Narcissism vs. Narcissistic Tendencies, Defined

Narcissism and Narcissistic Tendencies are terms that are often used interchangeably but can have a slightly different meaning depending on the context. To break down the differences between the two, it’s important to understand each concept separately.

Narcissism is often defined as a mental disorder in which an individual displays extreme admiration for themselves, an excessive need for attention and affirmation, and lacks empathy for other people. Individuals who are diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) exhibit a pattern of grandiosity, can be overly preoccupied with fantasies of power, and are often unempathetic towards others. Narcissism, if left untreated, can lead to feelings of insecurity, volatile self-esteem, and difficulty in forming meaningful relationships with others.

On the other hand, Narcissistic Tendencies are more commonly known as personality traits that share some similarities with narcissism, but don’t necessarily constitute a mental disorder. For example, someone who is described as having Narcissistic Tendencies may often exhibit traits that are associated with NPD such as a need for admiration, power, and attention, but are not as extreme and don’t interfere with the individual’s daily functioning.

To sum up, Narcissism is classified as a mental disorder and can be quite serious in its severe form, while Narcissistic Tendencies are a set of personality traits that are often seen as unhealthy or unsafe but don’t meet the criteria for NPD. It is important to distinguish between the two so that individuals can get the help they need when necessary. [ad_1]

There is typically a conflation of narcissism being morally “terrible,” which is easy to understand given that pathological narcissists can exhibit not-so-virtuous behaviors such as blame shifting, like bombing, gaslighting, and sending unsolicited dick pics (certainly, definitely).

That claimed, having narcissistic tendencies on your own would not instantly necessarily mean you’re a horrible man or woman. What is far more, there is also such a point as balanced narcissism. Read through on for the rationalization and a new way to check out narcissism. 

The distinction concerning narcissism and narcissistic tendencies

“We all have some degree of narcissism it is a continuum,” suggests clinical psychologist Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD. “Diagnoses are utilized when there is an overpowering inclination in that route.” 

In other words, a human being diagnosed with narcissistic personality ailment (NPD) fulfills five or additional essential requirements, including being entitled and owning an inflated sense of self, states Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, an NYC-based neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Brain. They’re also eaten with fantasies of achievement, power, magnificence, and attractiveness. They feel they are special and outstanding to other folks and should really only be associated with other substantial-standing people and institutions.

People with NPD demand extreme admiration although experience envious of other people and assuming other folks envy them. Narcissists also absence empathy, consider gain of other men and women for own acquire, and demean, verbally abuse, and manipulate others—hence why narcissists make up one third of the dim triad personality qualities. 

That reported, Dr. Hafeez notes that an individual who isn’t really diagnosed with NPD can exhibit one or two of these requirements, which is referred to as possessing narcissistic tendencies. “Narcissistic tendencies can arise owing to prior traumas and insecurities that existing them selves at situations,” she explains. Dr. Irwin adds that narcissistic tendencies can also appear from a absence of acceptable parenting techniques and finding up on social cues. 

For occasion, Dr. Hafeez says somebody could obsess in excess of, and glance for compliments about, their system, but that may stem from childhood insecurities and not narcissism. Other examples: “Someone who brags about their accomplishments might be hoping to disguise insecurity from their adolescence,” she claims. Or, “a man or woman who posts way too lots of shots of themselves on Instagram may possibly be trying to find awareness in the digital planet that they are lacking in real existence.”

Why getting narcissistic tendencies will not signify you’re a terrible person

With that in intellect, Dr. Hafeez states having a narcissistic tendency or two would not make an individual a narcissist, nor does it immediately mean they’re a “lousy” person. She claims narcissistic tendencies frequently get roped into remaining morally lousy for the reason that lots of people today really don’t have an understanding of the clinical indicating driving NPD. It’s kind of like how numerous men and women will not know the legitimate definition of possessing OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is more than a “neat freak” stereotype.

The vital variation among real narcissists and persons who have narcissistic tendencies? “Unlike these identified with NPD, all those with narcissistic tendencies usually feel empathy for other folks and deal with the persons in their life with kindness,” Dr. Hafeez says. “They you should not use or exploit others maliciously.” So, posting just one far too many selfies on social media does not make you a terrible person if you are just doing it for the reason that you are emotion yourself. 

In addition, Dr. Hafeez claims remaining self-absorbed in some parts of everyday living won’t suggest you happen to be narcissistic in all spots and having a healthful dose of narcissism is important to realize targets in all places of daily life, these kinds of as health and fitness or profession. “Being aware of that you should have superior issues or being very pleased of your accomplishments is wholesome and not disordered,” she suggests. “Those who reveal healthful narcissism display self-recognition, perception, and empathy that a human being with NPD does not have.” And she provides that it is really typical and developmentally correct for adolescents to present narcissistic tendencies. 

It is really only when that conduct commences to harm many others to reach these achievements that it can position to NPD. “Narcissists are commonly regarded as to absence empathy and be so self-centered that they you should not care who they damage as very long as they reward,” Dr. Hafeez says.

So, the takeaway: Being all about oneself is not automatically terrible, so very long as no 1 else gets hurt in the course of action. 


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