The Narcissism Doctor: "1 In 6 People Are Narcissists!" How To Spot Them & Can They Change?

The Narcissism Doctor: "1 In 6 People Are Narcissists!" How To Spot Them & Can They Change?

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Narcissism is on a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe.
  • Narcissistic people can be charming and charismatic, but behind closed doors, they can be psychologically destructive.
  • Narcissism can have negative impacts on relationships, work, and world leadership.

Why Dedicating Your Life To Studying Narcissism (00:02:44)

  • Exposure to narcissistic people can shape how people's identities and personalities develop.
  • Narcissism is often not recognized or addressed as a problem in mental health.
  • Dr. Jaasa wants to help people understand narcissism and return them to their authentic selves.

The Cost Of Narcissism (00:03:46)

  • Narcissism can have significant negative impacts on individuals' lives.
  • Examples of costs include:
    • Giving up on education and personal interests due to lack of self-belief.
    • Choosing a career based on parental expectations rather than personal desires.
    • Developing low self-esteem and entering unfulfilling relationships due to constant criticism.
  • The speaker holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a minor in Health Psychology.
  • Their research focuses on how personality traits, such as narcissism, affect individuals' health behaviors and outcomes.
  • Measuring personality traits can be challenging due to their subjective nature, unlike conditions like depression which have clear diagnostic criteria.
  • The speaker believes that studying personality can help explain unexplained factors in mental health research.

How To Spot A Narcissist (00:06:43)

  • Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by delusions of grandeur, arrogance, cruelty, low empathy, entitlement, and a need for admiration.
  • Narcissists can be charming in public but psychologically harm those close to them.
  • Narcissism is difficult to treat, and individuals with the disorder often have successful careers and social lives while causing emotional damage to their loved ones.
  • Narcissists use devaluation, dismissiveness, manipulation, and gaslighting to control others.
  • They may display overt rage or passive aggression and are prone to betrayal, lying, and cheating.
  • Narcissists tend to dominate conversations, shift blame, and rarely take responsibility for their actions.

How To Differentiate An Asshole From A Narcissist (00:12:33)

  • Narcissists consistently display manipulative and invalidating behaviors, while people having a bad day may take accountability, make amends, and change their behavior.
  • Narcissists make others feel constantly on guard, unable to express themselves or their needs for fear of being shut down.
  • Assholes tend to be consistently unpleasant, while narcissists can display charming behavior in certain situations but exhibit narcissistic traits in their personal lives.

Can You Cure Narcissism? (00:15:25)

  • Narcissism is considered a personality disorder, and there is no known cure for personality disorders.
  • Narcissists may make small, positive changes in therapy, such as honoring the therapeutic frame and paying their bills, but these changes are often insufficient to address the harm they cause to others.

What Gender Tends To Be More Narcissistic (00:16:45)

  • Narcissism is not gender-specific.
  • Grandiose narcissism and malignant narcissism are more common in men.
  • Vulnerable narcissism is more common in women.
  • Vulnerable narcissists are socially anxious, victimized, sullen, resentful, and grieved.
  • Vulnerable narcissists often feel like they never got their turn in life and are angry at the world.

The Types Of Narcissism (00:18:30)

  • There are four types of narcissism: grandiose, vulnerable, malignant, and communal.
  • Grandiose narcissists are the traditional, showy, charismatic, and attention-seeking type.
  • Vulnerable narcissists are more likely to be socially anxious, angry, aggrieved, and resentful.
  • Malignant narcissists are the most severe form of narcissism and are characterized by manipulativeness, exploitativeness, coerciveness, isolation, and vindictiveness.
  • Communal narcissists seek narcissistic supply through good deeds and being perceived as saviors or humanitarians.
  • The motivation for their good deeds is to gain praise, admiration, and awe, rather than genuine care or concern for the causes they support.
  • At the severe end of the spectrum, communal narcissism can manifest in cult leaders who manipulate and control others, claiming to have superior knowledge and solutions.

How Many People Are Narcissists? (00:25:13)

  • There is a lack of reliable studies on the prevalence of narcissism.
  • The diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder in structured research settings shows rates between 1% and 6%.
  • A "spitball number" estimate of the prevalence of narcissism is around 15% to 18%, meaning about one in six people.
  • The prevalence may be higher in major metropolitan areas, certain industries, and possibly certain cultures.
  • Stephen asks which of the six team members, including the speaker, is a narcissist.
  • The speaker responds that they have only met four of the team members, so Stephen is still in the running.
  • The speaker notes that all the team members have been kind, making it difficult to identify a narcissist among them.

