A lot of us have probably met people who’re really full of themselves, who don’t care about others, and who always crave attention. This kind of person is who we imagine when we think of a narcissist. But a lot of the times, it’s just a façade, and in reality, they aren’t what they seem on the surface.
Bright Side collected common myths about narcissists. And we hope that our explanations will help you understand these people better and figure out how to deal with them.
Myth 1: They think they’re better than everyone.
This can be true for some narcissists, but not for everyone. Others, on the contrary, have low self-esteem, and they feel like they need to impress others and try to seem superior to them as a defense mechanism. These people are called vulnerable narcissists, and they need other people’s validation to make them feel better about themselves because they don’t feel that they’re good enough.
Myth 2: They like to hurt others.
Narcissists don’t intend to harm anyone on purpose. But they do want their needs and desires to be met. And in trying to get what they want, they might do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal. They might not realize that, in the process, it negatively affected someone else.
Myth 3: They’re great at manipulating people.
Some might think that narcissists are master manipulators that like to make evil sophisticated plans and see other people as their puppets. In reality, they just learned by trial and error how to get what they want. It can mean knowing how to use other people’s weaknesses to their advantage. So it’s important to form boundaries to avoid being manipulated by them.
Myth 4: They can’t form close relationships.
It’s actually possible for narcissists to form close relationships, but it’s true that it can be difficult for them. They’ll want to receive a lot of love and admiration but probably won’t give anything back. This one-sided relationship can be hard for other people, especially if they have certain expectations and believe that a narcissist can be changed. But it’s not impossible if the partner has patience and can show acceptance and understanding.
Myth 5: Narcissism can be healthy.
Some might say that being a little narcissistic can be even good for you, or, rather, you can profit from it. This opinion is especially common in the business world, where the more money you earn, the better, no matter how it affects others. Disregard for other people’s lives can’t be a good thing. Being a narcissist often also comes with being arrogant, vindictive, always putting yourself first, and gaslighting other people. And these traits are also not healthy.
Myth 6: They aren’t capable of empathizing.
The belief that narcissists aren’t capable of understanding other people’s emotions is not true. They can empathize, but it’s different from how we do it. They can read people and recognize their feelings, but they only do it to gain something from it. They might even come across as caring and considerate, but they do it to benefit themselves, not to help others.
Myth 7: All narcissists are outgoing.
When we think of a narcissist, we often imagine someone charismatic, charming, and outgoing. But not all of them are like that. People who have quiet demeanors can also be narcissists.
Myth 8: Social media causes narcissism.
Social media can’t turn someone into a narcissist. Research suggests that it depends on the parenting style as to whether you’ll become one or not. If it’s permissive, a child is more likely to become a narcissist. However, what social media can do is give these people a platform where they can seek admiration and validation.
Myth 9: You can change a narcissist.
Some people might want to believe that they can change a narcissist if they are close to them. Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that they’ll change. They’re probably aware that they’re narcissistic, but they might not see it as a problem that needs to be fixed. On the contrary, they might think that it’s other people that have problems. However, with therapy, it’s possible to see some improvements, though it can be difficult and may take time.
Myth 10: Narcissists adore themselves.
A lot of the times, it’s not self-love that makes narcissists behave the way they do, but self-hatred. There are narcissists who’re “in love” with themselves, but some research suggests that it would be more correct to consider them psychopaths. So the other side of narcissism can actually mean self-loathing and insecurity.
Do you know someone who’s a narcissist? How does it affect you? Do you have any tips for those who also have a narcissist in their lives?