Exploring Narcissism and Personality With Dr Wendy Patrick

Narcissism, domestic abuse, how to present yourself on your first date, what kind of people are truly the ones to be close to, dealing with difficult people, the benefits of wearing a mask of happiness and more is what we discuss in this interview with the world renowned prosecutor and media personality Dr. Wendy Patrick.

Narcissism and Personality 

Dr. Patrick, let me first begin by asking you why narcissistic people attract each other?

First of all, narcissistic people attract everyone; initially. Flashy and fun, they are interesting and alluring, and fun to be around. But as you get to know them, darker traits emerge. Although aversive to most of us, toxic people are more tolerant of toxic traits in each other. Consequently, self-loving narcissists are willing to “share the mirror” with like minded personalities.

It has been said especially that narcissistic men are more successful at attracting women. What is your opinion?

Absolutely. Self-confidence is sexy, and extroverted egomaniacs work hard at solidifying their image – and are often successful. But don’t expect to find lasting love or romance.

Narcissistic sharp-dressed men are sharks in the water seeking short-term relationships.

Can the same be said to be true of narcissistic women?

Yes it can. Self-loving women sacrifice personal relationships for popularity.

They sizzle with sensational style, but the time spent cultivating an attractive appearance is time wasted in the long run because in most cases, they lack substance below the surface.

Do narcissistic people succeed in having lasting relationships?

Sometimes; it depends on the patience of their partners. Long-term relationships with narcissistic individuals require understanding and patience.

As long as you understand and accept that they will never reciprocate your level of warmth and affection, you can decide whether you are able to patiently endure their emotional deficiencies without taking it personally.

How well do they do at work? It has been often reported that narcissistic people are able to climb the professional ladder much faster.

Career Growth Concept
Climbing the ladder: Narcissistic people have an ability to ‘turn on’ the charm and make waves in their jobs.

Professional narcissists can manipulate their way to the top. Charismatic and clever, they know when to ‘turn on’ the charm and showcase themselves in a positive professional light.

As much as we believe we are savvy people-readers, attractive self-lovers can fool the best of us.

What kind of distinctive people are desirable?  

Those that are memorable. The more we think about people who piqued our interest or curiosity, the more we like them.

If they are on our mind, they may also become in our hearts.

What would be the best approach for dealing with difficult people?

Winning over difficult people is best done through a trio of methods: attention, interest, and respect.

Attention must be authentic, which conveys genuine interest, which in turn, demonstrates respect.

How common is abuse at home?

Unfortunately, very common. It has become even more of a problem during the pandemic. Domestic abuse is an invisible epidemic that is unseen, and non-disclosed.

It knows no social, economic, or political boundaries, victims from all demographic backgrounds are at risk due to the toxic interpersonal dynamics involved.

Do abused men keep it to themselves?

Such ‘non-traditional’ intimate partner violence happens more frequently than people think.

When abuse involves physical violence, battered men might not report the abuse out of fear that they would be viewed as less masculine, less dominant, and perhaps even disbelieved – because they are physically capable of fighting back (but often choose not to).

When out meeting a person for the first time or on a first date, what are your recommendations?

Research reveals that the best conversation topic on a first date is usually the woman. Women prefer date conversation to be focused on themselves. Men often do too, but a first date requires intentional conversation strategy. And remember that in terms of conversation setting, a device-free, comfortable space sparks chemistry and compatibility.

People also reach conclusions about your personality, habits, characteristics, and even morals, based on what you eat and drink. And as a practical matter, you already know you should avoid heavy and pungent foods, but also consider skipping smile-stainers, like red wine.

Is a peaceful mind a powerful mind?

Peace is power through quiet strength. When we train ourselves to be content in all circumstances, we free up our mental power to problem solve, think, and plan, with clarity.

What are your thoughts on cyber sleuthing by individuals and potential employers?  

Many countries do not permit employers to consider factors they might find online, such as nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion, in the hiring process.

Once an employee is hired, they are still entitled in many parts of the world to refuse to give an employer the password to his or her social media accounts. Having said this, publicly available information is fair game, and every employee should recognise this risk, and conduct themselves accordingly.

What are the psychological benefits of wearing a mask of happiness?

A fake it till you make it mentality is not as bad of an idea as some people portray it to be… considering the alternative. In some cases, behaving “as if” you were feeling good will become a self-fulfilling prophecy – partially because of the positive way others will respond to you. Emotional contagion is real, and can end up coming back to boost your mood as well.

Why do ‘normal’ people intentionally hurt others?

We want to believe that all people are good. And ironically, after 23 years as a prosecutor, I have learned that most of them are; but not everyone. The bottom line seems to be that sadism, although uncommon generally, is more common than we think.

Because it exists on a spectrum. We might excuse mean-spirited behaviour as a ‘joke’, when it might signal something more sinister. Accordingly, in choosing friends and romantic partners, we should examine manners as well as the underlying motivation.

About anxiety. How does a reality check help?

Friends and family are great sounding boards that can help you stay grounded when you become anxious. The bottom line here is that what you fear the most, is often the least likely to come to pass. Objective others can help you adjust your anxiety level accordingly.

Dr Wendy Patrick
Dr Wendy Patrick

If anyone knows people, it’s Wendy Patrick. Her academic achievements are par excellence including a Juris Doctor degree and a PhD. She is a trial attorney, an author, a motivational speaker and a media commentator. She speaks and teaches all over the world and being a media personality she has often appeared on CNN, Fox News and several other media channels.


Photos: From the Archive of Dr Wendy Patrick; Shutterstock

Want some more reading on this personality trait? Head here:

Rethinking Narcissism: How to Understand and Cope with Narcissists

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