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10 Common Myths About Narcissists

Updated on January 14, 2020
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Marc Hubs, author of "Reflections Of NPD" is a writer/researcher on the mind, science, psychology/psychiatry, metaphysics and consciousness.


10 Myths About Narcissists

Myth 1. A narcissist is someone who is in love with their self.

Technically, a narcissist is not genuinely in love with their self. Rather, they are actually in love with the false self; the innocent, angelic, good-as-gold persona which they project in order to fool those around them (except their victims... sometimes).

In fact, the narcissist does not actually literally love either their real self or their false self but they are compulsively obsessed with the false self-projection that they have worked many years to achieve, which gives the illusion that they are in love with their self - they are Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde.

The person that everyone knows them as is nothing more than a fabrication; layers of twisted secrecy constructed to protect the disturbed abuser that lies beneath the facade. Narcissists are incapable of loving another person because they have not learned to love and be comfortable with their true self.

Myth 2. Narcissists are just people with high levels of self-esteem.

This is completely untrue. Normal, healthy and functional people can have high levels of self-esteem without being narcissistic, at least not to the point of a personality disorder.

Unlike a normal healthy person, a narcissist's self-esteem must be constantly regulated whilst the narcissist has no empathy, therefore in relationships the narcissist is only concerned with what their partner can do for them but never the opposite way around - the narcissist does not genuinely care about their partner's feelings, though will pretend to, and they show high levels of self-entitlement.

Their acted out empathy is all just a part of their facade yet is extremely compelling.

Myth 3. All narcissists are highly successful.

Although this may be true in the case of many overt, classic or elite narcissists, it is most certainly not the case with covert narcissists or inverted narcissists.

Covert and inverted narcissists actually have a lot of self-doubt and a lack of belief in their capabilities therefore they rarely go on to actually make any significant achievements throughout their lives.

In addition, the inverted narcissist is co-dependent and therefore relies on their partner to take care of them, as a mother or father would, though this also is done without genuine love or empathy.

Myth 4. Narcissists are just vain and big-headed people.

Although a high level of narcissism can result in people becoming more obsessed with their own physical appearance and self-image, a true malignancy of narcissism goes much deeper resulting in an unreasonable balance of self-entitlement, dysfunctional relationships and what can only be described as 'backwards logic' which is persistent over a long period of time.

Myth 5. All narcissists are the same.

This is completely untrue.

There are many types of narcissist, though they all suffer with one common trait - a complete lack of empathy.

There are overt narcissists, covert narcissists, cerebral narcissists, the inverted narcissist, the classic narcissist, the somatic narcissist and many more.

All narcissists lack empathy and are unable, or unwilling, to relate to the emotions of other people all of the time but their entire act when they pretend to is often flawlessly natural and extremely convincing.

Myth 6. A narcissist is just someone who is selfish and abusive.

Whilst narcissists are indeed both selfish and abusive, the fact that differentiates them from others is the entire false self which is gradually developed over many years, usually decades, to form a host of protective layers to hide the deceitful, manipulative abuser that secretly hides beneath.

The narcissist is an expert at doing so, as they have been practicing this art ever since they were a young child - they have gone on to develop a super-human capacity for manipulation and are extremely calculative.

Myth 7. All narcissists are capable of murder and rape.

Whilst it's a well-known fact within the mental health community that all rapists and murderers are narcissists, this does most certainly not mean that all narcissists are capable of such acts.

There are many narcissists who draw the line at emotional or mental abuse or a combination of both, as long as they get what they want. Some of them may use physical abuse instead but it's only a small percentage of narcissists who are sexual abusers but all narcissists are predatory in some sense of the word.

Due to their lack of empathy, narcissists see other people as nothing more than objects, or props in their own movie (life), to be used for their own gratification in order to fulfill their abnormal sense of entitlement.

Myth 8. A narcissist does not know they are a narcissist.

Plausible denial is a huge part of malignant narcissism and the denial of being a narcissist goes hand in hand with general narcissistic traits and the personality disorder as a whole.

Narcissists are not concerned with the presence of their overly narcissistic traits but they know that they lack a vital part of healthy human functioning (empathy) and that they can use this fact to their advantage - this is their biggest secret and is to never be revealed.

A narcissist will never admit that they are a narcissist. In addition, if you find yourself even considering the fact that you might be a narcissist then you can be assured that you are definitely not one!

Myth 9. Narcissists are just con-men/women.

There is a huge difference between a con-man or con-woman and a narcissist.

Most narcissists are pathological liars who have become compulsively obsessed with upholding their false sense of self in order to protect the "damaged goods" that remain concealed beneath the facade.

