Wendy Behary is a founding fellow and consulting supervisor for The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (Aaron T. Beck Institute). Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them.
She is the author of “Disarming the Narcissist — Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed” translated in 10 languages.
Narcissism and world-class achievement have an interesting relationship. When we think of those who excel on the world stage, it’d be easy to conjure up a story that they have a deep inner belief that they can be the absolute best in the world (that’s actually not the case, as we’ve come to learn from many of the folks on the Finding Mastery Podcast.
But for those who do hold that belief — THE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND ME BECAUSE I’M THAT IMPORTANT AND SPECIAL –is when my antenna tends to attune to the concept of narcissism.
It’s the excessive self-centered vanity and lack of regard for others that is one of the hallmarks of narcissism. We can all be self-absorbed, needy….. display narcissistic behavior from time to time…that’s not what this is about….it’s when the sense of grandiosity is so pervasive that it impairs daily functioning with others, and in essence, within themselves.
Narcissism is named for the Greek myth of Narcissus—who was a hunter and when he saw his own reflection in the water, he fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. He stared at his reflection until he died.
The way I like to simplify narcissism, is that the person can’t tell the difference between himself and everyone around him — everyone then becomes a reflection of his him — in which gives him the right to use them as extensions of his own self-worth (even if that means public embarrassment).
There was an interesting piece of research in the Journal of applied sport psychology, 2013, by Ross Roberts and team — where they found that the more narcissistic a person was, the less they benefited from psychological skills training – in other words, all you had to do for them, is turn on the lights, and they came alive.
If you have ever thought, am I’m living with or working with a narcissist, or am I a narcissist? Wendy provides ways to tease that out. She dives into why so many elite performers are narcissists, and how we can be more effective with living and working with them.
In This Episode:
- Why she became interested in narcissism
- How can we better identify if we our in a relationship with a narcissist?
- The temperamental needs of a narcissist
- How narcissism forms in a child
- Why so many elite performers are narcissists
- What it means to be a narcissist with a heart of gold
- Can narcissists change?
- How to identify if you have narcissistic tendencies
- The best steps for approaching someone with narcissism
- Finding the appropriate balance between supporting your children and nurturing them too much
- The science of Schema Therapy
- Is there a danger in changing a narcissist’s tendencies?
- Why so many athletes are broke
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“It’s one thing to be proud. We all like to be liked and like to feel admired and appreciated for our work, for our service, for our contributions. It’s another thing to need that so much in order to feel like you matter.”
“Success is never losing my curiosity to continue to keep discovering, learning, teaching and sharing what I’m learning.”
“Empathy is the golden nugget. The more we can try to walk in the shoes of another and understand each other the better the chances of integrating with one another.”
“Mastery is empathy. They’re one and the same. The more we understand and we know and we learn and we keep our mind open to learning, the greater chance to take whatever your passionate about and become a master about that.”
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- Schema Therapy – an integrative approach to treatment that combines the best aspects of cognitive-behavioral, experiential, interpersonal and psychoanalytic therapies into one unified model.
- Dan Siegel – served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.