Narcissism: Disease Of The 21st Century Or A Character Trait?

Narcissism is a psychological state or personality trait characterized by excessive interest in oneself, one’s qualities, appearance, and successes. In psychology, this term describes a special type of personality characterized by excessive self-involvement, a strong desire for attention and admiration from others.

The story of Narcissus is one of the most famous mythological legends and symbolizes human narcissism and its consequences.

Where did this word come from? The Myth of Narcissus

In ancient Greek mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful young man, the son of the river goddess Lirio. His beauty was flawless and he mesmerized everyone who saw him. However, his beauty was not only external. Everyone around knew the Narcissus for his coldness and rejection of feelings for others.

One day, when Narcissus was hunting in the forest, he was seen by the nymph Echo. She immediately fell in love with him. She tried to approach him, but he rejected her, not paying attention to her feelings. Disappointed, Echo went deep into the forest and, immersed in despair, disappeared, leaving only her voice.

One of the gods decided to punish Narcissus. He made the young man see his reflection in the water. Looking at his reflected beauty, Narcissus loved himself so much that he could not take his eyes off his reflection. He did not eat, did not drink, did not pay attention to his friends and was dying of despair.
At the place where he died, a flower with beautiful color and aroma appeared, which received his name – narcissus.

The myth of Narcissus is a symbol of excessive narcissism and its consequences. It reminds us how important it is to find a balance between loving yourself and respecting others.

Key Traits of Narcissism

Narcissism can manifest itself in a variety of ways. the main traits include:

  1. Egocentrism and strong pride. Narcissists typically view themselves as the center of the world and expect constant recognition of their importance. A person is focused on himself, his needs and his opinions, without due consideration of the feelings, opinions and needs of other people.
  2. Using others. They often use the people around them to achieve their goals and satisfy their needs.
  3. Lack of empathy. Narcissists may show little interest in the feelings and needs of others, focusing solely on their own interests. Such a person may not notice or take into account the emotional state and experiences of other people, because his interests and needs are above all else.
  4. Excessive sensitivity to criticism. Narcissists often take criticism as a personal insult and may react aggressively or resentfully. Criticism threatens their established image of greatness and can bring up deep feelings of vulnerability and inferiority. They tend to experience even the slightest comments as personal attacks, perceiving criticism as a threat to their self-esteem and self-esteem. Narcissists often do not perceive criticism as constructive feedback, but rather perceive it solely as an attack on their personality or successes.

Types of narcissism:

  • Grandiose narcissism. Characterized by excessive claims to greatness, power and success, and a strong desire to be the center of attention. They strive to attract the attention and admiration of others. Their behavior and lifestyle are often aimed at emphasizing their importance and status. They frequently consider themselves unique, brilliant and outstanding individuals.

  • Early narcissism. Associated with the development of this trait during childhood and adolescence, often caused by excessive praise from parents. Parents or other adults frequently praise a child for small achievements, which can lead to a high opinion of himself. A child in infancy and early childhood often does not encounter constructive criticism, which can lead to the underdevelopment of self-control and self-esteem mechanisms. Criticism must be appropriate.

  • Vulnerable narcissism. Involves a general feeling of inadequacy and anxiety hidden behind an outward image of confidence. In contrast to grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissists depend on constant approval and attention from others to maintain their self-esteem. Most often, they experience internal struggle and uncertainty in their abilities and qualities, despite their outwardly demonstrated self-confidence.

The impact of narcissism on society

Narcissism has a significant impact on social and interpersonal relationships in modern society. Let’s look at this in more detail:

  • Impact on personal relationships. Narcissistic people may have difficulty maintaining deep and reciprocal relationships due to their self-focus. They often expect those around them to constantly admire them and support their ego. Because of their self-focus, they may have difficulty establishing and maintaining normal communication and interaction.
  • Impact on the professional sphere. In some cases, narcissists can exhibit leadership qualities – this is more of a plus than a minus. However, their inability to provide constructive criticism and the perception of themselves as infallible can lead to conflicts and ineffectiveness in teamwork.
  • Impact on mental health. Narcissism can be associated with other psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety, especially when excessive self-esteem is not supported by reality.

Narcissism can develop into a fairly serious illness. To prevent this from happening or to prevent signs that have already appeared, you can use:

Therapy and counseling. Psychotherapy can help a narcissist develop a healthier relationship with himself and his prospects.

Education and coverage. If you actively highlight this topic in society, you can recognize narcissistic traits at an early stage and learn to manage them.

Narcissism, despite its negative aspects, can also serve as a defense mechanism in stressful situations. However, to maintain healthy relationships and personal development, it is important to find a balance between caring for yourself and respect for others.


In modern society, the term “narcissism” is used to describe a person who is highly self-involved and may be indifferent to the feelings and needs of others.
Narcissism is a complex psychological phenomenon that affects many aspects of our lives. Understanding its characteristics and consequences helps to develop effective interaction and personal development strategies for both narcissists and those around them.

What narcissism is for you, a disease or a positive trait, is up to you to decide, but it is important to maintain balance, take criticism constructively and be in harmony with yourself.

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