Making Sense of Perfectionism and Narcissism Part I

So, two blogs back I was talking about Narcissism and I said I would explain Narcissism in more depth in my next blog.  But then I forgot about that and ended up writing about faith in the following blog. ?  So, I would like to go back to that topic and talk about Narcissism/Perfectionism for a little bit.

In our world, up until about 15 years ago, there was not a lot of accurate information available regarding understanding pathological Narcissism.

You see, Narcissistic Personality Disorder was created by Psychiatrists who have developed a system for diagnosing all of man-kind according to some 200+ or so disorders.  And it’s fair to say that Psychiatrists would not create a personality disorder that would fit them right into it, so inevitably I believe the definition that they came up with as to what Narcissistic Personality Disorder is, may be a little biased or impartial.  

However, please know I do NOT have biases towards all Psychiatrists in this way.  Some Psychiatrists are phenomenal and if you want to read a thought provoking book regarding this topic by a Psychiatrist whom I deeply respect and admire, please read the book titled; “Saving Normal.”  By Dr. Frances Allen. 

Anyways, Narcissism is the one thing that most of us probably have traits of, yet no one gets therapy for.  There are millions of people in this world who have been getting treatment for Depression, however the real issue is Narcissism, not Depression.  You see, when someone has a therapist that they meet with every single week for years and there able to 100% vent and process every feeling they had the previous week with that therapist, this can create pathological narcissism.  Case in point;

“I have one person every single week and I have a 100% one sided relationship with this person.  And week after week, month after month, year and year, I get to talk, vent, process feelings, and I feel no regard to ask them about their life.”

This is the 100% reality for MANY clients who are in therapy.   I think this traditional one sided relationship model of therapist and client actually can create more harm than it does good.

When I have a client who is very Narcissistic and does not know how to show interest in other people’s lives or ask people questions, I will help teach this client social skills by having them ask me standard questions, I will write down questions that they can ask me and then they will practice this social skill in session. We will do this by role playing that we are friends meeting for coffee. After this,  then I will give them a social challenge out of session as well, where they have to ask 2 people in their life 3 questions that they normally would not ask during the week such as; tell me about your work day?  What was good? What was hard?

If therapy is 100% one sided, I actually think this can (situation dependent of course) create increased levels of Narcissism on behalf of the client. In addition to not creating added Narcissism,  Healthy and discerning self disclosure at select times on behalf of the therapist allows the client to feel more comfortable because the relationship feels more natural and hence the client opens up more and shares more.  Let’s be honest, no one will open up with a therapist who is just talking therapeutic jargon, writing on their note pad, and saying; “how does that make you feel?” I think we would all agree we would rather watch paint dry than be in that type of therapy session.

Anyways, here is my “Top 13 List for Healing from Perfectionism/Narcissism.”

FYI, All spelling errors and grammatical errors are done on purpose to help us all heal from man-made perfectionism and narcissism. 


 13 Secrets for healing man-made Perfectionism and Narcissism

  1. When I hear someone say; “I struggle with perfectionism”, it registers in my head as; “I struggle with pretending that I’m a fish!”
  2. If you struggle with perfectionism, you probably also struggle with narcissism, read below to learn more about narcissism.?
  3. Make more errors, spell a few words wrong on purpose in emails, letters, journals, make more mistakes, let go, breathe, look stupid, be silly, laugh at yourself more, be wrong, be lousy at something, be inaccurate, it’s okay. Learn to LOVE yourself for who YOU ARE.  If people are going to juddge you for a spelling error vs. the content of your character, you do NOT want to be their friend or acquaintance anyway, truuuth.
  4. Be proud of your insecurities, when your honest about your insecurities in means that you are emotionally healthy.
  5. Accept the fact that most of us struggle with Covert Narcissism and Pride. When your Narcissism comes out, say; “Hey, my narcissism came out there when I said that comment.  I’m sorry I was prideful.”  If we each can develop the habit of doing this regularly we can heal ourselves of our narcissism.
  6. Read 3 books on narcissism, focus on yourself, not others. The wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing (explains spiritual narcissism), disarming the narcissist, and the wizard of Oz & other narcissists are all good books.  Read everything with a healthy grain of salt of course.
  7. Learn to say the phrase; “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, tell me more about how I hurt your feelings. Goal-Listen only, try not to defend yourself.
  8. Learn to show real interest in other people’s lives by asking GREAT QUESTIONS.
  9. Learn and become familiar with other people’s non-verbal’s. If there being distant, cold, shut off, or acting upset with you, ask why?  Learn to pay attention to people’s non-verbal’s and show care if your words or non-verbal actions hurt somebody else’s feelings.
  10. Learn to give a genuine apology as manifested by changed behavior. If there is no change in your behavior, your apology meant nothing.
  11. LEARN TO BE HUMBLE. LEARN TO BE HUMBLE. LEARN TO BE HUMBLE.  (hmm, 3 times, this must be IMPORTANT!  If you can learn humility, you can heal your Narcissism.  Humility is saying; Teach Me, Help Me, I’m Lost, I’m Listening, I don’t know what I am doing, I’m clueless, I need help, teach me more, tell me more, I am listening, I am wrong, I am unskilled in this area.
  12. Ask people regularly in your life, “Do you feel like I REALLY LISTEN TO you when you’re talking to me?” If they say, NO, then listen to their response, learn from their feedback. Learn to ask people; How was your day?  Listen intently to their answer.
  13. Give yourself GRACE, overcoming Narcissism will take time. If you have been this way for most of your life, givve yourself time to heal your Narcissism wound.

As I am closing up shop here, let me leave you with another gluten free 5 ingredient or less recipe.  This is a recipe that I made up in my own kitchen and it is VERY SIMPLE, I call it “Banna Spice.”  This recipe name I came up with because my daughter Kaylee wrote down bananas on my grocery list as “bannas” and now whenever were talking about bananas in our home,  we just call them banna’s.   🙂 


1 Banana pealed.

1 zip lock bag with ½ cup of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. 

Mix the last three ingredients together in a zip lock bag and then take your banana and “dip” your banana in the oatmeal bag.  This is a delicious snack when you are on the go and need something quick.    ENJOY! 


Warm Regards,

Kelly Johnson, MA, LPC

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