Is Social Media Fuelling More Narcissists (00:27:27)

  • Narcissism is a personality style that develops during childhood and adolescence, not something created by social media.
  • Social media amplifies narcissistic tendencies in individuals who already have those traits and can negatively impact vulnerable individuals who compare themselves to idealized online lives.
  • The rise of social media has made it easier for people to present idealized versions of themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy in others.
  • Not everyone who engages in self-promotion or shares personal content on social media is necessarily narcissistic; it can also be a means of communication and staying connected.
  • The first set of data from individuals whose lives were documented from birth through adolescence will provide valuable insights into the impact of social media on narcissism.
  • Social media has amplified the issue of vulnerable narcissism, leading to increased anger and the rise of internet trolls.
  • Narcissism can be caused by a combination of genetics and environment.
  • Certain temperaments make a child more biologically vulnerable to developing narcissism.
  • An invalidating environment, such as trauma, neglect, chaos, domestic violence, substance use, or emotional abuse, can increase the risk of developing narcissism in a child with a vulnerable temperament.
  • Children who are overvalued and told they are more special than others may also develop narcissistic traits.
  • These children often don't learn to self-soothe and may believe the hype that the parent is giving them.
  • Children who are emotionally undernourished and whose emotions are not valued, reflected, or mirrored may also develop narcissistic traits.

Narcissism Lives In A Spectrum (00:36:42)

  • Mild narcissists are emotionally immature, superficial, shallow, vapid, and self-centered.
  • They expect others to drop everything for them but are nowhere to be found when others need them.
  • Mild narcissists can be fun in the short term but are difficult to have long-term relationships or raise children with.

Are Narcissists More Successful (00:37:44)

  • Narcissists are more successful professionally because success is life or death to them.
  • They are more ambitious and driven by validation.
  • Narcissists are more represented in leadership positions and make more money, especially narcissistic men.
  • Capitalism rewards narcissistic behavior as it is a competitive system that focuses on outcomes rather than processes.
  • Some of the greatest innovations and wartime leaders have been narcissistic.
  • Narcissistic individuals may have the decisiveness and drive necessary for difficult situations.
  • However, their actions often come at the expense of others' well-being.
  • The value of narcissistic contributions to society is a philosophical debate.
  • Some argue that the innovations outweigh the negative consequences, while others prioritize ethical considerations.

The Empathic CEOs Are Rare (00:40:48)

  • Empathic CEOs are rare because the job requires answering to many masters and shapeshifting qualities, which can be overwhelming for an empathic person.
  • Not caring can protect a person in a CEO position, as caring about everyone would lead to burnout.
  • Narcissistic people are built for competition and often rise to the top in zero-sum game industries.
  • However, their unethical behavior often catches up with them, leading to jail or other negative consequences.
  • Arrogance is the belief that one can do bad things and get away with it.

Does Money Make You More Narcissistic? (00:43:40)

  • Money can create a sense of entitlement and privilege, leading to a lack of understanding of the struggles of others.
  • Studies have shown that people who feel wealthier are more likely to make unethical decisions, give less to charity, and express self-focused happiness.
  • Wealthier individuals may have unrealistic expectations of the world and become frustrated with inefficiencies.
  • Money can be a source of narcissistic supply, providing power, admiration, and increased chances of sexual success.
  • Narcissists are driven to acquire money by any means necessary, but it is not the money itself that makes people narcissistic.
  • The bubble-wrapped lifestyle of the wealthy can contribute to a sense of entitlement.

How Do You Know If You Are A Narcissist (00:47:39)

  • There are about five to six tests designed to detect narcissism, but they have flaws.
  • Narcissistic people overestimate their empathy and underestimate their negative effect on others.
  • They have a deluded sense of who they are and how they go through the world.
  • Some people who think they are narcissistic are actually in relationships with narcissistic people who have made them believe they are selfish.
  • A subset of people are self-aware narcissists and view narcissism as their superpower.
  • Both men and women have come to the speaker saying they are narcissists.
  • They may have read the speaker's books or watched their YouTube videos and recognized themselves in the content.
  • They rationalize their behavior by saying it is what helps them succeed.
  • They are aware of their behavior but do not care about people's feelings or believe the rules apply to them.
  • Most narcissistic people overestimate their goodness and generosity and underestimate how negatively they are viewed by others.

What People Get Attracted To Narcissist? (00:50:55)

  • Narcissists are charming, charismatic, and confident.
  • They are often rated as more attractive than others.
  • They take good care of their bodies and know interesting things.
  • Vulnerable narcissists may appear like vulnerable children who need rescuing.
  • Narcissists are attracted to people who can provide them with supply.
  • Supply can include attractiveness, social status, resources, and connections.
  • Narcissistic relationships start strong and exciting.
  • Narcissists focus on their partners and figure out what works to keep them close.
  • After an initial period of idealization, the devaluing stage begins.
  • People who are empathic, forgiving, and optimistic tend to get stuck in narcissistic relationships because they make excuses for the narcissist's behavior.

