Don’t be a narcissist: A homily for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Toda’ys readings feature folks who are so self-focused, so preoccupied with themselves that they don’t care a lick about anyone else. We call these people narcissists. Remember that Narcissus looked at his reflection in the pond and fell in love. Instead of messing up his reflection, he died of thirst. Moral of the story: if you’re a narcissist, you bring about your own demise.

Here’s some points I want to go over so that you know if you’re dealing with a narcissist and/or if you might have some of these tendencies yourselves. Maybe we all have some. I take this list from this YouTube video by TopThink:

1. Hero syndrome – A narcissist has what you might call “hero syndrome.” He loves to tell stories, because when you tell stories, you’re the center of attention and others are eating out of your hand if you do it well. A narcissist will make himself the hero of any story. They are always winning, they’re never in the wrong, and if anything bad happens, they’re the victims.

2. They Lie – A narcissist is self-absorbed, he wants to be seen and noticed, desperately wants to be liked. He is always anxious — can’t stand criticism, always overwhelmed and on edge….because he’s worried others might think he’s less than great. This combo of being self-absorbed and anxious is why they lie and stretch the truth; they exaggerate their accomplishments and importance, minimize their failures…..they avoid criticism at all costs…blame everything on others…they’re scared of losing their reputation or power…they’re worried about feeling inferior….so they LIE LIE LIE….they tell you whatever you want to hear, like an unscrupulous car salesman…you never know if you can believe what they’re saying.

3. Social reclusiveness – Covert (vulnerable) narcissists don’t like attention as much, because these people are convinced that everyone wants to shame or criticize them, so they run away from the public eye.

4. Defects in agreeableness – Overt (grandiose) narcissists have no desire to get along with others. They’re rarely helpful, and they hate making sacrifices, they don’t like asking others for help….because they’re the most important. They are a nightmare to deal with.

5. Sky-high neuroticism – Covert (vulnerable) narcissists are emotionally volatile, they can’t relax, have trouble sleeping, get super stressed out…overwhelmed, can’t get ducks in a row….because they’re so worried about others thinking they’re less than great.

6. Taking everything personally – Vulnerable narcissists take everything personally…every comment, gesture–it all feels like a personal attack. They’re always on high alert for those who may not like them, and they will try and talk their way into anyone’s graces.

7. Controlling parents – Most narcissists were raised by really controlling parents. I don’t get this one.

8. Frequent name dropping – Narcissists can’t resist showing off. These folks, in order to feel more important, mention other people they believe to be important and pretend those individuals are their best friends — even if they only know them from having shaken their hand four years ago.

9. Self-centered manipulation – Deceit comes naturally for a narcissist. If they want something, they don’t mind manipulating others to get what they want. They’re only interested in themselves.

10. Aggressive under the microscope – Narcissists hate being analyzed, they have terribly low selfesteem. These folks, when you criticize them, hold grudges and lash out. Their ego is like a banana — the smallest criticism leaves them bruised.

11. Going with their gut – In the mind of a narcissist, no one is more reliable than themselves. Ask him a hard question, instead of doing research or asking for help, he simply goes with his gut…because he knows the best. No matter the data, they’ll ignore anything you throw at them.

12. Self-directed affirmations – A narcissist loves affirmations and often toots his own horn. “I’m the best looking person in this room,” or, “I’m the best doctor,” or, “I’m the best priest this place has ever seen and my predecessors didn’t know what they were doing.”

13. “You just don’t get it” – When you call a narcissist on something, they don’t apologize or reconsider. They simply say, “You don’t get it.” They think they’re a cut above the rest of us, so that “normal people” can’t understand why they do what they do.