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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Would you please tell me everything you know about narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26784points) December 25th, 2011

I have read tons of webpages recently, so I have a pretty good idea.. but I feel like I can not get enough information to satisfy my desire to really understand it.
I know there is a difference between healthy narcissism and toxic narcissism… I want to learn more about those with excessive self-love.
Are there varying degrees of narcissism?
Are all narcissists exploitative, and if so, are they exploitative of everyone around them… or do they only surround themselves with people they can exploit?
Are all narcissists pathological liars?
What are the differences between psychopathy and narcissism?

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13 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I am sorry, but I can not hear you over the sound of how awesome I am!

Earthgirl's avatar

I think this is a good starting point.

It cites several sources to read more in depth but has a good overview of the varying narcissistic types. Not all narcissists are the grandiose manipulative type which is most often thought of.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Are there varying degrees of narcissism? Absolutely. It’s really like a spectrum of narcissism, where you have to reach maybe 7 or something on a scale of 1–10 (1 being actually healthy self-esteem, not low self-esteem, since narcissism is just a form of low self-esteem) in order for it to be considered high enough to qualify as a ‘personality disorder’. I don’t actually follow the idea of healthy vs unhealthy narcissism; to me, narcissism is, by definition, a self-centeredness coming from a place of discomfort, lack of love, and/or unmet needs of the self. If it’s grandiose, it’s not coming from an actual overabundance of self-confidence but rather from an unhealthy handling of a lack of self-confidence.

Are all narcissists exploitative, and if so, are they exploitative of everyone around them… or do they only surround themselves with people they can exploit? Yes and no. I think exploitative seems to imply a certain level of conscious and deliberative malevolence, when it’s often more of a knee-jerk reaction that the person isn’t aware of or completely in control of. They aren’t necessarily exploitive of all the people around them, or all of the time; they go through phases (like the rest of us) and have better and worse periods and people they’re more likely to treat poorly and those whom they put more work into treating properly.

Are all narcissists pathological liars? I guess yes and no. It sort of depends on your definition of “lying”, and if there’s an objective reality, and if there is a stable self. People’s beliefs change over time, both over years and decades and within a matter of minutes. So just because someone says x right now doesn’t mean they still believe x in five minutes, so if five minutes from now, they actually say they believe in y, then it doesn’t necessarily make it a lie, if the definition of a lie is telling something they believe to be untrue at that exact moment. And there’s a lot of times where it might not be entirely true, but also not entirely false; for example, if you ask most married people if they’re happy, most will say “yes, we’re so in love” right up until they tell you they’re breaking up. And of those less than entirely happy couples, there are levels of awareness, they might totally believe on the surface that they’re happy, but know deeper down that something’s off. And they might not be interested in telling you about their personal problems, or ready to admit to others what they’re afraid is true, etc. And when you add in the weirdo way memory works, just because you didn’t actually punch someone in an entirely verbal fight doesn’t mean they don’t genuinely believe you punched them. They might actually believe that they’re a spy for the CIA, or a whaler on the weekend, so just because there’s no evidence to support it and it’s a lie to you doesn’t mean it’s a lie to them. There’s usually a lack of reconciliation between what they believe and what might be called an “objective reality”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lying in a more traditional sense. And there isn’t exactly a consensus within the psych community as to what the definition of “pathological lying” is.

What are the differences between psychopathy and narcissism? There’s no agreed upon deiferentiation. For some, the terms are interchangable. For others, psychopathy is the extreme end of the narcissism spectrum (more info here). Others think narcissism and psychopathy are slightly different ways the same general issue manifests – like, crimson and scarlet are slightly different, but both bright, dark reds.

Coloma's avatar

I was married to a pathological narcissist for way too long, and, have known several others over the years.

Yes, lying, manipulation and exploitation of others is part of the witches brew of this serious mental and emotional disorder.

I agree with @Aethelflaed 100%

These types are very good at pretending to be the worlds most awesome people, but, when you know what to watch for, look out…it’s only a matter of time until their true colors shine through.

One major clue is that they NEVER apologize or take any responsibility for their bad behaviors and the best “test” is to speak up about something they do or have done that bothers you…..oh oh…get ready for the worlds biggest mind fuck and a grandiose display of “innocence” and indignation. They are ALWAYS the VICTIM, always!

Bad news, baaad!

filmfann's avatar

I looked it up in the dictionary, but there was only a picture of AstroChuck.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Why am I always drawn to these people? >:\

Coloma's avatar


“Normal”, non- character disordered types simply don’t THINK that others can be capable of such bullshit. Don’t beat yourself up, until you’ve been bitten a few times you haven’t had a NEED to know how to identify every serpent that lurks in the weeds. LOL
It’s zoolology 101, how to identify two legged predators. haha

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Coloma that’s where I am right now. Although I know that my experience in the past has been best to just cut these relationships off as soon as humanly possible, right now I find myself in emotional limbo, trying to justify behaviors or question my own judgment. I find it really hard to believe that a human being can not experience empathy. It’s so foreign to me, that I almost can’t swallow the reality of it.

Two-legged predators indeed.

Coloma's avatar

Yeah, but, it can takes years for some people to really show you who they are.
By the time your wide awake and ready to cut them loose the damage has been done.
Sooo, it’s in the ounce of prevention not the pound of cure. lol

jessiemay25's avatar

All you need to know is that if you meet one…run. They destroy lives.

Earthgirl's avatar

Aethelflaed I don’t know how you come by your knowledge of nacissism, if it is by book or real life experience, but what you say about the aspect of lying rings true for me. I work with a woman that I would call vastly narcissistic. She has such an egocentric view of the world that she has very little awareness of how she comes off to others and how the way they respond to her is based on how she treats them. That would seem to contradict egocentrism, because it implies that she is very self aware but she isn’t. She just cannot be objective about herself.

As Coloma says she is always the victim. So when it comes to lying she totally fits your profile. She doesn’t think she’s lying, it’s the truth the way she sees it, but the way she sees it is so distorted. She is a verbal bully who gets aggravated when you push to get a sentence in edgewise. She accuses people of stealing with no evidence and then complains about how their defending themselves has “damaged” her. She pushes every last one of my buttons and when I have finally had it and assert myself by arguing with her she acts like I am the one with anger issues. So when it comes to lying she really is convincing to other people who only hear her side of the story because she really, truly believes that she is the innocent victim. I have gotten to the point where I will not argue with her no matter what because she turns it around on me and tries to make me out to be the bully. She is the kind of person who will never take the blame when she fails at something. It’s always someone else’s fault. She was sabotaged or something. She makes me so miserable. She has said to me how I could go work somewhere else because I have experience in another area of the market. I know she wants me to leave so she can be the Queen Bee. It’s not that easy for me to leave or I would. She makes me that miserable.

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