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What is This Psychological Flexibility Thing All About?

What is This Psychological Flexibility Thing All About?

What is Psychological Flexibility?

Psychological flexibility is the foundation of ACT Therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and is like doing yoga for your mind. It’s about being able to bend and stretch with life’s twists and turns, even when things get a little uncomfortable. Picture yourself in that super uncomfortable yoga position (anything involving flexibility for me) and holding it there for “just a few more seconds”. You know, when your whole body is shaking and screaming at you to just STOP. But, instead you push forward and each time you get back to that pose, you can hold it a little bit longer and over time you get more and more flexible.

Psychological flexibility means to stay present, open, and engaged – no matter what life throws at you. It’s about acknowledging your thoughts and emotions, but not letting them dictate your every move. Instead, you get to choose your actions based on your values and goals rather than just trying to NOT be uncomfortable.

Embracing Change and Adaptation

Change can be unpredictable, but here’s the beautiful thing – by nurturing psychological flexibility, change loses that negative power. It’s that inner sense, emotion, and knowledge that no matter what comes your way, you will find a way to navigate it. Instead of getting entangled in negative thoughts or feeling overwhelmed by a flood of emotions, you can respond with gentle self-compassion, practical problem-solving skills, and perhaps even a touch of humor.

Life is filled with challenges and setbacks. Adversity can manifest in ways such as difficulties in relationships, obstacles in careers, or health issues. When faced with adversity, psychological flexibility empowers us to respond by fostering resilience and well-being. Instead of getting ensnared in negative thoughts or being overwhelmed by emotions, we can choose to respond with kindness towards ourselves and seeking the support and care we need.

Building Psychological Flexibility

Developing psychological flexibility is a journey that requires practice and self-reflection. Fortunately, there are some strategies that can help cultivate this important skill. By gently and compassionately exploring these strategies, we can nurture our ability to be more psychologically flexible and adapt to life’s challenges with grace and resilience.


Practicing mindfulness is a beautiful way to cultivate kindness and compassion towards ourselves. It gently guides us to stay present and embrace our thoughts and emotions with non-judgmental awareness. Just imagine sitting quietly, observing the thoughts and emotions passing by like clouds in the sky, without getting entangled in their stories. This gentle practice empowers us to respond with grace and flexibility when faced with challenging situations.

For example, when someone says something hurtful, instead of immediately reacting, we can take a moment to mindfully observe our emotions, offer ourselves kindness, and choose a response that aligns with our values and well-being.

Values Clarification

Identifying and clarifying our values allows us to create a guiding compass for our actions. When we encounter challenging choices or decisions, taking a moment to reflect on our values can help us make decisions that truly resonate with our authentic selves and bring us closer to the life outcomes we desire.

For example, let’s imagine you’re at a crossroads in your career and you have to decide between two job opportunities. By reflecting on your values, such as personal growth and work-life balance, you can choose the opportunity that aligns with your authentic self and supports your overall well-being. Embracing this compassionate practice allows us to make choices that honor our values and lead to a more fulfilling life.

Cognitive Defusion

Cognitive defusion techniques can help us gently detach from unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. By understanding that our thoughts are not always accurate representations of reality, we can create space and choose a response that aligns with our values and goals.

For instance, imagine a situation where you receive criticism from a colleague. Instead of immediately believing the negative thoughts that arise, you can compassionately observe them, remind yourself that they are just thoughts, and choose to respond with kindness and understanding towards both yourself and the colleague, fostering a more harmonious and constructive interaction.

Let’s Take Action

Now is the time to take action. Embrace these strategies and incorporate them into your daily life. Practice mindfulness, reflect on your values, and gently detach from unhelpful comments and thoughts. Take action and you can cultivate psychological flexibility and navigate life’s twists and turns.

Take the next step towards cultivating psychological flexibility and enhancing your well-being. Book an appointment with Dr. Guess today and embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

Understanding Grief and Loss: Navigating the Path of Healing

Understanding Grief and Loss: Navigating the Path of Healing

Grief and loss are universal experiences that can deeply impact our lives. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, or even a pet, the emotions that come with grief can be overwhelming and complex. Let’s explore the journey of healing and how to navigate through the process.

Understanding Grief and Loss

Acknowledging the Pain

The first step in healing from grief and loss is acknowledging the pain. It’s important to recognize and accept the emotions that arise, such as sadness, anger, guilt, or confusion. Each person’s grief is unique, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Give yourself permission to grieve and understand it’s a natural response to loss.

