Why Narcissists Reject Social Distancing
In the age of COVID-19, narcissists can be dangerous to your health.
Posted Apr 18, 2020 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch
These days, simple tasks have become complicated. Face masks, gloves, and jars of hand sanitizer fill our coat pockets or line our closet shelves. Any discomfort caused by these burdensome new accessories is minor compared to catching or spreading the coronavirus. (See “How to Lower Your Coronavirus Anxiety")
With all information and warnings about preventing the spread of COVID-19, why do some people still blatantly ignore CDC recommendations?
The Narcissist in Your Community
Recently, I was struggling to read my shopping list as I pushed a shopping cart through a crowded grocery store. The mask that covered my nose and mouth was hot and itchy, my eyeglasses fogged up, and I was trying my best to practice social distancing in the narrow aisles that were crammed full of anxious shoppers.
That’s when I spotted a classic narcissist coming through the crowd. No nose or mouth covering, mindlessly bumping into other shoppers and shimming between people as he bellowed into his cell phone:
“No, I don’t want to see that movie... Al Pacino is too old, it’s depressing. We’ll talk about it tonight... Everyone is coming over around seven. Whatever you bought me, I hope you didn't wrap it in that gaudy paper that you like so much.”
That’s right, not only was he ignoring all health recommendations, he was throwing himself a birthday party as well. So much for quarantining.
Communal Thinking is Impossible for Narcissists
Coronavirus spreads quickly and, depending on your age and health, can be deadly. To protect those most vulnerable, we’ve all had to adjust to new social norms. We’ve changed our schedules, adapted our behaviors, adjusted our lifestyles. By thinking communally, we protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19.
Narcissists never think communally. They lack empathy, have an omnipotent view of themselves, and like to believe that they are exempt from social norms. Is it any surprise that they ignore CDC recommendations?
Narcissists Are Emotionally Immature
No matter how intelligent they are, narcissists remain emotionally immature. Like children or teenagers, they find it difficult to put the needs of others before their own. No matter how many times you try to educate them about the power of empathy or altruism, such lessons never stick. Narcissism is an “insight free” zone. A therapist who’s worked with narcissists will tell you how little progress they make in helping them form healthy relationships.
But narcissists aren’t always easy to spot. They can be a lot of fun. They can be charming, have a sense of humor, and be very entertaining. In fact, many celebrities, people in politics, and highly successful business leaders likely meet the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. So what’s the problem?
You don’t want to have a narcissist for a close friend, a relative or a boss. They’re more likely to abandon you when you’re in need, turn against you when you question or doubt them, and ignore you when you’re hurt. When a narcissist isn’t the center of attention, their warm glow of friendship fades quickly.
The Narcissist Test
After spending time with someone that you suspect is a narcissist, ask yourself:
- Are they draining my energy and leaving me feeling emotionally fatigued?
- Are they self-absorbed, constantly seeking praise and attention?
- Are they distorting facts to feed their grandiosity?
- Are they obsessed with their image?
- Are they only interested in me because they want something?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, there’s a good chance you're dealing with a narcissist. Narcissists can be more than just annoying; in the age of the coronavirus, they can be hazardous to your health as well.
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