What is Narcissism?

Narcissism is the lay man’s term for pathological narcissism or NPD.

People might refer to others as being a ‘narcissist’, which implies he or she has some of the narcissism traits described in DSM. Usually, people are not aware that narcissism is a personality characteristic that resides in all of us. See, in order to function in the society as a partner, friend, employee, student or family member, you need a certain degree of narcissism.

The need to dress in beautiful clothes or eat colorful meals is narcissistic, yet normal. It satisfies our ego and it’s only done for the purpose of making us healthy physically and emotionally. Yet, we don’t scold others for eating healthy meals. We don’t criticize our friends for dressing too fancy or for wearing jewelry. That’s because eating and dressing up are healthy narcissistic needs.

However, we do get upset with friends who yell at us, blaming us for the very things they feel guilty of. We might not talk with family members who, instead of calling us to ask us how we are doing, start picking a fight for no reason.

In other words, NPD is one type of personality disorders that centers around the idea of feeling superior or more special than other people. Narcissism is on a continuum scale. At the other end of the continuum is echoism (having low levels of narcissism), while in the middle is healthy or normal narcissism.

Here is a photo that can explain the continuum of narcissism.