Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by an excessive sense of self-importance and a deep need for admiration.
While many individuals with narcissistic (NPD) personality disorder are abusive and manipulative, there are those with NPD that simply behave in certain ways to protect their self-esteem.
It’s an often misunderstood disorder, and many myths have developed around it, and unfortunately, these misconceptions can cause people to be unfairly judged or even labeled as narcissists.
Of course, you should never excuse abusive, manipulative, and controlling behavior, whether a person is a narcissist or not.
But to better understand narcissistic behavior and help those affected, let’s take a closer look at some common myths about narcissism:
Myth #1: Narcissists Have No Empathy
One of the most pervasive myths about narcissism is that narcissists have no empathy or the ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and relate to their feelings.
The truth is that some narcissists have a moderate or even high level of empathy.
It’s just that, in certain situations, they may lack the capacity to make emotionally appropriate decisions. They may not be able to recognize another person’s needs and feelings.
Myth #2: Narcissists Are Always Confident
Another common myth is that narcissists are always confident.
While it’s true that narcissists often have a very high opinion of themselves, they are still human and can be affected by insecurity.
Narcissists may feel like they need to maintain an image of superiority, but this doesn’t mean they don’t experience fear or insecurity.
Myth #3: Narcissists Don’t Care About Other People
This myth is also false. While it’s true that narcissists tend to prioritize their own needs, they may still care deeply about others.
Narcissists may be more likely to show caring behavior toward those they consider important, such as their family members, friends, or romantic partners.
Myth #4: All Narcissists Are The Same
The truth is that there are many different types of narcissism. The most common type is grandiose narcissism, which is characterized by a strong sense of superiority and entitlement.
Other types include malignant narcissism, which involves a combination of aggression and manipulation, and vulnerable narcissism, which involves feelings of insecurity and fear of rejection.
Myth #5: Narcissists Are Self-Centered
This is true to a certain extent; however, narcissists are often more focused on themselves because they lack empathy.
They are often unable to understand the feelings of others, so they are less likely to put them first.
Myth #6: All Narcissists Are Manipulative
Narcissists can often be manipulative, but not all of them are. Some narcissists are simply unable to control their behavior, while others use manipulation to get what they want.
Myth #7: Narcissists Are Always Successful
Many people assume that all narcissists are successful, but this is not true. Narcissists can lead successful lives, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, some narcissists may be unsuccessful in many areas of their life.
Myth #8: Narcissism is Caused By a Person’s Upbringing
It is true that childhood experiences, such as neglect or abuse, can lead to narcissistic traits. However, this is not the only cause of narcissism.
Genetics, environment, and even culture can all play a role in the development of narcissistic characteristics.
Myth #9: All Narcissists are Selfish
While narcissists may have a tendency to be demanding and self-serving, it is important to remember that not all narcissistic behavior is selfish.
People with narcissism may also be highly ambitious and seek the admiration of others.
Myth #10: Narcissists Are Arrogant
While there are certainly individuals with narcissistic traits who are arrogant, this is not true of all narcissists. Some individuals with narcissistic traits can be humble and generous.
Myth #11: Only Men Are Narcissistic
While narcissism is more commonly seen in men, it is not gender-exclusive. In fact, women are equally as likely to develop narcissistic traits.
Narcissism is also not a sign of mental illness, though those with narcissistic tendencies may require treatment to help them manage their symptoms.
Myth #12: Narcissists are Outgoing and Charismatic
Not everyone with narcissistic personality disorder have an outgoing and charismatic personality. While some do, these personality traits are often used as a coping mechanism to secure admiration.
The Truth About Narcissism
Overall, it is important to remember that narcissism is a spectrum of traits that can manifest in many different ways.
While some people may display narcissistic traits, it does not mean that they are a narcissist.
With proper treatment, people with narcissistic tendencies can learn to manage their symptoms and lead healthy, productive lives.
By dispelling these myths about narcissism, we can better understand the disorder and how to help those affected by it.
If you or someone you know is struggling with narcissistic behavior, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.
If you are on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse, it’s important that you seek help as well!