The two sides of narcissism

Narcissism refers to an individual psychological and cultural condition. The degree to which a person identifies with feelings is his degree of narcissism.

In this article we will see what are the two sides of narcissism and how they are reflected in the person’s behavior.

    What is narcissism?

    Pathological narcissism is the result of a failure in the development of the Self. People with a very high degree of narcissism may have had traumatic childhood experiences or life-changing experiences that could not be integrated into the Self.

    Like that, pathological narcissism is characterized by the following aspects:

    • Exaggerated concern for one’s own psychological and physical image.
    • Denial of feelings that are directed towards you, if they do not meet your own expectations.
    • Tend to be very attractive and manipulative.
    • Depression and low self-esteem can occur.
    • They often envy others and think they are jealous.
    • A search for power and control arises.
    • They usually don’t distinguish between the image they think they have and the one they actually have.
    • They focus on their own interests.
    • They seek to be recognized in order to feel superior.

    The behaviors we have observed cause these people to become isolated over time and therefore, they experience life as something empty and meaningless.

    At the cultural level, the following phenomena are detected:

    • Loss of values.
    • Material objects are more important.
    • Wealth, notoriety and success are more important than dignity and self-respect.
    • Lack of interest in the environment and others.

    All of this results in a insensitivity to human needs.

      The roots of narcissism

      Heinz Kohut was a psychoanalyst who looked at pathological narcissism, and explains that occurs at the time of the affected mother-child interaction.

      It can occur due to rejection and / or abuse of the mother or the death of the mother, when the child cannot find a substitute. In these cases, the child feels a deep emptiness or abandonment which generally provokes what he has called “narcissistic rage”, which first is towards the mother but can then turn to himself and finally to others. .

      Narcissistic depression is very difficult to manage because these people tend to isolate themselves and, for example, these cases have now increased in the pandemic. Following the line on the social and health crisis that we are going through, narcissism has been exacerbated, and those who suffer from these complications find it very difficult to respect the restrictions and preventive and health measures. They are reluctant to use mouthpieces or masks and ice, and to keep a safe distance because they feel and think they are not susceptible to the virus.

      Otto Kernberg comments that narcissistic people have great fantasies about their worth, feelings of inferiority and over-reliance on external admiration and applause. There is a great dissatisfaction with oneself and a tendency to be cruel to others.

      Living with narcissistic people is difficult because they lack empathy; far from hearing the other, they talk about themselves all the time. Another remarkable feature is that these people are characterized by being very aggressive when being contradicted or not doing what they want. An example: when they live as a couple, they neither appreciate nor respect the other, but denigrate and despise him.

        The other side of narcissism

        On the other hand we have healthy narcissism, which is a natural component in humans.

        Narcissism, if moderate, can cause many positive problems for the person. This healthy narcissism is found in people who:

        • They have good self-esteem.
        • They manage to have realistic expectations.
        • They are more tolerant of frustration.
        • They may feel the need to strive for perfection and thus use this motivation to progress.

        The important thing is to have a healthy narcissism it helps people not to need the approval of others to live and enjoy life, because the main approval these people need is their own. Healthy narcissism is respectful of the ideas and actions of others.

        Regina Wohlmuth Abraham


        Verified professional


        Online therapy

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        Taking the example above, the healthy pandemic narcissist, who could see himself in a situation of real risk, accepted confinement and sought protection by going out with safety measures and even by implementing new steps, and at best he has reinvented himself in various aspects of his life.

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