when I did something great and sought attention that I was off target. But, I learned recently that when I failed or was sick, I also sought attention and played the victim. This is is the same and now it’s on my radar to recognize and eliminate.
2. Always be vulnerable – It’s critical to my progress to NEVER be afraid to be vulnerable. If you read my book, you’ll see this first hand. Because narcissistic behavior is always tied to the inability to be truly vulnerable. Vulnerability can shine a light on the insecurities you may have. Narcissistic people won’t stray too far from their false self. Vulnerability is really a sign of strength.
3. Love to be wrong – I love saying I’m wrong when in fact I am wrong. Just recently I had a disagreement with my wife at dinner that ruined the evening. The next day, as difficult as it was, I admitted I was wrong and regretted what I said. This was very powerful, and it added to my confidence and improvement I was making with eliminating narcissism.
4. Avoid dramatic words – As difficult as it is, I try to not say words like “that’s the best ever” or “worst ever” to describe something. This is a powerful thing to do if you can catch yourself. Once you start thinking about this and put the thought on your dashboard, you’ll notice how often you do this. Eliminate being dramatic about certain things and you are making stride.
5. Reduce hedonistic tendencies – One of the definitions of hedonism is “doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life.” This is one of the surest and easiest things to spot in your life. When I find myself chasing fun, I call a timeout!