Controlled Release – Targeted Narcissism

I suppose that there is a difference between internal versus external narcissism.  By internal narcissism, I mean the inward acts and thoughts of self-grandiosity and/or vanity.  By external narcissism, I mean those actions that project internal narcissism onto others.  Internal narcissism without external narcissistic actions seems counter-productive to me.  What is the point of being inherently “better” than everyone else if that knowledge is not shared through action and deed?

Internal narcissistic thought can affect a person in many ways.  Maybe the mechanisms in place are merely an engine for smugness.  Maybe it goes a bit further and turns into a silent conceit.  If these mechanisms are left solely between one’s ears, then I suppose that no problems with others need arise.  I can imagine an internal torsion as one struggles with the disconnect between the knowledge that one is better than all others and being unable to show that except through objective action.  For many successful psychopaths, this is the state that we live in at work and with others.  We know that letting narcissism bubble to the surface is off-putting at best and hostile at worst.  To avoid the internal struggle, we need an outlet for such narcissistic desires.

Everyone knows what an outward-facing narcissist looks like.  Conceited and arrogant, vain and self-absorbed, the outward narcissist knows that he is more worthy and better than all others.  He wants to share his self-love with others so that they may love him too.  In the past, I was such an outward narcissist around others.  However, I could not determine why they were so disgusted with me.  I saw my presence as a gift for them.  They saw my conceit as anathema.  These days, I get my narcissistic fix from blogging and social media where the audience is voluntary.  It’s no longer off-putting as a result.  Without such an outlet, I wonder if I would be able to succeed in other areas.  It’s a moot point, I suppose.

People often think that narcissism runs only skin deep and that the outward symptoms are all that matters.  For the psychopath or otherwise narcissistic that deals with what I’ve termed internal narcissism, the struggle is much more profound.  They recognize that conceit and arrogance at all times is off-putting to others and can jeopardize one’s livelihood and social status.  They see the opportunities to show themselves as a better human being, but do not chomp at the bit in order to remain in good standing.  It’s easy to be an outward narcissist.  It’s much harder to hold it inside.  Outlets are needed for controlled release.

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  1. NarcD0ll says

    And this is why I disguise it all as smug humor. I often get compared to Iron Man/Tony Stark. Likable, yet still enough to let it out. And, yes, blogging helps.

  2. NT says

    Now you are hitting a little close to home, Jess, cos I’ve been wondering if I’m a full-grade narcissist, or just the low-level kind that everyone is. As we know from the literature, a little narcissism is good and healthy for psychological functioning.

    I like who I am. And I do think I’m better than most people. I have an IQ of 130+ which puts me in the 98th percentile. I would say I have an extremely strong value system. I care deeply for and am very loyal to my friends and colleagues. And I’ve been told I’m a Matt Damon/Mark Valley lookalike. The question really comes down to what does it mean to be “better”? The term in itself is quite meaningless if you think about it. To my mind, it comes down to context. Since we’re talking about other people, I suppose we mean “better” to mean, “I’m more valuable to the group than you. I’m better than you.”

    I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir but, for the record, your Founding Fathers got it wrong. People are NOT created equal. Some are more valuable to the group than others. Anyone who understands natural selection will have to agree with me. I too get extremely frustrated that people don’t see my value. Is that narcissistic? I don’t know. But having read the literature on introversion (and I am heavily so), I can see explanations in that realm which explain my frustration. Introverts often feel passed over and this is apparently because we don’t advertise ourselves very well (I assume this to be the external narcissism you speak of). Actually, we are often passed over for narcs and psychopaths because *they* are adept at advertising themselves. But does getting frustrated by that imply that I’m a narcissist? Am I seeking that recognition because I want validation from the group that I am more useful? Or should I just be taking the “Use it. Don’t it.” value mentality and not really care about whether or not they approve or need me? Not caring about what the group think is kinda egotistical and psychopathic, don’t you think? But in some sense, I think internal narcissism (at least) is reasonable and pragmatic. If by all social measures, you are more valuable than the group, and group is clearly too stupid to recognise it, then that reaction to external narcissism (i.e. you expressing the fact), is more about their issues with their own value than yours, surely?

    I dunno, this whole new universe I’ve discovered about pathologies and personalities and neural structures has taken a huge shit on my paradigm of me vs others, who’s responsible for what, etc, etc.This narcissism thing is one of the remaining dissonances that I am yet to resolve, cos I have been told by a few people in the last couple of years that I think too much of myself. The only thing that gives some comfort is that, without fail, the individuals concerned are psychopaths, narcs, or borderlines. So I’m sticking my head in the sand on that issue and just making the conclusion that they’re projecting. :p

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