Narcissistic tendencies

It’s not uncommon for people with narcissistic tendencies to experience other mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and substance misuse. These other issues, rather than narcissistic traits, often encourage people to seek therapy.

Therapies for Narcissism

There are a few types of therapy that are particularly useful for dealing with narcissism.

Schema therapy, a newer approach to treatment shown to have benefit for treating narcissism, works to help people address trauma of early experiences that may have contributed to narcissistic defenses.

Other beneficial therapies include:

Gestalt therapy
mentalization-based therapy
transference-focused psychotherapy

Mental toughness

Mental toughness is about more than just having resilience and control in difficult situations. It relates to a psychological frame of mind that endorses confidence and commitment to success. In his book Developing Mental Toughness, the psychologist Peter Clough describes mental toughness as a combination of the following:

  • The amount of control a person believes they have over their life and emotions;
  • How much commitment is placed upon achieving goals despite hardship;
  • Being able to see potential threats as opportunities for self-development;
  • Continuing to strive in changing environments;
  • The level of confidence a person has in succeeding despite setbacks.

Mental toughness levels are influenced by many different factors. While genetics are partly responsible, a person’s environment is also relevant. For example, both positive experiences while you’re young and mental toughness training programmes have been found to make people mentally tougher.


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Self-efficacy is, according to psychologist Albert Bandura who originally proposed the concept, a personal judgment of how well or poorly a person is able to cope with a given situation based on the skills they have and the circumstances they face.[1]

Self-efficacy affects every area of human endeavor. By determining the beliefs a person holds regarding their power to affect situations, Self-Efficacy strongly influences both the power a person actually has to face challenges competently and the choices a person is most likely to make. These effects are particularly apparent, and compelling, with regard to investment behaviors such as in health,[2] education,[3] and agriculture.[4]

A strong sense of self efficacy promotes human accomplishment and personal well-being. A person with high self-efficacy views challenges as things that are supposed to be mastered rather than threats to avoid. These people are able to recover from failure faster and are more likely to attribute failure to a lack of effort. They approach threatening situations with the belief that they can control them. These things have been linked to lower levels of stress and a lower vulnerability to depression. [1]

In contrast, people with a low sense of self-efficacy view difficult tasks as personal threats and shy away from them. Difficult tasks lead them to look at the skills they lack rather than the ones they have. It is easy for them to lose faith in their own abilities after a failure. Low self-efficacy can be linked to higher levels of stress and depression. [1]

No man is hurt but by himself

… that no man is hurt but by himself.

Diogenes said that, and he was right. Every person’s experience is created internally, by him or herself.

No one outside of you can tell you what anything means, or whether you are “hurt” or not.

If you feel hurt by something or someone, it is the result of your decision to feel that way.

This may be tough to hear, but it is true. You can change your mind at any moment about how something is affecting you.

A few questions to get you thinking!

  • What do you look forward to?
  • What friendships make you smile and feel more positive?
  • What hobbies bring out the best in you?
  • What do you deliberately do when you are down in order to feel better?
  • What music tends to lift your spirits?
  • What do your friends and family do that lifts your spirits?
  • Who could you call to get a boost?

Positivity Self Test

What is the most amused, fun-loving, or silly you felt?
What is the most angry, irritated, or annoyed you felt?
What is the most ashamed, humiliated, or disgraced you felt?
What is the most awe, wonder, or amazement you felt?
What is the most contemptuous, scornful, or disdainful you felt?
What is the most disgust, distaste, or revulsion you felt?
What is the most embarrassed, self-conscious, or blushing you felt?
What is the most grateful, appreciative, or thankful you felt?
What is the most guilty, repentant, or blameworthy you felt?
What is the most hate, distrust, or suspicion you felt?
What is the most hopeful, optimistic, or encouraged you felt?
What is the most inspired, uplifted, or elevated you felt?
What is the most interested, alert, or curious you felt?
What is the most joyful, glad, or happy you felt?
What is the most love, closeness, or trust you felt?
What is the most proud, confident, or self-assured you felt?
What is the most sad, downhearted, or unhappy you felt?
What is the most scared, fearful, or afraid you felt?
What is the most serene, content, or peaceful you felt?
What is the most stressed, nervous, or overwhelmed you felt?

Ways to Apply the 3-to-1 Positivity Ratio

There are a lot of ways to seek a 3-to-1 positivity ratio in your life. Here are 10 tips on how you can bring more positivity into your life to balance out the negativity bias:

1. Rewrite the story your negativity bias tells you. 

2. Look for the opportunity in the difficulty. 

3. Broaden your scope.

4. Flip Mother Nature’s dictates.

5. Be chancy. 

6. Don’t let one negative event rule your whole life pattern. 

7. Reach out to others. 

8. Practice positive self-talk. 

9. Frame a setback as a lesson to learn, not a failure to endure. 

10. Strive to see gains contained in your losses. 

The effect of trauma

The overall effect of trauma can be described as “loss of sense of aliveness, motivation, excitement, and purpose.”

In brain scans of 18 chronic PTSD patients (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), the researchers discovered something startling: there was almost no activation of the “self-perceiving” areas of the brain compared to non-traumatized subjects: the medial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, parietal cortex, and insula were dark.

Their conclusion was that “in response to their trauma and in coping with the terror that lingered long afterward, these patients had learned to shut down the brain areas that mediate the visceral feelings and emotions that accompany and define terror.”

Traumatized people often lose their sense of purpose and direction because they cannot match with themselves what they really want, as defined by the most basic sensations in their bodies, which are the basis for emotions like desire and passion. In some cases, the loss of self-awareness is so profound that sufferers can’t even recognize themselves in the mirror.