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  • Writer's pictureRaghad Bushnaq

Are You a Narcissist?

All of us have narcissistic elements in ourselves. Narcissism has a spectrum where a few of its elements are helpful and healthy in order to achieve goals and ambitions. Healthy narcissism is to know your value and the value of what you do.

Abusive parenting starting from childhood is usually responsible for creating a narcissist. When the symptoms increase, it becomes harmful and destructive. These people usually develop a maladaptive coping mechanism and become defensive, more aggressive and controlling over time. When left unchecked for a long time, experts say that the chances of change for a narcissist are slim to none.

It is important to understand that narcissism is a trait, not a disorder. A toxic childhood caused by spoiling and over-empowerment or abuse and disempowerment leads to low self-esteem.

Often, people refer to narcissism as a mental health issue, rather, it is emotional health related, and if not kept in check becomes difficult to change.

If we look through the lens of Islam, we have a different vision of curing narcissism as opposed to saying it is a mental health issue. To better understand it, we need to diagnose the symptoms first.

Narcissists are insensitive as a result of lack of empathy growing up, yet they are great at pretending they have sympathy. They are massively insecure. They seek validation and constant affirmation.

They make it their personal goal in life to make your physical and emotional health a twisted game; you are an emotional supply for them, so they drain you emotionally, suck you dry and spit you out.

Arrogance is a significant characteristic of narcissists; they talk about themselves non-stop as if they are the center of the universe. They don't ask you about yourself, and they ignore your needs and feelings. They believe that they are entitled to being respect and receiving special treatment. They take credit for your achievements without a single thought and gloat for how “right” they are whether they are actually right or not.

They exhibit selfishness and are controlling, and they also tend to isolate you from family and friends. They strip you away from everything that you love so they can feel powerful. They put you in a position where you are left feeling confused, demeaned, and unconfident.

They are in a continuous state of complaining partially so they can drain you, and that is a source of happiness for them. What is a more harmful act is their mastery of gaslighting and brainwashing until you start blaming and doubting yourself.

They envy others' success, always in a state of jealousy. They feel the need for people to listen to their superficial nonsense to somehow compensate for their insecurity. Narcissists are moody, aggressive, and hypersensitive; they don't accept any feedback or constructive criticism because it hurts their ego.

Their opinions and beliefs can change very quickly in one day. They are constantly adapting some type of new agenda, like a chameleon, so they can control you. This gains them the satisfaction of leaving you confused. You feel more anxious and less confident, and put the fault on yourself, apologizing most of the time, even though you know there is something wrong, but you can't put your finger on it.

They are manipulative and try to harm themselves in hopes of making you stay, yet they accuse you of something, the most random thing, that you supposedly did wrong as a further means of emotional manipulation.

A narcissist infected with a peacock-like syndrome, in his or her best moments, appears to be charming, spontaneous, loves to show off and brag, and attempts to maintain a prestigious look.

Beware. If you have low self-esteem, you attract a narcissists.

99% of experts assure you that narcissism has no cure and leave you with one of two choices, either run like Forest Gump and don’t look back, or dance with the narcissist if you choose to live with one.

Since many people choose to live with a narcissist for various personal, social, financial, or kinship realted reasons, I would like to tell you that narcissism has a cure. If you are a narcissist, then you should know that there is a path that leads you to treatment, despite the fact that most psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists have closed the door for us. There is another door that is open and prescribed behavioral changes may transform your life and the life of the people whom you care for.

Have the courage, honesty, and sincerity to check if you have any of the above symptoms before pointing your finger at others. This statement may leave you in shock, but remember that you are entitled to reform yourself for yourself before you do so for others. Remember that you are, in fact, obligated and responsible to change yourself before attempting to supposedly reform other., You simply cannot enforce a so-called cure on others when you, yourself, are suffering from illness and disease and refuse to take responsibility and care for yourself.

Robert Green said, "We are all narcissists to some degree. The narcissistic spectrum varies between deep and non-healthy narcissists from one end, and empathic and healthy narcissists on the other end, the center of the spectrum is the functional narcissist where most of us reside.

The deep narcissist is the most dangerous. The most toxic narcissist is the toxic leader who has a high level of ambition; they can burn and destroy their own achievements. On the other end of the spectrum is the healthy narcissist with a strong resilience sense of self. They recover quicker from an attack, they understand their limits, and can direct their focus and love into their work or others; they become great leaders.".

In a summarized list, the symptoms of narcissism are: invalidating others, manipulation, selfishness, lying, sarcasm, constant criticism, anger, rage, two-faced, self-entitlement, self-righteousness, superiority, insecurity, impatience, belittling others, attention seeking, arrogance, and so forth.

We found that all of the above fall under the diseases of the heart and tongue, mentioned in Islamic scripts. These diseases are curable, as mentioned in the Quran and Sunna, under the term of “mujahadatul nafs”, which means striving in the self control and correction or reforming one's negative characteristics, or under the term of “purifying the heart and tounge”.

The ill-hearted person simply must have the will to change. Belief in Allah motivates one to seek the cure for these wreckless diseases, which cause misery and torment in the afterlife.

To better understand the mechanism of the cure, we should know that every human being has two powers, the power of desire and the power of anger. A diseased heart is not in control of either power. With a diseased heart, these powers turn into a destructive force. Unless regulated and controlled, they cannot guide one in the right direction.

