5 Challenging Behaviour’s Affecting

    Interpersonal Relationships

What is narcissism?

‘Narcissism’ or ‘narcissist’ has been one of the latest terms we often encounter on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. While we may describe someone who talks about themselves too much, or posts too many selfies online as a narcissist, what does it actually take for someone to have a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a diagnosis of NPD describes a ‘pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, indicated by five (or more) of the following’:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
  • Belief that they are special or unique and can only be understood by, or associate with other special people
  • Need for excessive admiration
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally exploitative behaviour
  • Lack of empathy
  • Envious of others or believe the opposite to be true
  • Arrogant, haughty behaviour’s or attitudes

It is important to note that displaying some or more of the above does not automatically result in a diagnosis. Standard psychiatric interviews and tools would have to be administered by a qualified expert to make a diagnosis of NPD.

It is important that we notice and monitor challenging behaviour’s that threaten interpersonal relationships, and could prevent the formation of long-lasting and healthy connections.

1.   Coming on too strong

It is a human trait for us to enjoy feeling like we are cared for and wanted by someone. However, it can be an early warning sign when a person pushes intense and deep connections right from the beginning, instead of allowing a connection to grow organically. When this happens, we can experience a sense of overwhelm.

2.   Dominating the Conversation

When it feels like you are in a conversation where the other person seems too occupied with talking about themselves to ask about or listen to you, it is important to ask ourselves the following questions: When you do talk about yourself, do they express interest and continue the conversation, or does it somehow always end up being about them?

When someone constantly talks about their own achievements or are prone to exaggerating their accomplishments, it could feel like you have been left out of a conversation that just involves the both of you!

3.   Fishing for Praise

In our interactions with this person, it feels like they are constantly fishing for praise and may appear to be hypersensitive to slights. What happens is that it constantly feels like it is your responsibility to make this person feel better about themselves, and sometimes they might even put you down, to feel better about themselves.

4.   Lack Empathy

It often feels like an uphill task trying to get this person to understand your feelings and perspectives in a situation, and even to apologise for a mistake they had made that had hurt you. This often leaves us feeling unseen, invalidated, misunderstood or dismissed. It might even occur to us that there have been multiple instances of collapse that had not been properly addressed and resolved, in our relationship with this person.

5.   Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and involves manipulation of others. We might experience constant lies, false accusations, and falsehoods with this person, culminating in us beginning to question our reality.

Signs that you might be experiencing gaslighting include:

  • Often wondering if you are being oversensitive
  • Feeling like everything you do is wrong
  • Blaming yourself when things go wrong
  • Frequent apologizing, even when not at fault
  • Questioning whether your responses to this person is accurate
  • Making excuses for their behaviour

If you are experiencing these behaviour’s from someone you have an interpersonal connection with, and need help building effective communication pathways and setting up healthy boundaries, reach out to us!

Speak to your psychologist today about Challenging Behaviour’s.

Written By Vanessa Tan Registered Psychologist

Phone – 6381 0297

Email – admin@revivehealthandhappiness.com.au


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