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Childress : Are you a Narcissist?

Wanna hear something funny?
Do you know what the most reliable assessment of narcissistic pathology is?
Ask them.  Ask them, “Are you a narcissist?” and they’ll say, “Yes.”  
That’s what the research says. There’s a couple of different paper-and-pencil questionnaires, but the research indicates that the most reliable assessment is simply to ask them, “Are you a narcissist?”
Wildest thing. They don’t see it as a problem. They see it as a virtue.
Are you self-confident?  Yes.  Are you better than other people?  Yes.  Are you always right?  Yes.  Smarter than everyone else?  Yes.  Do you exploit people?  Absolutely.
Do you know what they say about their exploiting other people?  That those other people are “suckers” and that the exploitation by the narcissist is an example of their superior intelligence.
They see it as a good thing. Exploitation of others is a sign of their superiority.
And they are always right.  Always.  Al-ways.  Like never, not even once, ever wrong.  That is a cosmological constant of the universe, like the speed of light. They are always right.  If there is a discrepancy with reality, it’s time and space that gets warped, not the speed of light – that is a constant of the universe.
They are always right.  Not sometimes.  Al-ways.
Their arrogant self-confidence, their absence of caring for inferior and insignificant people, their conning and manipulation, are all signs of their superiority.
None of that is a problem for them – its only a problem for us, and we don’t matter, only they matter. 
Their arrogant self-confidence comes from their certainty in ALWAYS being right… because that is the fundamental definition of the universe, they are, by cosmological constant of the universe, always right.
If they are wrong – no they’re not – it’s reality that is wrong because they are always right.  It’s not them that’s wrong, it’s reality that’s wrong.  
They are superior to us. Of course they’re entitled, they deserve it, they’re superior. That’s a good thing, being superior to everyone.
Are you a narcissist?  Yes.
They are proud of their narcissistic traits, their arrogant certainty in their grandiose superiority. That’s a good thing from their perspective.
The problem is in us.  We don’t appreciate their superiority and do what we’re told. We have different ideas.  And since they are ALWAYS right, if there is different, it’s because we are wrong. Always.
A constant of the universe, like the number pi. They are always – always not even a single time not – right. That’s the certainty of their arrogance.  Even when they’re wrong, they’re not – change reality – see? They’re right.
It’s a neurological thing, once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot.  Basically, just ask.  They think all their narcissistic qualities are virtues. They’ll love to tell you all about how superior they are, and all about the other person’s fundamental inadequacy as a human.
Oh my goodness, how they love telling you how wonderful they are.  Every single sentence, they are the most understanding and wonderful parent ever created.
They’ll tell you about their wonderfulness the entire session.  If you want a break from it, just ask them about their inadequate ex-spouse. That’ll give you an easy 15 minutes of “woe” and demonization about how inadequate their ex-spouse is.  
But it doesn’t really have staying power. Within a few minutes they’ll contrast the inadequacy of their ex-spouse to how wonderful they are, and then we’re off to the races again.
The thing is… when interviewing for narcissistic pathology, don’t get in their way.  Don’t go looking, just ask and get out of the way. If you are assessing narcissistic pathology, know the triggers, push them, and then don’t get in the way. They think it’s a good thing – they see their narcissistic pathology as a virtue.
Tell me how wonderful you are.  Seriously, you can actually be that direct. “Happy to, glad you asked.”
When that research was published that cracked me up,  the best assessment for narcissistic pathology is to simply ask them, “Are you a narcissist.”
Yes, as a matter of fact. Yes, I am, thanks for asking.  Have you heard how wonderful I am?
No, please, tell me more.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857