"Behold of the body, there is a piece of flesh; if it is pure, the whole body will be pure. Indeed it is the heart" Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him

It is as if the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is telling us if we want to fix our lives, we need to check our heart and fix it first. The heart is the king, and the limbs are the soldiers who act upon the king's commands. If the king is pious, the stems will perform in goodness and piety. If the king is spoiled and corrupt, every good reality will change. When the heart is sound, it sees everything as beautiful and becomes grateful for what God has bestowed it with. When the heart is diseased, it sees everything in life as bitter and awful.

The soundness or disease of the heart will determine the behavior of a person. Imam Abu Hamed Al-Ghazali explained the diseases of the heart in detail and prescribed a cure for each disease. It significantly relates all diseases to the narcissism symptoms that we mentioned above.

The hearts are of different kinds. Understanding the difference makes the journey to the cure easier, yet rewarding.

In summary, we can categorize the kinds of hearts as the following:

A healthy heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what God commands or disputes and what He forbids. It is free from any impulses which contradict His good. It is safeguarded against any evil call, and it seeks the judgment of no one except that of His Messenger. A person with a healthy heart must dedicate his or her heart to their last destination, the Hereafter.

{The day when wealth and offspring will not avail except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart free of evils} 26:88-89

"Among the servants of Allah are those whom, if you see them, you remember Allah."

The dead heart is the opposite of the healthy heart. It clings to lust and desires, even if these are likely to incur God's displeasure and wrath, it values things other than God. The dead heart’s emotions arise from its whims, which have paramount importance and are always preferred above the pleasure of God. The impulses are the imam, the lust is the guide, and the ignorance is the leader. They are driven by irresponsible motivation.

{in their hearts is a disease and so they were increased in their disease} 2:10

{their heart deviated, and I made them deviate further} 61:5

This heart is immersed in its concern with worldly objectives. It is drunk with fancies and love for hasty fleeting pleasures. It is headless about Allah and the Akhira; it does not respond to advice, instead, it follows scheming and cunning evil ways.

Anger controls the dead heart, arrogance makes it deaf and blind. Associating with the owner of such a heart is a means of illness. Living with this person is like infusing poison into the heart and brain and befriending them leads to utter destruction.

Despite all of this, there is always hope for reviving the dead hearts as Allah says:

{He who was dead then we raised him to life and gave him the light that they walk with it amongst people, can he be like him who is in utter darkness and cannot come out of that} 6:122.

The sick heart is a heart with life and illness existing together, whichever one of the two manages to dominate will become the leader. This heart has a love for God, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him; all of that is what keeps this heart alive and partially healthy. At the same time the sick heart craves lust and pleasure and always prefers them, striving to experience them. It is also full of self-admiration, leading to its own destruction.

The sick heart listens to two callers, one call to piety, another call to fleeting pleasures. It responds to whichever one of the two happens to have the most influence over it at the time.

In conclusion, the first heart is alive, submitted to God, humble, sensitive, and aware. The second heart is brittle and dead. The third heart wavers between safety and destruction, and most people fall under the third category.

Obtaining a sound heart with a happy personal life, happier families, and prosperous communities are the result of responding to Allah and His messenger's invitation to purify the heart in a continuous effort of maintenance of the heart and soul.

Worship encourages people to become spiritual and to purify their entire lives, not only their hearts and tounges. If rituals are performed with a complete understanding of their inner significance, they equip the worshiper with a moral and spiritual power that help him or her to carry out their daily activities in the best manner. They put them in control of powerful desires and the anger which is instilled in every human being.

The prostration in prayer symbolizes the unconditional submission to God Almighty. Indeed, God-consciousness awakened by prayer strengthens us against temptations arising from the weakness of the flesh.

Thikr is a source of security and guidance to the heart.

{Those who believed, and their hearts have been satisfied with the remembrance of Allah, verily with the remembrance of Allah, the hearts find satisfaction and security} 13:28

{True believers are those whose hearts feel fear at the mention of Allah and when His verses of Quran are recited to them, it increases and strengthens their faith} 6:2

If you like to attain the peace and satisfaction of Allah, if you strive to taste the divine meanings, if you are looking for a comfortable life and happy Akhira, you should seek to purify your heart and tongues.

Sayyidna Thawr ibn Yazid said,

Verily Allah has containers, the best of these containers is softer and purer, and the containers of Allah on His earth are the hearts of the righteous people.”

You can have better judgment, more empathy with people, a better relationship with the beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and a better connection to Allah with a pure heart and tongue.

Duaa is crucial in reforming and purifying the heart. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, repeated this duaa regularly,

"Oh Allah, the turner of the hearts, maintain my heart on the right path."

Imam Maruf Alkarkhi says,

"Oh Allah, you own my heart, and you never made its ownership in my hand; therefore, be its guidance and guardian."

Let's evaluate where our hearts stand and turn to Allah in supplication, asking Him to help us reach the last destination safe and sound, as He Almighty likes.

Oh Allah, don't close Your doors in our face because of our sins and arrogance. Oh Allah, we need You, so don't leave us astray without Your guidance. Oh Allah, help us maintain our hearts to be sound and pious. Oh Allah, heal our diseased hearts and tongues and bring them back to the right path.

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