Beneath this facade, which is built brick by brick over the course of their lifetime, the narcissist is nothing more than a compulsive emotional vampire, a compulsive abuser, a compulsive liar who will use any opportunity they can to kick their victim(s) while they're down.

Although not intended, narcissists can be perceived by their victim(s) to be emotionally/mentally sadistic.

Myth 10. All abusers are narcissists.

This is definitely not true.

Abuse takes place in many different forms and abuse in relationships can be caused by many other factors. Just because someone is an abuser, it does not necessarily mean they are a narcissist, the difference being that the narcissist is playing a consistent and constant long-term game; a life-long game which they must maintain control of.

The narcissist cannot help resorting to abuse, as it acts as a security measure keeping people at bay and never allowing anyone to get too close to them emotionally.

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© 2012 Marc Hubs


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    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      11 days ago from United Kingdom

      Anybody can act without empathy at certain times, empathy is something which fluctuates whereas a narcissist has very little or no empathy all of the time. The word narcissist is being thrown around way too much lately when referring to people who are simply abusers.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      6 weeks ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Good article! Still chewing on how an abuser wouldn't be classed as a narcissist... I understand that they would perhaps not have a long-range game going, but the bulk of the abusers I have come to know in my life (as a professional, and personally) would certainly be on the Narc spectrum as people who acted without empathy to harm someone else, and although they might show up as "remorseful" if it served their purposes, that supposed contrition soon wore out with the continued cycling of the abuse. Can you give some referrals to writing or studies that make a good case for not all abusers being somewhere on the Narc spectrum (the mildest part of the spectrum being "lack of empathy with other traits less firm). Thank you!

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 

      2 years ago

      Another excellent article! Thank you for sharing this information!



    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      2 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Marc, you organized a well introspective view of the narcissist. Your ten point list helps discourage faulty misconceptions. I enjoy psychological articles. They are great inspiration for writing about characters in fiction.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for the informative hub. Everyone seems to be throwing around the word "narcissism" these days and labeling this and that person a "narcissist." Are there really more narcissists today or are we just over-using the term? Is society doing things that create more narcissists (e.g. Facebook, selfies, etc.)?

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I like the way you described it Gail. Indeed I have read about cases where the narcissism was becoming increasingly more and more overt as the years went, kind of escalating behind the scenes but becoming clearer and clearer over time.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      6 years ago from Johnson County, Kansas

      I love this, Sparkster! It is so true! "The person that everyone knows them as is nothing more than a fabrication, layers of twisted secrecy constructed to protect the disturbed abuser that lies beneath the facade. "

      "Whilst it's a well-known fact within the mental health community that all rapists and murderers are narcissists, this does most certainly not mean that all narcissists are capable of such acts. " By the time it reaches the high end of the narcissism spectrum, they certainly do murder. We think of murder being committed with a weapon like a gun or knife, but they murder just the same by sucking the life out of another human being. The huge distinction is there is no weapon to point to, which really makes it worse in some ways than a murderer who shot someone and certainly more painful for the victim. I also wonder if they are indeed capable of more overt aggression, it is just a matter of the "right" situation presenting itself.

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom


      a comment containing (bad) advice was left for you within the last 24 hours. Although I respect the fact that the commenter disagreed with the advice I offered in my comment to you, I have not approved their comment because I believe that if you followed their advice you would be placing yourself in an extremely dangerous situation which would undoubtedly and definitely work against you in a court of law and could even result in you losing contact with your daughter - not the sort of advice I would want any of my readers to follow.

      Basically, the commenter advised that you should teach your daughter everything you can about this disorder, fill them in on all the gory details, etc - if this was ever mentioned in court it would be absolutely devastating to your cause and would work against you.

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Jen.

    • Jen Card profile image

      Jen Card 

      7 years ago

      Exactly written! Excellent hub! Voted up!

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Mel, the only thing I can suggest is that you let nature take it's course. Don't try to open her eyes to anything, if you wait long enough you will probably find that she starts to question certain things and you can then go on to educate her on those topics (but only those that she mentions).

      Just coming out and telling her that her father is a narcissist could be detrimental and I do not recommend it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These are great articles. I am wondering the long term effects on children. I have spent 5 years learning about the narcissistic behavior I lived with, which you outlined perfectly in these articles. I have a 14 year old daughter who splits time between parents. I am trying to show her other ways of behavior and I don't shower her with unnecessary praise. But the behavior has not changed on her fathers side. He uses her as a pawn and it really frustrates me and I feel really sad for my daughter. I do not point out her fathers behavior because she thinks I am just angry, so I keep quiet. I have two older boys, post college who are slowly figuring it out but I am worried about my daughter. Any suggestions?


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