Jay Shetty acknowledged that a recurring theme in his coaching sessions was narcissism. Many people encounter narcissists at least once in their lifetime.
Statistically, 0.5% of the USA population has a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and many are on the spectrum. In addition, there are differences based on gender, with 75% of the diagnosed people being men.1
They might display traits even if someone doesn't suffer from NPD. Moreover, many of these traits can create challenges in our daily lives and relationships. Therefore, it is helpful to recognize them in others and ourselves.
Jay Shetty shared a list of ten common traits in people with NPD and encouraged the listeners to seek professional help if needed. This can be done via therapy in the beginning and coaching in the long run. Sometimes we might understand and act too late on a realization that someone we are surrounded by is a narcissist.
It is difficult for the narcissist to maintain a conversation about others. So, they constantly shift back the discussion to talking about themselves. And, if they initiate a conversation, it will often be about them.
They thrive on hearing what everyone has to say about them. Suppose the narcissist notices that the topic of the conversation changes, they will want to drag it back to them, Jay Shetty explained. We call these people selfish or self-centered and don't enjoy their company, as they make us feel unheard.
What we can do in this situation is to make them aware of the fact that they only talk about themselves. However, it is essential to do it gently to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
2. Craving Attention
Narcissists want everything at an event to be about them. They cannot celebrate others and struggle when someone else is the center of attention. Examples of such behavior are proposals at other people's weddings or announcing something at someone else's event (birthday, graduation, etc.).
Jay Shetty added that the cause of narcissistic personality disorder is still unknown, but some researchers believe it to be linked to early childhood. By understanding this, we realize that the other person can't help it; they are wired this way.
Nonetheless, Jay Shetty continued, it is also essential to understand the context in which this condition occurs. Like other mental health disorders, the Mayo Clinic suggests that three main areas are constant despite the complex cause.2
- The environment – mismatches in the child-parent relationships
Overly protective or neglectful parenting styles may impact biologically vulnerable children and play a role in the development of NPD. Growing up, they crave attention from the people around them, either to never stop receiving it or to make up for their parent's lack thereof.
“Being aware of it ourselves is powerful because self-awareness is where all change begins,” Jay Shetty stated.
- Genetics – inherited characteristics
If family members have narcissistic traits, we start to replicate and mirror this behavior.
- Neurobiology – a connection between the brain, thinking, and behavior
Many of us struggle to connect with someone exhibiting narcissistic tendencies, which leads to relationship difficulties.
3. Rejecting Responsibility
They are not open and vulnerable enough to accept they are part of the problem. Jay Shetty voiced that when the other person can't take responsibility in a relationship, we sometimes take it all on ourselves.
We start to believe it is our fault. Sometimes, the opposite happens – we force the narcissist to take responsibility, but they won't take the bait.
4. Making You Feel Like You're Wrong
Jay Shetty warns that if you believe you are at fault, you begin to internalize this thought over time. In the long run, this will affect your self-esteem and self-worth, and you will start doubting yourself.
This topic is important to Jay Shetty because people often struggle with finding the balance between examining and accepting themselves.
“Often, what we live between is perfection and completely pulverizing ourselves. Or we live between criticizing ourselves, or falsely cheering ourselves on, or we live in between judging ourselves, or trying to boost ourselves up.”
It is vital for our growth to assess ourselves, but not in a critical manner. Jay Shetty explains that the way to evaluate yourself without judgment is to do so regularly and have clear criteria to guide you. An example of a healthy assessment is to use a 1-10 scale to rate your habit. Then, work on improving it and see how much you've grown until the next time you assess it.
“The mistake we make is when we kind of just think about it in our head. But we don't have a scale. We make it subjective.”
Another way of coping is to be clear about your strengths and weaknesses. According to Jay Shetty, it is difficult to find our strengths but much easier to list all our shortcomings. Yet, it is crucial to understand what makes us worthy. When we are only aware of our flaws, we live in criticism instead, and our lack of self-esteem and self-confidence stems precisely from here. Only when we know our good and bad traits can we live a balanced life, between assessment and acceptance.
