“There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”
John C. Maxwell (Author, The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership)
“Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.”
Dale Carnegie (American Author, Speaker, How To Win Friends And Influence People)
“Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”
Helen Keller (Author, Political Activist)
Life isn’t fair.
Everyone knows it.
And yet, when someone lets you down or wrongs you, suddenly you expect it to be fair.
At least, for you.
And, the natural tendency is to look for someone to blame.
Because, there has to be a villain.
Very often in our lives, when we think something’s not fair, we feel a sense of pity, and because of that, we look for somebody to blame.
Instead of solving the problem or fixing whatever’s wrong, we blame somebody else or we evade reality completely.
One common thing that’s trending right now is calling other people narcissists.
But narcissism, or calling somebody a narcissist, is really a buzzword for self-pity.
It’s an excuse to place blame on anyone but ourselves.
Someone did you wrong
Or, let you down.
Or, they liked you and did things for you, and now they don’t.
They were generous, and then they were selfish.
They acted like they liked you, and now they don’t.
They loved you, and then they hurt you.
They hired you, and then they fired you.
I get it — you’re disappointed.
Or sad, or mad, or otherwise spinning in a negative, emotional wasteland.
Jumping to labels and name-calling is a way to feel like you have more power than you actually do.
Blaming someone else enables you to feel sorry for yourself, and therefore absolves you of personal responsibility.
Look — everything in your life is your fault.
You’ve heard me say this before.
And, it’s still true.
They aren’t a narcissist.
And even if they are, you’re missing the point.
It’s not about them.
It’s about you.
And, lashing out with psychological jargon doesn’t make you any better than them.
These buzzwords reflect your own self-pity.
What’s really going on, is that you’re just feeling sorry for yourself.
Why They Aren’t Really A Narcissist
Scientific studies show that over the course of a lifetime, only 6% of people will ever experience actual Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which means 94% of the population will never experience it.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an uncommon psychiatric diagnosis.
So, the odds are that your ex, or your boss, or whoever else is not actually experiencing narcissistic personality disorder, they just aren’t agreeing with you.
The problem here is what it does to you.
When you label other people, when you feel sorry for yourself, when you feel a sense of self-pity, it makes you less likely to solve problems.
According to Psychology Today, it is characterized by a disproportionate level of self-importance, grandiosity, and ego-centric pathology.
But, what gets someone called a narcissist is usually a host of other common traits, including arrogance, lack of empathy, manipulation, and a callousness of taking advantage of others for their own benefit at all costs.
When someone treats you poorly, is demanding and self-important, and uses you for their own personal gain while never admitting they are wrong and with a gross lack of personal insight, screaming “narcissist” feels just.
But, just because someone is unlikeable and insufferable, or even intentionally corrupt to you, doesn’t make them a narcissist.
It means that they are focused on their own path, and you got in the way.
You don’t want to be friends with them, but they likely aren’t a part of a clinical diagnosis.
Which you probably aren’t qualified to make anyway.
But, this need to label and judge can reveal more about you than you’re prepared for.
Research out of the University of Nebraska published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that what you say about others actually says more about you.
An upgrade on classic projection, this study found that people who spoke of others in a positive way often reflected their own positive traits.
But, those who actually had more narcissistic traits themselves were more likely to judge others negatively.
This lack of insight will keep you the victim, and ensure you also fail to develop the more positive characteristics associated with social and professional success.
Because this buzzword has become so freely tossed around in such a derogatory manner, it’s worth noting research on people with narcissistic traits isn’t as negative as you might expect.
Research in Science News on a study out of the University of Vaasa actually found that leaders with narcissistic traits received good reviews from their subordinates and were seen as more competent at their jobs.
The more narcissistic features a leader had, the better their performance on the job, and the lower rate of burnout.
The reality is that life is full of problems and when you solve a problem, that’s really what happiness is.
You don’t feel happy by calling someone a name or playing amateur psychiatrist.
You just look foolish.
Like… there’s something wrong with you, not them.
When you’re in a state of self-pity, when you’re in a state of blaming other people, or just evading reality altogether, you cannot solve problems.
How Calling Someone A Narcissist Holds You Back
Another study showed that if you were asked to think about a time when life wasn’t fair or when somebody wasn’t fair to you, you’re more likely to refuse helping somebody else, and you’ll also perform worse on a test.
So, what does this mean?
