5 Major Misconceptions About Narcissism That Almost Everyone Believes
Narcissism is a blanket term for a complex variety of personality types.
There are vulnerable narcissists, who feel they are great and deserve great things. There are invulnerable narcissists, who believe they’re perfect in every way already. There are compulsive narcissists, romantic narcissists, elitist narcissists; the list goes on and on.
It can be difficult to effectively break down and defend yourself against each type of narcissistic personality, which is why narcissists tend to be lumped in together. But in doing so, we risk believing some common misconceptions and myths about narcissism.
Here are 5 major misconceptions about narcissism that almost everyone believes.
1. Narcissists can’t improve.
When we talk about narcissism, it is often through the lens of discarding the narcissists in our lives so that we can move on and continue to improve as people. Narcissism isn’t always a pathological condition, however, which makes moving past them a bit less black and white.
The truth is, most narcissists are capable of changing in the way that anyone else who wants to improve can in fact improve upon themselves. But that change rarely, if ever, comes from an outside force. Narcissists must want to change themselves. They can change, but it has to come from within.
2. Narcissism is just high/low self-esteem.
We’ll break down two misconceptions about narcissism in this section. The first is the idea that narcissism is just the result of having high self-esteem. People with high self-esteem feel very good about themselves and are often confident and adept. But narcissism doesn’t stem only from thinking highly of yourself.
Narcissism can also come from having low self-esteem and believing that you are entitled to great things. Ultimately, when it comes to narcissism, self-esteem has very little to do with it. It’s more of an issue of entitlement than feeling good or bad about yourself.
3. Narcissists always think highly of themselves.
Like I mentioned already, there are a number of types of narcissists in the world, and they don’t always exclusively act the way they do because they feel good about themselves. Narcissism, as I’ve said already, isn’t always linked to self-esteem, but tends to come from feelings of entitlement.
Narcissists behave the way they do because they feel they are entitled to a certain kind of treatment. This tends to manifest in the form of some kind of manipulation. But it’s not rooted in high self-esteem.
4. Narcissists never help anyone else.
Narcissists aren’t completely selfish people, but selflessness tends to come with a price tag of some sort. Narcissists do sometimes go out of their way to help others, but due to the entitlement they feel, they will likely want something in return and try hard to get it from you.
So if you suspect someone is a narcissist, be careful about asking them to help you with things. They may jump at the chance, only to hold it above your head later on.
5. Narcissists have a good reason to be narcissistic.
One of the few defenses there are for narcissists is the idea that they have a good reason to feel and act so entitled. “They work hard.” “They’re really smart.” So on and so forth.
There is no good reason to behave the way narcissists do.
The bullying, the abuse, belittling – none of it is healthy and none of it is normal. So don’t fall for the line of thinking that they are the way they are because they’ve earned it.
Like I said before, narcissism is a complicated thing. It’s a blanket term for a dynamic series of personalities. Knowing some of the myths and misconceptions about narcissism will leave you in a better place to defend yourself against narcissists in the future.