When you hear the word narcissistic, you might see a self-obsessed, arrogant person in front of you who tends to step over others for their own good.
Seeing this, you start to pack your things and run away for good… What if someone told us that we are one? Maybe we run to the nearest DIY store, buy a spade, and choose a nice spot with a beautiful view, where we put ourselves nine feet under the ground to rest in peace.
However, before anyone would run anywhere, it is worth checking the bigger picture.
Opposed to the general view, narcissism is not a yes-or-no question area. It is not right to say that either someone is the above mentioned nasty narcissistic – of whom we have already heard a lot – or they are not narcissistic.
The baseline is that there are people who like to feel that they are special. This fact on its own is not exactly a big issue, right? The devil is in the details, or in this case in the extent of feeling special.
Therefore, if narcissism is considered as a scale (or we can call it the I-feel-special scale), the middle of it is called the Healthy Narcissism.
This healthy extent encourages the creativity, boosts the passion of life, makes us more open and stretches the limits of our opportunities. It can even increase the love we feel regarding our family, friends, partner. Those people who are in the middle of the scale think that they are special, but only at a healthy extent. This belief actually helps these people and their connections with the outer world.
They are capable of boosting, energising, motivating not only their own selves but also the people around them. They can change quickly and easily between being self-absorbed and being caring for others.
This is the place of the balance.
The main point here is the ability to show love and also being able to accept love from others.
These people are capable of lifting up other people when they are out in the spotlight. This is also their way to make others feel important besides them, as they can bring out the best from everyone. In case they are tending towards being megalomaniac, they realise it and counter it. They have a high self-worth; can trust others and they enjoy being close to people both physically and emotionally. Very important thought is that even though they are aware of what they deserve, they do not demand it.
Narcissism becomes dangerous if one convulsively sticks to the fact of being special, instead of only sometimes having the breeze of it and then having it let go – just like in case of a pleasant spring breeze.
If we number this scale from 1 to 10, then at the end towards the 10 you can find the Extreme Narcissism.
Here we can find those people, who are constantly fighting for being in the spotlight, they are addicted to others’ attention and appreciation. They want these so desperately, that in their life the feeling of love is pushed aside by the empty posing and arrogance. Regarding their romantic relationships, as they are seeking for the excitement again and again, they are jumping from one relationship to the other. They do not even realise how big of a pain they cause for the people around them in the meantime.
They believe that they are above the “regular people”.
This Extreme narcissism causes that they are incapable of taking into consideration others’ feelings, needs, necesities. They simply see others as their own tools. At the same time, they are not clear about their own feelings, even though they might think that they are. By exaggerating this much the feeling of being special they are actually compensating for the anxiety, fear, loneliness that they have deep inside – and that they would never be willing to admit. This extremity makes them blind for their own faults, they think they cannot make mistakes and therefore they never say sorry either, of course – even if they are asked to do so.
Exactly because of this they do not tolerate criticism and feel no guilt. Their self-worth tends to fluctuate, and they are in constant need of reaffirmation.
And what is over there at the other end of the scale, towards the zero? This is the territory of the Narcissism Deficit.
They are the mute ones, who deny themselves, the invisibles. They at such a low level of feeling special, that their self-confidence can decline to zero, they can feel worthless, helpless and powerless. these people are not able to accept help, compassion, they even reject it. They do whatever it takes to avoid the spotlight and not stand out from the crowd. Even the positive attention is fearful for them, as this already endangers their safe place in the grey crowd.
They are very much afraid of being a burden for others, that they might be seen as selfish or grasping. Often, they do not even realise their own needs, therefore they are not able to do any activities that would charge them. They are fighting with all their muscles to avoid being narcissistic, hence they reject all the help or self-centred acts.
People suffering from Narcissism Deficit tend to submit themselves to the needs and wishes of their partner, family, anyone around them, as they feel they do not even deserve certain things.
Many of them worry too much, they are overly humble, have negative thinking and can be depressed.
The above descriptions obviously do not go through all the numbers from zero to ten, only highlighted the two ends of the scale and the middle. It is important to emphasise, that there is a transition between these 3 points, which soften the extent of the narcissism, the extent of feeling and experiencing being special.
It is also worth to know that people can move up and down on the scale in different situations and due to different impulses. The change of changing is therefore given, it only takes a good self-awareness and the willingness to change.¤
Dr Craig Malkin: Rethinking Narcissism