Narc-ing on Narcissists
There's a difference between self love and self obsession
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First and foremost: WE GOT HIM.
I’ve been purposely avoiding the subject of Trump for the last few months in anticipation of this very moment, a deep catharsis for those of us who watched in horror for the better part of the last decade as that utter clown kept digging a deeper and deeper grave. For awhile he seemed perfectly content to throw his own staff, his own family, and his own country down in that hole to save himself, but after years of repeated mass traumas caused by that man’s own unchecked ego, we finally have the beginnings of a reckoning. The arc of the moral universe, etc.
But believe it or not, this post isn’t about Trump, at least not directly. Like most posts here, it’s all about me.
For years I feared I was a narcissist.
Any barely decent therapist will tell you that “fearing you’re a narcissist” is a surefire signal that you are NOT a narcissist, because generally narcissists lack the self reflection necessary to feel at all guilty for their self-centering. There is such a thing as “self aware” narcissism too, a kind of (barely) better version where the subject is at least objective enough to accept a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, despite the fact that they may not care about that diagnosis.
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But some key words in that last sentence: Aware & Care.
Caring is something I’ve always done, perhaps to an unhealthy degree at times. Those of you who know me particularly well IRL know that I’ve always liked listening to your problems, offering (mostly) sound advice or simply a shoulder to lean on if you’re going through one of life’s rough patches. I truly enjoy volunteering my time to people who need my help, I can be optimistic in the face of unspeakable pain, and in all instances I try to encourage empathy as a salve for people who hurt and are hurt.
Awareness is just the ability to recognize oneself from an objective-ish perspective (objectivity in the absolute is a myth as long as humans are the ones offering a perspective). Recognizing your own narcissistic tendencies or impulses and fearing them is what keeps most of us from ever crossing the rubicon from “healthy narcissism” to “disordered narcissism.”
Yes, there is such a thing as healthy narcissism. In fact, it should be said that all people will act in their own self interest from time to time. Being self-interested is not narcissism, it’s often a healthy means of survival in a world of vipers and charlatans. Even being self-centered doesn’t technically make you a card carrying narcissist with NPD, if anything it might be considered destructive narcissism. That may make you selfish and a prick at times, but disordered narcissism is something entirely different.