Seeking Support

During times of grief, it is crucial to seek support from others. Surround yourself with trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can provide comfort and understanding. Talking about your feelings and sharing memories can be therapeutic and help in the healing process. Consider reaching out to a professional therapist or counselor who specializes in grief counseling. They can provide valuable guidance and support as you navigate through your grief.

Self-Care and Coping Strategies

Taking care of yourself is essential when dealing with grief and loss. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and solace, such as exercise, journaling, or spending time in nature. Practice self-compassion and allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. Establish a routine and maintain healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and avoiding excessive use of substances like alcohol or drugs.

Finding Meaning and Purpose

As time goes on, you may find yourself searching for meaning and purpose in the midst of grief. Consider exploring activities or practices that bring you a sense of meaning or connection. This could include volunteering, joining a support group, or engaging in creative outlets like art or music. Finding ways to honor your loved one’s memory or creating new rituals can also provide a sense of purpose and healing. (Considering your Core Values may help you work through finding meaning in your loss.)

Embracing the Healing Process

Healing from grief and loss is not a linear process. It’s important to recognize that healing takes time and there may be ups and downs along the way. Be patient and allow yourself to experience the healing journey in your own way. Healing does not mean forgetting or moving on, but rather finding ways to integrate the loss into your life and continue living with purpose and joy.

Grief and loss are profound experiences that require time, support, and self-compassion to navigate. By acknowledging the pain, seeking support, practicing self-care, finding meaning, and embracing the healing process, you can gradually find solace and move forward on the path of healing. You are not alone, and there is hope for brighter days ahead.

The Last 10 Books on Dr. Guess’ Audible

The Last 10 Books on Dr. Guess’ Audible

I love getting book recommendations from clients and I tend to listen to a podcast and want the book written by whoever is interviewed. I thought it might be a cool idea to list out the most recent books on my Audible account.
These books have no particular themes, but I feel like all of them gave me a little something. The topics include: coping with grief, finding strength in unexpected places, as well as confronting fears head-on. Here are my thoughts on the books and I hope one or two might speak to you. Here it goes

#1: The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

I love this book! I bought the audible and about half way through I broke down and bought the hardcover version as well. It is dog-eared and marked up. Did I say I loved this book?

Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act is an inspirational and insightful book that delves deep into the creative process. This book presents a variety of strategies to get more creative, including exploring different types of creative media and developing a creative lifestyle.

On a deeper level Rubin’s book spoke to that part of me that drips with the fear of being “not enough” or wondering “who do I think I am”. He emphasizes all humans are creatives and we are only limited to what we allow to filter into our awareness. I was pleasantly surprised with the approach to confronting all those existential crises that occur throughout our lives.

I bought this audiobook after listening to an interview with Rick Rubin on a podcast. I’m so glad I ran across him. The Creative Act is an invaluable read for anyone looking to get more creative or explore the depths of their creativity. Highly recommended!

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn strategies to get more creative
  • Develop a creative lifestyle
  • Gain insight into the creative process
  • Feel inspired and motivated to explore your inner creativity
  • Live a richer and more meaningful life
  • Connect with your own potential

#2: The Mountain is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage into Self-Discovery by Brianna Wiest

I decided to listen to this book after a session with a client. The Mountain Is You by Brianna Wiest is a must-read for anyone wanting to make meaningful and lasting changes in their life. This inspiring and informative book speaks to how to break through our self-imposed limitations, move past fear and uncertainty, and begin living with the courage, confidence, and clarity that comes from embracing who we are and what we want.

The Mountain Is You presents the tools to build a life that is built on their own terms and filled with joy, adventure, and success. The author shares her personal story of transformation, which makes the lessons learned easy to relate to. Her message of using mountain-climbing metaphors as powerful reminders of our own resilience and strength is both uplifting and inspiring.

The Mountain Is You offers practical advice on how to shift our mindset, create meaningful and sustainable changes in our lives, and move forward with intention. The exercises throughout the book are there to help readers develop a growth mindset while also helping them challenge themselves and push past their comfort zone.

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn how to break through self-imposed limitations and move past fear and uncertainty.
  • Gain the courage, confidence, and clarity that comes from embracing who you are and what you want out of life.
  • Discover practical advice on how to shift your mindset, create meaningful change in your life, and take action with intention.
  • Find a source of inspiration to reach new heights in your life journey with ease and motivation!

