How to Stop Being a Narcissist

by Ryan Hart | Updated on October 4, 2023 | Post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you find yourself constantly seeking attention and admiration from others? Do you have trouble empathizing with others and often put your own needs above theirs?

If so, you may be exhibiting narcissistic tendencies. While it can be challenging to recognize and admit to these traits, it is essential to address them in order to have healthy relationships and live a fulfilling life.

Narcissism is a personality disorder defined by an inflated sense of self-importance, an inability to empathize with others, and a constant need for admiration and attention.

These traits can lead to strained relationships and even isolation if left unchecked. However, recognizing and addressing these tendencies can lead to personal growth and healthier relationships.

So, how can you stop being a narcissist? It’s important to understand that change is possible but takes effort and self-reflection.

In the following sections, we will explore some tips and strategies for overcoming narcissism and living a happier, more connected life.

Narcissistic Personality Traits

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re interested in understanding narcissism and how to stop being a narcissist.

In different people, narcissism can be seen in varying degrees. Some people may have narcissistic characteristics without having a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder, while others may have a more severe form of the disorder.

Narcissistic traits are commonly seen in people with narcissistic personality disorder. These traits include:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Belief in being special or unique
  • Need for admiration and attention
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Lack of empathy
  • Arrogance and haughtiness
  • Envy of others or belief that others are envious of them
  • Interpersonal exploitation
  • Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships

Narcissistic Habits

If you suspect that you may be a narcissist, it is important to recognize the habits and behaviors that are associated with narcissism. Here are some key behaviors to watch out for:

Manipulation and Control

Narcissists often use manipulation and control tactics to get what they want. They may use flattery, guilt, or even threats to get others to do what they want. They may also try to control how others perceive them by lying or exaggerating their accomplishments.

Self-Centeredness and Entitlement

One of the most common traits of narcissism is a sense of entitlement. Narcissists often believe that they are unique and deserve special treatment. They may also be self-centered, focusing only on their needs and desires.


Gaslighting is a form of mental manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, or sanity. Narcissists may use gaslighting as a way to control others and make them feel like they are losing their grip on reality.

Practice Empathy

To stop being a narcissist, it is essential to develop empathy towards others. Empathy is being able to understand and share the feelings of others.

Healthy relationships depend on it, and is essential for personal growth. Here are some ways to build empathy:

Listening and Understanding

One of the most important ways to build empathy is by listening and understanding others. When you listen to someone, you give them your attention and show them that you care. To be an effective listener, you need to be fully present and engaged in the conversation. Listen intently to the other person by putting away distractions like your phone.

Bilateral listening is a technique that can help you become a better listener. It involves reflecting on what the other person has said to ensure you understand them correctly. This technique can help you avoid misunderstandings and build stronger relationships.

Considering the Needs of Others

Another way to build empathy is by considering the needs of others. To do this, you need to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their perspective. Theory of mind is a concept that can help you develop this skill. It involves recognizing that others have thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that may differ from yours.

To build empathy, it is important to practice considering the needs of others in your daily life. It can be as simple as holding the door open for someone or offering to help a friend in need. By putting the needs of others first, you can have a stronger sense of empathy and build healthier relationships.

Improving Communication Skills

Improving your communication skills can be a key factor in stopping narcissistic tendencies. Here are some tips to help you communicate better with others:

Open-Ended Conversations

When you engage in conversations, try to ask open-ended questions that encourage the other person to talk more. This will help you avoid dominating the conversation and allow the other person to express their thoughts and feelings. Examples of open-ended questions include:

  • “What do you think about this?”
  • “Can you tell me more about that?”
  • “How did that make you feel?”

By asking these types of questions, you are showing the other person that you are interested in what they have to say and that you value their opinion.

Give-and-Take Dialogue

Communication is a two-way street. It’s important to listen to the other person and respond appropriately. This means engaging in a give-and-take dialogue, where you take turns talking and listening.

When the other person is talking, make sure to actively listen and show that you understand what they are saying. You can do this by nodding, using appropriate facial expressions, and summarizing what they said.

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk can help you become more self-aware and improve your communication skills. When you catch yourself dominating a conversation or interrupting someone, take a moment to reflect on your behavior.

Instead of beating yourself up, try to reframe your thoughts positively. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m such a narcissist,” try thinking, “I can improve my communication skills by being more mindful of others.”

Handling Criticism and Rejection

Dealing with criticism and rejection can be difficult, especially for those struggling with narcissism. However, learning how to handle these situations can be an important step in stopping narcissistic behavior. Here are some tips for handling criticism and rejection:

Learning from Criticism

When faced with criticism, it can be easy to become defensive and dismissive. However, it’s important to take a step back and consider the feedback objectively. Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective and consider if there is any truth to their criticisms.

One way to do this is to ask for specific examples of the behavior that is being criticized.

Coping with Rejection

Rejection can be painful, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t define your worth as a person. If you’re struggling with rejection, try to focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Remind yourself of your value and worth, regardless of what others may think.

