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Understanding Narcissism- Helping you to better yourself - Dr Dato’s Insight - Part 1

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

You probably have heard the word narcissism used to characterize particular groups of people who are very egotistical, arrogant and generally tend to be males. Women however, can also display strong characteristics of this personality trait. Not many people know that all of us have some degree of narcissistic behavior within us and it is important how this behavior can affect our external behavior with other fellow human beings. Understanding narcissism is important in relationships as it will help you better understand yourself and help in your relationship building.



Narcissistic personality disorders usually stems from a person who feels that they are always the center of attention. They usually don’t have any empathy towards other persons and their lives always revolves around them. As a result, they are usually arrogant, always value their opinions over others and feel they have a right to entitlement. A quick and good test to see if you border on narcissistic characteristics is to take the online test from here…

I happen to take this test and scored 12, which is on the normal scale (:-). However, when I looked at my test for the areas where I scored high, I found that it was in the area of wanting attention to power. This is understandable since I do know that i have to exercise some power over the things I do in my everyday life. I constantly strive to improve myself and push myself so I can discover not only more about myself but able to get things done rapidly. This can come out as a power-struggle in some of the people I work with and I always know that I have to balance this character with the abilities and hopes of others. The quiz also explains that a score of 18 can signify that you are a celebrity where your attention is normally focused on themselves. A score above 18 can signify strong narcissistic qualities which you may need to address. I do encourage you to take the test to see the kind of things you have a tendency to do more than usual so you get a better insight into yourself.

In relationships, where one of the partners is a narcissists the relationship could become strained and it is up to each one of us to do something about it. It is a commonly held belief that a narcissist will pair up with someone who has low self-esteem. Usually men with their aggressive dominant behavior can be instantly attracted by women who are usually more subservient. However, over time as they become more accustomed to their personalities and grow to learn more about each other, their maybe a departure from their original personalities and blame ensues as the relationship develops. Please review the recent article on self-esteem where the topic of narcissism can be thinly veiled within a relationship.

A Visual Aid to understanding Narcissism and the world you live in

In order to better understand how we view ourselves within our environment, I have created a few illustrations to help us appreciate our shortcomings and attempt to improve ourselves. Remember, I have always emphasized in my previous articles that any beneficial changes that you are seeking in your life has to come from within YOU. Do not expect other people to change for you because you demand it, or you enforce it through coercive methods… this normally never works. In fact, using the latter methods always lead to personality conflicts and more frustration within the relationship that you are trying to build. Truly understanding yourself and changing your ways can bring the maximum benefit to any situation when working and living with other people. This requires more effort in ‘removing’ yourself from the own you ‘ego’ and looking into yourself in context of other people in your environment and situation. Eckhart explained this situation well in his book ‘The Power of Now’, where he once found himself very depressed and repeatedly saying to himself ‘I shouldn’t be here’. This opened his eyes to the fact that he was addressing himself in a two-way conversation with himself and gave way to his teachings of interpreting your thoughts and behavior from the mental noise that carries your life (see references below).

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Understanding Narcissism- Helping you to better yourself - Dr Dato’s Insight - Part 2

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Fig. 1 shows two individuals who are in the same environment and perhaps engaging in a conversation. As an example, if you find yourself on the receiving end of a conversation where you cannot have your say edgeways then you maybe talking to someone with a tendency towards narcissism. However, keep in mind that some people by choice are very quiet in nature and if someone chooses to do the talking, it’s because they may be feeling anxious. You could also argue that the person who is doing all the talking could have more empathy and allow the other person to say something to keep them engaged by asking questions. However, a measure of narcissism can be accurately determined if the behavior is consistent all the time independent of the people or circumstances they are in. You could say the individual is self-absorbed in what they have to say and is not really interested in other people’s opinions or thoughts. The illustration in Fig. 1 shows a triangular shape between the two individuals B and C with a higher point A. The idea of the triangulation will become more clear as it is explained with reference to our personalities and in particular our own level of awareness.

Two singles talking to each other

Two singles talking to each other

If you find yourself in the above category where you are constantly pushing your thoughts and not hearing other people’s thoughts, the illustration of Fig. 2 could be a good representation of you. Here the bold line stretches between the two individuals B and C and basically it means that you may be completely blind to the other person, lacking completely in any form of empathy. I do not believe any human can operate at this level since they need to be aware somewhat of their environment and have some social intercourse with other humans in order to get along. I would say that most animals would exist along this line where their existence is based purely on survival. Any interaction within their environment would be based on a reactionary method of survival where the degree of cooperation is far less and more about ‘I’ the animal.


Man’s greater mental capacity and the ability to think and reason have made them superior animals over all others. They are the only beings that have the capability to reach a higher form in their ability to think and act and according to this level of ability in each individual, the point A shown in Fig. 1 has some bearing to this discussion. Let’s assume that Point A with reference to the individuals B and C is the ultimate point where all humans strive for. This sets the line between points C and A where an individual’s ability of ‘total awareness’ can be measured by how far they are away from mid-point A. Think of point A as a point where if you have been fortunate enough to have reached it, your presence alone will have significant bearings on your environment. It is a point where you are completely aware of your own environment and the individuals in it, which includes you (B) and the other individual (A). Here you are completely at ease with yourself without any ego to distort your conversation with the other person.

The aim of the visualization is to help individuals understand where they are on the triangle however, be careful as to where you think you are on the line between B and A. I am of the opinion that the almost unachievable state of A, although looks to be relatively easily achieved is in fact on a logarithmic scale. This means as you get closer to A, the more difficult it is to reach it, think of it as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (see references). In essence, this brings the very important topic of ‘spiritualism’ into our discussion. This implies that if you have ever achieve point A in your life, you would be in a state where you have reached the ultimate level of spiritualism and where you have achieved complete awareness. A condition that is not imaginable by the human being but where everyone indirectly are striving to reach this higher form and level. In provides some meanings to the religious and spiritual teachings that have shaped mankind’s thinking throughout the ages and still going strong today.

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