So, what is the difference between self-esteem and narcissism? Well, there really isn’t a significant difference – at least from a psychological standpoint. In psychological terms, self-esteem and narcissism are considered to be similar in several ways. Both are characterized by a lack of self-confidence and a sense of grandiose aspirations. The only real difference lies in the person’s own perceived degree of influence over and responsibility for others, and their relative willingness to embrace democratic norms in the name of that influence.
Those who are “narcissistic” typically lack self-esteem and are often involved with questionable social media use. For example, the famous British comedian Jimmy Carr referred to his co-worker and friend David Gray as a “narcissist” because Gray made fun of Carr’s own mother in the press. In this case, both parties had been publicly humiliated, and both parties felt guilty and made light of the situation. This example illustrates how the feelings of guilt and shame that come when someone makes a joke about another person can easily transform into the fear and sting of imagined shame and guilt in the future.
In a similar vein, it would be easy to argue that those who support the concept of social dominance are actually narcissists in the true sense of the word. Indeed, many social justice advocates argue that those who embrace the use of force and the enforcement of social norms are actually abusive individuals. It would be an extreme stretch of the imagination to say that the political correctness movement is not also involved in some degree in the narcissistic process.
narcissism self-esteem, however, has its own dark side. Because those with high self-esteem often believe they are superior and feel superior, they can spend their time worrying that everyone is looking down on them and so they must feel superior too. This causes them to search for approval from others through the use of manipulation and the application of pressure. Narcissistic individuals use these two processes in order to gain the approval of others – often at the expense of others.
On the other hand, those who subscribe to the concept of social dominance also have high self-esteem. The difference is that these individuals do not feel threatened by others and feel no need to manipulate others in order to get what they want. Rather, their self-esteem is built on the admiration of others. They are not looking to dominate others or use manipulative techniques to get ahead. Rather, they value the leadership of others and the respect that is shown to them – particularly by people of the same political and social orientation.
Those with a narcissistic personality disorder have a need to control others and are not dependent upon others. Because of this, they cannot feel great about themselves. Instead, they project an aura of inferiority onto those around them and have difficulty accepting any compliment. Because narcissistic individuals prize themselves so much and see themselves as superior, others are not taken seriously or are seen as competitors. Thus, they view criticism and compliments as a form of rejection and will try to avoid getting one.
Narcissistic individuals cannot seem to have any self-esteem. They feel worthless and have no respect for themselves or those around them. They also feel the need to control the lives of everyone else and are convinced they are better than everyone else. Those with self-esteem issues are usually more socially conservative and have a low self-image.
Those with self-esteem issues and social dominance also tend to use deception to get what they want. They may embellish accomplishments and fabricate stories in order to impress others. Self-doubts and lack of self-confidence can also lead to an inability to make good decisions and engage in risky behavior. When comparing narcissists with other personality disorders, self-esteem should be a significant feature.