5 Tips for Recognizing the Connection Between Narcissism and Bullying

Discover how to spot narcissistic teens that bully others

arrogant young man

People talk about narcissism all the time. They label their friends, their coworkers and their neighbors narcissistic.  They might event label their in-laws, their spouses and even their child’s teacher a narcissist.

And they are especially quick to label teens narcissistic because of the multitude of selfies and over-the-top posts on Instagram and Twitter. But experts indicate there is a difference between self-centered teens who post excessively on social media and a true narcissist.

In fact, there is much more to narcissism than having an inflated sense of self importance, narcissists also exhibit some distinct characteristics that make them prone to controlling and bullying others. Here is an overview of the top five signals that a teen is narcissistic and a bully.

Lack empathy and emotional intelligence. Narcissists find it hard, if not impossible, to empathize with the feelings of others. For this reason, they often are uneasy around displays of emotions. They also often lack insight into the emotions of others and even struggle to identify their own emotions. In fact, when they are upset, they will often deny feeling that way at all. And when they are hurt or frustrated, they will often go on the attack and explode with rage.

For this reason, they are very prone to bully others. Not only do they lack the empathy necessary to keep them from hurting others, but they also are so out of touch with their own emotions that the only way they know how to behave is with anger and rage.

The end result is humiliating and intimidating other people.

Demonstrate feelings of entitlement. Narcissists have strong feelings of entitlement and often make decisions without a lot of forethought to the impact on other people. As a result, they feel entitled to better treatment than other people.

And when people do not give them what they feel they are owed, they can be cruel in return. They also may feel entitled to treat people as if they are beneath them.  This means bullying kids on the bus for being in “their seat” or taking things that belong to others. They also feel entitled to the best position on the team, the first spot in line, the best lunch spot and so on.

Exhibit signs of being self-absorbed. Narcissists think only about themselves and cannot see the needs or feelings of others. In addition to being self-absorbed, they also are controlling and exploitive and they often bully others to get their way.  They dominate conversations, talk loudly or interrupt others.

Friendships with others usually require total and uncritical loyalty from their friends. If friends do express dissatisfaction, the narcissist will turn on them. Tactics used might include ostracism, gossip spreading, namecalling and cyberbullying. They also tend to struggle with jealousy and envy and question the motives and loyalty of others.

No matter how well a person treats a narcissist, they feel that it is never good enough.

Struggle with self-image and social comparison. Although most narcissists appear aloof and arrogant, they are actually preoccupied with the way they are viewed by others. What’s more, they are easily insulted and often misinterpret every comment or remark to be a put-down or an insult. As a result, it is not uncommon for them to protest that they are victims of bullying or abuse instead of the other way around.

What’s more, they often ridicule and humiliate others, especially those closest to them. They also make contemptuous remarks about others behind their back and will engage in rumors and gossip about others, often destroying reputations in their wake.

Lack a moral compass. Many times, narcissists will engage in unethical behavior, distort the truth or manipulate situations and others. They also refuse to accept responsibility for their mistakes and often engage in blame shifting. Additionally, they will use guilt to manipulate others or engage in victim behavior to get sympathy.

Narcissists also are extremely self-righteous and judgmental of other people.  As a result, when they bully others they often believe that the victim deserves the treatment or brought it on themselves. Consequently, they never take responsibility for their choices to hurt other people.

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