Narcissism is a personality trait theorized to be a self-confidence mechanism that defends against stress, anxiety, and depression, especially the kinds that are most likely to be suffered by people with Dependent and Avoidant personality disorders. This self-confidence is obtained by telling ourselves to ignore the factual consequences of our actions. Because stress, anxiety, and depression bring productivity down, small amounts of narcissism help in maintaining confidence and leading a healthy lifestyle. Conversely, too much narcissism causes people to procrastinate, become lazy, refuse to admit they made a mistake, become incapable of putting themselves in other people's shoes,
turn into a Know-Nothing Know-It-All
, or become a victim of Pride
. Such traits characterize all those with narcissistic personality disorder
whom are commonly referred to as narcissists.
In public, narcissists actively seek to project an image of perfection which inspires admiration, envy, and/or worship from others. However, despite appearing boastful and overconfident to those around them, narcissists are in reality highly insecure and depend on narcissistic supply
in order to maintain peace of mind. By obtaining external confirmation for their fantasies of superiority, the narcissist is able to cancel out deep-rooted concerns of inadequacy (often at others' expense). By the same token, narcissists are highly sensitive to criticism
or failure in any form which they consider dangerous to their own self-worth. Due to the fact that narcissists automatically view anyone who undermines their grandiose self-image with paranoia and hatred, he/she will often target such individuals with extreme prejudice and go to ANY lengths to neutralize them as a "threat"
. Ultimately, these characteristics not only make narcissistic personalities highly obnoxious
but also very dangerous as well. However, unlike sociopaths
, narcissists are not entirely
devoid of redeeming qualities given that they are capable of experiencing shame for their actions as well as sincere (albeit self-centered) affection towards others.
Narcissists generally disdain emotional intimacy due to the fact that they largely view others as either enemies or inferiors who exist for their own gain or gratification. In the event that a narcissist genuinely becomes emotionally attached to someone
, he/she views that person as a mere extension of themselves as opposed to a separate individual with his/her own thoughts and feelings. Given that they see those they profess to care about as merely part of a greater whole
, narcissists have no qualms deceiving
such individuals whenever it suits them to do so. Furthermore, in the case of particularly amoral
examples of this trope, the friends and loved ones of a narcissist remain always at risk of being killed
if they fail to meet his/her expectations
or their deaths will somehow further his/her own selfish agenda
There is some controversy as to what type of childhood narcissists had. Some researches believe that narcissists were overvalued by their parents
, while others think that they had a rather dismal childhood
Some forms of narcissism employ black and white thinking called splitting
as a central defense mechanism to stabilize their sense of self—viewing themselves as wholly good
and those that would criticize or humiliate
them as purely wicked or contemptible.