What happens when a narcissist is rejected

Am i a narcissist

"When I walk into a room, I often have the feeling that other people's eyes are on me." I can answer either "yes" or "no" to the test. In this way, I click my way through 22 more questions and statements before the result is displayed: Phew! I don't have a narcissistic personality disorder.

It's just an online self-test that I googled and of course it doesn't replace a professional diagnosis. That's why I ask the psychologist and psychotherapist Aline Vater how I can tell if I'm a narcissist.

The expert relies on the classification system of the American Psychiatric Association, the so-called DSM-5, which lists nine criteria, of which at least five must be met in order to be considered a narcissistic personality disorder.

To illustrate some of these criteria, let's just assume that I have a personality disorder like this. The morning conference in my editorial office would then go something like this:

All eyes on me!

Everyone looks at me as soon as I enter the room. At least that's what I'm sure of. Because I'm not only particularly beautiful, but also particularly smart and the whole session would be anemic and pointless without my input.

While the others are talking, I indulge in my megalomania. I imagine that I will lead this editorial team - as the youngest head of department of all time! I dream of the admiring looks of my colleagues who have never had a better and more amazing boss than me.

With the grandiose feeling of my own importance and the fantasies of success, power and beauty, I would have already met two criteria for a narcissistic personality disorder. But the conference isn't over yet.

Woe to you criticizing me!

"Characteristic of a narcissistic personality disorder is not only the outwardly high opinion that a narcissist has of himself," says Aline Vater, "but also that it is easily shaken."

Now I can finally speak and tell my colleagues about my fantastic idea for the next article. There's applause for that, I think. Unfortunately, the colleagues find the idea at most mediocre and react cautiously. That alone embarrasses me deeply.

My proposal is briefly discussed, criticized and then rejected. I feel just as rejected and misunderstood as my idea. The injury is so severe that I seething with anger.

Here, in my work environment, I hide my hurt behind an arrogant and arrogant facade. Because my views are so unique and special, the run-of-the-mill colleague is probably not able to understand them at all. I stay away from lunch together. Nobody asks me, however, if I want to come with them.

Lonely and without empathy

My anger about the humiliation by my colleagues has not disappeared when I get home in the evening. Of course, my partner should see that I had a tough day and that I urgently need attention and love. I'm terribly disappointed again. The idiot doesn't notice anything. Of course I scream my anger in his face. This is how the day and the relationship ends.

"People with a pronounced narcissistic personality disorder keep getting into conflict with other people," explains Father. Not only with colleagues, relationships are also not permanent, friendships tend to be unstable. After all, close relationships with other people require a certain capacity for empathy. "Narcissists show an extreme lack of empathy. They can tell when others are sad, but they can't really empathize," says Father.

More on this: Controversy in a partnership: Who fights, loses

"If you are someone who repeatedly has problems with other people, then it is certainly good to take advantage of psychological counseling from someone who is familiar with narcissism," says the psychologist.

Narcissism rarely comes alone

The constant conflicts are not only extremely unpleasant for those around me, they also gnaw at me. The feeling of being lonely, misunderstood, and unloved makes me depressed.

"Often, narcissists come to treatment for other symptoms," says father. Depression or drug addiction, for example. The psychologist calls these downstream problems comorbidities.

In order to be able to reliably detect the narcissistic personality disorder, a diagnostic interview lasting several hours is necessary, which often extends over several weeks. "It is also helpful to speak to someone who knows the person well for a diagnosis," adds Father.

Recognize the pattern

Suppose I turned to behavioral therapist Aline Vater with suspicions of being a narcissist - she couldn't cure me. "By definition, personality disorders are patterns that are rooted in childhood and are stable over a lifetime," explains Father.

Therefore, it is not about healing, but about understanding why this pattern developed and creating a kind of "manual for yourself" that makes it possible to deal with the disorder, says Father.

Narcissists were either greatly valued or devalued by their parents in childhood. "In both cases, the child's needs were not met." The result can be the development of an oversized self, behind which an actually battered soul is hidden

More: Too much empathy makes you sick

Suppose I was back in one of our editorial meetings after a while of therapeutic treatment. My desire to be admired and valued would probably still be great. I would still be quickly offended and ashamed if this wish was not fulfilled.

But instead of blaming others for my shattered self-esteem, I would be able to see the pattern that underlies those feelings. In this way I could gradually change my behavior towards others: less anger, less high expectations, more empathy. Then I would probably be less alone.

  • Touch is vital

    Skin contact makes the tone

    Our skin feels everything: Researchers have found that people can recognize certain emotions such as love, anger, gratitude and disgust through touch. The mere physical contact sets the tone. Regular, positive touch also reduces aggression and builds emotional bonds within relationships. This is how they help maintain social bonds.

  • Touch is vital

    Better by touch

    Tactile communication - communication through touch - can help build trust and improve collaboration. One study found that professional basketball players and teams who interacted more physically at the beginning of the season - for example through high fives or group hugs - scored better in later games.

  • Touch is vital

    Hugging makes you strong

    Hugs signal "I support you" and thus help to reduce acute stress. Research has shown that the mood of people who were hugged on a conflict-ridden day was significantly better. This type of support also helps people with low self-esteem to reduce self-doubt Cuddling also fends off colds with its stress-buffering effect.

  • Touch is vital

    Touch me!

    Couples who touch each other lovingly are good for their health. Holding hands and hugging not only make you feel more stress-resistant, but also make a measurable contribution to cardiovascular health: the heart rate slows down, blood pressure drops, as does the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Couples can even sync their heart rates and brain waves through touch!

  • Touch is vital

    Massages: more than just relaxation

    Touch is not only beautiful, it is also effective as a pain reliever. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that full body massages reduce pain and increase mobility for patients with arthritis. Incidentally, not only those who are massaged benefit! The treatment also has a positive effect on the masseur.

  • Touch is vital

    Babies need touch

    Massage can help premature babies gain weight. Stimulating the nervous system releases hormones that improve the absorption of food. The pain relieving effects of skin contact help infants cope with medical procedures. Touching not only reduces the release of the stress hormone cortisol, but also releases the bonding hormone oxytocin.

  • Touch is vital

    Do it yourself

    Unfortunately, there is not always someone there to massage or stroke. A self-massage has a similarly positive effect. Firm touches are more effective than light ones. Sports such as yoga or weightlifting, in which either the contact between the body and the floor is intense or the pressure on certain parts of the body is particularly high, therefore also have a stress-relieving effect.

  • Touch is vital

    Technology that touches

    So that people with amputations do not have to do without the important touch, work is being carried out on sensor-supported prostheses. Other researchers are working on the development of an electronic skin technology that can differentiate between different surfaces and perceive heat and cold.

    Author: Sam Baker (jv)