Why experts say even the most self-absorbed can adjust.

“Believing that they should be able to control life and be strong and self-sufficient, individuals with severe narcissistic vulnerability do not allow for human limitations or the effects of life’s vicissitudes… indignation, bitterness, envy, disbelief, and humiliation are commonly expressed and may, in some extreme instances, result in vengeful acts of violence” (pp. 410-411)

In addition to empathy, people experiencing the bursting of the narcissistic bubble may benefit from “mirroring,” in which they receive “applause” or “self-affirmation” from others (p. 412). If you’re feeling ashamed that you need these little encouragements to restore your self-esteem, Goldstein would say to the contrary that we all need to be appreciated. From a practical standpoint, this can also mean that you get over yourself and do something that will allow you to gain that tiny bit of applause from others. Bring cupcakes that you baked to work or make something such as wooden or crocheted toys for your young relatives.

Goldstein also recommends that you seek out role models who can help you accept your changing self. How are they navigating the stress of getting older? Try not to feel envious, but instead figure out what they seem to be doing right. It’s possible to age without losing your groove, and these individuals can inspire you to find what’s right for you.


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