The Narcissist In All Of Us - What Is Narcissism (Self-Love)?
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.
© 2012 Marc Hubs