Millennials continue to be accused of being the most narcissistic generation. An obsession with Instagram Stories, Snapchat selfies, and the need to document every waking moment is waved about as sure-fire evidence of being more self-absorbed than any other age group. But the truth is, according to psychologist Antonio Borrello (also a HuffPost contributor), calling someone a narcissist is a pretty serious accusation.
Borrello believes that we are all guilty of selfish tendencies in our life, but an actual narcissist has very real symptoms as it is a diagnosable behaviour. “Colloquially, we use the term narcissist to characterise a person who is overly self-involved or excessively in love with themselves. But Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is much more than an over-inflated ego,” Borrello explains. “It is a collection of maladaptive behavioural patterns (symptoms) that are markedly different than what is accepted socially.
These chronic symptoms cause significant personal, social, and occupational problems for themselves and for anyone in a relationship with them.”
So now that we know what it really is, keep scrolling for the three warning signs Borrello advises you should be looking for if you think you could be in a relationship with a narcissist.
THEY PUT YOU ON A PEDESTAL
Sure, at first thought it seems like a nice idea, but Borrello has found that “narcissists often elevate their new partners to unrealistic levels and … this allows the narcissist to feel special by association. Their belief: ‘I must be pretty amazing if she is with me.’” So, if you feel like this could be a key element to your relationship, Borrello warns it can quickly turn into a controlling situation where your spouse dictates your schedule and overall life.
THEY SEEM TO ISOLATE YOU FROM YOUR FRIENDS
Narcissists like to be in control, and one way to ensure this is to slowly isolate their partner from other friends and family. Borello explains, “One way they can gain control over their partners is by isolating them. Imposed isolation begins with your partner criticising, questioning, and making unwelcome your closest friends and social network.”
THEY PROJECT THEIR EMOTIONS ONTO YOU
Finally, Borrello also believes that narcissists are unable to deal with their own emotions and constantly live in a state of denial. “A narcissist may lash out and rage at their partner, accusing them of always being angry. Then, they continue this tirade until their partner IS angry. Narcissists also say and do things to make their partners question their attractiveness, intelligence, accomplishments, and competence. Doing so makes the narcissist feel like they can shine in comparison.”
While there is no perfect relationship, and learning to compromise as a step away from selfishness, if there’s anything we’ve learnt, it’s that actual narcissism is far more complex than someone who loves to take bathroom selfies.