5. Superiority Complex
They make you feel like you are inferior to them, one way or another. The other person constantly comparing you to them signifies an unhealthy relationship.
“You don't work as hard as them; you don't work as fast as them; you don't work as smart as them,” Jay Shetty exemplified.
One way of dealing with this situation is to address it and make them aware that you find it unfair. Tell them you believe it's not the right way to be encouraged. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that even you mentioning it to the other person won't lead to them changing. Sometimes, they might require therapy.
It is crucial to set boundaries because this person is likely using you as their punching bag on their way to perfection. And, as perfection is unattainable, they will repeatedly punch to release the pressure they feel. So, ensure you don't allow them to use you this way and make you regularly feel inferior.
6. Everything Feels Like a Threat
No matter who you mention, what idea, event, etc., it feels like a threat to the narcissist. They will start making you feel inappropriate for bringing up any of these topics.
You start walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting the other person, and you start developing a fear of doing something wrong. Many people might have this trait, and it is often due to their upbringing. Hence it is essential to be aware of these traits in people around you. Only when you realize that they've exhibited them all along will you be to understand what was happening.
7. It's All About Them
Jay Shetty used to change the course of conversation to himself because he believed it was a way of building a rapport with others. As an example, when someone you just met tells you about their skydiving experience, instead of asking more questions, you would start talking about your experience when you went skydiving. If you notice these tendencies in yourself, you might realize that you wouldn't want to be treated this way.
Looking back, Jay Shetty realized that effective listening creates a much stronger bond. Sharing your similar experience after the other person had the chance to discuss theirs is very powerful.
8. Taking Credit
A narcissist often wants to take credit for everything, regardless if it was merit or not. It is a trait to be very wary about, and Jay Shetty warns the listeners. It is easy to be blinded by love in a narcissistic relationship and allow these things to happen. However, with time, you might realize that they do this constantly and look for a change in your life.
9. Reclaiming Difficult Moments As Theirs
It is a very subtle trait, challenging to catch in the beginning, Jay Shetty mentioned. The narcissist wants to appear as the one who suffered more than you. So whatever stressful feeling you encounter, they one-up you.
For example, if you have a lot to prepare for work and mention it to them, they will always have to do more and will always claim to feel worse than you do. This way, they reduce the other person because, to them, reclaiming difficulty is their “badge of honor.”
Jay Shetty found himself doing this in his relationships until he started questioning his behavior. Furthermore, he explains that using “someone else's opportunity for vulnerability, as a chance to vocalize your feelings” is a way of reducing their voice.
It is necessary to reflect on yourself because it is easy to notice these traits in others but less so in ourselves. Adopting bad habits doesn't mean you are a terrible person. You picked up bad practices along the way, but it is possible to eliminate these.
10. Love Bombing
Narcissists can be overly loving in the beginning. They will constantly compliment you and tell you how amazing, unique, and important you are. They will put you on a pedestal, and this can give you so much energy.
They do this because they want their partner to to believe they are fantastic people, the best thing that ever happened to them
But moving forward, they will suddenly withdraw all the love or attention. They will claim all the love wasn't real; there was no spark, no chemistry. They will accuse their partner of not loving them back enough.
This behavior makes you feel like you did something wrong. Therefore, it is important to assess yourself in such moments and accept yourself the way you are.
It can be challenging to deal with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder or who exhibits some of these traits. However, understanding your strengths and basing your self-esteem on that, not on what others think of you, is paramount.
Jay Shetty encouraged the listeners to pass on this information to their peers to help as many people as possible deal with the toxicity around them. In many cases, it is also recommended to seek professional support. You can't always be your partner's therapist, but “helping them to find help is an amazing thing you can do.”
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “10 Signs That Someone In Your Life Is A Narcissist & 4 Ways To Navigate The Relationship With Them” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.