In this video, Dr. David B. Hawkins, Director of The Marriage Recovery Center and Licensed Clinical Psychologist, talks about how does a Narcissist think, how they selfishly view the world and what it will take to bring about possible change.
How Does a Narcissist Think?
Narcissism is a personality trait characterized by extreme self-centeredness, entitlement, and a lack of empathy for others. Understanding how a narcissist thinks can shed light on their behavior and provide insights into their potential for change. In this article, we will explore the mindset of a narcissist and delve into the possibilities of transformation.
The Six-Year-Old Analogy: Immaturity and Self-Centeredness
To grasp the essence of a narcissist’s mindset, let’s imagine a six-year-old child. This child is temperamental, demanding, and believes the world revolves around them. When frustrated, they throw tantrums, making life miserable for those around them. Similarly, a narcissist exhibits immature and self-centered behavior, twisting words, engaging in crazy-making, and creating havoc in relationships.
The Gender Perspective: Men and Women as Narcissists
While it is important to acknowledge that narcissism can be found in both men and women, for the purpose of this discussion, we will primarily refer to men. This is because the author, Dr. David Hawkins, predominantly works with men seeking help due to their self-centered and immature tendencies. However, it is crucial to recognize that narcissism knows no gender boundaries.
Success and Entitlement: Narcissism and Achievement
Narcissists often possess charisma and character strengths that allow them to succeed in various aspects of life. However, their success can contribute to an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. They believe they have the right to do as they please, challenge anyone they choose, and disregard criticism, making relationships extremely challenging.
Lack of Awareness: Do Narcissists Know What They’re Doing?
A key question arises: Do narcissists possess a conscious awareness of their manipulative behavior? Dr. Hawkins suggests that most narcissists have only a vague understanding of what they are doing wrong. They operate within a distorted reality, where crazy-making is the norm. Like a fish unaware of the water it swims in, a narcissist is often the last to recognize their own actions and their destructive impact.
The Spectrum of Narcissism: Insight and Intervention
The spectrum of narcissism varies from mild to severe. Interestingly, as narcissistic traits become more pronounced, the individual tends to possess less insight into their behavior. This distorted window through which they view the world serves their interests, allowing them to avoid accountability and manipulate others. However, on the lower end of the spectrum, intervention and insight are more feasible.
The Possibility of Change: Accountability and Boundaries
Can narcissists truly change? The answer depends on the severity of their narcissistic traits. With individuals on the lower end of the spectrum, firm intervention and boundaries can be effective in initiating change. Dr. Hawkins has found success using both individual and couples counseling. However, for those higher on the spectrum, denial and deeply entrenched character pathology pose significant barriers to change.
The Role of the Partner: Instrument of Change
Partners of narcissists play a crucial role in initiating change. By holding the narcissist accountable and threatening the relationship, they can challenge the status quo. Narcissists, who are often immature and dependent, need the relationship for validation and stability. When confronted with the potential loss of the relationship, they may be motivated to consider entering into depth counseling.
The Need for Depth Counseling: Breaking Patterns
Superficial therapy or counseling is often inadequate for addressing narcissistic behavior. In-depth therapy, encompassing both individual and couples counseling, is essential. This approach allows the narcissist to be held accountable for their manipulative tactics and fosters self-reflection. Only through confronting and unraveling the various ways they engage in crazy-making can meaningful change occur.
The Challenge of Change: Confrontation and Consequence
Changing a narcissist requires recognizing their immaturity and self-centeredness and challenging them through confrontation. This process is demanding and challenging for both parties involved. However, if the narcissist is positioned on the lower end or mid-level of the spectrum, there is a possibility for transformation.
In conclusion, understanding how does a narcissist think provides valuable insights into their behavior and potential for change. While narcissism poses significant challenges, interventions rooted in accountability, firm boundaries, and in-depth counseling can pave the way for growth and healthier relationships. The journey of change may be arduous, but with the right approach, the possibility of transformation exists.
Also read: What is Narcissistic Victim Syndrome
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.