#3: The Winners: A Novel (Beartown Series) by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is one of my guilty pleasures for sure. I love his books and most of them have been “beach reads” – which are wonderful. However this series of books (The Winners being the 3rd in a trilogy) hits a little harder than a beach read.

The Winners is a compelling and inspiring story about the power of community, resilience, and hope. Set in a small Swedish town called Beartown, the novel follows the lives of its inhabitants as they struggle to rebuild their town after a devastating tragedy.

Through an engaging cast of characters (some of who I felt like I knew) and a powerful story, Backman conveys the idea that while we cannot always control our circumstances, we can work together to overcome them. The Winners is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that left a lasting impression. It was hard not to think about the story even when I wasn’t actively reading.

Backman’s writing style is engaging and incredibly moving. He is able to capture the nuances of human emotions and experiences in a way few other authors can. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone looking to gain insight into the power of community and hope in times of adversity. There are valuable lessons to be learned from Backman’s characters and their individual stories, which make this novel not only enjoyable, but also thought-provoking.

Read this book so you can …

  • Experience the power of community, resilience, and hope in a small Swedish town called Beartown.
  • Receive insight into the nuances of human emotions and experiences through an engaging cast of characters
Get Fredrik Backman’s Beartown Series:
Beartown by Fredrik Backman on Audible or Paperback
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman on Audible or Paperback
The Winners by Fredrick Backman on Audible or Paperback

#4: Never Finished by David Goggins

Okay, first of all, this guy makes me feel super lazy! Second of all – if any of you know me – my daughter the hiker and runner bought it and told me to read it. I’m not sure if I should be insulted. I’d also like to recommend the audio version that includes extra features of conversations at the end of each chapter.

Never Finished is a powerful and inspirational book that touched my heart and made me want to push past my comfort zone (and I’m not a big fan of being uncomfortable). It details Goggins’ remarkable journey from a humble upbringing to becoming one of the most accomplished endurance athletes in history, showing readers how setting goals and taking steps to achieve them can lead to lasting change. Goggins outlines his mental and physical strategies, inspiring readers to take control of their own paths in life by pushing themselves beyond what they think is possible.

Goggins’ story is an inspiration to anyone looking for motivation to push their limits and take control of their own lives. The lessons outlined in this powerful book will help readers break through barriers and find the strength to succeed. Never Finished is a must-read for any reader looking to make lasting change.

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn how to set and reach ambitious goals.
  • Gain insight into the power of breaking through comfort zones.
  • Understand the importance of perseverance in achieving success.
  • Discover motivation for making lasting changes in your life. 

#5: Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson

I am a little bit of a Neil deGrasse Tyson fan girl. If I hear or see him on a podcast, or youtube, or some Netflix special then I’m going to pause and listen. I love how he makes astrophysics – of all things – somehow relatable.

Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson is a captivating, educational, and insightful book. Drawing from centuries of observation and study, the renowned astrophysicist provides an incredibly detailed look at our place in the universe. He touches on topics such as how the Earth’s position in the Milky Way impacts the night sky we see, why the stars twinkle, and the beauty of constellations. As he guides us through these celestial wonders, Tyson presents a captivating overview of our understanding of the cosmos, often peppered with his trademark wit and charm … I love his trademarked wit and charm.

The writing style is accessible to readers of all ages, from beginner stargazers to experienced scientists. Even those without a background in astrophysics will find it engaging, as Tyson’s passion for his subject shines through on every page. With its abundance of diagrams, photographs and illustrations, the book helps to develop the reader’s understanding even further. Make sure to download all the images on the audible version.

While exploring our place in the universe can be daunting, Starry Messenger is an incredibly rewarding read. It offers an opportunity to learn about our universe in a fun, informative, and entertaining way.

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn about our place in the universe in a fun, informative and entertaining way.
  • Develop an understanding of topics such as why stars twinkle and the beauty of constellations.
  • Gain insight into astrophysics without needing any prior knowledge or background in the subject.
  • Enjoy Tyson’s passion for his subject that shines through on every page.

#6: The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate

Gabor Mate is one of the rockstars in the field of psychology. Pretty much if he has a new book, then I’m going to read it. This one really spoke to the normalization of all of those defense mechanisms we developed in childhood that may not be working for us anymore – you know, like when we’re 50.

Gabor Mate dives deep into the psychological, neurological and biological causes of mental illness. He dispels many of the myths and stereotypes that people have come to accept about those living with mental illness.

