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What is a Narcissist?

Updated on April 10, 2016

Do you know any narcissists?

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The What

What's a narcissist? Do you think you know any right now? The word narcissist is used so often, it's meaning has become a bit watered down. Remember that Elliot Rodger kid and his manifesto? That's a narcissist. He is an excellent example of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and how destructive and dangerous it is.

Narcissists will go to whatever lengths they have to in order to get what they want and so often - as we see with Elliot Rodger - what they want is revenge. They believe they have been wronged and they react with rage when the world does not give them what they want. They take pleasure in hurting people, especially those who care about them. The goal of the narcissist is literally to destroy, especially someone they think cares about them. It is very fortunate this kid never found a girlfriend; he probably wouldn't have killed her so long as she did not leave him but her entire existence would have been absolutely miserable. Abuse is integral in the "relationship" with a narcissist. It is all they know and the only way they can feel better. The narcissist cares not at all for their partner as a person; the partner only matters inasmuch as what they can do for the narcissist. It is very hard for normal, caring people to understand this and because of that, they often hang on to the relationship thinking they can reach the narcissist. They cannot. A narcissist cannot be reached with love and you cannot appeal to his good graces. He is capable of neither.

The narcissist is like a shark, or a machine that is designed to do only one thing. He cannot be swayed, appealed to, reasoned with, deviated or stopped. Hurting you literally makes him feel better. That's the way it is. You can never make him feel good enough that he will stop. Never. You cannot change him, fix him or "love" him out of it. The only thing you can do is get out of the way. These people are fundamentally broken and as soon as the narcissist decides that you can no longer provide him with the sustenance he needs, he will drop you without a second glance. It could take 2 months, it could take 10 years, it could take 3 days but after he has sucked you dry, he will move on. You do not matter to him at all. He sees you as an extension of himself, not an actual person and as such he wishes to possess and control you. That's it.

There is a school of thought emerging right now which postulates that all cluster B personality disorders (Histrionic, Borderline, Narcissistic and Antisocial) are actually just different levels on a narcissistic spectrum. This would mean that Antisocial Personality Disorder is simply the extreme end of the narcissistic spectrum. Since these disorders occur together very frequently and since they all contain some element of narcissism, this is a very plausible theory. It also shows us how destructive narcissism in any amount can truly be.

The Why

The narcissist has a vicious, sadistic Superego (the part of a person's mind that acts as a self-critical conscience, reflecting social standards learned from parents and teachers) that attacks him all the time with horrible, terrible things: "You're worthless, no one likes you, you're scum, you're a terrible person, there is nothing good about you..." They create a False Self to hide that, which is why they seem so arrogant, etc. But they are under attack by this Superego all the time, nearly every second, and so when they find a partner, this narcissist takes all that sadistic viciousness they are hearing from the Superego out on the partner to make themselves feel better. This is the only way they have to make themselves feel better and because of this, they are never going to stop doing it. You cannot make them see they are doing this; it's a defense mechanism. They have to believe their partner or others around them really are terrible people. It's essential to their whole being as a person and they cannot stop. More importantly, they don't want to stop. They are truly evil people who literally desire to destroy others because they are jealous and believe that other people have things (love, sex, material things, popularity) that they (the narcissist) are being purposely and spitefully denied.

Remember in "Fight Club" when Edward Norton's character beat the everloving crap out of Jared Leto's character? And when the other guys asked him why he did it, he said, "I felt like destroying something beautiful"? That is the narcissist. The true narcissist is a dangerous, conscious-less, selfish, sadistic and evil person. And really, calling them a person is a misnomer. They are not truly people in the strict sense of the word. That is why a lot of people have the same reaction to narcissists as they do to very human-like androids. People can accept and even like androids, so long as they do not seem too human (like C3PO). But when an android seems too much like a human (such as this one), people often react with revulsion, disgust and even fear or panic. This is called the uncanny valley hypothesis and it is the same reaction you often see to a narcissist; people aren't sure why they feel that way but something just feels "off" and it's a strong feeling, so strong that usually after an encounter or two, many people will stay away from the narcissist. This probably explains why even though he was good looking, smart, well-off and personable, Elliot Rodger could not get a girlfriend. This is the "alien" aspect of the narcissist and we see it over and over again; people can see that something is not right. They are sensing that the narcissist is a fraud and not a real human being at all. Others often cannot articulate what it is they don't like about the narcissist - who usually seems to be the picture of friendliness and sincerity - they just know they don't like it.

Read about any murder or crime where people were really hurt; chances are, you'll find one of these terrible humanoids at the bottom of it. Jails and prisons are full of narcissists. The only thing they care about is what they can use somebody for, and they will be whoever and whatever they have to be to get it. They don't care about other people's suffering or feelings; do you care how your couch feels when you sit on it? Do you wonder if you are being fair to your toaster? They are a true and accurate mimic, but don't be fooled. Narcissists are truly handicapped and crippled human beings in that regard: they have no real feelings at all for anyone other than themselves. And the scary thing is, they are almost sickeningly easy to create.

The How

This brings us back to Elliot Rodger.

It's sort of sad how the focal point of that crime became gun control when the problem is so much more than that. We should be talking about how you create a person like that, because they absolutely are created. We need to stop teaching our children the value of things and start teaching them the value of people. We need to stop letting our children believe the world owes them something. We must stop giving them every single thing they want, and we need to stop rewarding selfish, self-absorbed behavior. We need to stop ignoring our children. We have to take time to be with them, to see them, to love them. We must teach our children love and the value of life. That is how we stop things like Elliot Rodger from happening. That is how we stop creating people like that.

Once they are created, it's too late. Medication cannot help them. Therapy cannot help them. Nothing can help them. They are what they are. And what they are is really nobody at all. They are shells walking through life seeking fulfillment, and the only way to get what they need is by using and abusing other people. Narcissists can be dangerous, violent people. They will go to whatever lengths they have to in order to get what they want. They see people as either stumbling blocks in their way or stepping stones to use. That's it and that's all. The narcissist will discredit you, lie about you, ruin your life, physically hurt you or even kill you in order to get you out of the way if he wants something bad enough. And we are creating an entire generation of them, to some degree or another. That's frightening. An entire generation of crippled, defective shells masquerading as people that are incapable of love or of ever being happy.

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