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The Narcissist In All Of Us - What Is Narcissism (Self-Love)?

Updated on February 12, 2016
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Marc Hubs is a writer/researcher on the mind, science, psychology/psychiatry, metaphysics & consciousness. Author of Reflections Of NPD.

What Is Narcissism?

Shame and blame are their aim and outrage is their game, narcissists can be a very dangerous breed of person to be around.

They can cause havoc and destruction to the lives of those around them. However, narcissism is also a completely natural human trait present in all of us and is a necessity to survive.

So, what actually is 'narcissism'?

Narcissism is defined as extreme selfi-centeredness and a grandiose view of the self (talents, looks, intelligence etc) with a constant need for adoration and admiration. The term "attention whore" may spring to mind. However, this definition describes narcissism at the higher end of the spectrum.

It is a well known fact that during puberty and adolescence we have to learn to love ourselves before being capable of going on to learn love of another. This means that each and every one of us are subject to self-reflection at certain times in our lives, it gives us an idea of who we are as individuals and helps us to understand both ourselves and others.

It is only when we learn to become comfortable with ourselves that we can go on to become comfortable around other people and to do this it probably requires a healthy level of narcissism (and therefore also a healthy level of empathy).

This would be the difference between healthy narcissism and so-called malignant narcissism. Many people argue that the word 'malignant' is deceiving as it portrays that a person disordered with a narcissistic personality is responsible for their own disorder. What it actually means is that the narcissistic trait of that person is malignant, not the person him/her self. Technically, it's not their fault.

Once a healthy amount of narcissism has been established, in most people, the self-reflection begins to fade and people move on to actually living their lives after learning to become comfortable with themselves. The majority of people go on to find a partner who loves them for who they are and whom they can love back. However, between 1-4% of the general population don't completely make it through this developmental stage (for whatever reasons) and the process of self-reflection and self-evaluation continues indefinitely.

They see themselves as damaged goods, usually due to negative subjective experiences that they have incurred or due to their deepest insecurities and fears. Their self-reflection never seems to provide them with the affirmation they subconsciously desire and so they become obsessed with maintaining their perceived self-reflection.

It is this self-reflection, this emotional insecurity that needs to be continuously fed and regulated via projective identification, adoration and admiration as a consistent form of verification. The natural human trait of narcissism keeps going but never stabilizes at a healthy level, it becomes malignant and recurring.

We are all narcissistic to a degree, some more than others. In fact, without a healthy amount of narcissism we would probably become empaths. We would care less about ourselves and more about the feelings and emotions of others.

An empath is basically the opposite of a narcissist and having to relate to other people's feelings all the time, which empaths pick up on subconsciously, actually drives many of them crazy and can be extremely difficult to cope with. At the other end of the narcissistic/empathic spectrum a narcissist has no conscious worries, they only care about their self.

In order to be able to live a stable life and maintain healthy relationships a healthy development somewhere in the middle of the narcissistic/empathic spectrum must be attained through natural self-development.

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© 2012 Sparkster Publishing

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    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Sparkster Publishing 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Mary, you make an interesting point.

      Enlydia, I agree with you.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      6 years ago from trailer in the country

      I agree that everyone has a bit of it. It is when it gets out of hand and hurts others that it becomes a problem. Even to the narcissist, because I think they really don't know how to receive real love.

    • Mary Neal profile image

      Mary Neal 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

      Ain't it the truth? "I, me, my!" Narcissists plan concentration camps under NDAA. I believe the Rapture must be imminent. Jesus is NOT leaving His people here to get put in FEMA camps, depopulated, etc., and that is exactly where this boat is racing at full throttle. We can slow it down by promoting H.R.3785 to eliminate Section 1021 of the NDAA. Read about Ron Paul's bill to repeal indefinite detention without criminal charges and trial at OpenCongress.org. Blessings!

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Sparkster Publishing 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks Lisa,

      Emotionally immaturity explains it well, though there will always be a reason for that emotional immaturity. It's a controversial issue.

      Many people can display the tendencies without actually being narcissistic to the degree of a full-blown personality disorder. We all have insecurities, but when those insecurities prevent you from being able to sustain a healthy lifestyle and relationships then it becomes destructive.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      This is an informative (and well written) Hub. I know you don't need me to say that, but I think it's worth commenting on. :)

      I've never particularly thought of being at peace with who/what I am (at least on the inside - I've got some axes to grind with the outside, as so many people have when it comes to their appearance flaws) as any form of narcissism. I think it's a real advantage for people to have parents who raise them with the right priorities. For example, I was raised with the idea that nothing else in life really mattered a whole lot other than whether or not a person is kind and cares about others. Since most "normal" people are kind and care about others (some to a higher degree than others, I guess), I don't think there's always a lot of insecurity about things like talent, intelligence, looks, etc. in people who are well adjusted and have reached maturity.

      What I wonder, though, is whether the inappropriate valuing of those other "less important" things is a symptom of a person's emotional immaturity, rather than their simply not having been raised to value their own (and others') "heart".

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