Is There A Narcissist In Your Life?

 

‘He is a narcissist. He can only think about himself all the time.’

 

Narcissism has grown into becoming a commonly thrown across word these days. But what does it mean and who is a narcissist? The word took its origin in Greek mythology where a character named Narcissus fell in love with his own image that he saw reflected in a sea. Thereon, it has come to signify self-love, selfishness, and arrogance. However, narcissism has many shades from an extra healthy ego to a pathological grandiosity.

 

Who is a Narcissist?

The unhealthy end of the narcissistic spectrum can be characterized by-

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupations with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
  • A belief that he/she is special and unique and only other special or high-status people or associations can understand them
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a sense of entitlement
  • Is interpersonally exploitative
  • Lacks empathy
  • If often envious of others or believes others are envious of him/her
  • Shows arrogant behaviors or attitudes

 

How to identify a narcissist in your life?

  • He/she would be the one basking in the center of attention. Narcissists dominate conversations. They love to talk about themselves and exaggerate their accomplishments. They embellish their stories in order to impress their audience.
  • Narcissists offer unsolicited advice all the time. They seize opportunities to demonstrate their superior knowledge.
  • He/she can’t wait in line and hates it when someone doesn’t pick up their phone. They believe they deserve special treatment and want their needs to be fulfilled immediately. They live life with a sense of entitlement and expect the world to revolve around them.
  • Narcissists have high ambitions. However, instead of working hard to get there, they believe they are destined for greatness. Narcissists believe they are naturally special and deserve only the best. They obsess over status symbols and belittle others who don’t quite fit in.
  • These persons are charming till the time you keep the praise and appreciation flowing. But as soon as you criticize them, the relationship is over.
  •  Narcissists are competitive. They need to win everywhere, be it in a video game, office or a lottery. Turning out superior to everybody else is important to them. Consequently, they can never celebrate anyone’s success because it would mean someone else won this time.
  • They are pros at keeping grudges since they take every criticism and disapproval very personally. If you insult them or criticize them, they will never forget it or get over it either. Most likely, they will take revenge either now or in the future.
  • They never own up to their faults. Blaming others is a defense mechanism they use almost immediately.
  • They lack empathy and take advantage of people by manipulating or bullying them.

 

What to do when there is a narcissist in your life?

Unfortunately, narcissism cannot be treated with a drug; there is no medication for it. However, being a personality trait or disorder, it can be treated with intensive specialized psychotherapy. But if he/she refuses to believe there is a problem and resists treatment, the most you can do is talk to a therapist about how you can make things work without him/her seeking therapy.

People who have narcissistic traits or personality are difficult to deal with and more so, to stay with. It is imperative that once you realize these symptoms in your loved ones, you sit down with them and show them some of the things that are happening in their lives and the reason behind it. If they acknowledge it, prepare them to see a therapist. If they don’t, you seek a therapist yourself to work out things at your end.

 

Reference

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

vancouver counselling real life counselling

It’s Your Choice – My #1 Tip for Changing Perspective

Yesterday marked my first day exploring downtown Vancouver. I decided that with the sun shining, I would take the opportunity and sit by the beach. So I found myself a rock, and curled up with the view of the ocean and the mountains in the distance.

There was a man beside me, probably in his mid-20’s, next to me, relaxing and sunbathing. As I fell into a blissful feeling, enjoying the warmth on my face as I read my book, I noticed the guy beside me was swimming! As a note, although I’m in Vancouver now, it is still only the 7th of April.

Before I decided to leave, I decided I would initiate a few words with him. So, I asked:

Me: “How cold was the water?”

Him: “It was really cold. But, if you tell yourself it’s really cold you’ll never get in. I come down to the beach every day in the summer. I live close to here. I’ve been wanting to come swimming all week, but today was finally warm enough. Cold is relative.”

What impressed me the most was his choice of words. It was obvious to me that:

  •  if you want something bad enough you’ll do it
  •  if you keep a positive perspective you’ll face adversity
  •  your words affect your actions
  •  what is okay for me, may not be okay for you. But if it aligns with your values, goals, and desires, you’re being authentic.

Although there was a bit more to our conversation, this was the gist of it.

So here is your tip:

I think we can all take a piece of his perspective and try to use it more in our daily lives.

 

Have you caught yourself reframing your self-talk or your words? How has it helped you? What helped you change your perspective? Share it down below in the comments!

 

mississauga counselling

Life Choices

As we transition into Autumn here in Ontario, I find myself reflective about my own life choices as well as about some of the stories my clients have shared with me.

One of the beautiful things about life is that we have an abundance of choice around us. Have you walked down the aisle’s of your grocery store lately? What about exploring the department store? Let’s not even talk about the ways to express yourself through social media!

These choices are great; they provide us with options, allow us to feel empowered and abundant. However, sometimes perhaps these choices can lead to a “road block”, where we have TOO many choices and are left feeling stumped.

