What narcissism means and how to recognise a narcissist

Published: 11 April 2022


The term Narcissism refers to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who rejected the love of the nymph Echo and as punishment was destined to fall in love with his own image reflected in the water.

Just like Narcissus, the person narcissist loves his own image reflected in the eyes of others.

Narcissist: meaning

In the most common sense of the term, the narcissist is identified as that individual who loves himself more than anyone else and makes his own intellectual and physical qualities the exclusive focus of his interest. In short, the narcissist he admires, delights in and appreciates only that which concerns him, while he remains indifferent to others, whose qualities and works he ignores or despises.

On the surface, these traits identify a strong and self-confident personality, but this does not always correspond to the truth.

When does one become a pathological narcissist?

When the narcissism 'healthy', i.e. a positive sense of self-esteem and security, turns into narcissism pathologicalthis results in a disturbance more complex called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We are therefore faced with a pathological narcissist.

What is narcissistic personality disorder?

In psychology, this disturbance refers to a mental condition in which the subject narcissist tends to overestimate one's own importance, has an excessive need for attention, lacks empathy and struggles to have healthy relationships both personally and at work.

What are the causes of narcissistic personality disorder?

There is no certainty about the origins of the narcissistic personality disorderHowever, many studies show relationships with type factors:

  • Environmentalrelated to the relationship between parents and child, in particular the way they took care of him/her;
  • GeneticBiologically inherited characteristics.

There is a direct correlation between the pathological narcissist and their parents. The latter, in fact, without paying much attention to the needs and emotional experiences of their children, demand the maximum from them, so that they can be the parents of exceptional children.

In other cases, people narcissists had parents who were completely focused on themselves and neglected the emotional needs of their children.

In this case, one can speak of an intergenerational transmission.

Narcissistic personality, how to recognise it?

Often the narcissists turn out to be among the most charming and intelligent personalities one can meet, but behind this magnetic mask of extreme confidence, lies emptiness. A fragile and vulnerable person, so busy seeking approval, that he has no idea what his own feelings and desires are.

Some of the most influential experts in the field of narcissismwill meet virtually on 6 and 7 May 2022, at the Online Congress organised by ISC and moderated by Wendy Behary, international expert on narcissism and author of the best-seller 'Disarming the Narcissist'. You can participate by registering for the Congress by clicking here.

The Congress (accreditation CME) will feature live contributions from internationally renowned authors, clinical experts, researchers and documentary filmmakers, who will provide an in-depth analysis of the narcissistic personality disorder.

Register now for the Congress

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