Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's own attributes. Narcissism is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others' feelings. Narcissists ruthlessly pursue the aggrandizement of the individual self, even at the price of diminishing others and at the risk of sacrificing the interpersonal bond.
Hotchkiss's seven deadly sins of narcissism are:
- Shamelessness – In a healthy person, shame is processed in a normal manner, whereas narcissists have difficulty processing this feeling in a healthy way. Narcissists also tend to inflict shame on other people.
- Magical thinking – Narcissists tend to perceive themselves as perfect and flawless. The distorted thinking and illusion that causes narcissists to feel this way is referred to as magical thinking.
- Arrogance – Arrogance and a disregard for other people’s feelings are typical characteristics of narcissism. Narcissists often have a low self esteem which they try to relieve by insulting or degrading others.
- Envy – Due to their sense of being superior to others, narcissists may feel insecure when faced with another person’s ability, which they may try to belittle by demonstrating contempt or dismissal of it.
- Sense of entitlement – A sense of being perfect and superior means narcissists often expect to receive favorable treatment and for people to admire and agree with their opinions or actions. A person who flouts their authority, the narcissist will proceed to demean them in front of others.
- Exploitation – This refers to the narcissist’s tendency to exploit others and show no regard or empathy for their emotions or interests. This often occurs when the other person is in a subservient position, and this subservience is often only assumed rather than real.
- Lack of boundaries – Most narcissists fail to understand their boundaries and recognize that other people are individuals rather than extensions of themselves. The narcissist fails to recognize the independence of the other person.
- are not aware their thought patterns are inappropriate
- think about themselves without taking the perspective of others
- believe they are unique and special (they have something you don’t)
- think of themselves in highly positive ways
- are self-important
- fantasize about power and fame
- feel entitled to have whatever they want
- exploit people's 'weaknesses and vulnerabilities'
- are indifferent to other people’s needs (callous)
- overrate their intelligence (exaggerated belief in self-importance)
- are focused on maintaining power and control
- perceive themselves as superior to others
- manipulate, manipulate, manipulate
All these traits contribute to the narcissist’s illusion that he or she controls reality. That financial success or fame is the result of their extraordinary and superior capabilities. However, the appearance of taking responsibility for their success is countered by attributing failure to others. They blame a partner for an unsuccessful task outcome.
Narcissists also regulate strategically self-concept positivity in several ways. These include outward displays of self-importance, fantasies of fame and power, and negative affective reactions to perceived self-threats. Finally, narcissists are described as having poor interpersonal relationships.
Narcissistic relationships are characterized by a sense of personal entitlement, exploitation of the partner, indifference toward the partner’s needs, and a dearth of genuine love. Narcissists will not only implicitly derogate others in the process of maintaining positive self-views but narcissists also explicitly derogate others.
Narcissists are predicted to be more rigidly self-enhancing.
Healthy narcissism is a structural truthfulness of the self, achievement of self and object constancy, synchronization between the self and the superego and a balance between libidinal and aggressive drives (the ability to receive gratification from others and the drive for impulse expression). Healthy narcissism forms a constant, realistic self-interest and mature goals and principles and an ability to form deep object relations. A feature related to healthy narcissism is the feeling of greatness.