Understanding Narcissism

Understanding Narcissism
“The sadistic narcissist perceives himself as Godlike, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotionless and non-sexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict.”
– Sam Vaknin

1.) Introduction – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
2.) Rational Narcissism aka Achievement-Based Narcissism
3.) The Birth of the Narcopath
4.) Dealing With A Narcopath
5.) In Closing / Relevant Reading

1.) Introduction – Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

All people with narcissistic personality disorder are narcissists, but not all narcissists
have a personality disorder. A healthy dose of narcissism is a performance-enhancer, for it improves one’s effectiveness by amplifying their self-love, confidence and boldness. However, it seems to be a common misconception that the promotion of narcissism is tantamount to the promotion of narcissistic personality disorder. This is false, and nought but an ignorant layman’s understanding of narcissism fallaciously manifesting as a false equivalence.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a coping mechanism developed in childhood to deal with neglect, rejection or cruelty (eg: bullying) from one’s parents. Narcissistic personality disorder is superlative to the nth degree, the most extreme version of narcissism, rather than the healthy self-assured confidence that comes as a by-product of talent and achievement.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a developmental disorder ingrained into a child by the inability of a parent to validate them, or reward their accomplishments. Everything the child does is scrutinised and rejected, the child is constantly berated and denied their basic need for love.

The child’s accomplishments are typically deemed insufficient, for example if the child achieves a perfect score on an exam or comes first place in a race, this perfection is apathetically expected rather than emotionally rewarded. In a narcopath’s childhood achievement was met by indifference, with anything other than exceptionalism being seized by the parent as an opportunity to degrade them. The parental approval and joy quintessential to achievement was absent, whilst degradation and indifference reigned supreme – this is the crucible in which a narcopath is forged.

This is further exacerbated when the narcopath has a sibling who is incessantly rewarded whilst they are incessantly punished, this is narcopathy on the part of the parent exercising this behaviour, an NPD strategy known as triangulation.

What sets the NPD apart from the narcissist is that the rejection caused by the parent at a young age leaves them incapable of forming pair-bonds, this inability to pair-bond from there on becomes an empathy disorder dressed in ego. The narcopath is effectively a synthetic psychopath, narcopathy is always socialised. Had their parents been good people, they would not have developed an empathy disorder, which is really no more than a coping mechanism developed by a helpless creature that the needs the resources of an abusive one.

2.) Rational Narcissism aka Achievement-Based Narcissism:

Achievement-based narcissism is distinct from narcissistic personality disorder in much the way stoicism is distinct from psychopathy. Although a stoic and a psychopath may both seem cold, one can pair bond and the other cannot. Likewise despite the NPD and narcissist demonstrating a penchant for egotism, one can pair bond whilst the other cannot.

Successful people with the self-esteem that comes with it, are to one degree or another, narcissistic. And it is precisely this which distinguishes them from NPDs, they are narcissistic by degree – not in totality. If one attained a ridiculous amount of success, it is feasible they could become as narcissistic as the NPD – but this is uncommon and thus unrepresentative of achievement-based narcissism.

Unlike the NPD, your typical narcissist does not deify themselves as infallible, indubitable or indissoluble, but rather, they see themselves as above average, superior. And if they earn more than most people, are smarter than most people, and are in better health than most people, is this not true? Narcissism and elitism go hand in hand, for narcissism is a natural byproduct of success.

Much unlike the NPD, the successful are narcissistic because they have worked intelligently, and by the trial of their mettle they have achieved. NPDs are delusional individuals who deified themselves to cope with the onslaught of emotional abuse they received from their parents in childhood. Already now you should be beginning to understand the different shades of narcissism; you have the tangibly successful who are narcissistic by recognition of their superiority, and the delusionally damaged who have lived in a self-inculcated fantasy since youth.

Achievement-based narcissism is healthy and comes from a positive place, whilst narcissistic personality disorder is a coping mechanism born from a negative place. Unlike the achievement-based narcissist, the NPD is oft sadistic. The power that comes from sadistic exploitation is quick and dirty junk food for the insatiable vacuum that represents the NPD’s horrible childhood.

People like to use the term “narcissist” as a throwaway insult, but know this – not all narcissism is equal. Some is healthy, born of superior performance and achievement, the other is dysfunctional, born of a terrible and abusive childhood. To combine these distinctions under one umbrella would be to disingenuously misrepresent the spectrum of narcissism, and anybody interested in narcissism would as such do well to ingrain this distinction into their cranium.

3.) The Birth of The Narcopath:

The NPD constructs a false sense of self to counteract the heartbreaking treatment they received from their parent. In truth the NPD is a victim, but a dangerous one at that. It is unwise to show the NPD the pity and sympathy customarily doted to a victim, for the NPD will see this as weakness and exploit it duly.

The vacuum left by unbetrothed love in the NPD’s formative years is insatiable and unfillable. NPDs tend to be the offspring of other NPDs, or individuals with affective empathy disorders (of which there is a numerous and colourful range of diagnoses). Any love or sympathy the NPD receives as an adult serves merely as a form of ego validation, it is not sentimentally received or appreciated in the way the empath intended.

An NPD is a narcopath (a comorbid psychopathic grandiose narcissist), narcopaths do not feel empathy. A narcissist on the other hand merely has an elevated sense of self, a lack of humility if you will, but this alone does not signify an inability to sympathise. I refer to NPDs as narcopaths, for the absence of empathy customary to the NPD is tantamount to psychopathy, albeit, an egotistical variation on the phenomenon. All narcopaths are egotists, but not all psychopaths are egotists.

The narcopath cannot love for they bare no sentimental appreciation for vulnerability, perceiving only weakness in that which they cannot emote. Like a destructive child they cannot enjoy the flutter of a butterfly, but rather, the butterfly drawing people’s attention away from them would cause anger, compelling them to crush it.

And yet if you were to tell the narcopath they could not love, you would be met by nothing but narcissistic injury. Indignance, histrionics, victim playing and gaslighting, a grand display of anger where they highlight their best points whilst contrasting them with your worst. The narcopath is not above bringing out their highlight reel with your skeleton closet, making comparisons, and then trying to sell this as a fair and accurate interpretation of reality.

The narcopath would deny their inability to love, because to tell a narcopath they are incapable of something is to harm the very pride they subsist on. Narcopaths are broken people due to the mental abuse inflicted on them by their parent(s), yet at the same time they are dangerous people – I will repeat myself for clarity’s sake: narcopaths do not sentimentally appreciate sympathy, they desire it only so they can use it as a way to malignantly exploit the sucker naive enough to care.

4.) Dealing With A Narcopath:

Narcopaths are very unemotional and unconcerned with others, their emotional capacity is restricted to a solipsistic viewpoint.

For example, they do not feel concern for others – but rather they become bothered if someone useful to them is unavailable. To be concerned would be to emotionally care for the missing person, to be bothered is to be annoyed by the absence of a person. This is a subtle yet distinct variation, and people uneducated in these matters oft mistake this bothersomeness for caring, which the narcopath predictably exploits in their feeble attempt to appear empathic. Narcopaths are emotional people, but only when they are bothered by something, not when you are.

Typically the narcopath is angry, or feeding their narcissistic supply by ridiculing people. Narcopaths can be funny people, and this makes sense in so much as humour is based upon the ridicule and degradation of an out-group in order to amuse an audience. You will see here on a non-sexual level that this penchant for schadenfreude is a form of soft-sadism (and is typically, likewise mirrored in the bedroom).

Ridicule makes the narcopath feel superior to the out-group whilst feeding them the validation of the in-group, further bolstering feelings of superiority. Because the narcopath is conflict-seeking rather than conflict averse, they are destructive personalities that feed on the chaos and misery of others, again a manifestation of their latent sadism.

Realise when dealing with a narcopath that everything goes through a filter of ego – this is both the narcopath’s greatest strength and weakness – a double-edged sword if you will. The narcopath is psychologically high in attack, but low in defence. Unlike a stoic who is immovable, the narcopath is easily moved – although they will typically attempt to shut you down before you can damage them too much.

If you were to observe a battlefield with a narcopathic combatant, you would see their strategy is to achieve a quick victory by overwhelming their adversary. By merit of their strong attack they often manage this, although it should be noted this strategy is as much a form of defence as it is an attack. If you mirror the narcopath’s strategy by overwhelming them, they will lose all sense of sanity and allow themselves to be carried off by childish rage rather than maintain the elitist decorum typical of a well-fed narcopath.

Unlike psychopaths, narcopaths excel at destroying but are inept at enduring, such is their achille’s heel – their susceptibility to narcissistic injury. The propensity for lèse-majesté in the narcopath is pronounced and profound. Narcopaths do not respond to reason once the ego fires up, although they have no qualms with exploiting yours.

The best way to deal with a narcopath in their manic phase is to insult and undermine them, amplify their thirst for conflict, question their credibility, mock them and generally degrade their very essence. Although this sounds extreme, literally nothing else will allow you to permeate the raw power of their childish stubbornness.

To get through to them you must resort to narcissistically injuring them. They won’t like you for this, but they probably don’t really like you anyway – so who cares? And although they may not like you for this, they will respect it, and perversely what a narcopath can respect, they can like. If you cannot offend a narcopath, they cannot respect you. This is extreme yet necessary, as at their core these individuals are bullies, and the only way to win the respect of a bully is to degrade them by showing them you’re better at being them than they are.

5.) In Closing / Relevant Reading:

Curious to see how narcissistic you are? You can take this test to get a rough idea. A high narcissism score on this test is not indicative of narcopathy, merely narcissism, but a high narcissism score combined with a high psychopathy score is. This test does not seek to measure sadism, but if you get a high psychopathy and narcissism score, I can infer with 99% confidence that due to comorbidity you are sadistic.

Do you wish to talk with me and my humble followers on this topic in a private and exclusive space? There are currently 4 slots remaining for entry into the dark triad forum. More slots will be added in time, but if you subscribe after the 29th you will have to wait until early April to get access – access is not instant, but granted between the 3rd and the 6th of each month.

Relevant Books:

Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited
The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty

If you have a problem you wish to discuss with IM, you can [seek a consultation here]

37 thoughts on “Understanding Narcissism

    1. What do you think about Trump’s narcissism? Is he narcopath disguised as an achievement-based narcissist?

      I don’t have enough data to come to a comfortable conclusion, however we do know at the bare minimum he is an achievement-based narcissist. Perhaps looking for manifestations of his sadism and the extent to which it has been utilised could indicate whether or not he’s a narcopath.

  1. From my close experiences with nonempaths (disclosure: I also have very low empathy, but I am unsure if that’s relevant here), I think there is definitely a cross-over between what you deem healthy narcissism and narcopathy. Generally it seems to arise from narcopathy combined with perfectionism, a strong drive to make yourself into the person you believe you are. Sometimes it will arise from an insecure person becoming suddenly successful, or successful beyond their understanding.

    A perfectionist narcissist believes themselves to be inherently superior to other humans and is constantly pursuing proof of this. This results in radical self-improvement that is sometimes proportionate to their believed superiority. They will avoid engaging in activities where they consistently fall short of the standard they set themselves. When an activity they believed to be a dead-cert fails to show evidence of their superiority, they make excuses and have to mull over a deep sense of self-loathing until their next success. In other words: when they fail at something they enjoy or were good at, this failure spurs them on to pursue success elsewhere.

    A perfectionist narcissist is capable of something resembling love, in that they view success in love as important to their all-round proof of superiority. Unlike a narcissist with intact empathy, they do not love altruistically, or for love’s sake, or for pleasure. But unlike a narcopath, they will not attempt to twist and bend their loved one to their own ends. They will select a few individuals to serve, and attempt to make these people happy and satisfied whilst encouraging them to better themselves. This is because a well-rounded, healthy, highly contented partner is evidence of the perfectionist narcissist’s success in love.

    A perfectionist narcissist will go to extremes of self harm to prove their perfection. They will lie and manipulate in a strongly Machiavellian manner, all with the end goal being another award, another certificate, another piece of evidence to show they are worth something. They will engage in hoarding behaviours, accumulating trophies and certificates, clinging onto people who admire and love them, attempting to surround themselves by evidence of their success. Yet they will also secretly hoard evidence of their failures and use them to keep the self-loathing running and motivate themselves to appear as perfect as they believe, deep down, they truly are.

    These narcissists may often appear to be the most successful, happiest, most well-rounded people you will meet. They can even hide evidence of their narcissism, if their culture believes humility and generosity are the “perfect” standard. But they are also some of the most frail, damaged people, oftentimes from households as abusive as a narcopath’s, with sociopathic and psychopathic relatives, ex partners or close friends, who showed them the way to use nonempathy to their own advantage and who berated them for their lack of perfection.

  2. Good post. I dated a woman with borderline personality disorder. I would be interested in your take on this and its relation to NPD and lack of empathy. This BPD woman claimed to be an empath, which was a laughable smokescreen I think and was more that she was emotionally unstable and affected by those around her. Related to something you mentioned, she showed disdain for my niece, nephew, and dog because I am fond of them and they wanted my attention and care.

    1. Borderlines always play the victim and are incredibly histrionic, conflating this volatility with empathy. If you actually analyse how they treat people, they’re hardly empathic at all.

    2. A “nice guy” buddy of mine dated a borderline for 6 months. She totally beat the crap out of his ride one night and bragged about it to everyone, thinking that it made her look like a champ, instead of a deranged lunatic.

  3. I scored 84/84/68

    Psychopathy being 64.

    So does this mean I’m not a sadist?

    I don’t necessarily enjoy inflicting pain on others for no reason but if they have wronged me somehow or they act in ways I don’t like or believe in things I find weak or pathetic then I feel they deserve whatever I do to them.

    Whenever I have felt a sense of belonging I tend to be more compassionate and forgiving.

    In contrast the more I isolate myself mentally from others for varying reasons it is because I see most people as beneath me and I desire to dominate them.

    Ultimately this is how I see nearly everyone in western civilization. Weak men and conniving women who only know fear and domination. So I have no qualms giving them what they deserve.

      1. Even those scores I would have not scored near as high 10-12 yrs ago.

        All these I had to develop through training myself in various ways because I am not naturally psychopathic.

        I did buy 48 laws of power when I was 18 and knew all the laws and transgressions by heart.

        Your pieces on using stoicism greatly appealed to me.

        Someone once told me that in life there are two kinds of people….trained and untrained.

        Now the untrained are not devoid of a kind of training, it has just been unbeknownst to them.

        When I was 21 I became a ” born again” Christian and attended some non denominational churches. I received training that made me have a weak and pathetic mentality.

        I broke free around 26, found the red pill and have been on this road since.

  4. I identified with the description narcopath, my mother was very cruel to me because of the trauma of her with my grandmother, but has also genetic, my family is full of ASPD.

    ps: elliot rodgers fits what type of narcissist, illimitablemen??

    1. If I had to categorise him, the histrionic nature and extent of what he did would put him firmly in the narcopathic category. Rich kid with absent parents, shit fucked him up.

  5. Illimitable man.
    This is very, very good.
    I would like to be a part of your dark triad forum. I score in the 99th percentile for Machiavellianism. I come from a family of unaware NPD’d who are in the field of psychology. Most of my relationships are with type 2 personalities. I have a lot of first hand knowledge and insight I would like to share.

  6. Hey, I took the “Dark Triad Test” and that you linked in the article… I compared my results to what I could find other people admitting to online…

    Here is what I got:

    Narcissism: 3.3 (78%)
    Machiavellian: 4.0 (100%)
    Psychopathy: 2.7 (46%)

    I had a girl friend of mine take the test and she got all sub 15%…

    I also took this IQ test: http://www.free-iqtest.net/

    And scored a 133… not sure if that is accurate or not…

    Am I a dark triad mother fucker? it seems that my Psychopathy score is lower then average… so am I not dark triad?

    Anyways, great article, someone in my family is near a narcopath and had many of the childhood experiences you described here.

    1. You are manipulative and egotistical, but you’re empathic. So you’re not really DT, more sub-clinical DT. The “perfect spot” in my opinion. Tough enough to make the truly hard calls, but not so tough you alienate everybody from you.

  7. Any insight on how you can treat suspected NPD in a child (8 years old)? My son is displaying a lot of the traits. I wouldn’t say his upbringing has been particularly traumatic. Now that I have a better understanding of the disorder I am sure there are several in my family. I want to help him delovope empathy if it’s not too late!

    1. NPD is usually caused by neglect/abuse/absence of validation from the opposite sex primary caregiver. So for a girl, abuse/neglect from the father “daddy issues”, for a boy, abuse/neglect from the mother “mummy issues.”

      If you show him love and don’t withhold validation or neglect him, there’s no reason to believe he is NPD. It is normal for young boys to be energetic and aggressive, after all, “boisterousness” is natural of a healthy boy. I wouldn’t try to medicalise the personality of an 8 year old – I’d wait for him to finish puberty before coming to any conclusions about his personality. Giving young children drugs because of undesirable behaviour can fuck them up in the long run – it’s not recommended.

      Boys without fathers or some kind of man in the picture often suffer from behavioural problems and have lower prosperity outcomes than boys with fathers, so if there’s no man in the picture, bad behaviour will be symptomatic of fatherlessness rather than a cluster B personality disorder like NPD. Bad behaviour in young boys stems from a lack of discipline, women are less threatening than men, so they find it harder to discipline boys; they typically nurture too much and punish too little. This is unfortunate, but not unnatural. If he’s fatherless, then chances are he just needs stronger boundaries in place.

      1. What about boys who had abusive parents? I read on a site that men with selfish mothers are already “bad boys” by default. I think it was on heartiste or something like that. My mom was Very non loving and so with women I by default show no emotional love. I have often been called selfish or narcissistic . Also aloof.

        I find it easier I guess as is easy breathing to just ignore them unless it is sex involved. My biggest issue was actually initiation of contact with them. MY parents were mom (psychologically sinister/father was physically abusive) So what is your take on men who had both parents? Is this even common?

  8. Narcicissm- 2.9
    Mach- 2.6
    Psychopath- 2.1

    Compared to the orhers I seem to score pretty low , but I really do resonate with the Narcopath personality as well as the King mindset when you were talking about the different types of Machs in your other blogs. How is this possible? As weird as it sounds I wish I scored higher in Machievelianism.. oh well

    1. others*
      In all honesty, I expected to rank higher in Narcicissm. I hate my mom as well as any woman who is even the least bit narcissistic. Especially black women… who have a weird sense of entitlement. I experience jealousy whenever someone’s in the room who I perceive as better or more impressive than myself. Narcicisstic injury is always followed by extreme anger. The other day one of my colleagues said I was a slow worker lol…. the way I berated her was cruel … I underlined every flaw she had whilst raising my voice and throwing a childish temper tantrum. It truly felt as if I was possessed .

      1. Narcissists are the male equivalent of an insecure and emotionally deranged woman falling into the tail spin of auto rejection.

    1. I’d go so far to say he had narcissistic personality disorder induced by a shitty upbringing/parental neglect. And there’s a lot of overlap between NPD (narcissism) and ASPD (psychopathy) – so I’d say he was psychopath-esque (in the same way an autist or a narcissist is – both empathy deficient) but a classic psychopath? I’m not so sure. 50 Cent is a psychopath, lost his mother at a very young age etc etc, and yet has a very different approach to life. Where 50 is fearless (quintessential of a psychopath) Elliot has this scornful childish narcissistic injury reminiscent of the typical woman “none of the girls ever liked me!”

      In my opinion he’s an unsuccessful/low functioning version of Donald Trump (infantile rather than grandiose narcissism) rather than an unsuccessful version of Curtis Jackson/50 Cent.

      1. The problem is that rodgers had more pathologies than just psychopathy, 50 Cent grew up in the ghetto and had to mature. Rodgers is the result of a recluse and delayed generation, coupled with isolation and distorted views of the internet, the puahate.

        He had a very childish appearance, and a lot of immaturity, i see psychopaths in a hierarchy, as we have the employee to the boss, it can be said that he was a very low level of psychopath.

        1. There is undoubtedly a certain hierarchy of differing psychopathy. Fleshing out that hierarchy clearly however is another matter entirely. Trump for example has many psychopathic and narcissistic traits, but I don’t think he’s an actual psychopath. His relationships with his family are too healthy. When you look at someone like 50 Cent on the other hand, you can see his family relationships are strained or otherwise non-existent and thus he better fits our understanding of conventional psychopathy.

      2. After reviewing his case, i believe that he really was not a psychopath (the authentic, which has neurological / physical defects). More like a sociopath like narcissistic or borderlines.

        I had read the text and had not really understood, IM, one narcopathy he is genetically a psychopath or just a result of trauma?

        1. It is my belief that narcopathy is caused by neglect/trauma in youth from an emotionally violent parent. It is my observation that narcopaths always felt as if they were rejected by at least one of their parents, and it is the absence of that pair bond coupled with pain inflicted by the parent who did not pair bond with the child that results in the child growing up to develop narcopathy. Narcopathy is a unique coping mechanism for dealing with an emotionally abusive parent, I can see how in that setting it would make sense to be less emotional and to compensate for the absence of that parent’s validation with delusional grandiose egotism. If you look at it like that, it developmentally at least, actually makes a lot of sense.

        2. I understood, really i’m not a narcopath as said above, because i already born with strong sadistic tendencies, ie it is genetic. It is a topic that requires a lot of nuance, as you say, so complicated that it is confusing even to experts. And sadism is an issue that you do not talk so much, IM, i just found your comments on the reddit.

        3. NPD and SPD (sadism) have similarities, but i believe the latter comes, besides an innate tendency, also a child with a very controlling mother, without neglect, although there are coldness, but with a lot of punishments and excess domain(for good or not). However a man created submissive and without an innate psychopathy to overcome, will be a masochistic fag.

  9. These last few days i was studying his profile, and i came to the same conclusion, the childishness of his narcissism, he was an immature psychopath.

    The reason that he doesn’t attract women was simple, their eccentricity in conjunction with his immaturity, women don’t like weird guys, he was dark triad? possible, but they certainly had better options than him.

  10. I used to be a egoistic in relationships, I would dump a woman over the slightest thing and have several others lined up, if I was not screwing them already, even the same day. Such thinking and behavior attracted women like cat nip, as they perceived me as mysterious, dangerous, confident, and in demand; anything but needy. I could not stand nice people as I viewed their behavior as needy, weak, pathetic, and manipulative. Women would ask me why I was so mean, given that they viewed me as very good looking and popular with the ladies, and they themselves were already feeling the tingles for me, but I was spoiled and none of that meant anything to me, because I already figured that I could screw them anytime I felt like it, and their roommate, or the girl at the coffee shop, the waitress in the restaurant, the woman in the bar, the woman passing me on the sidewalk, the woman in the club, in the art gallery, the woman cop walking the beat, but I could not be nice because I would have felt fake and that was the one thing I could not be; but, that is the only thing a narcissist is; and, that is what pick up artist aim to be..

  11. what about introverted narcissist,
    this type necessarily is covert or
    overt narcissist…?

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