Arrogant and Narcissistic

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’ve just realized that I’m an extremely arrogant and bitter person. I’ve always had a huge problem opening up to people and I’m nineteen and have never been in a relationship. However, over the past two years I managed to meet some amazing people and be a little bit more open.

It was around this time that I’d start having “flashes” or realizations that I was actually, although not saying it, tearing up or making very mean comments about my friends, however, every time I’d come to think point where I’d realize I was actually really, really mean/arrogant, I’d start to think that no one would really love a person like that, so why would I have so many friends if this was true?

But I’ve recently realized that no, my close friends knew this about me and they loved me despite this. Despite the fact that I’m constantly looking down on them.

Most of the time in social situations I feel like I should be making people laugh. I’m often acting like a “hyena” if you will, trying to look tough and mean but making jokes and laughing/ trying to intimate people.

But because I’ve noticed my own arrogance, I’ve become extremely withdrawn from people. I know the only way to overcome my arrogance is to talk to my friends, but I don’t know how to bring it up. My friends know better now to ask if I’m okay and when they do I still say yes, I am, even though instead there’s someone screaming for me to tell the truth.

It’s a huge weight on me, because if all my thoughts are arrogant or irrelevant, I don’t want to say them, I don’t want to think I’m better than everyone.

So basically, how can I open up to my friends about my arrogance? How do you tell the people you love that you think you’re better than them?

Some history:

My father is still an alcoholic and my mother came down with Early Onset Dementia when I was fourteen, I ran away at age 16 and have been on my own since then, and only have recently started talking to my father right after I turned nineteen.

My mother often used verbal insults as punishments- if I was angry or crying, she would often say things like “If anyone knew you were like this, they wouldn’t want to be your friend.” I also didn’t start making friends until much later in my life, and she would often threaten to call their parents and tell them not to let their kids hang out with me if I was being bad.

A: Your courage in asking your question here is perhaps the most powerful way to begin coping with arrogance and narcissism. It means you are willing to be vulnerable, and that is where the shift toward healthy narcissism and deeper friendship begins.

Self-care rather than selfishness, compassion rather than condemnation, and tolerance rather than criticism are all shifts in consciousness. Mindfulness meditation would be a good way to cultivate the process of stepping back from your thoughts. I would also encourage you to pick one friend, not all of them at once, to be your mirror and help you with this correction. Of course the best way to have a friend at this level is to be a friend at the same level, so be prepared to reciprocate in some way.

Finally individual therapy would be helpful in accelerating the process. You can find a therapist in your area by using the find help tab at the top.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Arrogant and Narcissistic. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/14/arrogant-narcissistic/