“It’s all about him.” “It’s all about her.”
You hear people say it. Maybe you’ve said it yourself, about someone you know.
“She thinks she’s the Queen.” Or, “He acts like the little prince.”
The analogy of arrogant royalty implies a person who doesn’t feel accountable to anyone, or anything. It’s as if he or she is special—above, or outside of, reality.
The key to understanding such a person is lack of accountability.
It’s deeper than mere unaccountability to other people. It’s unaccountability to reality; to facts; to the logic or common sense many of us take for granted.
People who are narcissistic, or self-centered in this way, do not feel accountable to the laws of nature and reality. They’re truly above it all, even the facts of reality. The “self” upon which they center is a subjective self of unexamined emotions to which they feel entitled, regardless of rational truth or facts.
Because narcissists lack a relationship with objective reality, they don’t utilize reason in dealing with others. Why should they? They’re special (they feel); they’re above the rules of logic to which the rest of us must subscribe.
The facts of reality include other people. The narcissist, just like anyone else, needs or wants other people with whom to associate. Personal and economic gratification usually requires it. Yet it’s contradictory to consider only your own needs while disregarding those same needs in people you supposedly like, admire, or respect.
Therein lies the whole problem. The narcissist does not treat you well, because he doesn’t have a good relationship with the facts of reality. You—his friend, spouse or business associate—happen to be one fact of reality.
Logic dictates that in order to receive good treatment from you, the narcissist ought to treat you the way he wants to be treated himself. If he really loves and values you, he wants to treat you well, because you represent (in love or romance, at least) the embodiment of all that he holds dear.
However, a narcissist does not truly hold anything dear.
We usually rush to label such people selfish. If by “selfish” you mean a willingness to sacrifice other people, then you’re right. But by no stretch can lacking a relationship with reality be considered a self-interested characteristic. Treating people you want or need in your life with indifference is not an act of self-preservation.
If anything, you ought to feel sorry for an “It’s all about me” type of person.
Such people don’t ever gain the benefit of another’s loyalty, trust or respect. Imagine going through life without such benefits from other people. Imagine the impracticality of trying to depend on employees or co-workers without their trust or respect. Imagine the pain of enduring marital or family relationships with people who will never trust, respect or truly like you.
Granted, the narcissist type of person brings all this on him- or herself. Your pity should not convert into excuse-making. But the life of an “It’s all about me” person is not something to envy, not in the least.
It’s futile to try and change a narcissist. The only options open are (1) deal with a narcissist as little as possible (ideally, not at all); or (2) hold the narcissist accountable whenever you can.
The psychological “kryptonite” of a seemingly invulnerable “it’s all about me” kind of person is accountability. By accountability I mean: Don’t treat such a person any better than he or she treats you.
This is what most are unwilling to do. They’ve succumbed to the so-called “golden rule” which states, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” This is a perfectly reasonable rule when dealing with reasonable people. But a narcissist will exploit this rule, and count on you to apply it to him when he has no intention of applying it to you.
If keeping a job or another legitimate factor limits your ability to hold the narcissist accountable, then try, at least, to see the narcissist for what he or she is: A weak person who will never have good will, trust or respect from significant others.
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