Mate begins by discussing how modern science has revolutionized our understanding of mental health. He then delves into why so many of us struggle with emotional, psychological and even physical issues. Through his thoughtful analysis, Mate demonstrates that issues such as anxiety, depression and addiction are often caused by underlying biological and environmental factors rather than simply being a matter of “weakness” or poor character.

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain insight into how our minds work and why we may struggle with certain illnesses.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the psychological, neurological and biological causes of mental illness.
  • Understand how different individuals may be affected by their environment or biology in terms of mental health issues.

#7: Educated by Tara Westover

Confession: I have read this book more than once and have listened to it more than once (mostly on long trips). This book is amazing! I made both of my daughters read it and neither one complained.

Educated by Tara Westover is an incredible and inspirational story of a woman’s journey from growing up in a fundamentalist, survivalist family in rural Idaho to becoming a Cambridge University graduate. The book chronicles Tara’s personal struggle for self-formation, as she faces difficult decisions about how to reconcile her past with the future she wants to create for herself.

Tara’s story is so beautifully written, and her courage in facing the challenges she faced is truly remarkable. The book left me feeling inspired to take stock of my own life and make a conscious effort to stretch beyond the limitations of expectations and reach for the future I want.

This book is a must-read for anyone looking to be inspired to break the boundaries of their upbringing or simply grow as an individual. It’s a beautiful story of self-discovery and courage that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. Highly recommended!

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain insight into the struggles and triumphs of a woman’s journey from rural Idaho to Cambridge University.
  • Feel inspired to take stock of one’s own life and reach for the future you want.
  • Learn how to break boundaries, face challenges, and grow as an individual.
  • Receive motivation to push beyond comfort zones.
Get Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir on Audible or Paperback.

#8: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Okay, another confession. Matthew McConaughey is not only nice to look at, he’s fun to listen to. For the love of all that is worthy – listen to the audible.

Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights is an inspiring, uplifting and refreshingly honest memoir about life, love, and the pursuit of personal growth. The book chronicles McConaughey’s personal journey from his childhood in Texas to his eventual superstardom. It is a deeply personal exploration of the many highs and lows of his life and career, sharing timeless lessons to be taken away.

McConaughey’s book provides a unique perspective on the meaning of success and how to live your best life. Through honest storytelling, he offers readers insight into what it takes to succeed – from hard work and determination to personal growth. Greenlights is an inspiring read for anyone looking for a little motivation or seeking to uncover their own life’s purpose.

Whether you’re just starting out on your journey or are already well on your way, Greenlights is a great reminder that life is all about following your passions and making the most of every opportunity.

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain insight into what it takes to succeed in life and career.
  • Learn timeless lessons about hard work, determination, and personal growth.
  • Feel inspired to pursue your passions and make the most of every opportunity.
  • Get motivated by McConaughey’s uplifting story of success.
Get Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights on Audible or Paperbook.

#9: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Even though the title is a little scary – and especially since my daughter told me to read it – this was an incredible read. Despite the author being a child-actor from the days my kids watched “kid-TV”, I could relate so much to her story.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy is a poignant and powerful exploration of grief, loss, and finding strength in unexpected places. The book is a raw portrayal of one woman’s journey through her mother’s death, and how she navigates the complex emotions that accompany it.

The narrative follows Jennette as she deals with the death of her mother, and the struggles that come with it. Jennette describes in vivid detail how she copes with her loss, from long days spent alone crying to moments of anger and confusion. Through these experiences, she discovers a strength within herself that she never knew existed before.

The writing is heartfelt and honest, capturing all of Jennette’s raw emotions. At times, it is hard to read, as she confronts her deepest pain and fears. Yet the narrative never feels exploitative; instead, it has an authentic and compassionate voice that truly resonates with its readers.

Overall, I’m Glad My Mom Died is a moving story of resilience and perseverance. Its honest and brave exploration of grief is both inspiring and heartbreaking, and it will stay with you long after you finish reading. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, this book can provide comfort, understanding, and hope. It’s definitely worth a read!

Read this book so you can …

  • Understand and cope with grief in a healthy way.
  • Find strength in unexpected places.
  • Connect with an authentic and compassionate narrative.
  • Gain hope and comfort from a story of resilience and perseverance.
  • Learn to confront pain, fear, and other difficult emotions head on.
Get Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died on Audible or Paperback

#10: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Yet another confession. Not only do I have the audible, but I have bought this book about a half dozen times. I keep giving it away. This is a book I return to over and over. It is a short, easy read and whenever I am feeling that resistance pop up – it’s my go to. I made my oldest daughter read it … well kind of. She quit half way through because she was going to “lose it” if she saw the word “resistance” one more time.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a must-read. This work provides powerful insight into the psychological blocks that can stop individuals from achieving success and offers useful strategies for overcoming these negative influences.

