In the past, as long as I can remember, I wrote three articles about narcissism. From them, I could understand how easily misunderstood and used in vain is the word narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder these days. To clarify,
Not all people who have evident and harmful traits of narcissism carry necessarily narcissistic personality disorder. Also, the idea that narcissists are in love with themselves and looking at the mirror all the time, nothing could be farther from the truth.
In reality, behind the charming independent facade, they perceive themselves as weak, not good enough, profoundly insecure, empty, which leads them to abuse/use other people as sources of narcissistic supply, seeking validation from the outside world.
Even though narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder can overlap by sharing common traits, someone with higher narcissistic traits may be mildly self-centered at times, feeling regret for their actions, seeking power, money, and prestige. But one individual with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) possesses a much more ingrained, pervasive pattern of toxicity that affects their’s and other’s lives. However, at the end of the day, both can be very damaging. Your role should be not pathologizing them but educate and protect yourself from these dynamics. Everyone these days claims to have a narcissist in their lives, which is pretty much the truth. Even so, shifting your attention to what really matters, YOU, Is the key to heal altogether, all affected spheres in your life.
Narcissistic abuse is real and rising. Like psychologists and psychiatrist’s community claims it is the twenty-one-century pandemic. Narcissists and people with NPD are also responsible for more work-related lawsuits because they have trouble taking criticism. The same happens when it comes to intimate relationships. They aren’t good at it at all, choosing their partners based on what they have to offer rather than what the person represents as a whole individual.
Many reported cases of “difficult” divorces with financial losses, mind games, gaslighting, cognitive dissonance, and many other aspects are part of these deadly toxic relationships, which can kill you literally!
No one is born a narcissist. Narcissism is built by traumatic and damaging events during upbringing. Existence of narcissistic parents that use their children as a supply fountain, excessive praise from a young age, etc. Supporting this evidence, studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging could identify that the Insular cortex (anterior insula responsible for emotions regulation) and cerebral cortex (thinking and reasoning part of the brain) of narcissists had abnormalities.
The Girl On The Train
The Girl On The Train is a 2016 American mystery psychological thriller film that explains how relationships with narcissists or even sociopaths can be detrimental to mental health and life in general. Victims are lead to believe that they are defective and not good enough. The psychological and financial abuse over the years is the usual trap to maintain them inside captivity. Emily Blunt did a great job in this movie by portraying faithfully what happens in extreme cases and how the victims are discreditable before society and close people. Yet, Justin Theroux, on the other hand, gives all the signals we should be aware of when dealing with people close to us. How the lack of empathy, entitlement. And an over-inflated sense of greatness and importance can prejudice the lives of everyone around.
To conclude, I would like to emphasize the importance of correct education for children (not exploitation), watch out for your actions on social media (now the favorite place for narcissism). Be careful and aware of influencers. Because there is a clear distinction between someone who has studied, trained, worked to know what they know from someone full of bullshits who want praise, followers and are authentic toxic minefields for those who watch them.
Gu, X., Hof, P. R., Friston, K. J., & Fan, J. (2013). Anterior insular cortex and emotional awareness. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 521(15), 3371-3388.
Hagmann, P., Cammoun, L., Gigandet, X., Meuli, R., Honey, C. J., Wedeen, V. J., & Sporns, O. (2008). Mapping the structural core of human cerebral cortex. PLoS biology, 6(7).
Hotchkiss, S. (2008). Why is it always about you?: the seven deadly sins of narcissism. Simon and Schuster.
Lerner JS, Li Y, Valdesolo P, Kassam KS. Emotion and decision making. Annu Rev Psychol. 2015; 66:799–823.
Uddin, L. Q., Nomi, J. S., Hebert-Seropian, B., Ghaziri, J., & Boucher, O. (2017). Structure and function of the human insula. Journal of clinical neurophysiology: official publication of the American Electroencephalographic Society, 34(4), 300.