5 Ways to Understand a Narcissist’s Behaviour


Author bio

Page last updated: 15/11/2022

5 Ways to Understand a Narcissist’s Behaviour

Hey Optimist Minds!

Have you recently discovered that you’ve been dealing with a narcissist? When someone with narcissistic tendencies enters your life, it’s almost like a tornado showed up. Suddenly there’s chaos and confusion everywhere, and you no longer know what to think. 

A narcissist is someone constantly seeking gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of their idealised self-image and attributes. If they do not get this gratification from the people around them, they behave in nasty and hurtful ways.

Perhaps the most effective way to reduce the chaos is to understand them better. When you can identify the psychological causes that make a person behave in narcissistic ways, you become a little immune to their manipulative tactics. It doesn’t make it any easier, but it does allow you to protect yourself.

In this video, we are going to cover five ways to understand a narcissist’s behaviour. The information shared here is not meant to vilify them at all. Instead, by breaking down the causes behind their actions, we wish to help anyone who happens to be living with a narcissist.

Number One

They’re a perfectionist.

Is this person extremely particular about how they prefer certain items? Do they get agitated if things are not running according to their demands?

A sense of grandiosity and entitlement makes the narcissist think they are too good for anything less than perfect. They need to have full control over their surroundings, including people so that they can manipulate everything to match their own standards.

You may be thinking, “Hey, what’s the harm in it?” for something seemingly trivial like how you’re setting the table or where you place a stool. But if the narcissist cares about it, they’ll give you hell for not doing it the way they like it. The instructions aren’t the problem, it’s the demeaning way they are given that makes it an issue.

Number Two

They think in black and white.

Is your relationship with this person split into two extremes? Are you unsure of whether they love you because some days are a lot prettier than others?

Black-and-white thinking, also known as splitting, is the way narcissists look at the world. Everything is either good or bad; there’s no middle ground. A person is either extremely admirable or simply pathetic. Narcissists are unable to accept that people, objects, and situations can have both attributes.

That’s why when something you did upsets them, they treat you like dirt. Alternately, if you obey them and do something you really didn’t want to, they treat you like an angel.

5 Ways to Understand a Narcissist’s Behaviour

Number Three

Under all that grandiosity, they’re incredibly insecure.

Is this person hypersensitive to any kind of constructive feedback? Do they end up tooting their own horn every time someone else’s achievements are under the limelight?

Remember, a narcissist has an idealised self-image that is generally far from reality. They try to portray themselves as brilliant in every way possible as if to say that they have no flaws at all. This is a delusion because there is no such thing as a flawless human.

You’ll notice that when the narcissist’s shortcomings are undeniable, they will always blame external factors for it. They somehow need to play victim to deflect the fact that their perfect self-image is unrealistic. 

After all, if they were comfortable being their authentic selves, complete with strengths and weaknesses, they wouldn’t need to rub their assumed superiority in people’s faces.

Number Four

Their life is a constant battle with shame and guilt.

In most cases, narcissistic behaviours develop in individuals either due to parental abuse and neglect or favouritism. As children, these people experienced many incidents that filled them with intense shame. They were either condemned or condoned for their mistakes. 

Both scenarios prevent the necessary learning that comes with each error. Instead, the child internalises the shame, having never learned how to deal with it in healthy ways. So when a narcissist is afraid their flaws may become visible, the door to all that suppressed shame opens up.

That’s why their reactions are so extreme and attacking. They’d much rather distract the audience than confront their unbearable guilt. 

Number Five

They project their shame and guilt to others.

Does this person constantly remind you of your inadequacy? If you point out any problematic behaviour in them, do they turn things around to make you feel bad?

The only way the narcissist knows how to deal with the unpleasant feelings of shame and guilt is to project them on others. By making you feel small, they continue their delusion of superiority. 

It’s very difficult for them to take accountability for their actions because of the years of unprocessed shame inside. Their attacks targeted at you are just a flimsy defence mechanism that in no way reflect your worth. Don’t forget how someone makes you feel about yourself says more about them than you.

Did any of these points make sense to you? Does this information make it easier for you to decode the narcissist’s behaviour. Let us know in the comments if you think this video helped you at all. We’d love to hear from you.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below. 

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.