There’s a lot of talk about ‘narcissism’ and I hear it becoming a commonly used word. There’s a huge difference between somebody who has narcissistic behaviours and a clinical diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. Somebody who has a tendency towards narcissistic behaviour will be selfish, self-centred and have a need for attention to be focused on them.
People with narcissistic behaviour will often have a need to be perfect. They may have had abusive or negligent childhoods with narcissistic parenting that expected (demanded) perfection of them. They may have had harsh reprimands for getting less than an ‘A’ on their report or were compared to their friends if they were seen as better. They may have been shamed for being unintelligent, unattractive, or not popular enough.
These negative self-images become deeply ingrained in a person. Many who suffered toxic or abusive upbringings (often unintentionally), compare their sense of self-worth (self-esteem) to their achievements, how successful they are, or how well their children do.
If you are in the life of someone who expects perfection from you, it is because they can’t see themselves as anything less than “perfect”. They deeply and harshly punish themselves if they perform less than they would like, and that extends to others in their world.
Others are expected to be ‘perfect’ as how others perform, or what they achieve are mirrored back. If somebody begins to be perceived as less than perfect, it usually means they have fallen off the pedestal and have become entirely negative. Those with narcissistic tendencies tend to see their world in absolutes of black or white. If others are seen as negative, they will be seen as worthless, useless, and usually replaced or discarded.
If a person battles perfectionist tendencies or narcissism, it’s often based on their experience of childhood. I’m being careful here to describe this as a perception. We have no control over what children choose to filter in or out, and a perfectly normal, loving, upbringing can be filtered negatively.
Somebody with narcissistic tendencies or perfectionism will often pair their value and worth to their achievements, accomplishments, the person they are married to, or their career status. Thus, their value is based on external validation. Their image needs to remain perfect lest they fall off the pedestal themselves.
As an ex-athlete I’ve always advocated the benefits of keeping in shape physically, but it’s just as important to look after your mental wellbeing. Book a session with Wendy, she’s the person to help you look after your brain just as you would your body.
5 x Olympic Skier and presenter of BBC Ski Sunday.
Dare to dream big and Wendy’s THE person to help get you there.
X Factor winner with a long list of sell out tour successes under her belt.
The most exciting thing in the world is getting a chance to tear it all up and start again. Keep all the things you want and throw out everything you don’t. Wendy will help you do just that!
Beauty, lifestyle and fashion blogging sensation Becky Sheeran (TalkBeckyTalk)
It’s great to have a leading psychotherapist such as Wendy in the Cheshire area, outside of her Harley Street practice. After publicly raising awareness of mental health issues and myself recovering from depression, I know how immensely life-changing expert intervention can be.
Retired ex-professional football who played for Bury, Wigan, Stoke, Preston, Norwich, Leicester and Brighton during a 14 year career. After leaving professional football, Jason battled depression and recovered with the help of therapy and family support.