Finally, it’s important to stay determined in the face of rejection. Don’t let it discourage you from pursuing your goals and aspirations. Use it as motivation to work harder and prove your worth to yourself and others.

Seek Professional Help

If you are struggling with narcissistic tendencies, seeking professional help is crucial to recovery. A therapist or mental health professional can provide you with the tools and support you need to overcome your narcissistic behavior and develop healthier habits.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling are two effective ways to address narcissistic tendencies. By working with a therapist, you can discover the root causes of your behavior and work with you to develop strategies for changing your thought patterns and behaviors.

(CBT) is a common form of therapy used to treat narcissistic personality disorder. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is another form of therapy that can be helpful for those with narcissistic tendencies. It focuses on developing mindfulness skills and emotional regulation.

Mental Health Professionals

When seeking professional help, it’s important to find a mental health professional specializing in treating narcissistic personality disorder. A therapist or counselor with experience in this area will better understand the unique challenges you face and the most effective treatment methods.

Here are some mental health professionals who can help:

  • Therapist: A licensed therapist can provide individual or group therapy to help you address your narcissistic tendencies.

  • Mental Health Counselor: A mental health counselor can provide counseling and support to help you overcome your narcissistic behavior.

  • Psychologist: A licensed psychologist can provide therapy and psychological assessments to help you better understand your behavior and develop strategies for change.

  • Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist can provide medication management and therapy for individuals with

    narcissistic personality disorder.

Keep in mind that seeking professional help is a brave and important step towards overcoming your narcissistic tendencies. You can develop healthier habits and live a more fulfilling life with the right support and guidance.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Maintaining healthy relationships is essential for anyone wanting to stop being a narcissists. You need to learn how to build trust with others and set appropriate boundaries to avoid hurting them. Here are some tips to help you maintain healthy relationships:

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial in any relationship. It helps you protect your own well-being and avoid overstepping other people’s boundaries. The most important thing to remember when setting boundaries is to communicate them clearly and respectfully. Here are some tips to help you set boundaries:

  • Identify your values and priorities: Identifying what is important to you can help you set limits that align with your values.
  • Communicate your boundaries clearly: Use “I” statements to communicate your boundaries without blaming or attacking the other person.
  • Be consistent: Stick to your limitations and don’t compromise them just to please others.
  • Respect other people’s boundaries: Just as you expect others to respect your boundaries, you should also respect theirs.

Building Trust

Building trust is essential for any healthy relationship. It involves being honest, reliable, and consistent in your behavior. Here are some tips to help you build trust with others:

  • Be honest: Be truthful and transparent in your interactions with others.
  • Keep your promises: If you make a commitment, follow through on it. This shows that you are reliable and trustworthy.
  • Be consistent: Be consistent in your behavior and actions.
  • Listen actively: Listen to others without interrupting or judging them. This shows that you value their opinions and feelings.

By setting boundaries and building trust, you can maintain healthy relationships with others and stop being a narcissist. Remember that healthy relationships require effort and commitment from both parties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to change if you have narcissistic tendencies?

Yes, it is possible to change if you have narcissistic tendencies. However, changing ingrained behaviors requires a lot of self-reflection and effort. It is important to recognize that change is a process and may take time.

What are some steps to overcome narcissistic behavior?

Some steps to overcome narcissistic behavior include:

  • Practicing empathy.
  • Learning to listen actively.
  • Being open to feedback.
  • Focusing on the needs of others instead of just your own.

How can I identify and address my narcissistic traits?

One way to identify and address your narcissistic traits is to reflect on your behavior and thought patterns. Pay attention to how you interact with others and how you respond to feedback. It may also be helpful to seek the perspective of trusted friends or family members.

What are some resources for learning about narcissism?

There are many resources available for learning about narcissism, including books, articles, and online forums. Some recommended resources include “The Narcissism Epidemic” by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, “Disarming the Narcissist” by Wendy T. Behary, and the subreddit r/NarcissisticAbuse.

Can therapy help with narcissistic tendencies?

Yes, therapy can be helpful for addressing narcissistic tendencies. A therapist can help you identify and work through underlying issues that contribute to narcissistic behavior, such as low self-esteem or a history of trauma.

What are some common misconceptions about narcissism?

Some common misconceptions about narcissism include that all narcissists are arrogant and grandiose, that narcissism is always a negative trait, and that it is impossible to change narcissistic behavior. It is important to recognize that narcissism exists on a spectrum and that individuals with narcissistic traits may exhibit a range of behaviors. It is also possible for individuals to change their behavior with effort and dedication.

Bottom Line

Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards overcoming narcissism by acknowledging your behavior and seeking help. It is important to recognize that changing your behavior will not happen overnight, but with persistence and dedication, you can make progress.

Remember that seeking the help of a mental health professional is crucial in overcoming narcissism. They can provide the tools and support you need to progress. Many resources are available to help you, such as workbooks, books, and blogs that focus on narcissism.

It is essential to advocate for yourself and your mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from loved ones.

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About the Author:
Ryan Hart

Ryan Hart is a certified relationship coach and writer. His mission is to help make connections between people better, stronger, more meaningful, and longer lasting using technology.

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