There are a few types of people who really rile me, but narcissists are some of the worst.
I’m by no means self-absorbed, neither are any of my immediate family members, and my close-knit friends certainly aren’t – if they were, they wouldn’t be in that circle.
Recently, I’ve discovered a whole new breed of narcissist, or perhaps it’s a branch of narcism, who knows…
The conversational narcissist…
Now, firstly before I get into what I consider a conversational narcissist to be, I’ve got to question the whole Laws of Attraction thing – like attracts like and the such. As I previously mentioned, I’m nowhere near being a narcissist – I’m perhaps closer to appearing on the other side of the spectrum, so why am I attracting such people?
It’s weird, and worth some investigating!
Over the last few days, I’ve spent my time re-reading over a series of texts, WhatsApp messages, emails, and FB messages from various people. There was a concerning trend amongst the senders – all they ever did was talk about themselves – there’s barely any mention of me…
Enter the conversation narcissist.
Once I’d read the messages back, I was shocked. No, in fact I was horrified to see that hours and hours worth of messages that had been passed back and forth had nothing to do with me, it was all about them…
What a waste of time!
In conversation and text messages I ask questions all the time. It could be a simple how are you? How was your weekend? What are you up to tonight? What do you think about La La Land sweeping up at the BAFTAs?
These people eventually replied…with a brief answer to my question followed by inane one-way texts about themselves. No reciprocal how are you? Did you have a good weekend?
If these were my students, I’d give them a good dressing down. I’d also question parenting skills. But there’s no comparison between a 13-year-old and an adult.
Obviously, there have always been these types of people in my life, but it’s only now I’m beginning to recognise these types of people. Is it time for another Social Media friend cull?
I guess we’ve all got these people. Give them the opportunity to speak about themselves, and they’ll speak to the cows come home, showing very little or zero interest in you. It’s like the old saying – give them an inch and they’ll take a mile!
Talk about an eye opener!
There’s nothing worse than being face to face with people who incessantly speak about themselves, but at least it’s easier to change the direction of the conversation if you’re looking them in the eye.
What’s perhaps more annoying is text message narcism – the ME, ME, ME effect!
Even if you try to mention something about yourself, you’re either met with silence (because they’re not interested in responding to anything that doesn’t concern them) or worse, they’ll continue banging on about themselves as if you’d never said or asked anything.
The word narcissist holds many negative connotations, and if you told me a person was one, I’d immediately form some kind of pre-judgement. I guess they’re not all obnoxious and conceited – some of them are likeable people, and in many cases, they can be annoyingly charming (perhaps this is how they get away with it all).
I rang my friend to ask his opinion. I needed a male perspective. Was I being too sensitive? Was I taking things too personally? Was I reading into a whole heap of shit that wasn’t even really there?
He quickly agreed. He also told me I was way too nice. He said that I was too nice and I had too much patience…I joked and said that’s why I became a teacher. Interestingly enough, he did touch on one other point that I’d never have even considered…he also thinks that some of these so-called conversational narcissists that I was referring to are deeply emotional and perhaps damaged or broken in some way.
Agh, he’s so smart – I guess that’s why he’s a psychologist.
I went on to ask him how I could change the situation. He was blunt. He said I couldn’t. He said there was no changing narcissistic behaviour extrinsically – it had to come from within and all that bollocks! Cue to remind myself that all change comes from within- I should’ve known this!
Hmm, okay, so I can’t change it, could I stop myself from attracting it?
Again – negative!
Apparently, because of my openness, warmth, kindness, politeness (which he thinks is excessive at times) and generosity, I attract these kinds of people – because I give them time. It seriously got me thinking that being a bitch clearly had its advantages sometimes, but unfortunately, that’s just not me!
After seeing the look of dismay on my face, he quickly went on to explain that I could choose to walk away from these people if they didn’t make me feel content within myself. He also gave me a bit of a head’s up how to spot a conversational narcissist since I often fail to recognise people’s negative traits outright. So, apparently, these are the things I’m looking out for:
- Obsession with power, money or success.
- Absorbed by beauty, appearance and brilliance.
- Ridiculously high expectations of others.
- A distorted view of self-importance.
- They oversell themselves, their achievements and the people they know.
- They require constant validation.
- They crave admiration.
To be honest, I find this kind of one-sided conversation tedious. But I need to take on what Jamie’s said…I can’t change anyone, and if truth be told I don’t want to change anyone…that’s not my job, I’m no one’s mother!
I guess there are a few things that could be seen as a positive – it’s testing my self-control, patience and focus, three points I need to continuously nurture for my teaching…
He did however warn me to be careful. Apparently, such insensitivity from a person, whether they realise they’re doing it or not, could lead to me unwittingly getting hurt again. I loved the reverse psychology bit – play them at their own game and use a form of passive aggressive conversational narcism on them, but that takes too much effort and energy, and I view it as a low-brow way of vying for a person’s recognition or attention. I shouldn’t have to force people to behave in the correct way.
I’ve just got to look out for me. As soon as I start to recognise people threatening my happiness or well-being, I’ll try my best to ignore them. This could be a challenge because of my nature, but I shouldn’t allow such people to trample on my contentment. It’s taken time for me to get where I am and I feel fucking fantastic – I don’t need one or two people unravelling all the hard work. I won’t let them rain on my parade!