What is Narcissism?

What is Narcissism

It is the desire and pleasure directed towards one’s self, his body and his own characteristics . It is also possible to define narcissism as the self-directed love of the person. People with narcissistic or narcissistic personality disorders treat themselves as lovers, want to be the most popular, and do not relate to the thoughts or interests of others. In this article, we will discuss its history, its classification, etc.

It is named after Narcissus (Narcissus), one of the characters in Greek mythology. Narrated by the Latin poet Ovidius, Narcissus is a very handsome young man who makes everyone fall in love with him. However, he did not respond to any love and broke the hearts of his lovers. One of the mountain fairies, Echo falls in love with Narcissus and constantly watches her beauty. One day when Echo gathered up his courage and confronted Narcissus, Narcissus despised him, saying, n I’d rather die than let you touch me!

This attitude of Narcissus makes the other fairies very angry and curse him and demand the wrath of the gods. The gods who hear these curse punish him by saying, in Let him who loves others not love him! Onu One day Narkissos, who leaned over to drink water from a spring, sees his own opposite in water, “I am burning with love for myself. How can I achieve this beauty reflected in the water? I can’t give up that beauty. Death alone saves me now. Ve Narkissos, who could not leave the waterfront for a moment, dies there following his own beauty.

Narcissist Photo Source: @novas_narcissistabuse_recovery

Classification of Narcissism

Instead of describing it, which is examined in the context of self and interpersonal relations in the literature, as good or bad, focusing on its different components, the social context and the consequences it presents, provides a more accurate evaluation framework. Excessive self-care, ignoring others, difficulty in maintaining relationships, and problems in long-term decision-making reflect the negative side of it. However, features such as having a positive perception of self, awareness of leadership and achievements are “normal narcissism, and this level of it is quite functional in order for the person to progress in line with his / her goals and recover from his / her difficulties.

The emergence of the narcissistic pattern as a problem occurs when the threat of self-perception occurs and the coping mechanisms take damage without the appropriate strategies. This process, which continues with the deterioration of functionality, is called “Pathological narcissism in DSM 3, published for the first time in 1980, has been included in the diagnostic category of narcissistic personality disorder in all other new versions of DSM.

normal narcissism
Source : @talk2dot

Normal Narcissism

Every human being needs appreciation and has pleasure when they get it. These are narcissistic requirements. In normal narcissism, the individual is in harmony with the environment and has the feeling that it can meet the expectations. The individual’s self-esteem is quite high, and criticisms and judgments from outside cannot easily affect them negatively. The people’s views and thoughts are important for everyone and those who display normal narcissism. But at this level of it, the individual does not determine his or her value with others’ views. But focuses on himself and self-confidence. However, a narcissistic injury may happen when people feel that they do not see the value and acceptance they deserve.

ted bundy :  pathological narcissism
Ted Bundy : Pathological Narcissism

Pathological Narcissism

The most important point in pathological narcissism is that the individual is completely open and needs external comments and thoughts. This is the most important feature that distinguishes pathological narcissism from normal narcissism. In fact, individuals with pathological narcissism appear to be quite self-confident and ignore what others say. They have a self-confident structure that is completely nurtured by the ideas of others. Pathological narcissists convey their insecurity and dislike features to others through the mechanism of reflection. They may have negative feelings such as anger towards others and show excessive sensitivity to criticism. In normal narcissism, demands are linked to needs, whereas in pathological narcissism, demands are excessive and unsatisfactory.

Paranoid narcissism is suspicious, angry and controversial; desiring it, adherence and demand to others; phallic narcissism, on the other hand, shows aggression, exhibitionism, arrogance.
According to a definition when it is examined in three dimensions. Combining hunger, avoiding communication and mirroring hunger, excessive attachment to others in self-described narcissism, identifying oneself with others; in communication-avoiding narcissism, interrupting communication with others

Freud’s Approach

Freud preferred to call narcissism because he found the word narcissism too cacophonic. It has been a feature that can be attributed to every living being. According to Freud, at the beginning of life, the first object of love of the individual is his / her own body. This stage is called “primary narcissism. In this phase, libido remains within its boundaries without being attached to any object and there is a direct pleasure. There is little interest in the outside world, and one only loves and engages with himself.

However, primary narcissism does not last long. A baby who is still at the beginning of life has needs such as feeding, care and protection and these can never be saturated with autoerotism.


In order to better understand the nature of narcissism, Freud looked at three areas of knowledge: organic diseases, hypochondria and erotic lives of the sexes:

what is narcissism? 1
Source: @echoskunst

The person suffering from an organic disease or pain will be interested in the outside world if it is not related to the disease. It also draws libidinal energy away from objects of love. So the patient invests in libido completely. Sleep state has a similar mechanism. Libido is invested in the subject’s ego, only the desire to sleep. So that dreams are selfish.
The attractiveness of the individual is based on his narcissism, self-satisfaction, and inaccessibility. When narcissistic satisfaction encounters obstacles, one can attain this satisfaction through someone else. A person falls in love with someone who has a perfection that he once had, that he could never have been, or could never have. This way an ideal I created.

Narcissism and Trauma

In the first months of life, the narcissistic individuals who start to experience the feeling of loneliness become neglected, unmet needs and learn to self-sufficiency. Failure to establish a warm and intimate bond with the primary caregiver leads to frustrations and negative emotions from infancy. As a result of this, the individual who draws. His love and energy from the outside world will continue to live in his inner world (6). There are also studies on the traumatic basis of narcissism.

Every individual is a threat to himself and to the way he perceives the world. But narcissistic individuals may be more frustrated by such threats. Individuals in the narcissistic personality structure exposed to childhood sexual abuse are at risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after traumatic experiences during adulthood (4).

Last Updated on May 16, 2021 by Marilyn Walker

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Currently studying psychology and researching cognitive behavioral therapy. Also have studied comprative literature,interested in gender studies,.

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