Understanding the behaviors and traits of narcissistic individuals is crucial for navigating relationships and maintaining emotional well-being. Dr. David Hawkins delves into the common habit that many people face: narcissists feel superior. He sheds light on the impact of this superiority complex on relationships and outlines effective strategies for dealing with it.
Attitude of Superiority
Narcissists not only believe they are always right, but they also exhibit an attitude of superiority. This sense of superiority is not always explicitly expressed but surfaces in various ways, subtly diminishing the self-esteem and well-being of those around them. This superiority complex is a cornerstone of emotional abuse, as it involves exerting power and control over others, resulting in prolonged diminishment.
Manifestations of Superiority
The attitude of superiority manifests in different aspects of life, from mundane daily activities to significant life decisions. Some examples are criticizing choices in grocery shopping, questioning financial decisions, and intervening in household management. This behavior is particularly evident in parenting issues, where the narcissist asserts control, further impacting the other person’s sense of self.
The Impact on Relationships
Superiority in a relationship creates an atmosphere where the affected individual feels controlled, restricted, and diminished. A healthy relationship, in contrast, should foster freedom of thought, expression, and action. It is very important to recognize and address this superiority complex to maintain a relationship where both individuals feel safe and free to be themselves.
Narcissists Feel Superior: Strategies for Empowerment
Dealing with someone who exhibits an attitude of superiority requires a strategic approach. Dr. Hawkins offers four key steps to empower individuals in such situations:
- Self-Validation: Internal affirmation and confirmation of one’s values and preferences are crucial. Taking the time to reflect on personal priorities and validating oneself independently of external judgments lay the foundation for resilience against the impact of superiority.
- Expressing Individuality in Relationships: Healthy relationships involve both agreement and disagreement. Dr. Hawkins encourages individuals to voice their opinions, even if they differ from others. Building the muscle to express oneself authentically contributes to a stronger sense of self within relationships.
- Maintaining Boundaries: Setting and upholding personal boundaries is essential in confronting an attitude of superiority. Refusing to participate in disrespectful conversations and reevaluating the sustainability of relationships or settings where one feels diminished are crucial steps toward maintaining personal well-being.
- Making Requests: To the extent that it is safe, individuals should make requests, expressing their desires and preferences. While these requests may not always be honored, they serve as a tool to assert one’s needs and communicate the importance of mutual respect.
Navigating relationships with narcissistic individuals requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Understanding the pervasive attitude of superiority as a habit of highly narcissistic people empowers individuals to take control of their own well-being. By implementing self-validation, expressing individuality, maintaining boundaries, and making requests, individuals can confront the attitude of superiority and remind those around them that their thoughts, feelings, and actions matter. Ultimately, fostering healthy relationships involves creating an environment where each person is free to be themselves.
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Also read: Why do Narcissists Act the Way they Do?
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.