Pressfield examines the inner struggles that many individuals face when attempting to move forward with their lives, and he offers an interesting perspective on what separates those who succeed from those who fail. He speaks candidly about the idea of “resistance” — namely, the negative inner voice that keeps one from taking action and moving toward their goals. He then goes on to discuss strategies for combatting this resistance, from recognizing and accepting it to developing daily rituals that help one stay focused and motivated.

The War of Art is a great read for those looking for an inspiring guide to overcoming the psychological blocks that impede success. It’s packed with practical advice and wisdom that can be applied in any situation, making it an essential companion for anyone looking to break through their current obstacles and find success.

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain practical advice on how to tackle resistance and other negative inner voices that can hold individuals you back from achieving goals
  • Gain powerful insight into what separates those who succeed from those who fail
I hope you have enjoyed my reviews of the most recent books on my audible account. Please shoot me a message if you have any recommendations of a book that has made an impact on your life.
Let’s Discover the Psychology Behind Your Reading Experiences with Dr. Guess!
Book Review: The Gown

Book Review: The Gown

The Gown” is a suggestion from one of my clients. She sold me on it. I never was one to follow the royals. However, I do have memories of the Charles and Diana wedding when I was in grade school. Maybe I was a little young, but I never quite understood why Americans were so enthralled. I gave it a chance and I’m glad I did.

“The Gown” by Jennifer Robson is a well-written historical fiction novel. It tells the story of two friends who work as embroiderers for the wedding gown of Princess Elizabeth. The novel is beautifully crafted, with a well-researched depiction of the post-World War II era in London. The characters are relatable and the friendship between Ann and Miriam is touching.

The novel delves into the lives of the embroiderers who created the iconic wedding gown. The history of the era is seamlessly woven into the story. Although the book does contain a trigger warning for difficult sexual content, the author handles the subject matter with sensitivity and respect.

One of the strengths of the book is the way it jumps back and forth between different time periods. Adding in just a touch of generational trauma to the mix. However, the time movement gives the reader a sense of the broader historical context. Although there are some coincidences that tie the story together conveniently, the book is a satisfying read overall.

I especially appreciate the author’s portrayal of the bosses.  They are presented in the story as reasonable and decent people who treated their employees well. This is a refreshing change from the typical villainous boss archetype that often appears in literature.

Overall, “The Gown” is a good read for anyone interested in historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy stories about friendship and strong female protagonists.

Psychological Slant

The story of “The Gown” highlights the importance of friendship and support in difficult times. The two main characters, Ann and Miriam, are able to navigate the challenges of their work and personal lives through their strong bond. Additionally, the book explores the theme of resilience and the ability to overcome adversity, as the characters face difficult circumstances and historical events. Overall, the psychological lesson from the story is that having a supportive social network can be a powerful tool for coping with life’s challenges.


The Verdict

Thumbs up for me.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Real-World Examples

Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Real-World Examples

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a relatively uncommon disorder, but it can be challenging to treat. Individuals with NPD may also have other disorders like substance use, mania, and depression.  Pretty much every week, the idea of narcissism will come up in a session.  It’s a popular topic in the psychology world and one could argue that it’s the the spouses, children, parents, and friends of those who display narcissistic behaviors who often seek out therapy.

Cluster B: Personality Disorders

The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5-TR) indicates personality disorders as a “Cluster B” diagnoses.  There are four Cluster B personality disorders including NPD, as well as Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic Personality Disorders.

Personality disorders can be difficult to treat because they involve deeply ingrained patterns of behavior and thought that have likely developed over a long period of time. In many cases, these patterns are rooted in past traumas that have shaped an individual’s sense of self and their relationship to others. This can make it challenging to address the underlying issues that contribute to the disorder.

What Does NPD Look Like?

People with NPD may exhibit a variety of characteristics, including a need for constant attention and admiration, a lack of empathy for others, and exaggerated feelings of self-importance. Individuals with this disorder often have difficulty recognizing their own behavior as problematic. They may have a sense of entitlement that leads them to resist authority or rules, making it difficult for them to comply with treatment recommendations.

