So this psychological study popped up in my feed recently. Researchers at Ohio State tried to simplify the Narcissist Personality Inventory test. You know that test? Where you go out in the wild and capture narcissists in butterfly nets and coerce them into lengthy, controlled psychological studies?
Chumps are always admonished not to diagnose the narcs in our lives because we aren’t professionals with butterfly nets and peer-reviewed test questions. But now, you’ll be happy to learn, there is a work-around!
It’s call the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS).
Want to avoid these freaks? ASK them if they’re narcissistic! Chances are likely that they’ll tell you. Because they think their narcissism (ALL THE KIBBLES FOR ME) is awesome. And when you’re awesome, why wouldn’t you say so? (You there without KIBBLES. LOSER! BEHOLD MY FABULOUS SUPPLY OF EGO CHOW!)
Yes, really, it comes down to a single question. Science Daily reports:
In a series of 11 experiments involving more than 2,200 people of all ages, the researchers found they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them this exact question (including the note):
To what extent do you agree with this statement: “I am a narcissist.” (Note: The word “narcissist” means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)
Participants rated themselves on a scale of 1 (not very true of me) to 7 (very true of me).
Results showed that people’s answer to this question lined up very closely with several other validated measures of narcissism, including the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory.
This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. It is Good To Be King/Queen. Entitlement feels terrific, so long as you can suppress empathy or have none at all (sociopaths). Lack of empathy being the hallmark of the Cluster B personality disorders. It stands to reason that these freaks are dumb enough to reveal themselves, because they are not ashamed of being assholes. What we deem “asshole” they read as “superior.”
Here’s a random sample of one. My cheater freak said in marriage counseling post D-Day — and I quote:
“I love being a narcissist!”
I was agog, and the therapist yelled at me “ARE YOU LISTENING TO THIS? THIS IS WHO HE IS.”
Meanwhile, he just sat there with a smirk. When pressed on this stunning admission, he said that yeah, on the whole he thought he was a pretty terrific person (“a great catch”) who had made a single mistake.
How the hell I spackled over that… (Well, I didn’t totally. Instead I became embroiled in a death match to force him to ADMIT that being narcissist made him a BAD PERSON. And didn’t he see how this was harming me and everyone around him and….insert head-in-the-blender… WhirrrRRRrrrr!)
An interesting postscript — in therapy he eventually disavowed that statement. He picked up the Not So Subtle clues that people don’t like narcissists. So he learned better therapy speak. But in that unvarnished, King of the World moment? Yeah, he copped to it.
So I wonder about those other narcs out there — what’s the impression management to unvarnished moment ratio? Will they cop to it, or should we all just be better listeners, chumps?
At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really matter what flavor of narcissist they are, or getting them to admit it. What matters is you, and what you’ll tolerate. Whether it’s one test question, or 40 questions, that’s all still untangling their ugly little skeins.
If it walks like a narc, bleats like a narc, obfuscates like a narc… trust it’s a narc. And leave the butterfly nets to those with the funded research studies.