Seeing the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder or narcissist happens all the time. Flip through magazines or social media, & you’ll come across articles with titles like, “Is Your Partner A Narcissist?” You also may notice people who talk about someone selfish, & they describe that person as a narcissist. Unfortunately, the terms get used quite easily, & that can do a lot of damage.
Experiences of victims of narcissistic abuse are minimized when a person who can be selfish is labeled as a narcissist. When someone has suffered some of the most mind altering & damaging abuse possible at the hands of a narcissist hears someone call another person who had a selfish moment a narcissist, it diminishes the severity of narcissistic abuse. It makes narcissism sound like it’s nothing more than simple thoughtless behavior. This can make a victim feel like they’re oversensitive, exaggerating the severity of their experiences, are weak or foolish for developing C-PTSD after the abuse & more. This mirrors what narcissists do to their victims. One very common tactic they use is making their victims feel like something is very wrong with them for being traumatized by the abuse. If they can accomplish this, it creates shame in the victims, which means they are more willing to tolerate more abuse which means they will be easier to manipulate & control. Even if this is not the goal of someone calling the average selfish person narcissistic, shame is still the result. Shame was already there, & this person is adding to it. It’s a cruel thing to do to victims!
When the word narcissist is used too easily, it also minimizes narcissistic abuse in general. If someone claims a narcissist hurt them by some basic selfish act such as standing them up on a date, this basically compares that experience to soul destroying narcissistic abuse. Someone’s thoughtless or selfish behavior that isn’t their norm (as it is for narcissists) isn’t soul destroying. Narcissistic abuse is. Narcissists rarely act out of sheer thoughtlessness. Yes, they do sometimes because they are so self centered they simply don’t deem others as worthy of their consideration. However, the majority of the behavior of narcissists isn’t thoughtless. They plan out everything they do for the purpose of using others to benefit themselves, manipulating or controlling others, & inflicting as much pain as they can possibly cause. There is no comparison between someone who is selfish sometimes & a narcissist. The damage they inflict is entirely different.
Using the term narcissist too loosely also minimizes just how bad narcissists truly are. These people are evil. They can use & abuse anyone without one iota of shame or remorse. They can watch someone crying because of things they have done, & not feel one smidgen of concern or regret for hurting someone. Things like this show they are NOT simply a person having a fleeting moment of being selfish or even the average selfish person. These behaviors are evil!
I strongly recommend not using the term narcissist lightly. It does so much disservice to their victims & the understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder that most people have. The term needs to be used appropriately & when someone has displayed more than simple selfish or thoughtless behavior. Consistently showing selfishness, constantly looking for praise either by bragging openly or slyly about themselves, lacking empathy, being manipulative, envious, entitled & unwilling to change their behavior in spite of knowing how much pain it causes others are some of the hallmark signs true narcissists show. People who exhibit these behaviors are the true narcissists, & they need to be called out for what they are, not the average thoughtless person.
You must be logged in to post a comment.