It means that getting into this mental state of feeling sorry for yourself, blaming other people, playing the victim, and indulging in self-pity is going to lower your performance, prevent you from solving problems, and make you less likely to help others and have a more open mentality. Some people call this having an abundance mentality.
It’s going to prevent you from seeing opportunities.
Your flawed self-perception is causing you to think that this personality disorder is increasing at an alarming rate because suddenly narcissists are everywhere.
You’re just blaming other people for your problems more and more, and you’re feeling a sense of self-pity.
When it feels like you’ve been sucker-punched by someone who only cares about themselves, instead of calling them a narcissist, borrow these 3 personality traits and use them for your own success.
1. Focus on yourself.
The antidote to labelling the world with a variety of psychiatric disorders is to start becoming fully-responsible for everything that happens into your life, to your life.
You’re not responsible for the initial act, but you are responsible for how you react to it.
Instead of wasting valuable energy focusing on whoever did you wrong.
Let it go.
Focus on yourself.
Focus on your own goals.
Pour energy into moving forward and being strategic — not reactive.
Be stoic and logical.
Stop giving your power away to someone who walked all over you and instead use that to become more confident, more self-reliant, and more focused.
Narcissists keep their eye on the prize.
Their demeanour might be intolerable, and their tactics might rub your own values the wrong way, but they do end up becoming leaders with their own measures of success.
It doesn’t mean you have to be a narcissist.
But, you could learn from them.
You could learn how to fixate on your goals and stop letting people manipulate you.
You could learn how to protect your energy from toxic people.
You could learn to control your emotions and your mental energy so that nothing gets in the way of what you want to achieve.
You don’t have to be a jerk about it.
You don’t have to use people, or trick people, or treat people like pawns.
But, you could posture some of their winning traits as your own.
You could seek to borrow what works for them, within reason, and become better than them.
A confident leader that is viewed as competent and successful, without being a douchebag.
A likeable person with insight and empathy that doesn’t waste time worrying about the bad behaviors of others.
2. Focus on problem-solving.
Stop being so emotional.
Stop focusing on what everyone else is doing.
Especially what anyone else is doing or has done to you.
What are you doing?
How are you going to bounce back from this and reclaim your life?
Launch into problem-solving mode.
A narcissist wouldn’t allow you to get under their skin.
They’d deny you had any impact at all and move on.
Sure, they’d be delusional and say it was all someone else’s fault and deny any responsibility whatsoever… but… oh wait…
The difference is, they’d get back up and plough forward.
Borrow that part.
But, take responsibility to differentiate yourself from them.
Then, get around smart, creative people and start brainstorming solutions.
Take control of your mindset and take ownership.
Look at where you were vulnerable and take responsibility for it.
Then, fix it.
Focus on how to prevent it from happening again.
Cut out narcissists and manipulators.
Surround yourself with different people.
People who support and encourage you, but also keep you accountable.
Those who will give you honest feedback so that you can start taking responsibility for your life.
3. Focus on growth.
If you don’t take responsibility for your failures and missteps, you don’t get to take credit for your successes, either.
For one thing, you’ll be too busy wallowing to ever reach your goals.
But, even if you lucked out and achieved some measure of success, you’ll be far from your potential… not where you should be.
You’ll be stuck in the past.
Obsessing about the narcissist that screwed you over.
Going over the details in your head.
The angrier you get, the more you’ll lose your grip on your future goals.
And, the more you’ll lash out with passive aggressiveness in the form of weak labels trying to shrink the other person.
Distracting you from your own growth.
This is how they win… by manipulating and distracting you from your own growth.
Growth is forward-thinking.
Self-pity is stagnation.
Get over it and move on.
Direct your energy to strengthening, learning, and expanding your network.
Tighten your deadlines so you’re more motivated to move forward faster.
Let the pain move you into a season of accelerated growth and achievement.
When you take full responsibility for your life, you have real power.
Reality that you can then build from.
This sense of ownership and personal responsibility in your life — instead of self-pity — is what is going to allow you to accomplish your goals.
It’s what’s going to allow you to have better relationships, do more, and be happier and more successful.
So, instead of choosing self-pity, instead of labeling other people and evading reality, choose to be responsible. Own everything that happens in your life. That kind of ownership is powerful. You don’t need to label somebody else a narcissist or label them as manipulative. Cut them out of your life and be done. Go forward and move on to your next goal. Move on to solving other problems in your own life.
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