What Does Narcissistic Abuse Look Like?

Vanity is not becoming. The more in love with ourselves we are, the more difficult it is for others to feel the same. I’m all for self-love, but there is a definite line between self-love and self-centered. The term “narcissism” dates back to the demigod Narcissus himself. According to Greek mythology, Narcissus was the exceptionally handsome offspring of a River God and a nymph. Narcissus was infamous for his beauty and his physique, and he knew it. The story goes that, one day, Narcissus stopped by a lake to drink and saw his reflection in the water. He became so infatuated with his beauty and his inability to fulfill his desire for himself that he died by the lake from sorrow. Narcissus was the center of his world – his love for himself was unparalleled. Today, when people hear the term “narcissist,” they think self-absorbed, self-centered, selfish, self this, self that.

Psychologists used to believe that narcissism was ironically a result of very low-self esteem and very high self-criticism. Now, however, psychologists believe that narcissism goes far beyond that. Psychiatrists agree that narcissists thrive by impacting significant others’ self-perception to improve their own; individuals who meet the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)  put down others for pleasure and fulfillment. Through always deflection their insecurities by attributing them to the actions and presence of others, inferiority develops into increased confidence and arrogance. Unfortunately, the obsession and denial of a narcissist’s flaws leaves no room for tolerating other individuals’, and thus results in narcissistic abuse.

Narcissistic abuse occurs in a relationship with at least one individual who meets the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and/or Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). Here’s a quick summary of what those disorders entail:

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