A Field Guide to Narcissism

Boy does THIS hit some major nails on the head regarding my ex! How about yours?  Do you see him or her in the description below? The entire article is worth a visit to the site to read in its entirety.

A Field Guide to Narcissism – by Carl Vogel

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The beauty of being a narcissist is that even when disaster stares you in the face, you feel neither doubt nor remorse. In a study, researchers asked a pair of participants to undertake a task that was rigged to fail. Most people tend to protect their partner, sharing either the credit or the blame. “But the narcissists would say, ‘It’s totally the other person’s fault.’ They’re completely willing to step on someone,” says narcissism researcher Keith Campbell, associate professor of social psychology at the University of Georgia.

Intensely narcissistic people often live tumultuous lives, as few people can tolerate them for long. But having a milder version of the personality type comes with many side benefits. Subclinical narcissists are happy. They are less likely to be depressed, sad or anxious, and rate their subjective well-being more highly. They’re less reactive to stress, and recover more rapidly from it.

Mild narcissism also seems to help people recover from accidents or other trauma—it gives them an unrealistic sense of their own invulnerability, and they believe that they will be able to handle whatever else life throws at them. As one researcher put it, being somewhat narcissistic is like driving a huge SUV: You’re having a great time, even while you hog the road, suck up extra resources and put other drivers at higher risk.

A narcissist can be hard to identify, in part because he is likely to be much more fascinating than you would expect for someone so self-absorbed, and in part because you wouldn’t think someone with such self-regard could be so defensive and needy.

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As bad as narcissistic behavior can be in a coworker, golf buddy or relative, it’s worse in a romantic partner. Male or female, narcissists are the quintessential sharks: Self-confidence and charm make them highly appealing in the early stages of attraction. Since narcissists are very concerned about appearance, they’re likely to be well-groomed and fashionable. “He was into nice things, the best brand names. Everything was about treating himself well,” says Lynn, a 30-year-old consultant in San Diego, about her ex-boyfriend. “And he was totally charismatic. After we were going out for a while, I could see him turn it on and off when he wanted something.”

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Obviously, most narcissists aren’t killers, but they do tend to be very unsatisfying mates. If he’s had a string of relationships, if he can’t stop talking about how much people admire him, if he gets easily riled when he doesn’t get what he wants—he may not be just another commitment-phobic man. He’s a narcissist.

Unfortunately, anyone can be seduced by a narcissist. One misconception is that only those with low self-esteem date someone who’s so self-centered, but people with normal self-respect can also end up involved with a narcissist. They have decisive, take-charge personalities in a society that shuns wishy-washiness.

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