In the realm of comparing narcissists and self-esteem, narcissists seem to score first. That could be because they have more social media profiles (perhaps more than self-esteem people do), or they simply attract like-minded people with a similar sense of “I want to get rich.” Regardless of the cause, it’s pretty clear that narcissistic traits lead to poor life goals. Narcissistic behaviors include grandiose notions of their own importance, a need for constant attention, an inflated sense of their own importance, and a lack of regard for other people’s needs and feelings. When they are in a position of power, these traits almost always become the default setting.
The study points out that narcissists fall into a rut from which they cannot escape. They begin to believe that all their energy, thoughts, ideas, and feelings are worth pursuing, and when they don’t get their way, they are angry and frustrated. The solution to this is to “settle” into a pattern of behavior that will not negatively impact others. For example, instead of obsessing over seemingly insignificant things, the narcissist may be consumed by an ongoing conflict.
Narcissists, on the other hand, have a much easier time getting what they want. It appears that narcissists have a basic need to be important. This needs can be fulfilled through having a large number of friends, creating grandiose schemes, acting overly sensual, and feeling superior to others. Those who display these behaviors are usually self-absorbed, believing that they are better than everyone else. Because of this fundamental difference between self-esteem vs. narcissism, it is possible to recognize these behaviors when they arise, and take steps to alter them. This is why addressing the needs of a narcissist is so important: if narcissists feel that they are not important enough or better than everyone, they are unlikely to feel empathy for their partners or family members.
When comparing self-esteem vs. narcissism, the most important fundamental differences point to dysfunctional relationships. Both individuals view their partners as significant, but the narcissist often does not take the time to listen. Rather, he/she resorts to patronizing, repeating, and resenting the partner in order to elevate themselves above the less competent partner. The self-employed individual often demonstrates similar patterns, using profanities, complaining incessantly, and acting without regard for the needs of others. Narcissists tend to view partners in much the same way.
What’s interesting about narcissists and self-employed individuals, however, is that these personality traits are generally learned during childhood. This makes it extremely difficult to permanently eradicate these personality traits, even with professional therapy. Many of the narcissistic traits that appear in adulthood do not originate from childhood. Instead, they are the result of social network behaviors that have been deeply embedded into a person’s conscience and consciousness since childhood.
While it is true that college today provides a myriad of opportunities for developing a sense of who you are and your life goals, these same opportunities also present unique challenges for identifying narcissism when it becomes evident. There are numerous ways to recognize narcissism, including relationships with co-workers, professors, other students, and potential employers. It’s important to be aware, however, that narcissists can manifest these behaviors in a variety of settings and for various reasons.
It is important to be wary of people who adopt the stance, “Anyone can become a narcissist,” or, “Narcissistic behavior is normal.” While there is a wide range of variation in the characteristics of narcissists, there is also a consistent thread of social dominance orientation running through the narcissistic personality disorder. The “right-wing authoritarianism” of the self-esteem movement and its focus on vulnerable minorities is also a significant problem. The belief that “power = control” pervades much of the popular understandings of freedom and power, and the corresponding “right-wing authoritarianism” and “authoritarianism” is very much a component of what has become the self-help/supportive model of narcissism and its related mental disorders.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the use of devious tactics to gain a sense of superiority and control over others. These tactics include employing manipulative tactics (i.e., fabricating claims, exaggerating accomplishments, creating unrealistic fantasies), lying, exaggerating physical disabilities, and relying on empty promises and empty words. Those with this personality disorder are convinced that they are better than everyone else, have special powers, and are often envious and manipulative of others. When these people are confronted about their behavior, they will usually respond with “I just need more time to think about it.” The “I just need more time to think about it” excuse holds no water in the face of consistent evidence or rational thought. If you are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, learn the symptoms of this personality disorder and how to overcome them!