The nature of NPD can make it challenging for individuals to seek treatment or even acknowledge that they have a problem. Because symptoms of NPD can change over the course of an individual’s life, treatment may need to adjust over time to remain effective.

To receive a diagnosis of NPD, an individual must meet at least five of the nine criteria outlined in the DSM-5. The rest of this post will go through the nine criteria and include examples of behavior from the celebrity, sport, and political arenas.  In case you were wondering, the people used in the examples are not my clients. Therefore, I have not officially diagnosed these individuals with anything.  The following examples represent behaviors that were in the news that suggest symptoms of NPD.

1. Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it’s okay to recognize and celebrate your strengths while working on areas of growth.  However, sometimes individuals with NPD may have an exaggerated sense of their own importance or value compared to others. 

Someone with a grandiose sense of self-importance may interrupt others frequently in conversation, believing that their own thoughts and opinions are more important than anyone else’s.  They may also become defensive or angry when you challenge their ideas, unable to tolerate anyone questioning their expertise or authority on a topic.

I’ve watched a couple of the documentaries about Lance Armstrong. He put on a great show to the public (I drank the kool-aid at the time) all while showing multiple criteria for NPD.

Narcissism Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong:

One real-life example of a highly regarded person whose career was affected by NPD symptoms is Lance Armstrong, a former professional cyclist. His behavior on and off the bike was affected. He often exhibited grandiose behavior, such as insisting that he could beat cancer because he was Lance Armstrong. He also had a need for admiration and had a tendency to belittle others.

Armstrong’s NPD led him to engage in unethical behavior that ultimately led to the downfall of his career. He was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and he vehemently denied the allegations despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Armstrong’s grandiose sense of self-importance and need for admiration made it difficult for him to admit that he had done something wrong.

In the end, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, and his reputation was severely damaged. His NPD behavior made it difficult for him to maintain relationships with his teammates and cycling officials, and it ultimately led to his downfall.

2. Preoccupation with Fantasies of Unlimited Success in One or More Areas

Narcissism Kanye West

While it’s okay to have goals and aspirations, it’s not uncommon for individuals with narcissistic personality disorder to have REALLY big goals and aspirations. Sometimes, this mindset can lead to excessive focus on the idea of achieving unlimited success in one or more areas.

They may spend a lot of time researching successful business people and comparing themselves to them, feeling inadequate if they don’t measure up. They may also be unwilling to take on lower-level roles or work their way up in a company, feeling like they deserve immediate success and recognition.

I’m not really of the generation where Kanye West was relevant, but my kids made me listen to Taylor Swift (Okay, I wasn’t complaining).  When he yanked the award away from her at that award show, it was obvious he was not playing by the same rules as the rest of us.

Kanye West:

Kanye West is a well-known rapper, producer, and fashion designer who has achieved immense success in the entertainment industry. However, his preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success in various areas has caused several difficulties in his personal and professional life.
West has displayed some of the criteria for NPD. He shows an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, and brilliance. These traits have led him to make grandiose statements about his abilities, including his claim that he is the “greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time.”
One of the main difficulties that West has faced due to his NPD is his tendency to engage in impulsive and erratic behavior. In 2009, he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, claiming that Beyoncé should have won the award instead.

3. Belief That One is Special and Can Only Be Understood By Others Who Are Also Special.

Even though everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, sometimes people with NPD may describe themselves as unique or gifted and want to be surrounded by only those with a similar status.
I think this also applies outside of the world of celebrities.  The politics of small towns, local organizations, and even the parents at kids’ sports can bring out the worst in the grab to sidle up to the popular crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mariah Carey’s music.  She is of my era. I remember first hearing her range when I was still in high school and thought, “Dang, she’s my age.” It was only later when I heard about the diva behaviors.  Whatever, I still randomly sing, “It’s a sweet, sweet fantasy baby ...” without near the range.
Narcissism Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey:

Mariah Carey is a well-known singer, songwriter, and actress who has achieved great success throughout her career. However, her belief that she is special and can only be understood by others who are also special has caused significant difficulties in her life.
Carey’s behavior has been characterized as demanding and diva-like. She has been known to make outrageous demands, such as requiring a room filled with white roses or puppies, and insisting on being carried everywhere she goes. She has also been involved in numerous public feuds with other celebrities and has been accused of being difficult to work with.
While many celebrities may exhibit diva-like behavior, Carey’s actions have been particularly extreme. Her behavior has been linked to her NPD, which has caused her to believe that she is entitled to special treatment and that others should cater to her every whim.
Unfortunately, Carey’s NPD has also had a negative impact on her personal life. She has been married and divorced multiple times, and has had reportedly difficult relationships with her family members. Her belief that she is special and can only be understood by others who are also special has made it difficult for her to form meaningful relationships with others.