How To Know If My Partner Is A Narcissist (00:54:17)

  • Many people are trying to figure out if their partners are narcissists.
  • People in long-term relationships with narcissists often don't realize it until recently.
  • Narcissists gaslight their partners, making them blame themselves for everything and modify themselves to meet the narcissist's needs.
  • The process of indoctrination is slow, leading to a gradual loss of self and a sense of living in service to the narcissist.
  • The internet has made information about narcissism more accessible, leading to a revolution in people recognizing narcissistic behavior in their relationships.
  • Early identification of narcissism can help prevent deep indoctrination and trauma bonding, making it easier to make clear-headed decisions about the relationship.

The Three Rs: How To Know If You're In A Negative Relationship (00:56:08)

  • Rumination: Obsessive thinking about the relationship in an attempt to fix it.
  • Regret: Feeling regret about the relationship, such as not having a close relationship with a parent or creating an unhealthy marriage for children.
  • Euphoric recall: Over-focusing on the good experiences in the relationship to justify staying in it.
  • People in narcissistic relationships often feel confused and unsure if they are the problem.
  • The good and bad experiences in the relationship create a trauma bond, making it difficult for people to leave.
  • Narcissists exploit insecurities and use tactics to keep their partners in the relationship.
  • Narcissists are socially perceptive, meaning they are aware of what people need and want.
  • Social perceptiveness and empathy are not the same. Narcissists lack empathy, which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Pathological Manipulation (01:00:04)

  • Pathological manipulation involves complete disregard for the harm caused to others.
  • The manipulator prioritizes their own needs and convinces the other person that it is in their best interest.
  • This manipulation is not limited to sales but extends to intimate and familial relationships, where people's guard is down.
  • The narcissistic person is skilled at making the other person feel that sacrificing or giving up something was in their best interest.
  • The narcissistic person's self-centeredness ensures that their actions serve their own interests.

What's Projection? (01:01:32)

  • Projection is a primitive defense mechanism used by everyone, including narcissists.
  • It occurs when uncomfortable unconscious feelings, often shame-oriented, are activated.
  • People project by accusing others of things they are actually feeling or doing themselves.
  • Examples of projection include:
    • Accusing someone of lying when you are the one lying.
    • Accusing someone of being insecure when you are the one feeling insecure.
    • Accusing someone of being uncomfortable when you are the one feeling uncomfortable.
  • Narcissists project constantly to maintain their idealized self-image.
  • Their inner psychological state is like a volcano of shame and insecurity covered by a "manhole cover" of grandiosity, arrogance, and charm.
  • Criticism, negative feedback, or any form of frustration can nudge the "manhole cover" off, causing narcissists to explode in anger and project their feelings onto others.
  • Projection allows narcissists to maintain their idealized self-image despite the imperfections and disappointments of real life.

Can They Take Feedback (01:04:56)

  • Narcissists usually do not listen to feedback.
  • They may listen to feedback if it comes from someone with much more power than them.
  • They may comply with feedback as a means to an end, but they do not genuinely integrate it.
  • They may think negatively about the person giving feedback and envy them.
  • If in a relationship, they may rage at their partner after receiving feedback.
  • They may find a more vulnerable target to rage at since they cannot attack the person who gave them feedback.

Gaslighting, What Is It? (01:06:31)

  • Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where a person's perceptions, experiences, and memories are undermined, often occurring in relationships built on trust.
  • The gaslighter initially doubts the gaslighted person's perceptions, leading to confusion and self-doubt, and uses tactics like DARVO to manipulate and shut down any attempts at confrontation.
  • Gaslighting is a severe form of abuse that can strip a person of their reality and is unacceptable.
  • Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, which can have a devastating impact on those around them.

How To Deal With Being Gaslit (01:11:25)

  • When someone gaslights you, they deny your reality.
  • Do not engage with the gaslighter.
  • Disengage and file away the incident if the gaslighter is narcissistic.

Do Narcissists Engage In Domestic Behaviour (01:13:46)

  • All domestic abusers are narcissistic.
  • Domestic abusers lack empathy, entitlement, and arrogance.
  • Domestic violence intervention programs often fail because they do not address the underlying narcissism.
  • The behavior of domestic abusers is unacceptable regardless of their narcissism.

