I know too many narcissists in my life. These are people who think they are perfect. They feel a sense of entitlement and deserving of high praise or admiration. They easily look down on people they feel are inferior to them. They would belittle others while thinking highly of themselves. They don’t recognize other people’s boundaries/limits and think everything revolves around them. If you offer any type of criticism, they can’t handle it. They don’t relate to other people’s emotions and feelings and only care about their own feelings and perception on things. And of course, they think they are always right. It is incredibly difficult to point out they are wrong, and of course, will never admit a mistake or offer an apology.
Narcissism is a personality disorder and classified as a mental illness. I think a lot of people in today’s society suffer from narcissism. They live in an enclosed world of me, myself, and I. Especially in this day and age when status means everything to some people and the appearance of being perfect is over emphasized. They may admit no one is perfect but will also never admit their flaws. Of course, narcissists will also have a difficult time seeking any type of mental health treatment because they think nothing is wrong with them and lack a balanced perception of themselves.
These are seven ways I would help my kids fall trap to becoming another narcissist in the world:
- I will teach my kids about being kind. People are mean and the world can be harsh and cruel but they don’t need to be the same way. There’s enough maliciousness in society. We will talk about what it means to be kind and have them practice with their kind words and actions.
- I will teach my kids to be compassionate. I will first show that everybody is different. Everyone is unique and special in their own way and we have to respect that. You may not agree with someone’s opinion, viewpoint, decision, or lifestyle but you can respect them as a human being who has their own set of thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Showing compassion is not a weakness and works to uplift each other.
- I will teach my kids to be grateful. Too often kids start to feel entitled to toys and deserve everything they want. I will teach them to be grateful for what they have and consider those less fortunate than themselves. Being grateful increases abundance and feelings of contentment.
- I will teach my kids to apologize when they are wrong, made a mistake or hurt someone else. I will set boundaries and limits on their behavior and let them give an apology when they owe one. No one is perfect and it is okay to make mistakes and own up to it.
- I will teach my kids to empathize with one another. I will let them share their feelings with each other and explain how they feel. They will understand how that people have feelings and they should not devalue other people’s feelings to make themselves feel better.
- I will teach my kids to have good coping strategies for dealing with any type of disappointment, anger or frustration they encounter. Kids need an outlet for expressing their emotions in a healthy way. We will talk through their difficulties and to find ways of expressing their emotions that does not cause further damage to themselves or to other people. We will go over how to cope in similar difficult situations they may find themselves in and to think before they act.
- I will give my kids the love and attention they deserve. Kids who feel loved are secure and grow up with a healthy sense of self-esteem. Kids with a healthy self-esteem have confidence to make the right choices and aren’t afraid to empower others.
Another problem people with narrcisstic personality disorder have is an inflated sense of ego and they become arrogant, thinking they have superior importance and have the right to be treated better than most other people. They try to “assert” this right in their relationships, not aware that they are treating others they see as inferior with disregard and scorn. They also tend to get jealous easily and blame others for their problems at the same time.
Narcissistic people usually have inflexible thinking. They may think they are standing behind their morals, values, and principles, when dealing with people, but they come across as inflexible in relationships and with the changes and demands that occur in life. How they assess situations and relate to other people is also dysfunctional. They easily step on people’s boundaries and think their way is the only way and they are always right. They never stop and reflect on their thinking or actions or if they are perhaps hurting another person. Narcissism becomes their second nature. They never think of themselves as flawed individuals as they try to be “perfect.”
I think as parents we have to teach our kids a balanced perspective. We should teach them that humans are never perfect and it is fine to make mistakes. We also shouldn’t look down at people that are at a disadvantage. Instead we should practice being kind and compassionate to all people and living things and be mindful of our own thoughts and actions. We should all be more empathetic to other people even though their thoughts and feelings may be different than what we are feeling. As they grow older, kids will see that the world is a lot bigger place and that there is room for everyone. They need not feel jealous or resentful toward other people but rather work on making it a better place for all can feel happy and to achieve their dreams.
I want my kids to have happy, fulfilling relationships. I will teach them that the amount of money, status, and material things do not matter so much since we don’t take things when we die. It is the relationships that count and the people that we love. We all need to learn how to treat each other better and that relationships are not just for making one person happy. We need learn and grow in our relationships and not make everything one-sided or about me. Any happy relationship is based on mutual respect and mutual interaction.
Narcissism is a negative trait when emphasis on mutual respect and mutual interaction should be emphasized. We live in a narcissistic society based on the illusion of perfection, status, wealth, and power. We idolize these things while our relationships with people suffer because they don’t take importance. Then we wonder why people are so disenfranchised and angry because we have an us versus them mentality, easily blaming the other for our problems.
We don’t need to harden our hearts. We need to see beyond ourselves into the bigger picture and I hope to teach my kids that.