12 thoughts on “4 Traits That Make Identifying Narcissism a Guessing Game

  • December 27, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Why do you frame narcissists as men and the victims as women? Narcissists exist in both sexes.

    • December 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Thanks for the question, “inquiring mind.” In my writings frame narcissism this way, first, because it’s undeniable, having studied gendered roles, that the traits for narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder consist of norms that idealize extreme “masculinity”, male dominance and entitlements to abuse (boys will be boys). This explains why narcissism in men occurs far more frequently than in women, in the same way that domestic violence does. The conditioning for men and women in traditional roles, with romanticized and eroticized ideals for male dominance and female passivity, make it more likely women will be socialized with codependent traits and men with narcissistic traits (not necessarily narcissistic personality disorder). Last but not least, my writings are framed to be a critique of socialization that normalizes dominance and violence and the use of punitive tactics by those in authority positions — which has led to a host of social problems, to include physical, emotional and sexual violence against women and children, and other groups, often minimized and excused as “boys will be boys”; hope this answers your question. Thanks for commenting.

  • December 27, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Curious how the author understands this paradox – Male narcissist “triggers” the codependent woman and then the codependent woman’s actions as a result are to blame on the narcissist?

    • December 28, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Thanks for the question “just a guy” … not sure where the paradox. To be sure, each person is responsible for their own actions at any given moment. A person that takes pleasure in working to frustrate their partner to point of emotional exhaustion, however, for the specific purpose of then pounding them with shame to feel bad for getting angry or upset … is in a different category altogether. Treating a partner (or child) like a punching is serous disturbance, listed separately from other mental illnesses in the DSM. Hope this adds some clarity, thanks for commenting.

  • December 29, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Of late so much is written on Narcissist behavior and its ill effects. There is a healthy side also.
    1. Makes us a better adult.
    2. Reduces anxiety and risk of depression.
    3.Self caring better.
    4. Always get better jobs and cracks interviews.
    5. Builds stronger relationships.
    Do these not valuable in life. Regards

    • December 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Using terms such as “healthy side” of narcissism is one reason there is so much confusion in identifying narcissism. With all due respect, in my view, it is misleading and false to refer to core human strivings that you describe above, which are even spiritual in nature, as “healthy side” of narcissism. These are core emotion-drives every human being has from the first breath to the last, a need to matter and emotionally connect, meaningfully contribute.

      In contrast narcissism is best described as a serious pathology where a once normal human being experienced, and witnessed, dehumanizing trauma and shaming in early childhood, to the point where he learned to hate, suppress, and regard his core human “true self” as inferior, disgusting weakness — and prop up his fragile, wounded ego with a false-self instead.

      Also the effects of using this terminology has not helpful. It has enabled narcissists to hide, makes narcissism appear normal rather than the serious pathology it is, and diluted the damaging impact on emotional health of family members.

    • January 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      i think the article iis evidenced by your comment

  • January 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Why ‘he’ in this article? Narcissism is a human condition and you assigning gender to it does a great injustice for the understanding of this debilitating disorder. Could you please try to be gender neutral so that males don’t feel targeted and can benefit from your knowledge.

    • January 15, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks for commenting, “Cod male.” In response to your question, the reasons I use the pronoun “he” when talking about the topic of narcissism is because, in my opinion, it is primarily a result of family trauma and dysfunction that is a direct result in the ways we socialize men to adopt “masculinity” ideals, thus from boyhood, to deny feeling pain, or vulnerable emotions of empathy, and to feel no remorse for hurting “the weak” (girls, women, weak boys); they are also expected to NOT see women as human beings — rather as objects for their pleasure, thus inclined to label women as cruel, controlling, selfish, emasculating should they complain about being mistreated or having wants of their own.

      (Women in contrast are socialized to codependency for the most part, which explains why most cases of narcissism are male.)

      It’s a real problem. Men and women are not to blame. The way we socialize boys and girls that normalizes domminance and superiority and entitlements is the problem. This might makes right view of life is likely responsible for much family dysfunction and early traumatization of children, boys and girls — who witness or experience abuse between parents, siblings, and of course parent and child relations. Thanks for commenting.

  • February 24, 2018 at 3:17 am

    A fascinating and intelligent article. Thank you. This is an extremely helpful insight into this complex condition. I agree there has been a lot written about narcissism and some of it confusing and conflicting. As a survivor I am finding it extremely helpful to understand what the hell happened to me and how as an intelligent person I allowed myself to be so hoodwinked for so long. Only now, many years later, now the scars have had time to heal, can I attempt to learn about this incredibly destructive condition. Personally I have found your article quite brilliant.

    • February 27, 2018 at 10:50 am

      This is a first article on the subject that has NOT left me confused. I had lived with a covert narcissist for 25 years and it left me emotionally damaged with a low self esteem. Both my daughters are emotionally scarred as well. I attest to what is being described in the traditional upbringing, so true in my case. I have yet to meet a truly narcissistic woman though I am sure they exist. Just not as frequently. The article clarified it for me what a true narcissist is. It is not an easy detect, especially when they are coverts. In fact, you may be convinced that these characters are the best thing that ever happened to you life only to discover decades later that you are a codependent mess. And the shocking truth when you realize he actually likes it that way. It took his over confidence in maintaining marital affair to finally discover his facade. And the internet on the subject of this disorder is not always helpful. So thank you very much for writing this.

  • August 8, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Thank you for this article


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