There’s typically a conflation of narcissism being morally “dangerous,” which is comprehensible on condition that pathological narcissists can exhibit not-so-virtuous behaviors akin to blame shifting, love bombing, gaslighting, and sending unsolicited dick pics (sure, actually).
That mentioned, having narcissistic tendencies alone would not routinely imply you are a horrible individual. What’s extra, there may be additionally such a factor as wholesome narcissism. Learn on for the reason and a brand new approach to view narcissism.
The distinction between narcissism and narcissistic tendencies
“All of us have some extent of narcissism; it’s a continuum,” says medical psychologist Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD. “Diagnoses are used when there may be an amazing tendency in that course.”
In different phrases, an individual identified with narcissistic character dysfunction (NPD) meets 5 or extra key standards, together with being entitled and having an inflated sense of self, says Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, an NYC-based neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Thoughts. They’re additionally consumed with fantasies of success, energy, magnificence, and attractiveness. They consider they’re distinctive and superior to others and may solely be related to different high-status individuals and establishments.
Individuals with NPD require extreme admiration whereas feeling envious of others and assuming others envy them. Narcissists additionally lack empathy, reap the benefits of different individuals for private achieve, and demean, verbally abuse, and manipulate others—therefore why narcissists make up one third of the darkish triad character traits.
That mentioned, Dr. Hafeez notes that somebody who is not identified with NPD can exhibit one or two of those standards, which is known as having narcissistic tendencies. “Narcissistic tendencies can happen attributable to earlier traumas and insecurities that current themselves at occasions,” she explains. Dr. Irwin provides that narcissistic tendencies also can come from a scarcity of applicable parenting abilities and selecting up on social cues.
As an example, Dr. Hafeez says somebody might obsess over, and search for compliments about, their physique, however that will stem from childhood insecurities and never narcissism. Different examples: “Somebody who brags about their accomplishments could also be making an attempt to cover insecurity from their adolescence,” she says. Or, “an individual who posts too many footage of themselves on Instagram could also be searching for consideration within the digital world that they’re missing in actual life.”
Why having narcissistic tendencies doesn’t suggest you are a nasty individual
With that in thoughts, Dr. Hafeez says having a narcissistic tendency or two would not make somebody a narcissist, nor does it routinely imply they are a “dangerous” individual. She says narcissistic tendencies typically get roped into being morally dangerous as a result of many individuals do not perceive the medical that means behind NPD. It is sort of like how many individuals do not know the true definition of having OCD (obsessive-compulsive dysfunction) is greater than a “neat freak” stereotype.
The important thing distinction between true narcissists and individuals who have narcissistic tendencies? “In contrast to these identified with NPD, these with narcissistic tendencies typically really feel empathy for others and deal with the individuals of their lives with kindness,” Dr. Hafeez says. “They do not use or exploit others maliciously.” So, posting one too many selfies on social media would not make you a nasty individual when you’re simply doing it since you’re feeling your self.
Moreover, Dr. Hafeez says being self-absorbed in some areas of life doesn’t suggest you are narcissistic in all areas and having a wholesome dose of narcissism is important to attain objectives in all areas of life, akin to health or profession. “Realizing that you just deserve good issues or being pleased with your accomplishments is wholesome and never disordered,” she says. “Those that reveal wholesome narcissism present self-awareness, perception, and empathy that an individual with NPD doesn’t have.” And she or he provides that it’s normal and developmentally applicable for adolescents to indicate narcissistic tendencies.
It is solely when that habits begins to hurt others to succeed in these achievements that it might probably level to NPD. “Narcissists are usually thought of to lack empathy and be so self-centered that they do not care who they damage so long as they profit,” Dr. Hafeez says.
So, the takeaway: Being all about your self just isn’t essentially dangerous, as long as nobody else will get damage within the course of.