What Should I Do If My Boss Is A Narcissist (01:15:54)

  • If you suspect your boss or manager is a narcissist, you may feel undervalued, experience an unpredictable and unfair work environment, and sense psychological unsafety.
  • Signs of a narcissistic workplace include inequitable praise and credit distribution, gossip, and a lack of rhyme or reason in decision-making.
  • To address this situation, start documenting evidence such as emails, text messages, voicemails, and meeting minutes.
  • If possible, try to switch to working under someone else's management within the same company.
  • In smaller companies or where switching is not feasible, some people choose to endure the situation while documenting their experiences.
  • If enduring becomes too difficult, consider seeking other employment opportunities.
  • Collaboration with colleagues can provide solace, as not all colleagues may be narcissistic.
  • Research suggests that strong collaborative relationships can emerge when leadership is narcissistic, as teams unite against a common challenge.

Can You Get Out From A Narcissistic Person (01:18:08)

  • Radical acceptance of a narcissist's behavior is essential, as significant change is unlikely.
  • Maintaining a relationship with a narcissist requires realistic expectations and significant emotional processing.
  • Social connections with healthy and empathetic individuals are crucial for well-being.
  • Constructing a fulfilling life outside of the relationship can make it more bearable.
  • Some individuals maintain limited contact with narcissistic family members for the sake of other relationships.
  • While some people initially accept the limitations, others may eventually choose to leave the relationship.
  • Remaining in a situation without radical acceptance can be detrimental.

Can You Be Happy In A Relationship With A Narcissist (01:22:40)

  • You can be happy in a relationship with a narcissist, but not with the relationship itself.
  • Some people find happiness in specific activities or shared interests with a narcissistic partner, such as sex, watching period dramas, or collecting antique fountain pens.
  • Narcissistic partners can be performative lovers, seeking admiration and validation.
  • They may be skilled in sex but can also be selfish and make it feel performative.
  • It can be dangerous when people feel coerced into having sex to maintain the relationship.

What Is The Weak Point Of A Narcissist (01:24:45)

  • The Kryptonite of a narcissist is not engaging with them, denying them the satisfaction of a fight.
  • Narcissists are skilled at fighting and will push and provoke to get a reaction.
  • Another Kryptonite is a person who is much more powerful than them, causing them to feel cowed.
  • Empathic CEOs can be particularly challenging for narcissistic individuals.
  • Not engaging with a narcissistic person and not giving them the attention they crave is the ultimate Kryptonite.

Why Don't They Like Authentic People (01:26:21)

  • Narcissists feel threatened by authentic people.
  • Showing up as your authentic self in a narcissistic relationship can be dangerous as they may mock, have contempt for, or attempt to dismantle your true self.
  • Authenticity is hard to achieve, especially when someone tries to dismantle it, and it becomes even harder in a narcissistic relationship.
  • The odds of authenticity increase with age.
  • If you remain solid in your authentic identity around a narcissist, they may get bored and leave as you become an uninteresting target.

Famous Narcissists (01:27:28)

  • Narcissists are often charismatic and convincing, leading people to support them despite lacking integrity or factual backing.
  • People tend to be drawn to the confidence of narcissists, even if it's misplaced or self-serving.
  • Leaders who consider both sides of an issue may be seen as weak and are less likely to be elected.
  • When narcissists are in power, they prioritize their egos and interests over the well-being of their people, leading to potential conflicts and harm.
  • An ideal leader would be aware of both the needs of the people and the psychology of potential adversaries.
  • Narcissism is prevalent, affecting 1 in 6 individuals, and it's crucial to recognize it in diplomacy as negotiations with narcissists are often futile and harmful.
  • Innocent people have been harmed due to the failure to identify and address narcissism in world leaders.

You Can Come Back From Narcissistic Abuse (01:32:31)

  • People can recover from narcissistic abuse.
  • Learning about narcissistic dynamics and recognizing abusive behavior empowers individuals to reclaim their authenticity.
  • Healing from narcissistic abuse requires effort and is not an easy process.

Hardest Day Of Your Life (01:34:40)

  • Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a guest speaker, shared her experience of being stalked and sexually assaulted during her college years, highlighting the lack of support for victims on campuses at that time.
  • Her traumatic experience led her to pursue work focused on helping individuals doubted by systems and understanding trauma, including the concept of vulnerable narcissism and its dangers.
  • Dr. Ramani receives threats and dangerous comments online due to her public work, which triggers memories of her past stalking experience.
  • She emphasizes the importance of compartmentalization and dissociation as protective mechanisms against trauma and stresses the significance of information and awareness in addressing difficult situations.
  • Dr. Ramani's work, including books and videos, aims to provide accessible information about narcissism and trauma, reaching millions of people and raising awareness about these issues.

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