From what I’ve observed, making choices about certain transitions or changes in your life can sometimes feel overwhelming. Let’s face it, when we think about the big, “life-impacting” decisions we have around us, they are just that, “life-impacting”! So, how do you make these decisions with clear eyes and open hearts?

The important piece to this, in my opinion, is to make your decision based on your values, and what you want for YOU. It’s your life to live. So, without prevail, embrace what you really want, with logic, and with a smile.

 

motivation

A Fresh Re-Start

So you’ve been slacking on your new year’s resolution; who hasn’t? The question now is: are you going to make the necessary changes to achieve your goals? Remember, a positive mindset is required with the ambition to do more. Here, we will work on the times when doubt creeps into your mind and you find yourself loosing your motivation, slacking again. So even as the snow thaws out and the flowers start to bloom, note if your new year’s resolutions are starting to dwindle in your mind. Let’s take this post to reflect on the reasons why we chose those goals and how we can stick to achieving them in the coming months.

How Do You Speak About your Goals?

Let’s first look at how you articulated our goals to others. Did you scream it from the rooftop after too much champagne? Or maybe you scribbled it in the sand before the tide came in? Either way, you found some way to tell others what your goals are for this year. But after that night, did you write them out somewhere? A place you know you would read them? Because something as simple as writing on a blank page and posting it on the wall can go a long way toward helping you reach that goal, one day at a time.

Another effective method, that puts more accountability on your actions, is using an agenda. Did you reach your milestones in the time you allotted yourself?

Whichever method you decide to use, just make sure you stay aware of both: where you want to be and when you want to be there. Try to repeat the goal over and over to yourself, take the time to listen to what you are saying. This technique can up your stakes on your goals, by helping you dig deep and finding the real motivators behind them.

 

How to Motivate Yourself

Visualizing what you want to accomplish is important for motivation. Did you want to exercise to fit into those skinny jeans? Or did you want to give your doctor less concern about cholesterol levels? Take a few days to really listen to what the foundation is for your goals. Something you can do to help determine motivation is weighing the pros and cons of your thought process on making these changes: What am I gaining? What am I avoiding?

Motivating factors can be described as:

1      Fear: “If you don’t do the dishes you’re not going out tonight!”

2      Incentive: “If you meet your sales quota this month you’ll get a $1000 bonus on your paycheck”

3      Intrinsic (attitude/internal): “I complete this 5km run because doing so gives me a sense of accomplishment – and I know it’s good for my physical and mental health.”

By now you should start getting a clearer picture of where your goals are being formulated. Have you found something you’re passionate about? Is there something you know you have been putting off for years? Use this awareness to embracing your purpose for this year. I am not trying to make you uncomfortable by overwhelming you with an overarching reason for your actions, but rather trying to draw out some accountability about how you act towards your goal. As these actions are rooted in how your goals are presented to you, both internally and externally.

Internal (intrinsic) vs. External (extrinsic) Motivation:

●    Internal motivation comes from the fulfillment of self-gratification

●    External motivation comes from outside the learner in the forms of tangible rewards and punishments such as competition, grades, awards, promotion, pay, etc.

 Where to begin?

If you’d like to inquire about goal setting and motivation treatment and help in Mississauga or Bradford Ontario at Real Life Counselling, don’t hesitate to call us at 289-231-8479.

 

 

References

Taylor, J. (2013). Personal Growth: Motivation: The Drive to Change. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201201/personal-growth-motivation-the-drive-change

N.A. (2013) NALD: BDAA. Canada’s Literacy and Essential Skills Network. Retrieved from: www.nald.ca/adultlearningcourse/glossary.htm

Ham, V., Davey, R., Fenaughty, J. (2013). Proceedings from the 16th International Conference on Thinking (ICOT). International Conference on Thinking. Retrieved from: http://icot2013.core-ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Proceedings-ICOT-2013.pdf#page=181

 

negative beliefs

Negative Beliefs

Have you grown up with certain beliefs about the world? You know how life works, what is possible and what’s not, what you can expect and what you can only dream about. Hence, you think you have a clear picture of the reality, right? Well, think again. Maybe the world is not exactly how you look at it right now; maybe if you change your perspective, you’ll find out that what you believed as a definite truth is actually a lie. We lived our whole life with a certain set of rules and a certain set of beliefs. However, some of these beliefs are not helping us grow. Additionally, they are simply wrong. These are called Negative Beliefs, and they can stand in your way to be happy.

Psychology Tomorrow Magazine posted a great blog about Negative Beliefs. Read it here.

Snigdha Gharami gives some good examples of negative beliefs and how they are wrong. For instance, the idea of “never changing” in life is a false belief- some people have a habit of not accepting changes, but changes are actually good for us. Or, here is another example – some people believe admiring something (even something good) will create a lack of self-control. However, it is also false, because you cannot lose your value by admiring something good. There are other good examples in the article, so take a look; maybe you find yourself in it, and challenge some of your beliefs.

In the end, she wraps it all up well: “It is you who makes and breaks these patterns. Take a chance, live life your way because you only have one- this opportunity and this day will never come back.

