In my last article, Obsessively me, I briefly mention that some people strive at all costs to have power over others. Power-driven people are motivated by subtle narcissistic trait. A trait and behaviour which signify infatuation and obsession with the self, to the exclusion of all others, in an egotistic and ruthless pursuit of own gratification, dominance over others. Perhaps due to their biological make-up, most narcissists (75%) are men, in their competitive nature of the evolutionary caveman dominance to provide for their woman.
Obsessing over objects or others can be alleviated by limiting your exposure to the object or other person. When you have the will to deprive yourself of the obsessed object or another person, you can safely presume that the problem no longer poses any issues. However, obsessing over self-grandiosity, self-admiration, self-serving attitude and constant need for admiration is far more difficult to eliminate. The onset of narcissistic trait begins in early childhood as parents inflict authoritative demands on the child. The child either exert Covert Narcissistic or Overt Narcissistic trait.
Covert narcissism is atypical characteristic of someone overtly charming, convincing and undeniably but subtly nice, helpful and friendly. These people will generally go out of their way to be seemingly caring, overwhelmingly sincere and convincingly selfless and giving. They will surround themselves with people who compliment them, and people do gravitate around them, feeding them compliments. They are the host at the center of a party. They are the apple in an apple pie. They are the cheery on a Bakewell tart! They are adventurously fearless, thriving on the power over others as they make themselves useful. Living a life of grandiose and unlimited adulation. They are extremely helpful and always seemingly happy. Take off their mask and you will get the Dr Jekyll and Hyde character. Behind the mask is someone quite different. A person who see themselves as the perpetual victim, with an inability to form relationships, where family members disowned them or distant themselves from them because they had enough of the constant need for admiration and excessive fantasy lifestyle. They seek continuous reassurances from people to validate them. They seek people who can boost their ego. If you cannot provide them with what they need, you are left high and dry!
Overt narcissism on the other hand is much more obvious. These people are all mouth and more mouth. They exaggerate everything from their achievements, self-importance, self-brilliance (cerebral narcissist) to beauty or sexual performance (somatic narcissist). They tirelessly seek attention, you will have to drop everything to go and see this person, if you are their friend/sibling/dependent etc. They are dramatically exhibitionist about their achievements. Their narcissistic supply does not run out; they have plenty of energy seeking self-importance. There is nothing or nobody more important than themselves. They lack empathy and understanding of the one time you cannot make it round because of another emergency. You will be strike off their list, which is a lucky escape. Don’t doubt that they will not walk over your grave in order to achieve their own just reward. They will stab you in the back to get that recognition and appraisal from your line manager! They are thoroughly arrogant to the bone, often contradictory and when confronted, but they will not yield. In sibling rivalry, they are envious, believing that they are the victim of mistreatment in the sibling rivalry. If attention is not given by the parents, they will create chaos in their life for validation. If attention is not given in a marriage, they will seek extra-marital activities. Don’t be fool, some might not be glued to the mirror and may not be particularly attractive to look at, but still has narcissistic personality. A person exhibiting overt narcissism trait holds the fantasist beliefs that they were once a beauty!
Like I said before, we all have obsessive tendencies. Obsessing over ourselves is unhelpful to self-preservation. How narcissistic are you depends on your view on competition and comparison? Being self-aware is about learning about the self and all the shadows. Learning what is mentally healthy, learning to accept the self and working on the self. As you learn about new things, learning about yourself is as important as learning something new.