Many psychologists debate the difference between self-esteem and narcissism. The question is whether the two are related. Let’s imagine that you have an idea about a new business venture that you want to start. But, you are worried that you won’t have enough customers to support your business.
So, you set out to test your idea by carefully studying the demographics of potential customers. Will loyal customers be more likely to buy your products? Or will they be more likely to buy from someone with high self-esteem and a high social dominance? If they do, then narcissists will score an advantage over democratic norms. They will be more successful.
However, if your idea fails, then the results will be the exact opposite. Lacking sufficient consumer demand, the entrepreneurial venture won’t be very profitable. Self-esteem has everything to do with this problem. A highly social person with a high social dominance is not a good self-esteem parent because it doesn’t encourage independent thought and action.
So, what are the characteristics of a narcissist? First, he is confident, and he thinks he is better than everyone else. He has little regard for other people’s feelings and wants to be in control. When his ideas go against the social norm – such as a higher taxation rate, a stricter regulatory system, or a lower minimum wage – he will be convinced that these things must be changed in order to protect his “rights.” When his ideas are in the mainstream, he’ll be even more convinced that his “way” is best and has the most support.
The second characteristic of a narcissist is social dominance. A narcissist has a deep need for social approval. As I wrote in my book, narcissists value themselves highly above others. They believe that they are more important than their friends, family, co-workers, and strangers. They have nothing to offer but their own image and refuse to give any of anything to others.
Now, this can make a person more selfish because he does not consider other people’s feelings or point of view. But it can also make a person more self-sufficient. Self-esteem is related to the extent to which a person is able to solve problems by himself. Self-esteem is more important than self-confidence when it comes to solving complex problems like maintaining healthy relationships, improving your health or physical appearance, and learning to be assertive in getting what you want from life.
Finally, a high self-esteem makes a person less likely to experience negative emotions like guilt, shame, sadness, or anxiety. As Dr. abandonment goes on to say: “Narcissistic behaviors are a way of masking feelings and emotions so as to maintain an inflated sense of power and self-importance. When a person feels low, they become obsessed with maintaining a high self-image and deny or discount the feelings of others.” In other words, if you have a narcissist in your life, you’re less likely to experience the hurt and pain that come along with abuse and neglect.
Unfortunately, a lack of self-control can drive people to unhealthy behaviors. Low self-esteem can lead to dangerous behavior – like theft, fraud, binge eating, drug addiction, and violence. Narcissistic partners are capable of committing these behaviors – and they know it!
There are two problems with high self-esteem. The first is that it can get you into trouble with the law. People with low self-esteem are often innocent of criminal activity because they don’t think that what they are doing is wrong. It’s almost like they believe that the law doesn’t apply to them. However, a narcissist does not have that consideration for other people. If you choose to live with a narcissist, you are choosing to be at the mercy of this person – and you have no control over what they are going to do.
The second problem with self-esteem and narcissism is that they do not lead to healthy relationships. Life is not fair – and people who have poor self-control and low self-esteem are very likely to pick fights and use other people and other events to try and get their way. This doesn’t serve them very well. When you have a narcissist as a partner, it’s a guarantee that you will be at the mercy of their every demand – and if you try to change them, you will get beaten down or burned. It’s really bad if you end up like Ann Watson, but many women find their own partners with this personality disorder so devastating that they turn to outside help.
The bottom line is that you need to do your best to avoid either of these personality disorders. When you work with someone who has either one of these conditions, you may find that it’s even more difficult to manage than having a self-respect issue. When you work with a narcissistic partner, there are many battles that you are likely to win – but they will still be won by using better self-control and higher self-esteem than anyone else can. And the reason why is that people with higher self-esteem are able to exert just enough effort to keep the narcissistic partner in check, without getting beaten down or burned out.