Embrace change, take a chance and live big!

 

Happy Holidays!

 

holiday stress

How to Reduce Stress Over Christmas and Holidays

The holiday season…

Cold weather ✓

Snow ✓

2013 coming to an end ✓

Deadlines approaching ✓

More family time ✓

More commitments ✓

Season of giving ✓

…as you know, the list keeps running. Most of our lives encompass some of these things right now. In my practice, I’m finding that there’s an increased level of stress and anxiety in people’s lives. Why does holiday stress happen?

Holiday Season and Stress

Research from the American Heart Association (2004) contends that this time of year there’s an increase in emotional stress about the holidays. Having to interact with family we may, or may not want to associate with, feeling the pressure of having to absorb financial pressures such as purchasing gifts, traveling, and/or entertaining. Also around this time of year, people are more likely to indulge in foods and beverages they may not usually consume. Consequently, if it interrupts normal healthy patterns, feelings of guilt or regret creep in.

5 tips for avoiding holiday stress:

  • Pick and choose your holiday activities
  • Ask for help
  • Say no when necessary
  • Everything in moderation
  • Set realistic expectations for the season

Try to relax and lower your expectations from yourself and from your family. You may find yourself enjoying holidays more than you expected.

 

References

Kloner, R. (2004). The “Merry Christmas Coronary” and “Happy New Year Heart Attack” Phenomenon. American Heart Association. Retrieved from: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/110/25/3744.short

 

I’m excited. I’M excited. I’M EXCITED!

The year was 2005.

I was in my last year of my Bachelor’s program, meticulously spending hours checking my research data and putting the final touches on my thesis defense. Night after night, I found myself ruminating over having to present in front of my professors, not to mention mine in front of my peers. Ever since I could remember, public presentations, regardless of size or length, caused me grief. I mean, not your typical 11th hour jitters, but…blushing, shaking, nauseous stomach, cold sweats – you name it, I had it.

So, the day had come. I was to defend my thesis. Although most of the day felt like a blur, a few moments still stick with me. The first was feedback from one of my peers as we were standing in the halls practicing our scripts. I shared with my friends how nervous I was, feeling unable to control the physical and emotional reactions happening in my body. My friend, Susan*, turned to me and said, “…instead of telling yourself you’re nervous and scared, why don’t you say you’re excited!”. I listening, and thought to myself – “heck, I have nothing to lose!” So, minutes before my hour of fame, I said, “I’m excited”, “I’M excited”, “I’M EXCITED!”. I think after the 3rd excited, I was starting to feel it. The reaction kicked in! Then, before I knew it, I was done.

I think that’s the second part of my memories of my thesis. My accomplishment. I “felt the fear but did it anyway”. There’s no better feeling then working through a tough obstacle. Or, overcoming a fear.

I encourage you to feel inspired, to reach out for help if you need it, and to “feel the fear and do it anyway” (as Susan Jeffers would say).

 

Enthusiastically,

Ashley J. Kreze

life decisions

Life Decisions

Frequently in my practice, I have individuals share their struggles with making life decisions. These decisions revolve around: What to do next? To stay with my partner or to leave? To find a new career or put up with my current? etc.

There really isn’t an easy answer to these questions. We will all encounter various transitions in our lives and some of the answers or paths to making these decisions will come easier than others.

The question clients most often ask is:

How can I make the transition during this decision-making process easier?

Here are a few tips about life decisions to keep in mind:

  • I quote Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid, “have balance, and focus
  • Write out your choices… allowing you to empty your mind of emotion and use more logical reasoning when deciding
  • Trust your inner voice and stick to your decision. You’ll feel confident you made the decision and stuck to the plan.
These are just a few basic ideas to help, there are usually more variables involved in the process.
But remember, do the things that make yourself proud!
Stay happy and healthy,
Ashley.
Personal Leadership

Personal Leadership

“Personal leadership is the self-confident ability to crystalize your thinking so that you are able to establish an exact direction for your own life, to commit yourself to moving in that direction and then to take determined action to acquire, accomplish, or become whatever that goal demands.” 

-Paul J. Meyer

Personal leadership is not something we’re born with. It’s something you develop through experience, effort, and practice. It’s something you work on every day. But why would I do that, you ask?

Benefits of Strong Personal Leadership

First of all, personal leadership is crucial to achieving your long-term goals and to your career success. With personal leadership, you’ll learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can work on developing different skills and using your strengths more efficiently, which will lead to learning how to work smart and effective to get to the future you want for yourself.

Having strong personal leadership means you’re getting to know yourself. Thus, you’ll be more aware of the things you truly want and the things you maybe thought you want, but actually, that wish wasn’t authentic. It was rather driven by outer factors, such as expectations or other people’s wishes. With getting to know yourself and acquiring knowledge about the world, which are both parts of developing the personal leadership, comes wisdom.

Here is a nice article about essential skills you should be working on in order to become a strong personal leader: https://kaylenemathews.com/9-essential-personal-leadership-skills/

 

So, what have you done to improve your personal leadership today?