4. Requires excessive admiration.

Narcissism Teal Swan
People with narcissistic personality disorder require a lot of admiration and can be sensitive to criticism or self-doubt. They may become upset or defensive if they feel there is not enough praise or recognition.
Everyone needs validation and encouragement. But it’s also important to be able to accept constructive feedback a without becoming overly defensive or upset.
I first saw links to Teal Swan videos on YouTube.  I’m assuming all my self-help listens made her jump on my YouTube algorithm.  At first, I thought it was pretty good stuff … then it got weird.  The damning documentary, The Deep End, may not have been altogether fair. However, I had made a hard-pass on her videos long before the documentary came out.


Teal Swan

Teal Swan, a self-help author, motivational speaker, and spiritual teacher, has been accused of exhibiting traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). One of the ways in which she demonstrates this is by requiring excessive admiration from her followers.

For instance, Teal Swan requires her followers to make videos testimonials about her, which they must then publicly share on social media. This not only shows that she craves admiration but also that she wants others to see it. She wants to perceive her as larger than life and as someone who has a significant impact on her followers. This behavior is typical of individuals with NPD, who often seek admiration and validation from others.

Overall, Teal Swan’s excessive need for admiration is a clear indication of her NPD. She is a prime example of how individuals with NPD can use their charm and charisma to manipulate and control others to satisfy their own needs.

5. Possesses a Sense of Entitlement.

People with narcissistic personality disorder may feel that they deserve special treatment and may be confusing or upsetting when others don’t do things for them.

They may feel entitled to more than they’re given and may struggle to understand why others don’t see things the same way.

It seemed like the O.J. Simpson trial dominated the news cycle for years.  I knew O.J. as the incredible football player (The Juice)  and his “Naked Gun” character Nordberg.  It was hard to believe this apparently likable guy had so much darkness going on in the background.

Narcissism OJ Simpson

O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpsons a former American football player and actor who was famously acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995. However, Simpson’s sense of entitlement, which may be from NPD, has caused him difficulties in other areas of his life.

For example, in 2007, Simpson was arrested and charged with armed robbery and kidnapping after he and several accomplices attempted to steal sports memorabilia that Simpson claimed to have owned. Simpson was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 33 years in prison, with a minimum of 9 years before parole eligibility.

During his trial, Simpson’s sense of entitlement was on full display. He refused to take responsibility for his actions and instead blamed others for his situation. His behavior ultimately led to his conviction and imprisonment.

6. Is Interpersonally Exploitative

Narcissism Putin

People with narcissistic personality disorder may form relationships based on how they can benefit from them, rather than on mutual respect and kindness. They may be attracted to people who boost their self-esteem, and may not consider the other person’s needs or feelings.

This can lead to a pattern of taking advantage of others for their own gain, which can be hurtful and damaging to the relationship.

When I consider Putin, I can’t help but remember the video of him publicly reprimanding members of his staff.  His coldness and the look of fear on his staff spoke volumes.

Vladimir Putin

Reports have suggested that Vladimir Putin exhibits interpersonal exploitative behavior, which is a common trait among those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). One of the examples of such behavior is the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian businessman who was once the richest man in Russia and a political rival of Putin. In 2003, Khodorkovsky was arrested and charged with fraud and tax evasion, which many have argued were politically motivated charges.

During Khodorkovsky’s trial, Putin made several public comments suggesting that Khodorkovsky was guilty. Putin’s comments were widely seen as an attempt to influence the outcome of the trial and to discredit Khodorkovsky. This is just one example of how Putin’s interpersonal exploitative behavior, a trait commonly associated with NPD, has caused difficulties for those around him.

Another example of Putin’s exploitative behavior is his treatment of political opponents. Critics of Putin have been imprisoned, exiled, or even killed. One prominent example is the case of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy who was poisoned with polonium in 2006. Litvinenko had accused Putin of ordering the assassination of another critic of the Russian government, and many believe that Litvinenko’s own assassination was ordered by Putin in retaliation for his criticism.

