Why do some narcissists hate themselves?
- Brian Lufkin
Narcissists, who do not stop bragging about themselves, are boring to people, and sometimes they can be repulsive. But there is one truth about narcissists that can surprise us and maybe even make us feel an unexpected sympathy for them.
In a world where humility is a virtue to be cherished, we can say that some of the most annoying people are those who claim to know everything, never stop bragging, take credit for everything and never tire of talking about their excellence and brilliance. These are adjectives that sound the alarm that we have a narcissist among us – the kind that makes us cringe or grind our teeth.
It’s hard to sympathize with someone who has an inflated ego, and there’s really no reason to sympathize with people who repel us so much. Research shows that many narcissists don’t actually love themselves, in fact the opposite is true.
It is often not self-love that drives a narcissist’s behavior, but self-loathing. And then there is new research, the results of which support this idea and indicate that narcissistic behavior, such as excessive emphasis on social networks, can actually be the source of a lack of satisfaction, low self-esteem and an urgent need to show off.
The fact that some narcissists actually hate themselves not only reveals the shallowness of prevailing ideas about braggarts, but also points to the need to rethink the way we interact with narcissists.
‘They don’t feel well’
“Narcissists are often very attractive and outgoing and can make a very good first impression, but they can also be a bit obnoxious, lack empathy and tend to be controlling,” says Robin Edelstein, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan in the US. OUR.
In a work environment, this can translate into appropriating other people’s efforts and taking credit for yourself, blaming colleagues for mistakes, taking advantage of others to advance up the career ladder, or reacting hostilely to feedback, Edelstein explains. In terms of social media, it can appear in a conspicuous way on social media or in an attempt to gain attention, even if it is at the expense of another person.
A common misconception is that these behaviors stem from extreme self-love, self-obsession, and self-centeredness. But the reason can be exactly the opposite.
“Narcissistic people actually suffer from feelings of insecurity and shame, and their whole life is nothing but trying to improve their image,” says Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist and professor at California State University, Los Angeles. disgust.
It has long been known that there are two types of narcissists: “weak”, those with low self-esteem who always need to prove their worth, and “grandiose”, those with inflated egos and a real sense of superiority.
A new study conducted by scientists from New York University showed that narcissists who have a sense of grandeur cannot be considered narcissists at all, because their behavior is similar to the behavior of patients with psychopathy (psychopathy), a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by weak emotional reactions, lack of empathy for others and poor behavioral control. And behave yourself.
The research team believes that the “weak” are the real narcissists, because they do not seek power or dominance, but self-affirmation and gaining attention, because this raises their status and improves their image in the minds of others.
“They don’t feel good at all,” says Pascal Wallisch, an associate professor at New York University and senior author of the study. He adds: “This paper is not at all intended to demonize narcissists, on the contrary, we need more empathy for them.”
The study involved nearly 300 undergraduate students answering questionnaires that measure personality traits, such as feelings of insecurity or lack of empathy, with statements such as, “I usually don’t regret” or “It’s important that I show up at important events.” It found that, unlike grandiose narcissists, vulnerable narcissists were the group that displayed insecurity, along with other related traits.
That is, when you meet someone who claims to know everything, often shares their selfies on Instagram, or is sensitive to critical comments, you are most likely dealing with a vulnerable (or “real”) narcissist. Narcissists’ constant need for attention and their apparent self-obsession stem from an attempt to mask a deep sense of insecurity.
Seeking positive support to make us feel better is something everyone does from time to time, and that doesn’t necessarily make the person who does it a narcissist.
“Seeking self-improvement is a natural aspect of personality. We all strive to have experiences that boost our self-esteem,” says Nicole Kane, assistant professor of clinical psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA.
But narcissism can lead to “self-improvement becoming the overriding goal in almost all situations, and it can be pursued in problematic and inappropriate ways.”
In these cases, behaviors intended to increase credibility can backfire, as people end up liking the person doing it less. Wallisch calls this repetitive behavior the “maladaptive continuum” and sees it as a three-phase “self-defeating” cycle.
This cycle begins with a “weak” narcissist who is afraid that others will not see him in a way that satisfies him, so he takes the initiative to make himself famous to reduce that fear. But the paradox is that others turn away from him because of this behavior, which leads the narcissistic person to go back to square one.
In fact, the narcissist’s self-aggrandizement makes him worse than others. That’s exactly what Wallisch finds interesting. The narcissist’s behavior is clearly not working, but he still does it. He has the wrong perception that such behavior is a successful way to get rid of his fears and painful feelings.
“Narcissists know how they want to be seen, but they don’t feel up to it,” says Durvasula. “So they have to present themselves in a certain way. Because they do it in a bad way, they end up being rejected by society. So they keep going to circle.” bewitched.”
And while the end is rarely what narcissists want it to be, Wallisch argues that “we can’t understand these behaviors by looking at their superficial appearances. And if someone brags and brags, that doesn’t mean they actually feel good about themselves. There has to be something that missing in his life?
According to Wallich, these vulnerable narcissists may actually hate themselves. “It’s very sad and tragic,” he says, “they feel they’ll never be good enough. Even if they become billionaires, it won’t help find solutions to the psychological roots of the problem.”
Misunderstanding and wrong name?
And there’s still a lot we don’t know about narcissists in general. Some experts argue that the tension between self-love, self-loathing, and ideas such as that narcissists promote themselves to hide their insecurities is insufficient to fully explain narcissistic behavior.
Edelstein argues, “How do you really know what a person feels deep down and whether they are unwilling or unable to express it? This is a very difficult question.”
It is also not clear how understanding the causes that lead to narcissism can help curb narcissistic behavior. Most narcissists don’t realize they’re the problem, Edelstein says, which makes it difficult to fix the problem. “Narcissists tend to resist change because they see most of the problems in others, not in themselves,” she explains.
“I think a person has to have intrinsic motivation for an intervention to be effective when it comes to changing a personality trait, but narcissism seems particularly tricky.”
Kane believes that intensive psychotherapy is the best way to treat narcissism, and says that those dealing with narcissistic co-workers should realize that their ability to change or convince these co-workers, or win an argument with them, is unlikely, adding, “Set realistic expectations.” for your interaction with them.” Work, clearly define roles. Don’t compete with them.”
Remembering that a narcissist’s actions stem from insecurity can also help to view them with empathy. “I think the best strategy for dealing with narcissists might be to try to understand where they’re coming from and that a lot of their behavior is rooted in deep insecurities and attempts to hide their vulnerabilities,” Edelstein says.
“I think people cover up their psychological pain a lot by pretending, among other things,” says Wallisch.