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.