As a millennial - I am not supposed to be into labels. It's the generation's trend, so I hear.
But there is one label I learned a lot about over the last few years that I find super important to know and use, when applicable:
Narcisissm, as most of us know, stems from the Greek mythology story of Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. He stared at himself until the day he died.
In the modern world, and in particular in the western society - narcissism runs rampant among the rich and powerful. Industries that are 'cut throat' will often find narcissists pining for their spot in the spotlight in leading positions. The most obvious example of a narcissist we all know (and I hope - dislike) is the former President (I'm still shocked at writing that) Donald J. Trump.
Trump is in many ways the cliche of the label: A rich entitled man who likes to talk about himself as the best at any opportunity, shows complete disregard to others (no empathy), will show no loyalty if it doesn't suit his goal (Machiavelli much?) and of course - he likes to do his number 2 in a GOLD toilet. Hm.
I am not a psychologist, so I am in no position of diagnosing anyone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder - even a seemingly obvious one like Trump - but getting familiar with the term and what it entails helped me identify two people in my life as narcissists. (There are probably others I know - I am in the cut throat entertainment industry after all... - but the spectrum of narcissism is wide. And there are specifics to the actual 'Narcissistic Personality Disorder.')
So, what are some red flags I learned about from the narcissists I interacted with?
Well, we all know that if someone talks about them endlessly - that can be a clue - but there are other red flags to be aware of:
*LOVE BOMBING - When we first meet people that have the disorder, it can be an incredible experience; We may be completely swept off our feet. They SEEM to be the full package: The 'one', or the charismatic mentor, or the new bestie. They are caring, attentive, and shower us with love of whatever language WE tend to speak. Often narcissists will also find ways to tell us how 'similar we are' - they try to mirror us so we feel closer to them. In truth - this is a form of studying. A narcissist will study you. Why? because they have to survive in a world of 'ME' (Sad world - if you ask me...) so they need know how best to USE you in the future. People are pawns for narcissists, so they have to love-bomb you in order to know how best to play with you, down the line. If it sounds cruel, it's because... it is. A lack of empathy will make it easy for a person to operate in such a manner. Even completely unconsciously.
*LYING - this one is easy to miss at first, because liars usually do it often enough to be fairly good at it.
And most us want to trust others and give people the benefit of the doubt, but pay attention if you are catching someone in a lie. If you catch one lie - even a small one - it MAY mean there are other lies that are better hidden. Don't be suspicious of everyone you meet though - we ALL lie sometimes. Find the balance...
*TALK BADLY OF OTHERS - Obviously, that's a lame thing to do. And very 'high-school'. Gossip of any kid is pretty lame. With a capital L. But... it's also human. And we are all humans and can do lame things... sigh... But some people - narcissists - do this excessively. Maybe in order to win your trust, or maybe they do that in order to separate you from others. But whatever the reason - if it's excessive - it's a red flag for some unhealthy behaviors. And of course - you know if they are talking s**t about other people in front of you - they are probably talking s**t about you behind your back.
*WON'T TAKE 'NO' FOR AN ANSWER' - we often praise persistence in go-getters in the western society we live in - BUT - sometimes that persistence can stem from an unhealthy inability to take 'no' for an answer. If someone doesn't respect your 'NO' - that's a very red... FIRE red flag, if you ask me!
*ABANDONMENT ISSUES - Okay, listen... many people have abandonment issues. It's human. It's very human. But interpreting every unanswered tex message as 'something is wrong' and 'you are going to leave me' is a bit... excessive. At the very least it points out to a lack of emotional intelligence, and a trauma that hasn't healed, BUT it can also be an indicative of the Narcissistic Personal Disorder.
These are just some of the red flags I've learned after my less-than-pleasant encounters with narcissists.
If you want to know more about this much talked about subject - read some books, or go down the rabbit hole on YouTube. Narcissistic abuse is a painful thing to go through, and can be absolutely devastating to everyone affected. If that happened or is happening to you - seek professional help to get through it. <3
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman