What is narcissistic?

Narcissism is a high form of selfishness wrapped in moral virtue.

It’s wrapped in moral virtue because only the narcist knows they are right and believes everyone else is wrong. And therefore, their actions are justified.

The narcissist has the confidence of the competent. Without actually having the competence of the competent, nor are they working towards competence 1. It’s all a facade.

How do people become narcissistic?

We are all on a spectrum of narcissism 2. Some people are:

  • total narcissists: they talk about themselves
  • many are functional narcissists: they can be polite but don’t enjoy talking unless it’s about them or something they care about. (I fall in this category for the most part)
  • empaths: people who care about others.

Our goal in life is to move toward becoming more empathetic.

There are also other categorizations of narcissism: source

  1. Classical narcissism 2:02
  2. Covert narcissism 3:50
  3. Communal narcissism 7:00
  4. Acquired narcissism 11:34

Knowing the four categories can help in understanding behaviours.

The two common forms of narcissism are:

  • Feeling too superior; therefore, words owe me something
  • Feeling too inferior; therefore world owes me something

The problem is that feeling the world owes you something with/without virtue is a form of avoiding responsibility for your problems.

What can give rise to narcissism?

One has to spot patterns that give rise to bitterness. Small things that cause

  • arrogance: someone is asking for help, but you want help because you feel you earned something, and now you don’t give a fuck.
  • resentment: for something that happened in the past.
  • deceit: lying about things or not looking to accept reality

Depression/past trauma can also give rise to narcissism. Trauma need not be something big. Like, a friend laughed at you for liking Justin Beiber.

Narcissism is a form of insecurity. It can be fear of abandonment.

How can we be less narcissistic?

  • Stop being critical. Accept people as they are, not how you want them to be.
  • If you are helping people, help to support them rather than receive. It doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries but think about it.
  • Tell the truth but be kind. It’s okay to say sorry. There is no harm in it.
  • Know your patterns. Patterns repeat. Tell people about your patterns. That opens you up a bit.
  • Be more humble: Engage in activities that require humility, like serving others in some form—measuring yourself on servant leadership score—giving others more power to critique or provide feedback, like code reviews, without getting stiff. Getting rejected often also helps in humility.
  • Express observations, not attacks. Use I feel, and I observed words more. Understand and respect boundaries.

Controlling Aggression and Competitiveness

The likely reason to have aggression and competitiveness is that you don’t have a good outlet. You need good goals.

You need to find a goal that pulls you towards achieving it. And towards that goal, you can use all your competitiveness and aggression.

There is also an element of being ethical while being competitive/aggressive. For example, you can be default aggressive while trying to improve your goals. It’s a much more useful way of thinking about having an outlet for your aggression. Let your smarts be of real use to everyone.

Resources and Clips

  1. Jordan Peterson 

  2. Robert Greene