7. Lacks Empathy for Others

People with certain personality traits may have difficulty empathizing with others. While they may understand empathy at an intellectual level, it can be challenging for them to identify with the feelings or experiences of others.

This can lead to difficulty building and maintaining meaningful relationships with others, as well as a lack of understanding or consideration for the needs and feelings of those around them.

The name Kim Jong-Un brings fear to much of the world.  It’s not his physical size or even the size of his country, but rather it’s his blatant disregard for life.

Narcissism Kim Jong-Un

Kim Jong-Un

The North Korean regime, under Kim Jong-un’s leadership, has been accused of committing numerous human rights abuses.

One real-life example of Kim Jong-un’s lack of empathy for others is his treatment of political prisoners. According to Amnesty International, the North Korean government has imprisoned an estimated 200,000 people in political prison camps, where they face inhumane conditions, including torture, forced labor, and starvation. In some cases, entire families are imprisoned, including children and elderly relatives. Kim Jong-un has shown no concern for the suffering of these prisoners, who are often held without trial and subjected to brutal treatment.

Another example is the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, in 2017. Kim Jong-nam was killed by two women who smeared his face with a deadly nerve agent while he was in a crowded airport terminal in Malaysia. The assassination was linked to Kim Jong-un’s desire to eliminate potential rivals to his leadership. Despite the fact that this assassination endangered countless innocent bystanders, Kim Jong-un showed no remorse for the harm caused.

Overall, Kim Jong-un’s lack of empathy for others is a significant problem that has led to widespread suffering in North Korea and beyond. His willingness to use violence to maintain power and disregard for the well-being of others are hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder, and have had devastating consequences for countless individuals.

8. Is Often Envious of Others and Believes Others are Envious of Them.

Narcissism Paris Hilton

People with certain personality traits may exhibit symptoms of envy towards others and may believe that others are envious of them.

This can lead to a pattern of devaluing the successes of others and overvaluing their own accomplishments.

Paris Hilton has definitely changed the narrative around her “party-girl” and “tone-deaf” personas when she started speaking out against the “troubled-teen” industry back in 2020.  It is a great example to show how narcissistic characteristics can often be a cover for a deeper wound.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton has been very open about her struggles with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). In a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan, Hilton revealed that her NPD had caused her significant difficulties, including difficulty forming genuine relationships, trust issues, and feelings of loneliness and isolation.

One of the most challenging aspects of her NPD was her belief that others were envious of her. She had developed a deep-seated belief that she was superior to others and that they were jealous of her and her lifestyle. This belief caused her to become envious of others, leading to a vicious cycle of envy and loneliness. She would become envious of people who had something she did not, such as a happy relationship or successful career. This jealousy would then lead her to feel even more isolated and alone, fueling her NPD.

In addition, Paris Hilton admitted that her NPD had caused her to become overly defensive and to lash out at others who she perceived as being critical of her or not giving her the attention she felt she deserved. She would often respond aggressively to perceived slights, leading to damaged relationships with friends and family.

Paris Hilton’s struggles with NPD highlight the difficulties that people with this disorder face. Despite her wealth and privilege, her NPD made it challenging for her to form healthy relationships and lead a fulfilling life.

9. Shows Arrogance and Haughty Behaviors or Attitudes. 

People with certain personality traits may come across as snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing. They may believe that they are better than others and may act in ways that make others feel inferior or unworthy.

It’s important to remember that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and that it’s okay to celebrate your accomplishments while treating others with kindness and respect.

Charlie Sheen almost felt like a cartoon character with some of his quotes and behaviors.  It was in such a contrast to his work from the past.  I loved Wall Street and Major League and it was hard to believe he is the same guy.

Narcissism Charlie Sheen


Charlie Sheen is a well-known actor who has publicly struggled with addiction, legal troubles, and erratic behavior. He has also exhibited symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which may have contributed to some of his difficulties.

Sheen’s behavior has been characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. He has made grandiose statements about his own abilities and accomplishments, and has been known to belittle and ridicule others who disagree with him.

In 2011, Sheen was fired from the television show “Two and a Half Men” after a series of public outbursts directed at the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre. Sheen made derogatory and insulting comments about Lorre’s appearance and personal life, and refused to take responsibility for his own behavior. This behavior may have been driven in part by his NPD behaviors, which can make it difficult for individuals to accept criticism or admit fault.

Overall, Sheen’s struggles with addiction and behavior have been well-documented, and his NPD may have been a contributing factor to some of his difficulties.