How big is your ego?
Often a hypnotherapist is contacted by clients who have a challenge with their confidence, self-esteem or lack of self-worth. It is a common request and an issue many people experience regularly. They maybe don’t think they are good enough or worthy enough to feel any different and will shy away from situations where they have to put themselves in front of others or have to say something that compliments themselves or puts them in a good light. Modesty is an asset and an attractive trait but for some, they struggle with this concept and would rather put themselves down.
The hypnotherapist can work with this person and remind him of times in the past he was confident and get him to remember the feelings that went with this and anchor these so that that feeling of confidence will remain with them and they will be able to achieve whatever they want to succeed in.
However, there is another group of people who seemingly have no problem with any of these challenges yet have issues all the same. They think nothing of starting a sentence with ‘It was very inspirational of me’ or ‘I know I look really good in this’. They can’t help but constantly boast about their looks, or their lifestyle or their knowledge of a subject. They often make derogatory comments to others who do not live up to their standards or image and are quick to make others feel inferior.
Narcissism is a condition that many people are unaware they have as they see their behaviour as normal and enjoy the superior feeling that comes with it. They only realise they may have an issue when it becomes apparent that they find it difficult to maintain relationships with others.
Narcissists are often manipulative and self-centred with an oversized ego and distorted self-image to compensate for the deep-rooted insecurity they often feel. They continuously have to remind others of their perceived greatness whether this is in how they believe they look or in the actions they do. To others, these looks or actions are average at best or in fact quite mediocre in real life terms. The continuous bragging or passive-aggressive behaviours and manipulation become tedious to others who have no time for all the drama that normally comes hand in hand with it.
Some of the signs to look out for in a narcissist may include:
- An exaggerated sense of self-importance – they believe that they are destined to achieve great things or the actions they have already done deserve much praise and recognition, far beyond what it actually merits. They believe no one can do anything as good as them and any event they are not involved in being part of will surely fail. Even when the event is a great success, they will nit-pick and look for the slightest fault to justify their claims.
- Selfishness in relationships – a narcissist finds it difficult to retain relationships with both family and friends. They always put themselves first and see nothing wrong with this, unable to consider their feelings. They often manipulate and mistreat others to get what they want as they see their needs as more important and worthy. They control others for their own benefit and always dismiss their opinions and suggestions without even considering them first.
- Lack of empathy – people with narcissistic traits find it difficult to relate to others feelings or understand how their actions impact on them. If confronted they will deny they are in the wrong and will assert their innocence blaming anyone but themselves. They are often two-faced with a separate public and personal ‘face'. They think nothing of distorting the truth to fit in with their own agenda.
- Envious and suspicious of others motives – a narcissist will often criticise another’s success, unable to show happiness and give them genuine praise. Despite their apparent self-assurance, their inner insecurities manifest itself in their outward behaviour to others. They envy what others have achieved and will downplay their successes, believing that it is they who are jealous of their accomplishments. They are quick to bad mouth others and see bad intentions everywhere.
- Arrogant and judgemental – they see themselves as superior to others and everyone else is deserving of criticism and rejection. They are only emotionally available to others when they want something and are quick to change the topic to suit their own agenda.
- Feeling of entitlement – a narcissist will expect to be treated as special and will want to be pampered and waited on. If the other person(s) do not live up to these unrealistic expectations, they will react with moral outrage and aggression.
- A need for excessive praise and attention – despite them believing in their own superiority, a narcissist needs constant reassurance and validation to support their unrealistic opinion of themselves. If this is not constantly forthcoming, it can make them feel anxious and agitated. Unfortunately, others can never live up to these continuous high demands as they are never truly satisfied. They will always cast up what they have done for others, but never acknowledge what they have done for them.
- Insistence on associating only with other people they deem as special – it is important for the narcissist to establish to others that they are the alpha male or alpha female. They seek out those they consider to be near equal status and will dismiss all others around them at that moment. They believe their presence will help boost their own status and superiority.
- Fantasies of achieving greatness and recognition – narcissists believe they are destined to achieve great things in their lives. They will continuously play over and over in their mind successes they believe they will achieve. When these are not forthcoming, bitterness and resentment to others will manifest and they will take their frustrations out on them and blaming them for their failures – but never themselves.
It is important to recognise that a narcissist has a split personality disorder. Part of them has a sincere belief that they are superior to others in all that they do, yet it is actually a coping mechanism for their deep-rooted insecurity and low self-esteem. Their desperation for continuous praise and recognition is required to silence the self-doubt and lack of confidence they are really experiencing.
Hypnosis can help those who display some or all of the above traits and help the person have a more balanced outlook on life and their relationship with others. Similar to dealing with those who ask for help with traditional feelings of low self-esteem, the hypnotherapist can help with a guided meditation to alleviate the symptoms of narcissism by addressing the deep-rooted cause of lack of self-confidence and low self-worth. Once these behaviours are aligned and on an acceptable level, the client will be able to understand how their actions and behaviours have affected others and can begin to build bridges with those who have had to endure their drama for so long.
The above is not a complete list of traits nor will everyone who may have one or two of them be diagnosed as narcissistic, however, if you feel you do display some of these behaviours and they are not serving you a purpose then please contact a reputable hypnotherapist who will help you to become the best version of yourself.
"In their story, the narcissist is either the victim or the hero – but never the villain."
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About Biodun Ogunyemi
Biodun Ogunyemi is the founder of Optimind, one of the leading hypnotherapy practices within the UK. He has practised on Harley Street and is an experienced hypnotherapist, trained to the highest level in advanced hypnotherapy and NLP and is the author of over 180 hypnosis products.